The rationale and calculations for moving Colaptes fernandinae to EN are unimpeachable, and I do not think it will be long before the species triggers criteria for CR. The population decline has been steep, likely even faster than indicated above. Kirkconnell and Wiley’s 2017 Cotinga paper describes population declines of >50% and >60% in periods of less than a decade, with the Bermejas population being 13% of 1995 levels during 2012–2017; their choice adjective is “precipitous”. My own impression is that this is a bird that is now few and far between, even in its Ciénaga de Zapata ‘stronghold’, and that these declines continue. I had the opportunity to discuss this species with Guy Kirwan over the weekend, and he likewise agrees with the assessment of EN. As he pointed out (echoing Kirkconnell and Wiley), with hurricanes increasing in strength due as the climate warms, the remaining forests are increasingly open and fragmented, and more intense and regular fires (either wildfires or deliberate burns) are affecting the remaining islands. Competition with the opportunistic and aggressive generalist Melanerpes superciliaris, felling of Sabal maritima palms, direct hunting, even cats can only hasten the demise of the species.
I am agree with Chris Sharpe and Guy Kirwan comments. Habitat destruction still persist in Zapata and the rest of the island, also another important threat is the increasing number of big storms in the region where this species could be largely impacted. I think Cuban palms populations are declining, mainly in areas such Zapata and Camaguey, both important strongholds for the species. New growing royal palms is does not look promising in Camaguey province, mainly in those areas where is still present the Fernandina’s Flicker and it will affect the future reproduction of this species in this area.
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