Galapagos Species Checklist

Camarhynchus psittacula Gould, 1837

Pinzón arboreo grande, Large Tree Finch

Camarhynchus psittacula, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. Photo: Paul McFarling, CDF, 2000.
Camarhynchus psittacula, Santa Cruz Island, Galapagos. Photo: Paul McFarling, CDF, 2000.

This is the largest and heaviest bodied of the tree-finch species, 18 g average. Medium long and heavy, parrot like beak, approximately as long as deep.

Threats It iIs known to be affected by the parasitic fly Philornis downsi that causes heavy chick mortality. There is no information on impact of pox and other diseases; might be sensitive to habitat changes related to human activities.

Taxonomy

Domain
Eukaryota

Kingdom
Animalia

Phylum
Chordata

Class
Aves

Order
Passeriformes

Family
Thraupidae

Genus
Camarhynchus

Species
psittacula

Taxon category: Accepted

Syn.: Camarhynchus psittaculus Gould, 1841; Camarhynchus psittacula affinis Ridgway, 1894; Camarhynchus psittacula habeli Sclater & Salvin, 1870; Camarhynchus psittacula psittacula Gould, 1837; Camarhynchus habeli Sclater & Salvin, 1870.

Status

Vulnerable

Ecology

Habitat preferences: May be found in all altitudes from the arid coastal zone to the humid Scalesia forest, though in lower density in the former.

Feeding type: Polyphagous

arthropods and fruits

Feeding preferences: This finch has quite specialized feeding habits, mainly harvesting arthropods, adults and larvae, pecking through the bark of twigs and leaf petioles, occasionally in moss on trees in the humid season. Also feeds on fruits in the humid Scalesia forest during the dry season. Feeding habits are rather constant among zones and season (dry and humid), being the least flexible of the tree finches.

Trophic role: Omnivorous

Reproduction mode: Exclusively sexual

Reproductive biology: Male displays in front of a dome shape nest high up in the canopy. Once chosen, the pair either use this nest – or build a new one. Only females are incubating (two to three eggs), both feed the chicks. Fledglings stay for up to 6 weeks with a parent, either with the male while the female starts a new clutch, or, one with the female and the other with the male.

Distribution

Distribution: The species is found on all the main islands except Española, Genovesa, Wolf and Darwin. It does not now breed on Santa Fe, although observations continued until 1968. It is extinct on Pinzón, where it was last seen in 1906.

References

  • Wiedenfeld, D.A. (2006) Aves, the Galapagos Islands, Ecuador. Check List 2006 2(2): 1-27.
  • Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G. Milstead, B., Márquez, C., Zabala, J., Buitrón, P., Llerena, A., et al. (2007) Galapagos vertebrates: endangered status and conservation actions. Galapagos Report 2006–2007. Charles Darwin Foundation, Puerto Ayora, p. 104–110.
  • Granizo, T. Pacheco, C., Rivadeneira, M. B., Guerrero M. & Suárez, L. (eds.) (2002) Libro Rojo de las Aves del Ecuador. SIMBIOE/Conservation International/EcoCiencia/Ministerio del Ambiente/IUCN. Serie Libros Rojos del Ecuador, tomo 2. Quito, Ecuador.
  • Swash, A. Still, R. (2000) Birds, mammals, and reptiles of the Galapagos Islands, an identification guide. Yale University Press, New Haven, Connecticut, USA, 168 pp.
  • Harris, M.P. (1973) The Galápagos avifauna. Condor 75(3): 265-278.
  • Salvin, O. (1876) On the avifauna of the Galápagos Archipelago. Transactions of the Zoological Society of London 9: 447-510.
  • Castro, I. Phillips, A. (1996) A Guide to the Birds of the Galapagos Islands. Christopher Helm Publishers Ltd., London.
  • Fessl, B. Tebbich, S. (2002) Philornis downsi - a recently discovered parasite on the Galápagos archipelago - a threat to Darwin's finches? Ibis 144: 445-451.
  • Swarth, H.S. (1931) The Avifauna of the Galapagos Islands. Occ. Pap. Calif. Acad. Sci. 18: 1-299.
  • Dudaniec, R.Y. Fessl, B. & Kleindorfer, S. (2007) Interannual and interspecific variation in intensity of the parasitic fly, Philornis downsi, in Darwin’s finches. Biological Conservation 30: 325-323.
  • Fessl, B. Couri, M.S. & Tebbich, S. (2001) Philornis downsi Dodge & Aitken, new to the Galapagos Islands (Diptera, Muscidae). Studia Dipterologic 8: 317-322.
  • Kleindorfer, S. Dudaniec, R.Y. (2006) Increasing prevalence of avian poxvirus in Darwin’s finches and its effect on male pairing success. Journal of Avian Biology 37: 69-76.
  • Bisconti, M. Landini, W., Bianucci, G., Cantalamessa, G., Carnevale, G. Ragaini, L. & Valleri, G. (2001) Biogeographic relationships of the Galapagos terrestrial biota: parsimony analyses of endemicity based on reptiles, land birds and Scalesia land plants. J. Biogeogr. 28: 495-510.
  • Donohue, K. (2011) Darwin's Finches: Readings in the Evolution of a Scientific Paradigm University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 492 pp.
  • Guerrero, A. Tye, A. (2009) Darwin's Finches as seed predators and dispersers. The Wilson Journal Of Ornithology 121 (4):752-764, 2009
  • Dvorak, M. Fessl, B., Nemeth, E., Kleindorfer, S.M., & Tebbich, S. (2012) Distribution and abundance of Darwin ́s Finches and other land birds on Santa Cruz Island Galapagos: evidence for declining populations. Oryx 46:78-86
  • Tebbich, S. Taborsky, M., Fessl, B., Dvorak, M. & Winkler, H. (2004) Feeding behavior of four arboreal Darwin's finches: adaptations to spatial and seasonal variability. The Condor 106:95-105
  • Kleindorfer, S. O’Connor, J., Dudaniec, R., Myers, S., Robertson, J. & Sulloway, F. (2014) Species collapse via hybridization in Darwin’s Tree Finches. The American Naturalist 183: 325-341
  • Farrington, H. Lawson, L., Clark, C. & Petren, K. (2014) The evolutionary history of Darwin's finches: speciation, gene flow, and introgression in a fragmented landscape. Evolution doi 10.1111/evo.12484.
  • IUCN (2015) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 20 November 2015.
  • Remsen, J.V. Areta, J.I.Jr., Cadena, C.D., Claramunt, S., Jaramillo, A., Pacheco, J.F., Pérez-Emán, J., Robbins, M.B., Stiles, F.G., Stotz, D.F., Zimmer, K. J. (2016) A Classification of the Bird Species of South America. South American Classification Committee. American Ornithologists' Union http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCBaseline.htm
  • IUCN (2017) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species Version 2016-3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 03 February 2017.

The “Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands”, in French “Fondation Charles Darwin pour les îles Galapagos”, Association International sans but lucratif (“AISBL”), has its registered office located at Drève du Pieuré 19, 1160 Brussels, and is registered under the trade registry of Brussels under the number 0409.359.103.

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