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This species has not been recorded with certainty since 1956, and extensive habitat destruction and fragmentation combined with hunting may well have driven the species to extinction. Extensive and prolonged searches within its former range (often following up on anecdotal reports) have failed to confirm the persistence of any individuals. Thorough mapping and analysis of remaining habitat has been conducted and the results do not provide much hope that any population has been able to survive. However, it cannot yet be presumed to be Extinct as the degree to which individuals can utilise sub-optimal regenerating forest is unknown, and it remains possible that some individuals survive. Any remaining population is likely to be tiny, and for these reasons it is treated as Critically Endangered (Possibly Extinct).
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.
56-60 cm. Enormous, stunning black-and-white woodpecker. Mostly black with large white wing-patch and thin white "braces" on mantle. Huge ivory bill. Male has red crest (centred black) and nape. Female lacks red but has long, curling black crest. Juvenile browner. Similar spp. Much larger than any other sympatric woodpecker, and the only woodpecker in the area with solid black underparts. Voice Reportedly toy-trumpet like calls.
Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; MadroÃ±o Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.
Lammertink, J. M.; Rojas-TomÃ©, J. A.; Casillas-Orona, F. M.; Otto, R. L. 1996. Status and conservation of old-growth forests and endemic birds in the pine-oak zone of the Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico. Institute for Systematics and Population Biology, Amsterdam.
Lammertink, M.; Gallagher, T. W.; Rosenberg, K. V.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Liner, E.; Rojas-TomÃ©, J.; Escalante, P. 2011. Film documentation of the probably Extinct Imperial Woodpecker (Campephilus imperialis). Auk 128: 671-677.
Mendenhall, M. 2005. Old friend missing - species profile: Imperial Woodpecker. Birder's World 19: 35-39.
Otto, R. 2003. Threatened wildlife and old-growth forest survey of the Arroyo Durango, Sierra Madre Occidental, Mexico.
Tanner, J. T. 1964. The decline and present status of the Imperial Woodpecker of Mexico. The Auk 81: 74-81.
Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.
Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Bird, J., Butchart, S., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Taylor, J.
BirdLife International (2015) Species factsheet: Campephilus imperialis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/01/2015. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2015) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/01/2015.
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
|Current IUCN Red List category||Critically Endangered - Possibly Extinct|
|Species name author||(Gould, 1832)|
|Population size||1-49 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||1 km2|
|Links to further information|
|- Additional Information on this species|