Guadeloupe Woodpecker Melanerpes herminieri


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small range in which habitat degradation is causing the population to decline. However, the range is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations. For these reasons, the species is classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population was estimated to comprise 7,920 pairs in 381 km2 on Basse-Terre, and 2,410 pairs in 135 km2 on Grande-Terre in 1994 (Villard and Rousteau 1998). Surveys in 2007 revealed no significant change, but a different methodology calculated a total population of 8,469 pairs (Villard et al. 2010). The population is therefore estimated to number at least 16,000 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 24,000 individuals in total.

Trend justification
The population is stable (Villard et al. 2010). The population on Grande Terre is decreasing (G. van Laere in litt. 2016). On Basse Terre island, the National Park has performed an annual survey since 2009 based on the kilometric index method. This survey indicates an increasing trend (G. van Laere in litt. 2016).

Distribution and population

Melanerpes herminieri is endemic to Guadeloupe (to France) and inhabits the two main islands, Basse-Terre and Grande-Terre. The population on Grande Terre is decreasing as a result of clear cutting (G. van Laere in litt. 2016). The population on Basse-Terre is increasing (G. van Laere in litt. 2016).


It inhabits semi-deciduous forest on igneous and clay ground, evergreen forest, mangroves and swamp forest (Villard and Rousteau 1998), and excavates nest holes in the trunks of dead trees (Raffaele et al. 1998). It occurs from sea-level to the tree-line at 1,000 m, but is most common at 100-700 m (Winkler et al. 1995, Villard and Rousteau 1998). Habitats with the highest estimated population densities have been found to be seasonal evergreen secondary growth forest, followed by swamp forest and rainforest (Villard et al. 2010). Food items taken include a variety of invertebrates, vertebrates and fruit (Villard 2000).


Clear-cutting and the removal of dead trees are the main threats, but damage from hurricanes, road construction, airport enlargement and land development are all concerning (Raffaele et al. 1998, Villard and Rousteau 1998, Villard et al. 2010). Introduced rats Rattus spp. may also be a problem (Raffaele et al. 1998).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
About 27% of remaining habitat is protected within the Guadeloupe national park (Villard et al. 2010). Following the 2007 survey, the National Park of Guadeloupe is doing an annual follow-up on transects.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor populations regularly. Discourage the removal of dead trees. Discourage clear-cutting and the siting of new roads and airports in valuble habitats. Investigate the impact of rats on nesting success.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Wege, D. & Wheatley, H.

Villard, P. & van Laere, G.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Melanerpes herminieri. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/09/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/09/2019.