Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti

Overview

"An outstanding contribution to Caribbean ornithology, this guide will be an invaluable reference for the identification of the diverse and unique avifauna of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It provides accurate and up-to-date summaries of the distribution of the island's birds while providing appropriate descriptions to enable identification of the species known from Hispaniola and associated satellite islands. Included, too, are useful notes on status, behavior, ecology, and distribution, some of which have not been previously published. All

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Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti

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Overview

"An outstanding contribution to Caribbean ornithology, this guide will be an invaluable reference for the identification of the diverse and unique avifauna of the Dominican Republic and Haiti. It provides accurate and up-to-date summaries of the distribution of the island's birds while providing appropriate descriptions to enable identification of the species known from Hispaniola and associated satellite islands. Included, too, are useful notes on status, behavior, ecology, and distribution, some of which have not been previously published. All told, this guide will be an indispensable tool for visiting birdwatchers and will likely encourage ecotourism on the island, while stimulating interest in the study and conservation of the island's endangered endemic avifauna."--Joseph M. Wunderle, Research Wildlife Biologist, International Institute of Tropical Forestry, Puerto Rico, former President of the Society of Caribbean Ornitholog

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Editorial Reviews

OFO News - Geoff Carpentier
If you are thinking of going anywhere near Haiti or Dominican Republic, pick this one up. It's an excellent book.
The Bird Observer - Chris Doughty
Any visitor to the island will find the guide an indispensable asset.
Indiana Audubon Quarterly - Charles E. Keller
This well-illustrated new work fills a large void in the literature on birdwatching and the environment in these tropical countries. Touted as the first comprehensive field guide to Hispaniola's birds, it provides detailed accounts for more than 300 species, including thirty-one endemic species. . . . An important contribution to the literature that will provide a handy guide to the region.
North American Bird Bander - John R. Faaborg
This is a wonderful addition to the literature on West Indian birds and a must-have book for anyone headed for Hispaniola or interested in the distribution and abundance of that island's birds. It is both attractive and detailed.
From the Publisher

"[This book] fills a major gap in the ornithological literature of the West Indies. . . . Ornithologists and birders interested in West Indies birds, and especially Hispaniola's birds, now have an excellent, modern guide to these species. The book is highly recommended to these enthusiasts, as well as naturalists, conversation biologists, and academic and public libraries."--International Hawkwatcher

"The first comprehensive field guide to the birds of Hispaniola."--Wildlife Activist

"If you are thinking of going anywhere near Haiti or Dominican Republic, pick this one up. It's an excellent book."--Geoff Carpentier, OFO News

"Any visitor to the island will find the guide an indispensable asset."--Chris Doughty, The Bird Observer

"This well-illustrated new work fills a large void in the literature on birdwatching and the environment in these tropical countries. Touted as the first comprehensive field guide to Hispaniola's birds, it provides detailed accounts for more than 300 species, including thirty-one endemic species. . . . An important contribution to the literature that will provide a handy guide to the region."--Charles E. Keller, Indiana Audubon Quarterly

"This is a wonderful addition to the literature on West Indian birds and a must-have book for anyone headed for Hispaniola or interested in the distribution and abundance of that island's birds. It is both attractive and detailed."--John R. Faaborg, North American Bird Bander

International Hawkwatcher
[This book] fills a major gap in the ornithological literature of the West Indies. . . . Ornithologists and birders interested in West Indies birds, and especially Hispaniola's birds, now have an excellent, modern guide to these species. The book is highly recommended to these enthusiasts, as well as naturalists, conversation biologists, and academic and public libraries.
Wildlife Activist
The first comprehensive field guide to the birds of Hispaniola.
OFO News
If you are thinking of going anywhere near Haiti or Dominican Republic, pick this one up. It's an excellent book.
— Geoff Carpentier
Indiana Audubon Quarterly
This well-illustrated new work fills a large void in the literature on birdwatching and the environment in these tropical countries. Touted as the first comprehensive field guide to Hispaniola's birds, it provides detailed accounts for more than 300 species, including thirty-one endemic species. . . . An important contribution to the literature that will provide a handy guide to the region.
— Charles E. Keller
North American Bird Bander
This is a wonderful addition to the literature on West Indian birds and a must-have book for anyone headed for Hispaniola or interested in the distribution and abundance of that island's birds. It is both attractive and detailed.
— John R. Faaborg
The Bird Observer
Any visitor to the island will find the guide an indispensable asset.
— Chris Doughty
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780691118918
  • Publisher: Princeton University Press
  • Publication date: 11/6/2006
  • Series: Princeton Field Guides Series
  • Edition description: New Edition
  • Pages: 360
  • Sales rank: 650,427
  • Product dimensions: 6.10 (w) x 9.20 (h) x 0.80 (d)

