Friday, February 2, 2007
The Black Catbird This species is endemic to the Yucatan and costal islands of Belize
(meaning they are found nowhere else on Earth)
Pajaro Gato Negro
Benjamin Franklin wanted the national bird of the United States to be a Turkey.
The Eagle was not unique and he thought the Turkey would have been the best choice.
I feel this way about the Black-Cat Bird and Belize.
This species is endemic to the Yucatan and coastal islands of Belize.
Several years ago I met this young woman named Annick doing her thesis on the Black Cat bird, she had lots of questions and latter I found she had published. As thesis go it’s a log one but I’ve copied little pieces of it below that I thought might interest you.
University of Neuchâtel, Switzerland
Institut of Zoology
Ecology of the Black Catbird, Melanoptila glabrirostris,
at Shipstern Nature Reserve (Belize),
and distribution in Yucatan.
The Black Catbird, from the Mimidae family, is endemic to the Yucatan Peninsula and is
listed as « near threatened » on the IUCN red list. It inhabits the scrubby woodland and the forest edge of some areas of Mexico, Belize and Guatemala. In Belize, the bird is mainly found on the cayes (islands) and more rarely on the mainland. It is threatened by tourism development, hurricanes and conversion to coconut plantations, causing habitat
fragmentation and loss.
2. Ambergris Caye
Common to fairly common resident from Eastern Q. Roo to Ambergris Caye (Howell &
Common on Ambergris Caye (Jones and Vallely, 2001).
Because of San Pedro town and San Pablo resort community development, the remaining
southern small population faces increasing pressure due to additional loss of habitat and
may be extirpated from southern Ambergris Caye by the end of the present decade
(Miller& Miller, 1991).
The Black Catbird belongs to the birds frequently seen from the “people perch” of the
private bird sanctuary of the Caribbean Villas. This sanctuary is located in the narrow but
rich littoral forest region south of San Pedro.
For Bacalar Chico National Park and Marine Reserve, northern Ambergris Caye see 8.2.5.
One could consider the status of Bacalar Chico’s Black Catbirds has being common to very common. Ambergris Caye’s population being threatened by tourist development, Bacalar Chico National Park could serve as a refuge for this species.
Uncommon to rare ?
On islands (Caye Caulker and Bacalar Chico), Black Catbirds are nesting and foraging in
the same habitat, the low coastal forest. Both vegetation structure (for building nests) and
composition (fruiting trees) are found in this habitat.
Want to read more ?