Corvus palmarum 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Corvidae

Scientific Name: Corvus palmarum
Species Authority: Württemberg, 1835
Common Name(s):
English Palm Crow
Taxonomic Notes: Corvus palmarum (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) was previously split into C. palmarum and C. minutus following Garrido et al. (1997), but these two taxa have now been lumped as C. palmarum following AOU (1998) and a review by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group.

Identification information: 34-38 cm. Small to medium-sized, stocky black crow. Shortish bill with distinctly curved culmen and dark eye. Nostrils concealed by well-developed nasal tufts. Often slowly raises tail before suddenly flicking it downwards. Similar spp Cuban Crow C. nasicus is larger with exposed nostrils, but best separated by call. Tail flicking not recorded for C. nasicus. On Hispaniola White-necked Crow C. leucognaphalus is larger and also has exposed nostrils, it is also best separated by call. Voice Raucous nasal note craa or aagh usually given in series. Flocks can be very noisy. Hints Most easily found in noisy groups in high altitude pine forest.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Brooks, T., Kirkconnell, A., Mitchell, A., Regalado, P. & Brocca, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Fisher, S., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Pople, R., Symes, A., Wege, D. & Ashpole, J
This species is classified as Near Threatened because it has a moderately small range in which habitat degradation and hunting are causing it to decline; it almost meets the requirements for listing as threatened under criterion B1ab(iii,v).

Previously published Red List assessments:
2012 Near Threatened (NT)
2008 Near Threatened (NT)
2004 Not Recognized (NR)
2000 Not Recognized (NR)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Near Threatened (NT)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species constitutes two races, the nominate was formerly widespread in wooded areas from the lowlands to the mountains on Hispaniola (Garrido et al. 1997); however it has decreased and is now localised although not uncommon (Madge and Burn 1993) in the Dominican Republic, and only remains locally common in the Massif de la Selle (Madge and Burn 1993, Dávalos and Brooks 2001) and in the northern pine belt of Haiti (Latta et al. 2006). The Cuban race minutus has a very restricted range (Garrido et al. 1997, Garrido and Kirkconnell 2000). It is rare and local (Madge and Burn 1993), with the only recent records being from five 'municipios' south of Camagüey city in south-central Camagüey province (P. Regalado in litt. 2007). The five municipalities holding the species in Camagüey province in order of importance are: Najasa, Jimaguayú, Vertientes, Santa Cruz and Camagüey city (Regalado in press). In Najasa, it is locally quite common (Madge and Burn 1993, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999); although it has undergone historic declines (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998) surveys suggested that it remained stable between 2000-2006 (P. Regalado in litt. 2007). Although it has also been recorded from Pinar del Rio provinces (La Manaja, Los Acostas and El Francisco), there has only been one (undocumented) report from this area within the last 50 years (Kirkconnell et al. 2004). The species is historically known from Pan Valley, at Guajibon and in the Vinales Valley (Pinar del Rio province); Yaguaramas, near Cienfuegos; in the Trinidad Valley; and in the Sierra de Banao (Sancti Spiritus province) (Kirkconnell et al. 2004). It is thought to have had a wider distribution in Camagüey province in the past, occupying municipalities in the north: Cubitas, Minas and Guáimaro (Regalado in press).

Countries occurrence:
Cuba; Dominican Republic; Haiti
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 180000
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 2000
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend Justification:  There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate, on account of hunting and forest loss and, perhaps in Cuba, competition with C. nasicus.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: Unknown Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: On Hispaniola, birds are usually seen in small to medium-sized groups, foraging on the ground or in trees for fruit, seeds, insects, snails and lizards (Raffaele et al. 1998) and, in Haiti, it has even been recorded around local food markets (T. M. Brooks in litt. 2000). However, on Cuba though it formerly inhabited wooded areas from the lowlands to the mountains (Bond 1979) it is now known only from lowland cultivation with scattered groups of palm trees (Madge and Burn 1993). Nests are located in stands of tall palms (Madge and Burn 1993), with breeding from March-July (Raffaele et al. 1998, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999, Garrido and Kirkconnell 2000). It roosts communally, including with C. nasicus where the two occur together (P. Regalado in litt. 2007).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 7.3
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): On Hispaniola its decline is a result of widespread forest clearance for agriculture and probably also hunting for food (it is reputedly a delicacy) and sport (Madge and Burn 1993, Latta et al. 2006). It is more abundant on Haiti where gun ownership is lower (Latta et al. 2006). In Cuba, although partial clearance of dense forest may not have affected the species, the intensive clearance of Royal Palm (in which the species nests) for agriculture and livestock grazing may be causing declines and local extirpation, such as in Camagüey province (P. Regalado in litt. 2007). Housing developments have replaced much suitable habitat, and human disturbance of breeding sites and foraging areas may present a further threat (P. Regalado in litt. 2007). Competition with Cuban Crow C. nasicus, since habitat destruction has resulted in the overlap of their ranges, was thought to be a potential threat (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998), but it has since been suggested that the two species occupy different niches (P. Regalado in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and Research Actions Underway
The species is legally protected in Cuba. It occurs in a number of national parks, such as the Sierra de Bahoruco, Dominican Republic and La Bélen protected area near Najasa, Cuba (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998), although nesting has only infrequently recorded in La Bélen (P. Regalado in litt. 2007). 

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed
Ensure the effective protection of habitat in national parks. Discourage the clearance of native forest for agriculture. Afford protection to the species and enforce this protection to discourage hunting. Monitor the species and investigate the effect of hunting on populations. Survey to assess its current distribution and population (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998). On Cuba, research the reasons for the species's decline, and take appropriate action (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998). Support efforts to create an ecological station at Najasa in order to implement conservation actions for this and other key species in collaboration with local communities and regional authorities (P. Regalado in litt. 2007).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Corvus palmarum. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22731517A83663773. . Downloaded on 25 May 2016.
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