La Selle Thrush Turdus swalesi
BirdLife is reviewing the status of this species for the 2018 Red List.
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Justification of Red List Category
The combination of a very small, severely fragmented and declining range qualifies this species as Endangered. It has been apparently extirpated (or is on the brink of extirpation) from several significant portions of its disjunct range.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
There are no new data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be undergoing a rapid and on-going decline, owing to habitat loss and degradation.

Distribution and population

Turdus swalesi is endemic to Hispaniola (Haiti and the Dominican Republic). It can be locally fairly common, but is now mostly restricted to isolated habitat patches (S. Latta in litt. 1998). The nominate race occurs in the Massif de la Selle, Haiti, and Sierra de Baoruco, Dominican Republic. The race dodae occurs in the Sierra de Neiba and Cordillera Central, Dominican Republic. It was formerly common in La Visite National Park, Haiti, and appears still to occur at higher densities in the Massif de la Selle than elsewhere within its range (Dávalos and Brooks 2001).


It occurs mainly above 1,300 m in the dense understorey of moist montane broadleaf forest. It is occasionally found in pine forest, but only where there is a very well-developed broadleaf understorey (a habitat that is now extremely rare in the Dominican Republic) (S. Latta in litt. 1998). Breeding has been reported from May-July, and 2-3 eggs are laid (Clement and Hathway 2000). The nest is a bulky cup structure constructed principally of moss, and placed low in a shrub, bush or low tree (Raffaele et al. 1998, Clement and Hathway 2000). It mainly forages on the ground for earthworms, insects and fruit (Raffaele et al. 1998).


There has been massive habitat loss in Hispaniola, and remaining patches are severely threatened by ongoing deforestation for agriculture and timber. In the Dominican Republic, suitable habitat has generally disappeared except in the Sierra de Baoruco, remote portions of the Cordillera Central and very small patches in the Sierra de Neiba (S. Latta in litt. 1998, N. Klein in litt. 1999). Habitat loss has also accelerated within the Sierra de Baoruco as a result of commercial-scale agricultural development (S. C. Latta in litt. 2016). Suitable forest has disappeared from much of the species's range in Haiti, with La Visite National Park containing one of the last significant fragments. 

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in the Sierra de Baoruco and Armando Bermudez National Parks, Dominican Republic, and La Visite National Park, Haiti.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Assess its status in Haiti (especially in La Visite National Park) and the Sierra de Neiba. Effectively protect existing reserves.


26 cm. Rather large, strikingly marked, dark forest thrush. Adult slaty-black upperparts and head with orange bill and eye-ring. White streaked throat, slaty upper breast, red lower breast and flanks surrounding white belly. Similar spp. Red-legged Thrush T. plumbeus is paler above, lacks red on underparts and has red legs. Voice Loud, fluty series of tu-re-oo and cho-ho-cho calls. Gurgling notes and loud wheury-wheury-wheury alarm call. Hints Best found when singing from relatively exposed perches in early morning.


Text account compilers
Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Wege, D. & Wheatley, H.

Klein, N. & Latta, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2018) Species factsheet: Turdus swalesi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/07/2018. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2018) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 20/07/2018.