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Population size and habitat associations of the endemic Guadeloupe Woodpecker

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Guadeloupe Woodpeckers (Melanerpes herminieri) are the only endemic bird species on the Caribbean island of Guadeloupe. These woodpeckers were classified as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List following a population survey in 1994. To reassess the Guadeloupe Woodpecker population, we conducted a new survey in 2007, with 21 transects distributed across eight habitats known to be used by the woodpeckers. Habitats with the highest estimated population densities were seasonal evergreen secondary growth forest, followed by swamp forest and rainforest. Surveys revealed an estimated population of 8469 pairs in 2007 compared to 7368 pairs in 1994, a difference that was not significant. However, our 2007 survey revealed that Guadeloupe Woodpeckers had recolonized the last large patch of available forest on Basse-Terre, one of the two main islands in the Guadeloupe archipelago. Although our results suggest that the Guadeloupe Woodpecker population has remained relatively stable since 1994, deforestation remains a serious threat and we recommend that the IUCN Red List status of Near Threatened be retained. Management measures that would benefit Guadeloupe Woodpeckers include halting deforestation and providing financial support to people on private land to plant trees and leave dead trees standing. Regular monitoring will be important for determining the possible effects of such measures on the Guadeloupe Woodpecker population.
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Keywords: Caribbean; Melanerpes herminieri; deforestation; endemic; island; population survey

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: AEVA, c/° C. Pavis, Hauteurs Lézarde, F-97170 Petit-Bourg, Guadeloupe, French West Indies 2: Parc National de la Guadeloupe, Habitation Beausoleil, Montéran, F-97120 Saint Claude, Guadeloupe, French West Indies

Publication date: 01 September 2010

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