Galapagos Species Checklist

Mimus macdonaldi Ridgway, 1890

Cucuve de Española, Española Mockingbird

Española Mockingbird in Española Island, Galapagos. Photo: David Anchundia, CDF.
Española Mockingbird in Española Island, Galapagos. Photo: David Anchundia, CDF.

The largest of all Galápagos mockingbirds.

Threats: After the eradication of goats, the risk related to habitat destruction disappeared. Threats on Espanola are probably now only related to introduced diseases. Pox like lesions have been reported and pox is known to affect juvenile survival in other species. The parasitic fly Philornis downsi has not yet been found on Española.










Taxon category: Accepted

Syn.: Nesomimus macdonaldi Ridgway, 1890 (Integrated Taxonomic Information System, 2021).

Taxon origin: Endemic




Habitat preferences: Inhabits arid open lowland scrub, scrubby woodland with scattered trees (Bursera), arborescent cacti (Opuntia) and deciduous forest.

Feeding type: Polyphagous

arthropods, fruits, iguanas for ticks

Feeding preferences: Feeding on arthropods from the ground, centipedes, crabs, and lizards, but has also been observed swallowing a wide variety of fleshy fruits. Seeds in faeces make it a possible disperser of Galápagos as well as introduced plants. Occasionally peck on iguanas for ticks. Have been observed cracking eggs of sea birds and doves, drinking blood from wounded sea lions, marine iguanas albatross feet and nestling masked boobies, mainly during the dry season.

Trophic role: Omnivorous

Reproduction mode: Exclusively sexual

Reproductive biology: Form large groups (8 individuals) during reproduction but little sign of co-operative breeding.

Distribution origin: In common with all other Mimus, this species is closely related to species from North America and the Caribbean, rather than species from South America, indicating long distance dispersal.


Distribution: Present on Española Island.


  • 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.
  • Harris, M.P. (1973) The Galápagos avifauna. Condor 75(3): 265-278.
  • Arbogast, B.S. Drovetski, S.V., Curry, R.L., Boag, P.T. & Seutin, G.l (2006) The origin and diversification of Galápagos mockingbirds. Evolution 60: 370-382.
  • Swarth, H.S. (1931) The Avifauna of the Galapagos Islands. Occ. Pap. Calif. Acad. Sci. 18: 1-299.
  • Wiedenfeld, D.A. Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G. (2008) Critical problems for bird conservation in the Galapagos Island. Cotinga 29: 22-27.
  • Curry, R.L. (1989) Geographic variation in social organization of Galapagos (Ecuador) Mockingbirds: ecological correlates of group territoriality and cooperative breeding. Behavioral Ecology and Sociobiology 25:147-160.
  • Hoeck, P. Bollmer, J., Parker, P. & Keller, L. (2010) Differentiation with drift: a spatio-temporal genetic analysis of Galápagos mockingbird populations (Mimus spp.). Philosophical Transactions of the Royal Society of London. Series B, Biological Sciences 365:1127-1138.
  • Abbott, I. Abbott, L. (1978) Multivariate study of morphological variation in Galapagos and Ecuadorean mockingbirds. The Condor 80:302-308.
  • Curry, R.L. Anderson, D. (1987) Interisland variation in blood drinking by Galapagos mockingbirds. The Auk 104:517-521.
  • Burtt, E. Swanson, J., Porter, B. & Waterhouse, S. (1994) Wing-flashing in mockingbirds of the Galápagos Islands. The Wilson Bulletin 106:559-562.
  • Hoeck, P. Bucher, T., Wandeler, P. & Keller, L. (2009) Microsatellite primers for the four Galapagos mockingbird species (Mimus parvulus, Mimus macdonaldi, Mimus melanotis and Mimus trifasciatus). Molecular Ecology Resources :1538-1541.
  • IUCN (2015) The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. <>. Downloaded on 20 November 2015.
  • Freile, J.F. Santander, T., Jiménez-Uzcátegui, G., Carrasco, L., Cisneros-Heredia, D., Guevara, E., Sánchez-Nivicela, M., Tinoco, B. (2019) Lista Roja de las aves del Ecuador Quito, Ecuador. 97 pp.
  • Integrated Taxonomic Information System (2021) Integrated Taxonomic Information System (ITIS).
  • GBIF Secretariat (2021) GBIF Backbone Taxonomy. Https:// Accessed via

Support our work in the Galapagos

Our work is only possible thanks to our generous donors' support.
Your gift contributes directly to our scientists' work at the Charles Darwin Research Station.
Help us protect Galapagos!
Donations in the US are tax deductible.

Sign up to the latest news

* required

Sign up to the latest news

* required

The ‘Charles Darwin Foundation for the Galapagos Islands’, in French ‘Fondacion Charles Darwin  pour les Iles Galapagos’, Association Internationale sans but lucrative (AISBL), has its registered office at Avenue Louise 54, 1050 Brussels, Belgium. Trade Registry # 0409.359.103

© 2023 Charles Darwin Foundation. All rights reserved.