Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

In comparison with the mockingbirds occupying the other islands, the San Cristobal mockingbird is somewhat shy (3). Much of its time is spent foraging through leaf litter for arthropods such as grasshoppers and crickets. Fruits and berries are also taken from low vegetation, and on occasion it can be seen darting amongst the marine iguanas, picking off their ticks (2) (5). Unlike the other mockingbird species, the San Cristobal mockingbird is not known to breed cooperatively (2) (3) (5). Instead the relatively large, three to five hectare territories are normally occupied by just a single pair, sometimes accompanied by another adult. Breeding takes place from January to April, with each breeding pair building a bulky twig nest, high up in the crotch of a tree, out of reach of introduced predators (3) (5). Incubation of the two to five eggs is left to the female, but both parents share feeding duties (5).
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Description

One of the first animals Darwin encountered when he arrived in the Galapagos in 1835 was the San Cristobal mockingbird (3) (4). His subsequent discovery of two more species of mockingbird, each occupying a different island and differing subtly in appearance, provided tinder for the incendiary theory of Natural Selection (3). The San Cristobal mockingbird has a somewhat streaked, greyish-brown crown and upperparts, and an almost white throat, chest and belly. Prominent black lores mark the base of its relatively short downwards curving bill and black ear patches are conspicuous below its amber to reddish-brown eyes. The loud and melodious, territorial song of this species is typical of all the Galapagos mockingbirds (2) (5).
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Distribution

Range Description

Mimus melanotis is endemic to the island of San Cristbal in the central Galpagos 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).

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Range

San Cristóbal I. (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

Endemic to San Cristobal Island in the central Galapagos (2) (6).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

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
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The San Cristobal mockingbird is found in a wide range of habitats all over the island, from mangroves and arid lowland scrub, to taller forest patches and stands of arborescent cacti. However, it does tend to avoid dense lowland forest, wet woodland, grassland and built up areas (2) (5).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
EN
Endangered

Red List Criteria
B1ab(ii,iii,v)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2013

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Curry, R., Tye, A., Vargas, H. & Wiedenfeld, D.

Justification
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.


History
  • 2012
    Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Least Concern (LC)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
  • Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
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