Doricha eliza 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Caprimulgiformes Trochilidae

Scientific Name: Doricha eliza (Lesson & DeLattre, 1839)
Common Name(s):
English Mexican Sheartail
Taxonomic Source(s): del Hoyo, J., Collar, N.J., Christie, D.A., Elliott, A. and Fishpool, L.D.C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Volume 1: Non-passerines. Lynx Edicions BirdLife International, Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge, UK.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Near Threatened ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Howell, S., Ortega-Pimienta, J. & Ortiz-Pulido, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Benstead, P., Sharpe, C.J., Taylor, J., Symes, A., Ashpole, J
This species has a very small range, in which it probably has a moderately small population. It is locally threatened by habitat loss and degradation, thus its population and range are likely to be experiencing declines. The range, however, is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations. For these reasons the species is listed as Near Threatened.

Previously published Red List assessments:

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description:This species occurs in Mexico and has two disjunct populations: one in central Veracruz, and one on the northern fringe of the Yucatán peninsula. A recent review found no morphological differences between the two populations, but it has been reported that there are distinct ecological (Ortiz-Pulido et al. 2002) and some genetic differences (Licona-Vera and Ornelas 2014). The Veracruz population must be tiny, and declining (Ortiz-Pulido et al. 2002). The Yucatán population may also be declining due to habitat loss (R. Ortiz-Pulido in litt. 2016).

Countries occurrence:
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:69600
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):UnknownExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:No
Upper elevation limit (metres):1450
Range Map:Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population:Ortiz-Pulido et al. (2002) calculated that the Veracruz population comprised fewer than 2,500 individuals, and R. Ortiz-Pulido in litt. (2012) estimates that no more than 6,000-10,000 birds are found in the Yucatan, assuming (optimistically) three to four times the Veracruz density (0.099 - 0.132 ind./ha; Ortiz-Pulido et al. 2002) respectively.

Trend Justification:  Both populations are suspected to be in decline owing to habitat degradation.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:2500-9999Continuing decline of mature individuals:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:The Yucatán population is commonly found in a narrow (c.1 km wide) coastal strip (although the range is now known to extend at least 4 km inland [Santamaria-Rivero et al. 2013]), mainly in the ecotone between mangroves and tropical deciduous forest (Ortiz-Pulido et al. 2002), but also breeds in gardens and urban areas (S. Howell in litt. 2003, Santamaria-Rivero et al. 2013). The Veracruz population occurs in undisturbed, dry deciduous forest and overgrazed habitats c.25 km inland (Ortiz-Pulido et al. 2002, S. Howell in litt. 2003). The species has been observed feeding at flowers of Ipomoea, Malvaviscus, AgaveJusticia and Helicteres guazumaefolia in Veracruz (Ortiz-Pulido et al. 1998, 2002, Díaz-Valenzuela et al. 2011), and its diet is supplemented by small arthropods (del Hoyo et al. 1999). An unpublished study suggests that both populations feed on nectar from a similar range of plant species (R. Ortiz-Pulido in litt. 2016). In Veracruz, breeding condition has been noted in May, and a nest with small chicks was found in early August (Ortiz-Pulido et al. 1998, Howell 2002). In Yucatán, nesting takes place in August-April, with recently fledged young reported in February and March (Howell and Webb 1995, Ortiz-Pulido et al. 2002). Its nest, in which two eggs are laid, is cup-shaped, and made of seeds of Compositae, lichens and spiders' webs (Ortiz-Pulido et al. 1998, Peterson et al. 2016). Both populations apparently undergo a short-range, seasonal migration (Santamaria-Rivero et al. 2013, R. Ortiz-Pulido in litt. 2016).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Unknown
Generation Length (years):4.2
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The Veracruz and Yucatán populations are subject to different threats, both causing habitat degradation. The Veracruz population is threatened by severe habitat degradation as a result of livestock grazing, sugar cane cultivation and residential development (Ortiz-Pulido et al. 2002), while the Yucatan population is under pressure mainly from development of its coastal dune habitat for tourism (J. F. Ortega-Pimienta in litt. 2012, R. Ortiz-Pulido in litt. 2012, 2016).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in three protected areas (Biosphere Reserves Ría Lagartos and Río Celestún, and Special Biosphere Reserve Bocas de Dzilám de Bravo). The species is included on the 'Watch List' of the State of North America's Birds as a species of high conservation concern (NABCI 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out surveys to assess the population size. Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor the extent of habitat degradation and rates of habitat loss. Increase the area of suitable habitat with protected status.

