IUCN threat status:

Critically Endangered (CR)

Distribution

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Range Description

Campephilus imperialis was formerly distributed throughout the Sierra Madre Occidental of Mexico in Sonora, Chihuahua, Durango, Nayarit, Zacatecas (possibly) and north Jalisco with more isolated populations in west Jalisco and Michoacán. It was not historically a rare species within suitable habitat, but the total population probably never numbered more than 8,000 individuals(Lammertink et al. 1996). The last confirmed record was from Durango in 1956 but there have been convincing local reports of sightings after 1965 (Lammertink et al. 1996, Otto 2003). The most recent are of a pair in central Durango in 1993, a single male c.20 km from this site in 1995, and a single female in north Sonora in 1993 (Lammertink et al. 1996). A reported sighting in north-central Durango in 1996 was followed up, but no birds were located (Otto 2003), and a bird was reported in November 2005 in the Barrancas-Divisadero region of Barranca del Cobre, Chihuahua, but subsequent searches have found neither Imperial Woodpecker, nor appropriate habitat or recent local knowledge of the species, within a 50 km radius of the locality (G. R. Homel in litt. 2005). There are now no unsurveyed old-growth remnants that are large enough for a breeding territory (M. Lammertink in litt. 2007). In March 2010, the location of the 1956 record in Durango was checked, but no evidence of the species was found, and interviews suggest that the species disappeared from the area in 1956-1960 (M. Lammertink in litt. 2010). Even if a few individuals persist, extensive habitat modification and continued hunting pressure from rural people has made extinction virtually inevitable (Lammertink et al. 1996, M. Lammertink in litt. 2012).

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Source: IUCN

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