Meet the Author

Steven Latta is Assistant Director for Conservation and Field Research at the National Aviary. Christopher Rimmer is Director of Conservation Biology at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Allan Keith is coauthor, with Herbert Raffaele, of "A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies". James Wiley is Leader at the Maryland Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Unit, U.S. Geological Survey. Herbert Raffaele is Chief of the Office of International Affairs of the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service. Kent McFarland is Senior Research Biologist at the Vermont Institute of Natural Science. Eladio Fernandez is a professional photographer who specializes in Caribbean nature subjects.

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Read an Excerpt

Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti


By Steven Latta Christopher Rimmer Allan Keith James Wiley Herbert Raffaele Kent McFarland Eladio Fernandez

Princeton University Press

Copyright © 2006 Princeton University Press
All right reserved.

ISBN: 0-691-11891-4


Introduction

Our goal in writing Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti is to fill a large void in the bird-watching, conservation, and environmental education needs of Hispaniola. There has never been a comprehensive field guide devoted to the birds of Hispaniola, and the only existing guide, by Annabelle Dod, is almost 30 years old, covers only 226 species, and is illustrated with black-and-white line drawings. Here we describe and illustrate all 306 species known to have occurred on the island. But our intention is to provide more than just a means of identifying bird species; our guide also provides information on the biology and ecology of the birds, with the hope that we can help inspire a new generation of birdwatchers, ornithologists, and conservationists. With this guide in hand, we hope that more Dominicans and Haitians will become as fascinated as we are by the diversity of the island's avifauna.

Our guide is based on A Guide to the Birds of the West Indies by Herb Raffaele and others, and it incorporates detailed information on the status and range of species from the annotated checklist The Birds of Hispaniola: Haiti andthe Dominican Republic by Allan Keith and coauthors. Our guide features expanded species accounts, and it provides new information from our personal research on the biology and ecology of Hispaniolan avifauna. Thanks to the generosity of the publisher and artists of the West Indies guide, we have been able to use many of the fine plates from that guide in this work. We also include more than 105 new images of Hispaniolan species painted by Canadian artist Barry Kent MacKay, as well as new, detailed range maps of unsurpassed accuracy and precision prepared by Kent McFarland.

We are confident that by dramatically expanding possibilities for the appreciation of birds in the Dominican Republic and Haiti, this guide will promote conservation of migratory and resident birds, and build support for environmental measures to conserve and protect their habitats. The guide is certain to be used in the many educational, outreach, and training activities by environmental organizations such as the Sociedad Ornitológica de la Hispaniola and the Société Audubon Haiti. We sincerely hope that it will increase public awareness throughout Hispaniola and internationally for the unique birds of the island, and underscore the need to protect these special species and their habitats for the enjoyment of future generations.

PLAN OF THE GUIDE

Names. In the species accounts, scientific and English names, and the sequence of species, are those of the Check-list of North American Birds, seventh edition (American Ornithologists' Union [AOU] 1998) and its supplements (AOU 2000, 2002, 2003, 2004). Most subspecies names are those given in Dickinson 2003 or Keith et al. 2003. We have introduced two changes to common names; changed the sequence of species in two cases; and recognize three previously proposed splits in species, resulting in three more endemic species for Hispaniola. We recognize the changes proposed by Lovette and Bermingham 2001 and Klein et al. 2004 suggesting that the genera Microligea and Xenoligea are not wood-warblers but are closely aligned with the tanager genus Phaenicophilus. As such we have renamed the Green-tailed Warbler (also known as the Green-tailed Ground-Warbler) as the Green-tailed Ground- Tanager, and we have renamed the White-winged Warbler as the Hispaniolan Highland-Tanager. Both we now place in the Thraupidae. We also recognize proposed splits of three species. We split the Hispaniolan Nightjar from the Cuban Nightjar (both were formerly united as the Greater Antillean Nightjar), based on distinct vocalizations and other characteristics as noted by Hardy et al. (1988), Garrido and Reynard (1993), and the AOU (1998). We follow Garrido et al. (1997) and Raffaele et al. (1998) in recognizing the Hispaniolan Palm Crow as an endemic species, distinct from the Cuban Palm Crow, and we follow Garrido et al. (in press) in distinguishing the Hispaniolan Oriole from others in the Greater Antillean Oriole assemblage. Immediately following the name at the head of each species account, we note the status of each species (see "Status" below) and highlight endemic species and those considered threatened or endangered.

