Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

The hood mocking bird is remarkably fearless of humans, and it is not uncommon for one to land on the head of a visitor to the island (3) (4). It will eagerly explore any unknown object for food or drink (4), and the result of this behaviour is an incredibly varied diet. It will feed on typical items such as insects, fruits, berries, marine arthropods and small vertebrates, but will also eat carrion from carcasses of seabirds, lizards and sea lions. Damaged seabird eggs are promptly consumed, and it will also use its powerful bill to eat intact eggs, and pluck ticks from the backs of marine and land iguanas. A unique feature of this species is its blood-drinking habit; it customarily drinks blood, especially in the dry season, from wounds in living sea lions, from sea lion placentas, and even from wounds on the legs of humans (2). The hood mockingbird is territorial, with seven to ten adults per territorial group, but often only one breeding pair (2). The hood mockingbird is a co-operative breeder, meaning that non-breeders act as helpers at nests in their group's territory, and some breeders help raise nestlings in nests other than their own (3). The cup-shaped nest, made of twigs and lined with finer plant material, is often placed in a cactus. Breeding occurs from March to April when clutches of one to four eggs are laid, with the resulting chicks being fed by several adults (2). In the non-breeding season, hood mockingbirds gather in groups of up to 40 individuals, which forage together (5)
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Description

The inquisitive, blood-drinking hood mockingbird is the largest of all the mockingbirds in the Galápagos Islands (3). It has a very long bill that curves downwards, and yellowish-brown eyes surrounded by a dark patch. The feathers of the upperparts have blackish-brown centres and grey to brownish-grey margins, giving the plumage a streaked or scalloped appearance (2). The whitish underparts have indistinct brown markings on the breast, and streaks on the flanks. The long, graduated tail is dark brown on top, and whitish underneath. The sexes are similar in their plumage, but the female is slightly smaller than the male. The hood mockingbird has a lengthy and strident song (2).
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Distribution

Range Description

Mimus macdonaldi is endemic to Espaola Island and the small adjacent islet of Gardner-by-Espaola, in the south-east Galpagos Islands, Ecuador (Castro and Phillips 1996). It is considered common (Harris 1982, Stotz et al. 1996), but nothing is known of population trends, and there are no recent population estimates.

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Range

Española I. and adjacent se Galapagos Islands.
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Range

The hood mockingbird is endemic to the Galápagos Islands, where it occurs only on the islands of Española and Gardner-by-Española (2).
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Physical Description

Type Information

Type for Nesomimus trifasciatus macdonaldi
Catalog Number: USNM 116066
Collection: Smithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural History, Department of Vertebrate Zoology, Division of Birds
Sex/Stage: Male; Adult
Preparation: Skin: Whole
Collector(s): Collector Unknown
Year Collected: 1888
Locality: = Hood Island, Espanola Island, Galapagos Islands, South Pacific Ocean
  • Type: Ridgway. February 5, 1890. Proc. U.S. Nat. Mus. 12: 103, fig. 1.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It inhabits arid lowland scrub and deciduous forest (Stotz et al. 1996). It is omnivorous, feeding mainly on carrion and seabird eggs (Harris 1982). It is a co-operative breeder, with a variable mating system, and territorial groups averaging nine adults (Curry and Grant 1991). Nesting is very synchronised, taking place in March and April, with a single egg usually laid (Harris 1982). In the non-breeding season, it gathers in groups of up to 40 individuals, which forage together (Stotz et al. 1996).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Inhabits arid lowland scrub, low thorny mesquite scrub, and deciduous woodland (2).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
D1+2

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Cruz, F., Vargas, H. & Wiedenfeld, D.

Justification
This little-known species is classified as Vulnerable because it is restricted to two small islands and is thus inherently susceptible to stochastic events and human activities. In particular, it may be threatened by extreme climatic events, which regularly occur in this region, as well as the possibility of introduction of pest species. Any evidence of increases in climate variability, or the arrival of invasive pests to occupied islands, should lead to re-appraisal of its status.


History
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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