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Espanola Mockingbird Mimus macdonaldi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This little-known species is classified as Vulnerable because it is restricted to two small islands and is thus inherently susceptible to stochastic events and human activities. In particular, it may be threatened by extreme climatic events, which regularly occur in this region, as well as the possibility of introduction of pest species. Any evidence of increases in climate variability, or the arrival of invasive pests to occupied islands, should lead to re-appraisal of its status.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Taxonomic note
The genus Nesomimus has been subsumed into the genus Mimus following SACC (2007).

Nesomimus macdonaldi BirdLife International (2004)

28 cm. Largish, brown passerine. Greyish-brown upperparts. Whitish-grey underparts with indistinct band across breast. Long, graduated, dark tail. Longish, curved beak. Yellowish eyes with surrounding dark patch. Voice Strident call and long, melodious song.

Distribution and population
Mimus macdonaldi is endemic to Española Island and the small adjacent islet of Gardner-by-Española, in the south-east Galápagos Islands, Ecuador (Castro and Phillips 1996). It is considered common (Harris 1982, Stotz et al. 1996), but nothing is known of population trends, and there are no recent population estimates.

Population justification
There is no recent information on population size. Gardner-by-Española is a tiny island, a few hectares in size, and is less than 1 km from Española, so the population there may not represent a discrete subpopulation. The total population is thought to number 1,000-2,499 individuals, equating to 667-1,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 600-1,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
There is insufficient information on this species to extrapolate a population trend.

It inhabits arid lowland scrub and deciduous forest (Stotz et al. 1996). It is omnivorous, feeding mainly on carrion and seabird eggs (Harris 1982). It is a co-operative breeder, with a variable mating system, and territorial groups averaging nine adults (Curry and Grant 1991). Nesting is very synchronised, taking place in March and April, with a single egg usually laid (Harris 1982). In the non-breeding season, it gathers in groups of up to 40 individuals, which forage together (Stotz et al. 1996).

This species is inherently susceptible owing to its extremely limited range. It may be affected by the regular and extreme weather events that have been shown to cause significant fluctuations in the population of Floreana Mockingbird N. trifasciatus (Wiedenfeld and Jiménez 2008). It is also at constant risk of the introduction of pest species (e.g. rats Rattus spp.), parasites (Wiedenfeld et al. 2007) and diseases to occupied islands, although none of these pests are now present (D. Wiedenfeld in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
The Galápagos National Park was gazetted in 1959, and includes almost all the land area of the islands. In 1979, the islands were declared a World Heritage Site (Jackson 1985). Conservation Actions Proposed
Estimate population size as a baseline to determine trends. Minimise chance introductions of predators (e.g. rats Rattus spp.) and disease (H. Vargas and F. Cruz in litt. 2000). Research breeding ecology and adult survival in relation to climatic variation, with particular reference to drought events.

Castro, I.; Phillips, A. 1996. A guide to the birds of the Galápagos Islands. A&C Black, London.

Curry, R. L.; Grant, P. R. 1991. Galápagos mockingbirds: territorial cooperative breeding in a climatically variable environment. In: Stacey, P.B.; Koenig, W.D. (ed.), Cooperative breeding in birds: long-term studies of ecology and behaviour, pp. 289-332. Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK.

Harris, M. P. 1982. A field guide to the birds of Galápagos. Collins, London.

Jackson, M. H. 1985. Galapagos: a natural history guide. Calgary University Press, Calgary, Canada.

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

Wiedenfeld, D. A.; Jiménez, G. A.; Fessl, B.; Kleindorfer, S.; Valerezo, J. C. 2007. Distribution of the introduced parasitic fly Philornis downsi (Diptera, Muscidae) in the Galapagos Islands. Pacific Conservation Biology 13: 14-19.

Wiedenfeld, D. A.; Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G. A. 2008. Critical problems for bird conservation in the Galápagos Islands. Cotinga: 22-27.

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
Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., Sharpe, C J, Taylor, J.

Cruz, F., Vargas, H., Wiedenfeld, D.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Mimus macdonaldi. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

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 - Hood mockingbird (Mimus macdonaldi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Mimidae (Mockingbirds and thrashers)
Species name author Ridgway, 1890
Population size 600-1700 mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 70 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species