Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

Fernandina's flicker feeds on ants, insects, worms, grubs and seeds, with foraging frequently performed on the ground. Food is extracted from the soil and under leaves, on lawns and dusty tracks. Individuals usually forage on their own, but may search in pairs during the breeding season (4). These primarily solitary birds usually come together only to breed (4). Loose 'colonies' have occasionally been recorded at Bermeja in the Zapata Swamp, but sociality is rare and aggression between individuals is common (2). Nesting takes place from March to June, with courtship frequently involving aerial chases. Clutches of three to five eggs are laid in cavities and holes in trees, which are then incubated for around 18 days. At around 22 days old, young begin to fledge the nest (4).
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Description

This medium-sized, long-billed woodpecker is a rare Cuban endemic (2) (3). Overall body colouration is a yellowish-brown with heavy black barring, while the head is cinnamon-coloured finely streaked with black (3) (4). Upperparts and the wings show stronger, denser black tones, while underparts are more predominantly yellow (2). Males have a black malar stripe, whereas the female's malar is heavily mottled with white (3) (4).
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Distribution

Range Description

Colaptes fernandinae was once widespread but never abundant on Cuba, and is now rare and localised; there are probably fewer than 900 individuals in total. It is currently known from Soroa, Mil Cumbres, Nortey, and Loma del Taburete in Pinar del Ro province; the Zapata Swamp in Matanzas province (from at least twelve localities); Monte Ramonal, near Corralillo, El Dorado, and Isabela de Sagua in northern Villa Clara province; Aguada de Pasajeros and Rodas in Cienfuegos province; near Gibara (in the Campos de Veloso) and near Velazco (El Recreo), in Holgun province; Jobabo in Las Tunas province; Cienaga de Birama in Granma Province; and Sierra de Najasa (at La Beln and El Chorrillo) in Camagey province (Mitchell 1998, A. Mitchell in litt. 1998, G. Kirwan in litt. 2005, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 2005). There are also recent records from eight localities in Santiago de Cuba province, where the most important locality is La Tabla (Mitchell et al. 2000, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 2005). The largest population persists in the Zapata Swamp, where total numbers were estimated at 300-400 pairs in 1998 (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999), falling to 250-300 in 2007 (A. Mitchell in litt. 2007). Even within Zapata Swamp it continues to decline, for instance, in Bermeja in the early 90's there were between 60 to 80 pairs, in 2007 this had dropped to between 14 to 18 pairs (A. Mitchell in litt. 2007).

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Range

Locally in palm groves of Cuba.
  • 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

Patchily distributed across Cuba. The total population is estimated at just 600 to 800 birds and appears to be decreasing (2).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
It breeds in palm-savannah, where it nests in dead and live palm trees, especially Palma cana (Mitchell and Wells 1997, J. A. Jackson in litt. 1999), and also inhabits pastures, swamps, forest edge and dense woodland (Winkler et al. 1995). Coiurtship takes place in late December and January, and nest excavation begins in February or March; breeding takes place in March-June (Winkler et al. 1995), and loose "colonies" have occasionally been found at Bermeja in the Zapata Swamp (Wells and Mitchell 1995, Mitchell 1998, A. Mitchell in litt. 1998, 2007). However, it is mostly solitary, and aggression between conspecifics is common (Wells and Mitchell 1995). There may be an association with palms used as a source of thatch, because fungus invades such trees making them more suitable for nesting (J. A. Jackson in litt. 1999).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
  • Freshwater
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Open woodland and pastures with palms are preferred habitats, although the species is also found in denser woodland and marshes (3) (4). Closely associated with palms, which are required for nesting holes (3).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
A2c+3c+4c;B1ab(i,ii,iii,iv,v);C2a(i);D1

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

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

Contributor/s
Jackson, J., Kirkconnell, A., Kirwan, G. & Mitchell, A.

Justification
This species is classified as Vulnerable because although it has a very small population, which is severely fragmented and rapidly declining, the largest subpopulation in Zapata is too large for the species to qualify as Endangered.


History
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Vulnerable (VU)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Endangered (EN)
  • Threatened (T)