Classifications [top]

1. Forest -> 1.7. Forest - Subtropical/Tropical Mangrove Vegetation Above High Tide Level
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
3. Shrubland -> 3.5. Shrubland - Subtropical/Tropical Dry
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
13. Marine Coastal/Supratidal -> 13.3. Marine Coastal/Supratidal - Coastal Sand Dunes
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:Yes
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.4. Artificial/Terrestrial - Rural Gardens
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
14. Artificial/Terrestrial -> 14.5. Artificial/Terrestrial - Urban Areas
suitability:Suitable season:resident major importance:No
1. Land/water protection -> 1.2. Resource & habitat protection

In-Place Research, Monitoring and Planning
  Action Recovery plan:No
  Systematic monitoring scheme:No
In-Place Land/Water Protection and Management
  Conservation sites identified:Yes, over entire range
  Occur in at least one PA:Yes
  Invasive species control or prevention:No
In-Place Species Management
  Successfully reintroduced or introduced beningly:No
  Subject to ex-situ conservation:No
In-Place Education
  Subject to recent education and awareness programmes:No
  Included in international legislation:No
  Subject to any international management/trade controls:Yes
1. Residential & commercial development -> 1.3. Tourism & recreation areas
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.1. Annual & perennial non-timber crops -> 2.1.3. Agro-industry farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

2. Agriculture & aquaculture -> 2.3. Livestock farming & ranching -> 2.3.3. Agro-industry grazing, ranching or farming
♦ timing:Ongoing ♦ scope:Minority (<50%) ♦ severity:Slow, Significant Declines  
→ Stresses
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.1. Ecosystem conversion
  • 1. Ecosystem stresses -> 1.2. Ecosystem degradation

1. Research -> 1.2. Population size, distribution & trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.1. Population trends
3. Monitoring -> 3.4. Habitat trends

Bibliography [top]

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 1999. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 5: Barn-owls to Hummingbirds. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Diaz-Valenzuela, R., Lara-Rodriguez, N.Z., Ortiz-Pulido, R., Gonzalez-Garcia, F. and Bautista, A.R. 2011. Some aspects of the reproductive biology of the Mexican Sheartail (Doricha eliza) in central Veracruz. The Condor 113(1): 177-182.

Howell, S. N. G. 2002. Hummingbirds of North America: the photographic guide. Academic Press, San Diego.

Howell, S. N. G.; Webb, S. 1995. A guide to the birds of Mexico and northern Central America. Oxford University Press, Oxford.

IUCN. 2016. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2016-3. Available at: (Accessed: 07 December 2016).

Licona-Vera, Y. and Ornelas, J. F. 2014. Genetic, ecological and morphological divergence between populations of the endangered Mexican Sheartail Hummingbird (Doricha eliza). PLoS One 9(7): e101870.

NABCI. 2016. The State of North America’s Birds 2016. In: Environment and Climate Change Canada (eds). Ottawa, Ontario.

Ortiz-Pulido, R., Flores, E. and Ortiz, R. 1998. Descripción del nido de Doricha eliza y ampliación de su rango. Ornitologia Neotropical 9: 223-224.

Ortiz-Pulido, R.; Peterson, A. T.; Robbins, M. B.; Díaz, R.; Navarro-Sigüenza, A. G.; Escalona-Segura, G. 2002. The Mexican Sheartail (Doricha eliza): morphology, behavior, distribution, and endangered status. Wilson Bulletin 114: 153-286.

Santamaría-Rivero, W., MacKinnon, H. and Leyequién, E. 2013. Registros de anidación del colibrí tijereta mexicano (Doricha eliza) en el estado de Yucatán, México. Huitzil 14(2): 139-145.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2016. Doricha eliza. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22688175A93185276. . Downloaded on 21 September 2018.
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