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Golden Swallow Tachycineta euchrysea
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This species has a small, fragmented and declining range and population, and consequently qualifies as Vulnerable. It has declined massively since the nineteenth century, but the rate of decline has slowed with its increasing rarity.

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.

Kalochelidon euchrysea Stotz et al. (1996)

12 cm. Iridescent, bronzy green-and-white swallow. Upperparts (including ear-coverts, malar area and chin) shining bronzy-green (most bronze on mantle), with darker, dusky bronzy-green primaries and tail. White underparts. Female sometimes lightly mottled grey-brown below. Juvenile less glossy and more mottled below with dusky grey sides of head. Voice Soft, two-note tchee weet. Hints Often flies low over the ground, darting after insects.

Distribution and population
Tachycineta euchrysea is known from the Greater Antilles. The nominate subspecies of Jamaica is probably extinct, having not been recorded since 1989 (Raffaele et al. 1998, D. Wege in litt. 2011). It was known from Colfax County and the Blue Mts (Raffaele et al. 1998, BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998). The race sclateri is locally common in Haiti and the Dominican Republic, especially in the Cordillera Central, Sierra de Bahoruco (Turner and Rose 1989, Dod 1992), Massif de la Hotte (Rimmer et al. 2005) and Massif de la Selle (Dávalos and Brooks 2001). The populations of both subspecies have declined dramatically (King 1981, Downer 1982, Raffaele et al. 1998).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
No data area available to estimate recent population trends, but the species is suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate, owing to habitat loss and degradation from shifting agriculture.

It nests in montane humid and pine forests, at elevations of 800-2,000 m on Hispaniola, but (primarily in winter) to sea-level on Jamaica. It has been found in good secondary forest on Jamaica, and sometimes feeds over cane-fields and open country (Osburn 1858, Stattersfield et al. 1998, BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998). Nests are traditionally built in old woodpecker and other holes in dead pines, but have been recorded in caves (Osburn 1869), boulders in an old bauxite mine (Townsend et al. 2008, G. M. Kirwan in litt. 1998) and in the eaves of buildings (Wetmore and Lincoln 1933). Six nests in an abandoned bauxite mine in the Sierra de Baoruco contained 2-4 eggs, and hatchlings took 21-24 days to fledge; half of these nests were predated (Townsend et al. 2008). It flies in singles or small groups, feeding on small insects (Osburn 1858, 1869). Birds forage over Hispaniolan pine Pinus occidentalis and mixed pine-broadleaf forests, and occasionally open agricultural areas and natural savannahs (Townsend et al. 2008).

Shifting agriculture has caused severe forest loss and fragmentation on Hispaniola (Raffaele et al. 1998, Stattersfield et al. 1998). Reasons for declines in Jamaica are unknown (Raffaele et al. 1998), but habitat loss has been implicated. Competition for nest-sites with introduced Common Starling Sturnus vulgaris has been suggested as a possible cause (King 1981, Turner and Rose 1989) but this is unlikely, as starlings only occur at lower elevations (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is legally protected in Jamaica (Turner and Rose 1989). Remaining forest in Cockpit Country is mostly protected, and habitat in the Blue and John Crow Mts is a national park (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998). These reserves are not managed and habitat protection is inadequate (Stattersfield et al. 1998), but funding is actively being sought for the effective conservation of Cockpit Country (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998). Montane forest is poorly represented in the Dominican Republic's protected-areas system (Stattersfield et al. 1998), but 15 new areas have been recently proposed, including six in montane forest. In Haiti, it occurs in both La Visite and Macaya national parks (Woods and Ottenwalder 1986). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to identify breeding sites throughout its range (BirdLife Jamaica in litt. 1998). Officially designate the proposed protected areas in the Dominican Republic (Turner and Rose 1989). Consider the provision of carefully designed and sited nest-boxes (Turner and Rose 1989, Townsend et al. 2008). Design and implement management plans for key reserves.

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

Dod, A. S. 1992. Endangered and endemic birds of the Dominican Republic. Cypress House Press, Fort Bragg, USA.

Downer, A. 1982. Is the Golden Swallow declining? Gosse Bird Club Broadsheet 39: 13.

King, W. B. 1981. Endangered birds of the world: the ICBP bird Red Data Book. Smithsonian Institution Press and International Council for Bird Preservation [bound reissue of King 1978-1979], Washington, D.C.

Osburn, W. 1858. Notes on the birds of Jamaica. Reproduced in:. Gosse Bird Club Broadsheet 39[1982]: 5-7.

Osburn, W. 1869. Notes on the mountain birds of Jamaica. The Zoologist 208: 6709-6722, 6833-6841.

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

Rimmer, C. C.; Townsend, J. M.; Townsend, A. K.; Fernández, E. M.; Almonte, J. 2005. Avian diversity, abundance, and conservation status in the Macaya Biosphere Reserve of Haiti. Ornitologia Neotropical 16: 219-230.

Stattersfield, A. J.; Crosby, M. J.; Long, A. J.; Wege, D. C. 1998. Endemic bird areas of the world: priorities for bird conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Townsend, J. M.; Garrido, E.; Mejia, D. A. 2008. Nests and nesting behaviour of Golden Swallow (Tachycineta euchrysea) in abandoned bauxite mines in the Dominican Republic. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 120(4): 867-871.

Turner, A.; Rose, C. 1989. Swallows and martins of the world. Christopher Helm, London.

Wetmore, A.; Lincoln, F. C. 1933. Additional notes on the birds of Haiti and the Dominican Republic. Proceedings of the United States National Museum 82(25): 1-68.

Woods, C. A.; Ottenwalder, J. A. 1986. Birds of the national parks of Haiti. University of Florida, Gainesville.

Further web sources of information
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Text account compilers
Capper, D., Khwaja, N., Mahood, S., Pople, R., Wege, D., Sharpe, C J

Kirwan, G., Wege, D., Townsend, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Tachycineta euchrysea. 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 - Golden swallow (Tachycineta euchrysea) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Hirundinidae (Swallows and martins)
Species name author (Gosse, 1847)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 8,100 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species