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This species has always had an extremely small range, but recent volcanic eruptions have caused an extremely rapid population decline and extirpated it from all but two disjunct areas. Deposits of volcanic ash have seriously damaged the habitat of the remaining population, and further deposits or an increased frequency of hurricanes could have devastating effects. Although the trend may have since stabilised, the future of this species in the wild remains uncertain, and it consequently qualifies as Critically Endangered. Confirmation of population size and trend may lead to its downlisting in future.
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.
20-22 cm. Medium-sized, black-and-yellow icterid. Adult male, mostly black with yellowish lower back, rump, shoulder, lower breast, belly and undertail. Female, dull yellowish-green above and yellowish below. Immature duller. Voice Loud whistles and harsh chuur.
Conservation Actions Underway
There is a comprehensive programme to monitor the population and breeding success (Gibbons et al. 1998, G. Hilton in litt. 2000, 2003), and in 2001 a new research programme into the causes of the continuing decline was begun (Cotinga 17 2002: 7). During 2003, preliminary tests of management interventions were made, aimed at boosting reproductive success (G. Hilton in litt. 2000, 2003). In June 1999, eight birds were taken to Jersey Zoo to enable the development of husbandry techniques; initial attempts at captive breeding proved successful (G. Hilton in litt. 2000, 2003, Owen 2000) and captive birds are now also present at several other locations in the UK, but there are currently no plans to augment the wild population with birds from captive stock (G. Hilton in litt. 2007, 2008). The Centre Hills has been designated a protected area and development is not permitted within its marked boundaries (P. Atkinson in litt. 1998, 1999). A Species Action Plan was published in 2005. Experimental rat control in the Centre Hills commenced in 2006 and work to compare nest success in an area with experimental rat control with nest success in adjacent areas with high rat density was scheduled for 2008 (G. Hilton in litt. 2007, 2008). A pig eradication programme is also planned for the island.
Allcorn, R. I.; Hilton, G. M.; Fenton, C.; Atkinson, P. W.; Bowden, C. G. R.; Gray, G. A. L.; Hulme, M.; 1,5, Madden, J.; Mackley, E. K.; Oppel, S. 2012. Demography and Breeding Ecology of the Critically Endangered Montserrat Oriole. The Condor 114(1): 227-235.
Anon. 2006. "Ash in de air" - impacts on the Centre Hills.
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.
Bowden, C. G. R.; Fenton, C.; Gray, G. A. L.; Mackley, L.; Hilton, G. M.; Atkinson, P. W. 2001. The Monstserrat Oriole: in trouble again. Dodo: Journal of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust 37: 100.
Collar, N. J.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2013. Conservation breeding and avian diversity: chances and challenges. International Zoo Yearbook.
Gibbons, D. W.; Smith, K. W.; Atkinson, P.; Pain, D.; Arendt, W. J.; Gray, G.; Hartley, J.; Owen, A.; Clubbe, C. 1998. After the volcano: a future for the Montserrat Oriole? RSPB Conservation Review, pp. 97-101. Royal Society for the Protection of Birds, Sandy, UK.
Hilton G. M. 2008. Birds of the Centre Hills. In: Young, R. P. (ed.), A biodiversity assessment of the Centre Hills, Montserrat. Durrell Conservation Monograph No. 1, Durrell Wildlife Conservation Trust, Jersey, Channel Islands.
Hilton, G. M.; Atkinson, P. W.; Gray, G. A. L.; Arendt, W. J.; Gibbons, D. W. 2003. Rapid decline of the volcanically threatened Montserrat oriole. Biological Conservation 111: 79-89.
Jaramillo, A.; Burke, P. 1999. New World blackbirds: the icterids. Christopher Helm, London.
Marske, K. A.; Ivie, M. A.; Hilton, G. M. 2007. Effects of volcanic ash on the forest canopy insects of Montserrat, West Indies. Environmental Entomology 36: 817-825.
Oppel, S.; Cassini, A.; Fenton, C.; Daley, J.; Gray, G. 2013. Population status and trend of the Critically Endangered Montserrat Oriole. Bird Conservation International FirstView Article http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/S0959270913000373.
Owen, A. 2000. The collection of eight Montserrat Orioles Icterus oberi and their establishment at Jersey Zoo. Dodo: Journal of the Jersey Wildlife Preservation Trust 36: 51-61.
Raffaele, H.; Wiley, J.; Garrido, O.; Keith, A.; Raffaele, J. 1998. Birds of the West Indies. Christopher Helm, London.
Text account compilers
Bird, J., Calvert, R., Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Wege, D.
Atkinson, P. & Hilton, G.
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Icterus oberi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/12/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 26/12/2014.
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.
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Additional resources for this species
|Current IUCN Red List category||Critically Endangered|
|Family||Icteridae (New World blackbirds)|
|Species name author||Lawrence, 1880|
|Population size||200-460 mature individuals|
|Distribution size (breeding/resident)||10 km2|
|Links to further information|
|- Additional Information on this species|