Palm Crow (Corvus palmarum): request for information

This discussion was first published on Dec 2 2010 as part of the 2011 Red List update, but remains open for comment to enable reassessment in 2015.

Link to BirdLife species factsheet for Palm Crow

Palm Crow Corvus palmarum is listed as Near Threatened under criterion B1a+b(iii,v) on the basis that it was considered to have a moderately small range in which habitat degradation and hunting are causing a population decline.

The species’s Extent of Occurrence (EOO) has recently been updated by BirdLife and the new EOO is estimated at 103,400 km2, which no longer approaches the threshold for Vulnerable under the B1 criterion; this suggests that the species is eligible for downlisting to Least Concern.

Updated BirdLife range map for Palm Crow

Evaluation of the threat level for this species is hindered by an apparent lack of data on population trends. Nevertheless, it is currently suspected to be declining at a slow to moderate rate (1-19% over 10 years), on account of hunting pressure and forest loss (Madge and Burn 1993, Latta et al. 2006), and, perhaps on Cuba, competition with Cuban Crow C. nascius (A. Mitchell in litt. 1998). The accurate assessment of the status of C. palmarum is also hindered by an apparent lack of estimates for its population size.

Up-to-date information is requested on this species’s likely population size, current rate of decline and the severity of threats to help in the assessment of its status. Improved knowledge of the species’s life history means that the rate of decline should be estimated for a period of 22 years (estimate of three generations).

Latta, S., Rimmer, C., Keith, A., Wiley, J., Raffaele, H., McFarland, K. and Fernandez, E. (2006) Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. Princeton, NJ, U.S.A.: Princeton University Press.

Madge, S. and Burn, H. (1993) Crows and jays: a guide to the crows, jays and magpies of the world. Robertsbridge, U.K.: Helm Information.

Map submitted to BirdLife by Jorge Brocca et al. on 17 December 2012:

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9 Responses to Palm Crow (Corvus palmarum): request for information

  1. A D Mitchell says:

    1. There is no information given on how the Extent of Occurrence (EOO) has recently been updated by BirdLife but the map for the Cuban population is erroneous. The area in the western half of the country can be erased completely as there have been no records for more than 50 years from this area.
    2. The taxonomic status is a problem. the proposed split into two species has not been accepted by AOU or BirdLife but the voice and structural differences remain. Until DNA analysis is done, I feel that the species’ conservation needs are best met by considering them as two species. I am looking at ways to get the DNA work done.
    3. There is a paper in prep on the remaining Cuban population based on four years of fieldwork across its range which should give answers to questions about population size, current rate of decline and the severity of threats in Cuba.

    To sum up, this species should remain as Near Threatened until a) the taxonomic situation is resolved and b) the paper referred to above is published.

  2. A D Mitchell says:

    I have just had confirmation that I can collect the paper referred to above when I am in Cuba in March this year.

  3. Andy Mitchell says:

    I regret to say that there is still no sign of the paper on this from Cuba. I shall be there in March and will chase it up.

  4. Jorge Brocca says:


    Hemos encontrado varias discrepancias en el mapa de distribución de esta especie para la República Dominicana, varios miembros de nuestra organización se tomaron un mes para hacer un mapa de distribución correcto con los criterios que utiliza la IUCN para las especies.

    Me gustaría saber a quien se debe mandar esta información y así seguir manteniendo el estado de esta especies ya que consideramos que en nuestra isla el Corvus palmarum esta mas amenazado que el Corvus leucognaphalus. Ademas apoyamos la separación de la especie Cubana y la Dominicana ya que la diferencias de canto y morfológicas son significativas.

    Saludos atentos.

    Jorge Luis Brocca
    Executive director
    Ornithological Society of Hispaniola
    Dominican Republic
    Tel: (1809) 753 1388
    Skype: sohispaniola

    • Joe Taylor says:

      A revised map for the species’s range in the Dominican Republic has been submitted to us by Jorge Brocca and others, and this has been posted below the reference list for this forum topic. Please also note that we intend to review our taxonomic treatment of the passerines within the next few years.

  5. Andy Mitchell says:

    I’m hoping to have the paper referred to in previous messages (2011 & 2012). I have the revised range map for the species but cannot supply it as it forms part of the paper for publication. Let me just say that it doesn’t look very much like the BirdLife map!

  6. Andy Symes says:

    Preliminary proposals

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2014 Red List is to pend the decision on Palm Crow Corvus palmarum and keep this discussion open until early 2015, while leaving the current Red List category unchanged in the 2014 update.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline of 31 March, after which recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    The final Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in mid-2014, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

  7. Andy Symes says:

    Recommended categorisation to be put forward to IUCN

    Following further review, there has been no change to our preliminary proposal for the 2014 Red List status of this species.

    This discussion will remain open for further comments and information until early 2015, and the current Red List category will remain unchanged in 2014.

  8. It seems that some genetic work has been done on the two populations and that they are very different. The split will become ‘official’ leading to differing statuses – and some funding for work on the Cuban Palm Crow, I hope!

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