Description. We provide size measurements for all species, including length (from bill tip to tail tip) and mass. Where size varies between sexes, or for example with the presence of tail plumes, more than one measurement is provided. The mass presented here for each species is an average and is taken from Dunning 1993 or the authors' own data. Descriptions of all commonly encountered plumages focus on key characteristics allowing field identification. In general, the most commonly encountered plumages are described first. For example, non-breeding visitors are described in their non-breeding plumage first; breeding residents are described in their breeding plumage first. Other plumages, including juvenal and immature, are subsequently described.

Age terminology of avian plumages can be confusing, as birders use several different systems. In this book we distinguish primarily between immatures and adults when plumages of the two differ markedly. We further discriminate between juveniles and immatures for those species that have a distinct juvenal plumage (the first true, nondowny plumage) that is likely to be seen by birders on Hispaniola. Many species retain their juvenal plumage for only a short period after leaving the nest and are seldom encountered by birders in this plumage; we do not describe these short-lived plumages. Other species (e.g., grebes, shorebirds, gulls, terns, and some passerines) retain their juvenal plumage for several months before molting into a subsequent plumage, which may or may not be distinguishable from the definitive adult plumage. We recognize those prolonged juvenal plumages in the species accounts. For those species that retain a juvenal plumage during their entire first year (e.g., some herons and hawks), we simply use the term "immature." We also use "immature" to describe the distinct plumages of many first-year birds (e.g., many passerines) between their juvenal and adult plumages. Thus, for simplicity, we recognize three typical age plumages in this book: juvenal, immature, and adult.

Similar species. Here we highlight differences among the species being described and any others occurring on Hispaniola with which it might be confused.

Voice. The calls, songs, and notes as known on Hispaniola are described. In the case of winter visitors that rarely sing or otherwise vocalize while on the island, their songs and calls are also described but are noted as rare. Hispaniola. Here we describe where on Hispaniola the species is likely to be encountered. This includes major habitats occupied by the species, range of elevations where it has been found, and specific locales. For species with 10 or fewer reports, all sightings are listed. For more commonly occurring species, distributions are generalized based on habitat and elevational range. For species that visit Hispaniola seasonally, we give general dates of arrival and departure. We also list all of the larger outlying islands where the species has been found. Distributions of all but the rarest or most locally distributed species are illustrated in range maps that depict where on Hispaniola the species might be expected in appropriate habitat.

Status. We distinguish among breeding residents, breeding visitors, non-breeding visitors, vagrants, and passage migrants as follows. We also note if species are endemic or introduced to the island.

Breeding resident: A species known to breed on Hispaniola and that remains on the island year-round.
Breeding visitor: A species known to breed on Hispaniola but that generally migrates off-island during the non-breeding period.
Non-breeding visitor: A species that breeds elsewhere but resides on Hispaniola during the non-breeding season, generally from September to April.
Vagrant: A species known to have occurred on Hispaniola fewer than five times or likely to occur less frequently than once every five years.

Passage migrant: A species that migrates through Hispaniola on a seasonal basis but does not generally reside on the island for extended periods of time. Sometimes referred to as "transient"; also includes wanderers that may move throughout the West Indies or beyond at irregular intervals.

Endemic: A species confined to Hispaniola and associated islands and found nowhere else in the world.

Introduced: A species that is not native to Hispaniola, but that occurs as a population of escaped or intentionally released birds.

In some cases a species may be represented by more than a single distinct population. For example, a breeding resident population may be joined in the non-breeding season by a migratory population from the north. In such cases, both populations are described, with the more common situation listed first.

