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Forest Thrush Turdus lherminieri

Human-induced deforestation, introduced predators and severe habitat loss from volcanic eruptions on Montserrat in 1995-1997 have produced rapid population declines, qualifying the species as Vulnerable. However, although the population on Montserrat has increased markedly since 1997 and the overall decline rate is likely to be lower in the future, the rate of decline on other islands may increase.

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
Formerly placed in the genus Cichlherminia, but genetic studies indicate a position within Turdus (AOU 2009).

Cichlherminia lherminieri BirdLife International (2008), Cichlherminia lherminieri

25-27 cm. Medium-sized thrush. All dark brown upperparts. Brownish below with white spots on breast, flanks and upper belly, and white lower belly. Yellow legs, bill and bare skin around eye. Similar spp. On St Lucia, distinguished from Bare-eyed Robin Turdus nudigenis by scaled underparts. Pearly-eyed Thrasher Margarops fuscatus is greyer and has white spots in tail. Voice Soft musical song. Hints Best located by song given from concealed perch.

Distribution and population
Turdus lherminieri is endemic to the Lesser Antilles, where it is uncommon on Montserrat (to U.K.), Dominica and Guadeloupe (to France), and rare on St Lucia. It appears to have declined significantly throughout its range in recent years (Raffaele et al. 1998). The range on Montserrat was reduced by two-thirds in 1995-1997 by the effects of volcanic eruptions (G. Hilton in litt. 2000). However, in December 1999, the population was estimated at 3,100 birds (Arendt et al. 1999), representing an increase of c.50% since December 1997, with further increases up until 2006 (G. Hilton in litt. 2000, 2007). The reasons for these dramatic increases are not known, neither is it known how well the population is recovering in the regenerating forest in the area destroyed by the volcanic eruption (G. Hilton in litt. 2007). On St Lucia, it is now very rare with just one recent record (at Des Chassin in 2007), but was considered numerous in the late 19th century, indicating a serious decline (Keith 1997, L. John in litt. 2007). On Guadeloupe, it occurs at low densities (P. Feldmann and P. Villard in litt. 1998, A. Levesque and B. Ibene in litt. 2007), and discussions with hunters indicate it is declining on Grande-Terre, although the population on Basse-Terre is apparently stable and does not appear threatened (P. Villard in litt. 2007, E. Arnoux in litt. 2012). On Dominica it also occurs at low densities, and has been observed in suitable habitat in the northern, western, central, south-eastern and southern regions (J. Arlington in litt. 2007).

Population justification
Young (2008) estimated a population of 3,100 individuals on Montserrat. The species is considered rather rare elsewhere, and is probably best placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 1,667-6,666 individuals in total, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 individuals.

Trend justification
There are no new data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining, although following the cessation of volcanic activity on Montserrat, not as fast as previously.

It mostly inhabits the undergrowth and edge of mid-altitude and high-altitude primary and secondary moist forest, but can be exceedingly shy where hunted (Bond 1979, Keith 1997, Raffaele et al. 1998). However on Montserrat, although it occurs at all altitudes, the species is most common in lower altitude dry forest (Young 2008). Pairs feed on insects and berries from ground-level to the forest canopy (Raffaele et al. 1998). On St Lucia, it previously gathered in large numbers in autumn to feed on berries (Keith 1997). Breeding has been recorded between March and August.

Habitat loss has occurred throughout the species's range, but has been particularly acute on Montserrat. Volcanic activity was much reduced during 1998-1999 (G. Hilton in litt. 2000), but a further major volcanic eruption in 2001 caused heavy ash falls across large areas of the remaining habitat. Threats on other islands include brood-parasitism by Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis; competition with Bare-eyed Thrush Turdus nudigenis, which are increasing on Guadeloupe (A. Levesque and B. Ibene in litt. 2007), and predation by mongooses and other introduced mammals (Raffaele et al. 1998). It is still legally hunted on Guadeloupe (P. Feldmann and P. Villard in litt. 1998), and illegal hunting for food continues on other islands (Raffaele et al. 1998).

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Morne Diablotin and Morne Trois national parks, as well as the Northern and Central forest reserves on Dominica (J. Arlington in litt. 2007), Guadeloupe National Park on Guadeloupe and various forest reserves including Edmond on St Lucia. On Montserrat, remaining habitat in the Centre Hills area is protected and highly unlikely to suffer any further anthropogenic habitat destruction (G. Hilton in litt. 2000). The species is monitored annually in the Centre Hills, with large-scale censuses in 1997 and 1999 (G. Hilton in litt. 2000). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess the status and seasonal requirements of the species on each island. Implement a specific hunting ban. Conduct an awareness campaign to limit hunting.

Arendt, W. J.; Gibbons, D. W.; Gray, G. 1999. Status of the volcanically threatened Montserrat Oriole Icterus oberi and other forest birds in Montserrat, West Indies. Bird Conservation International 9: 351-372.

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

Keith, A. R. 1997. The birds of St Lucia, West Indies: an annotated check-list. British Ornithologists Union, Tring, UK.

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

Young, R. P. 2008. A biodiversity assessment of the Centre Hills, Montserrat.

Text account compilers
Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D., Khwaja, N.

Arlington, J., Feldmann, P., Hilton, G., Ibene, B., John, L., Levesque, A., Villard, P., Arnoux, E., Morton, M.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Turdus lherminieri. Downloaded from on 13/07/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 13/07/2014.

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 Vulnerable
Family Turdidae (Thrushes)
Species name author (Lafresnaye, 1844)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,400 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species