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Palm Crow Corvus palmarum

This species is classified as Near Threatened because it has a moderately small range in which habitat degradation and hunting are causing it to decline.

Taxonomic source(s)
AOU. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Taxonomic note
Corvus palmarum (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) was previously split into C. palmarum and C. minutus following Garrido et al. (1997), but these two taxa have now been lumped as C. palmarum following AOU (1998) and a review by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group.

34-38 cm. Small to medium-sized, stocky black crow. Shortish bill with distinctly curved culmen and dark eye. Nostrils concealed by well-developed nasal tufts. Often slowly raises tail before suddenly flicking it downwards. Similar spp Cuban Crow C. nasicus is larger with exposed nostrils, but best separated by call. Tail flicking not recorded for C. nasicus. On Hispaniola White-necked Crow C. leucognaphalus is larger and also has exposed nostrils, it is also best separated by call. Voice Raucous nasal note craa or aagh usually given in series. Flocks can be very noisy. Hints Most easily found in noisy groups in high altitude pine forest.

Distribution and population
Corvus palmarum constitutes two races, the nominate was formerly widespread in wooded areas from the lowlands to the mountains on Hispaniola (Garrido et al. 1997); however it has decreased and is now localised although not uncommon (Madge and Burn 1993) in the Dominican Republic, and only remains locally common in the Massif de la Selle (Madge and Burn 1993, Dávalos and Brooks 2001) and in the northern pine belt of Haiti (Latta et al. 2006). The Cuban race minutus has a very restricted range (Garrido et al. 1997, Garrido and Kirkconnell 2000). It is rare and local (Madge and Burn 1993), with the only recent records being from five 'municipios' south of Camagüey city in south-central Camagüey province (P. Regalado in litt. 2007). In Najasa, it is locally quite common (Madge and Burn 1993, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999); although it has undergone historic declines (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998) surveys suggested that it remained stable between 2000-2006 (P. Regalado in litt. 2007). Although it has also been recorded from Pinar del Rio provinces (La Manaja, Los Acostas and El Francisco), there has only been one (undocumented) report from this area within the last 50 years (Kirkconnell et al. 2004). The species is historically known from Pan Valley, at Guajibon and in the Vinales Valley (Pinar del Rio province); Yaguaramas, near Cienfuegos; in the Trinidad Valley; and in the Sierra de Banao (Sancti Spiritus province) (Kirkconnell et al. 2004).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
There are no data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate, on account of hunting and forest loss and, perhaps in Cuba, competition with C. nascius.

On Hispaniola, birds are usually seen in small to medium-sized groups, foraging on the ground or in trees for fruit, seeds, insects, snails and lizards (Raffaele et al. 1998) and, in Haiti, it has even been recorded around local food markets (T. M. Brooks in litt. 2000). However, on Cuba though it formerly inhabited wooded areas from the lowlands to the mountains (Bond 1979) it is now known only from lowland cultivation with scattered groups of palm trees (Madge and Burn 1993). Nests are located in stands of tall palms (Madge and Burn 1993), with breeding from March-July (Raffaele et al. 1998, A. Kirkconnell in litt. 1999, Garrido and Kirkconnell 2000). It roosts communally, including with C. nasicus where the two occur together (P. Regalado in litt. 2007).

On Hispaniola its decline is a result of widespread forest clearance for agriculture and probably also hunting for food (it is reputedly a delicacy) and sport (Madge and Burn 1993, Latta et al. 2006). It is more abundant on Haiti where gun ownership is lower (Latta et al. 2006). In Cuba, although partial clearance of dense forest may not have affected the species, the intensive clearance of Royal Palm (in which the species nests) for agriculture and livestock grazing may be causing declines and local extirpation, such as in Camagüey province (P. Regalado in litt. 2007). Housing developments have replaced much suitable habitat, and human disturbance of breeding sites and foraging areas may present a further threat (P. Regalado in litt. 2007). Competition with Cuban Crow C. nasicus, since habitat destruction has resulted in the overlap of their ranges, was thought to be a potential threat (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998), but it has since been suggested that the two species occupy different niches (P. Regalado in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is legally protected in Cuba. It occurs in a number of national parks, such as the Sierra de Bahoruco, Dominican Republic and La Bélen protected area near Najasa, Cuba (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998), although nesting has only infrequently recorded in La Bélen (P. Regalado in litt. 2007). Conservation Actions Proposed
Ensure the effective protection of habitat in national parks. Discourage the clearance of native forest for agriculture. Afford protection to the species and enforce this protection to discourage hunting. Monitor the species and investigate the effect of hunting on populations. Survey to assess its current distribution and population (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998). On Cuba, research the reasons for the species's decline, and take appropriate action (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998). Support efforts to create an ecological station at Najasa in order to implement conservation actions for this and other key species in collaboration with local communities and regional authorities (P. Regalado in litt. 2007).

Bond, J. 1979. Birds of the West Indies. Collins, London.

Dávalos, L. M.; Brooks, T. 2001. Parc national la Visite, Haiti: a last refuge for the country's montane birds. Cotinga 16: 36-39.

Garrido, O. H.; Kirkconnell, A. 2000. Field guide to the birds of Cuba. Comstock / Cornell University Press, Ithaca.

Garrido, O. H.; Reynard, G. B.; Kirkconnell, A. 1997. Is the Palm Crow, Corvus palmarum (Aves: Corvidae), a monotypic species? Ornitologia Neotropical 8(1): 15-21.

Latta, S.; Rimmer, C.; Keith, A.; Wiley, J.; Raffaele, H.; McFarland, K.; Fernandez, E. 2006. Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Princeton University Press, Princeton, NJ, U.S.A.

Madge, S.; Burn, H. 1993. Crows and jays: a guide to the crows, jays and magpies of the world. Helm Information, Robertsbridge, U.K.

Raffaele, H.; Wiley, J.; Garrido, O.; Keith, A.; Raffaele, J. 1998. Birds of the West Indies. Christopher Helm, London.

Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Text account compilers
Fisher, S., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., O'Brien, A., Pople, R., Symes, A., Wege, D.

Brooks, T., Kirkconnell, A., Mitchell, A., Regalado, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Corvus palmarum. Downloaded from on 16/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/04/2014.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Corvidae (Crows and jays)
Species name author W
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 180,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species