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Mexican Sheartail Doricha eliza
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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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.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.

Distribution and population
Doricha eliza 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 there are distinct ecological differences (Ortiz-Pulido et al. 2002). The Veracruz population must be tiny, and declining (Ortiz-Pulido et al. 2002).

Population justification
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.

The Yucatán population is found exclusively in a narrow (c.1 km wide) coastal strip, 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). 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, Justicia and Helicteres guazumaefolia, and its diet is supplemented by small arthropods (del Hoyo et al. 1999). In Veracruz, breeding condition has been noted in May, and a nest with small chicks was found in early August. In Yucatán, nesting takes place in August-April, with recently fledged young reported in February and March. Its nest, in which two eggs are laid, is cup-shaped, and made of seeds of Compositae, lichens and spiders' webs (del Hoyo et al. 1999).

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).

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). 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.

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.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species (ver. 2012.1). Available at: (Accessed: 19 June 2012).

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.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Sharpe, C J, Taylor, J. & Symes, A.

Howell, S., Ortega-Pimienta, J. & Ortiz-Pulido, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Doricha eliza. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Mexican sheartail (Doricha eliza) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
Species name author (Lesson & DeLattre, 1839)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,900 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species