Melanospiza richardsoni


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Melanospiza richardsoni
Species Authority: (Cory, 1886)
Common Name(s):
English St Lucia Black Finch, St. Lucia Black Finch

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered C2a(ii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Temple, H. & Morton, M.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D.
This species qualifies as Endangered because it has a very small population; suitable habitat is declining through clearance for agriculture and introduced predators are also reducing numbers.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Melanospiza richardsoni is endemic to St Lucia in the Lesser Antilles, where it is most numerous in the mountains (Bond 1979, Keith 1997). Surveys in 1987 failed to find any large populations and noted that much apparently suitable habitat was unoccupied (Keith 1997), although due to its broad habitat tolerance its range is probably not severely fragmented (H. Temple in litt. 2007).

Saint Lucia
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It exhibits considerable ecological flexibility, inhabiting rainforest, forest edge, secondary vegetation, plantations, shrubbery, semi-arid scrub and woodland, up to 800 m (Bond 1979, Trail and Baptista 1989, Keith 1997). However, it has a preference for dense undergrowth, which is naturally found in ravines within moist montane forest (Keith 1997). Birds feed primarily on the ground on seeds, fruit and insects (Keith 1997). Nesting has been recorded in April-June.

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The clearing of undergrowth, particularly in timber plantations, renders areas completely unsuitable and is probably the major threat (Keith 1997). Introduced mongooses and rats may also predate eggs, nestlings and adults (Keith 1997).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in a number of forest reserves, such as La Sorcière and Edmond (Raffaele et al. 1998).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Assess the species's current distribution and population, and use the results to design a conservation strategy. Curtail undergrowth clearing in plantations and other forested areas (Keith 1997).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Melanospiza richardsoni. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 28 August 2015.
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