Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Mimidae

Scientific Name: Mimus melanotis
Species Authority: (Gould, 1837)
Common Name(s):
English San Cristobal Mockingbird
Mimus melanotis BirdLife International (2004)
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Taxonomic Notes: The genus Nesomimus has been subsumed into the genus Mimus following SACC (2007).

Identification information: 25-26cm. Large mimid, greyish-brown above and pale below, with prominent black lores and blackish ear patch. Sexes similar, female c. 10% smaller than male in linear measurements. Juvenile is more streaked below than adult. Voice Loud, melodious and disjointed territorial song, typical of other members of its genus.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2013
Date Assessed: 2013-11-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Curry, R., Tye, A., Vargas, H. & Wiedenfeld, D.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Gilroy, J., Harding, M., Sharpe, C J, Temple, H.
This species is classified as Endangered because it is likely to be declining within its very small range on a single island, as a result of habitat degradation and the impact of alien invasive species.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Endangered (EN)
2008 Endangered (EN)
2006 Endangered (EN)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Mimus melanotis is endemic to the island of San Cristóbal in the central Galápagos islands, Ecuador (Sibley and Monroe 1990). Its population has recently been estimated at c.8,000 individuals, on the basis that it occupies c.25% of the 552 km2 area of the island, with occupied areas holding approximately 0.6 birds/ha (R. Curry in litt. 2005).

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 1100
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 2-5
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 700
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: R. Curry (in litt. 2005) estimated that this species occupies c.25% of the 552 km2 area of San Cristobal, i.e. 138 km2. The density of birds in occupied habitat is 0.6 birds / ha, giving a total population size estimate of 8,280 birds, perhaps best rounded to c.8,000 individuals. This roughly equates to c.5,300 mature individuals. However, the population may be significantly smaller than this (D. Wiedenfeld in litt. 2012).

Trend Justification:  Despite a lack of new data on population size or trend, the threats facing the population remain unchanged, suggesting that slow to moderate declines may be continuing.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 5300 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 1 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It occupies a wide range of habitats from lowlands up to the island summit at 715 m, including arid open lowland scrub, mangroves, scrubby woodland with scattered trees (Bursera spp.) and arborescent cacti (Opuntia spp.), low woodlands of introduced guava (Psidium guajava) and taller patches of forest. It tends to avoid dense lowland forest, taller, wetter woodland, grassland and urban areas (Cody 2005). The species forages on the ground for arthropods, also taking fruit and berries and occasionally picking ticks (Acarina) off marine iguanas (Amblyrhynchus spp.). It breeds in January to April, apparently not cooperatively, in contrast to other Nesomimus spp. (Cody 2005).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 5.3
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Several threats are suspected to be causing population decline, including introduced species (diseases, parasites and predators), habitat degradation, and human disturbance (Vargas 1996, Wiedenfeld and Jiménez 2008, R. Curry in litt. 2005, H. Vargas in litt. 2005, A. Tye in litt. 2005, D. Wiedenfeld in litt. 2005). The presence of the Dipterid nestling parasite Philornis downsi is likely a significant threat (Wiedenfeld et al. 2007). A number of disease vectors have been introduced, including Culex quinquefasciatus (vector of avian malaria) and Simulium bipunctatus (Peck et al. 1998Vargas and Bensted-Smith 2000, Whiteman et al. 2005), and chickens in the growing number of chicken farms have brought in new diseases and may act as intermediary hosts (Gottdenker et al. 2005). The incidence of parasites and diseases could be more important in the future with the increase in frequency and intensity of El Niño events and the more humid conditions in the islands (H. Vargas in litt. 2005, Wiedenfeld et al. 2007). Habitat loss and degradation is caused by invasive introduced plants (P. guajava, Syzygium jambos, Rubus niveus) (Vargas 1996), overgrazing by goats, and increased human settlement. Black rats and feral cats have been introduced and are thought to be responsible for high nest predation rates (Curry 1989). The relative importance and impacts of these different threats are not yet known.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
The Galápagos National Park was gazetted in 1959, and includes almost all the land area of the islands. In 1979, the islands were declared a World Heritage Site (Jackson 1985).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor population to determine trends. Research relative importance of different threats in order to identify effective conservation actions. Research into methods of control or eradication of the parasite Philornis downsi (D. Wiedenfeld in litt. 2012). Avoid further introduction of alien species. Establish a captive breeding population for future reintroductions and population supplementation.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2013. Mimus melanotis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2013: e.T22711078A48115530. . Downloaded on 04 October 2015.
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