For each species we characterize population status as abundant, common, uncommon, or rare on Hispaniola. All abundance categories refer to a birdwatcher's chance of observing the species in its preferred habitat:

Abundant: Species is invariably encountered without much effort in large numbers.

Common: Species is invariably encountered singly or in small numbers.

Uncommon: Species is occasionally encountered but not to be expected each trip.

Rare: Species has 10 or fewer records and is not likely to occur more than once or twice a year.

We also describe species' population trends where possible, drawing particular attention to species thought to be declining in abundance, and noting likely factors associated with that decline. Species that are threatened with extinction are listed as threatened, endangered, or critically endangered. Determination of such status is based on a variety of published accounts, including BirdLife International 2000, Keith et al. 2003, Latta and Lorenzo 2000, and the authors' personal experience. Finally, we address taxonomic questions when appropriate, such as alternative treatment of species and the presence of endemic subspecies on the island.

Comments. In this section we may comment on the biology and ecology of the species. This is intended to provide the reader with a better appreciation for the species, and may help in identification. Comments may include, for example, information on foraging, social behavior, or courtship. Because little is known about the ecology of many Hispaniolan species, many of these comments incorporate the authors' own data.

Nesting. This is a brief description of the nest, nest site, number of eggs laid, egg color, and breeding season for those species that breed on Hispaniola. Nesting data are not provided if the species is not known to have bred on the island. Nesting biology of many Hispaniolan birds is not well known, although recent studies by Latta and Rimmer have begun to contribute the first quantifiable data for a variety of species. Some of these data are summarized for the first time in these species accounts.

Range. We summarize the worldwide range of each species, including, for migratory species, the breeding and wintering grounds. We also draw particular attention to a species' occurrence in other portions of the West Indies. Abbreviations used here include: n. (northern), s. (southern), e. (eastern), w. (western), ne. (northeastern), nw. (northwestern), se. (southeastern), sw. (southwestern), c. (central), nc. (north-central), sc. (south-central), ec. (east-central), and wc. (west-central).

Local names. We provide local names in the Dominican Republic and Haiti for each species when possible. In many cases a variety of local names are used, and we list these in approximate order of popularity of use; in some cases, no local names are known.

TOPOGRAPHY AND HABITATS OF HISPANIOLA

Topographic Features

Hispaniola is a diverse island with many habitats and a rich assemblage of bird species, in part a result of its complex geologic history. Although its geologic history is not well understood, Hispaniola is thought to have formed by the merging of at least three land blocks, with two of these formerly attached to what are now Cuba and Puerto Rico. These three blocks probably came together about nine million years ago, but change continued to take place even then. Global cycles of glacial and interglacial periods caused rising and lowering of sea levels, and the alternation of dry and moist environments, resulting in drastic environmental changes and repeated isolation of higher elevation sites by the rising seas. Cyclic climatic changes contributed to the repeated separation of Hispaniola into two "paleo-islands" by a marine canal along the current Neiba Valley and Cul de Sac Plain during much of the Pliocene and portions of the Pleistocene. These two paleo-islands are generally referred to as the North Island and the South Island of Hispaniola. In addition, the South Island was likely divided in pre-Pleistocene times by an intermittent sea passage across the peninsula at the Jacmel-Fauché depression. This would have effectively separated the Massif de la Hotte to the west from the Massif de la Selle and Sierra de Bahoruco to the east.

Cyclic climatic changes in the Pleistocene are likely to have contributed significantly to speciation and extinction events. Unique flora and fauna are thought to have existed on the two paleo-islands, as evidenced by the several pairs of bird species that are today found on the north and south paleo-islands. For example, the Eastern Chat-Tanager is found in the Cordillera Central and the Sierra de Neiba, whereas the Western Chat-Tanager is found in the Sierra de Bahoruco and the southern peninsula of Haiti. Similar processes may have contributed to the speciation of the Gray-crowned and Black-crowned palm-tanagers, the two tody species, and two subspecies of La Selle Thrush.

Cyclic climatic changes also had great impacts on the island's vegetation. It is clear that vegetation types such as conifers, now confined to higher elevations, occurred much lower during the cooler, drier periods, when glaciation occurred on Hispaniola down to the level of 1,800 m. It was also during such periods that sea levels were significantly lower, allowing the appearance of a broad expanse of savanna and thorn scrub habitat in the Hispaniolan lowlands. During these periods of cold and aridity, the wet slopes of the Massif de la Hotte in particular are thought to have served as a refugium for plants and animals adapted to mesic environments. The mountain range's geography with respect to winds and weather fronts positioned it to receive naturally high levels of rainfall. Today the Massif de la Hotte displays extraordinary levels of endemism in orchids, other plants, and amphibians.

(Continues...)



Excerpted from Birds of the Dominican Republic and Haiti by Steven Latta Christopher Rimmer Allan Keith James Wiley Herbert Raffaele Kent McFarland Eladio Fernandez Copyright © 2006 by Princeton University Press. Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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Table of Contents

Acknowledgments vii
Introduction 1
Map of Hispaniola 2
Elevational Map of Hispaniola 4

Plan of the Guide 5
Topography and Habitats of Hispaniola 8
Topographic Features 8
Major Habitats 9

Endemic Species and Subspecies 12
Avian Conservation on Hispaniola 14
Conservation Issues 14
National Protected Areas in the Dominican Republic 15
National Protected Areas in Haiti 16
Threatened and Endangered Species 17
Ornithological History of Hispaniola 18
Descriptive Parts of a Bird 19

PLATE SECTION 20
SPECIES ACCOUNTS 21

Geese and Ducks: Anatidae 21
Partridges and Guineafowl: Phasianidae 32
Bobwhites: Odontophoridae 33
Grebes: Podicipedidae 34
Shearwaters and Petrels: Procellariidae 35
Storm-Petrels: Hydrobatidae 38
Tropicbirds: Phaethontidae 39
Boobies: Sulidae 40
Pelicans: Pelecanidae 42
Cormorants: Phalacrocoracidae 43

Darters: Anhingidae 44
Frigatebirds: Fregatidae 45
Bitterns and Herons: Ardeidae 46
Ibises and Spoonbills: Threskiornithidae 54
Storks: Ciconiidae 56
American Vultures: Cathartidae 57
Flamingos: Phoenicopteridae 57
Osprey: Pandionidae 58
Kites, Hawks, and Allies: Accipitridae 59
Falcons: Falconidae 64
Rails, Gallinules, and Coots: Rallidae 66

Limpkin: Aramidae 71
Thick-knees: Burhinidae 72
Plovers: Charadriidae 73
Oystercatchers: Haematopodidae 78
Stilts: Recurvirostridae 78
Jacanas: Jacanidae 79
Sandpipers, Phalaropes, and Allies: Scolopacidae 80
Jaegers, Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers: Laridae 95
Pigeons and Doves: Columbidae 110
Parakeets and Parrots: Psittacidae 118

Cuckoos and Anis: Cuculidae 120
Barn Owls: Tytonidae 124
Typical Owls: Strigidae 125
Goatsuckers (Nightjars): Caprimulgidae 128
Potoos: Nyctibiidae 131
Swifts: Apodidae 132
Hummingbirds: Trochilidae 135
Trogons: Trogonidae 137
Todies: Todidae 138
Kingfishers: Alcedinidae 140

Woodpeckers and Allies: Picidae 141
Tyrant Flycatchers: Tyrannidae 143
Vireos: Vireonidae 148
Crows: Corvidae 153
Swallows: Hirundinidae 155
Kinglets: Regulidae 160
Gnatcatchers: Sylviidae 160
Thrushes: Turdidae 161
Mockingbirds, Thrashers, and Allies (Mimic Thrushes): Mimidae 165
Pipits: Motacillidae 167
Waxwings: Bombycillidae 168

Palmchat: Dulidae 168
Wood-Warblers: Parulidae 169
Bananaquit: Coerebidae 192
Tanagers: Thraupidae 193
Emberizine Sparrows and Allies: Emberizidae 200
Cardinaline Finches and Allies: Cardinalidae 205
Blackbirds and Allies: Icteridae 207
Fringilline and Cardueline Finches and Allies: Fringillidae 211
Old World Sparrows: Passeridae 214
Weavers: Ploceidae 215
Estrildid Finches: Estrildidae 216
Recent Additions to the Checklist 218

Appendix A: Birdwatching on Hispaniola 219
Appendix B: Checklist of Birds of Hispaniola 229

Selected References 239
Index of Local Names 243
Index of English and Scientific Names 250

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