email a friend
printable version
La Selle Thrush Turdus swalesi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information
BirdLife Species Champion Become a BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Supporter
For information about BirdLife Species Champions and Species Guardians visit the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

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 (Collar et al. 1992).

Taxonomic source(s)
AOU. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

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.

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).

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.

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). 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 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.

Clement, P.; Hathway, R. 2000. Thrushes. Christopher Helm, London.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Dávalos, L. M.; Brooks, T. 2001. Parc national la Visite, Haiti: a last refuge for the country's montane birds. Cotinga 16: 36-39.

Raffaele, H.; Wiley, J.; Garrido, O.; Keith, A.; Raffaele, J. 1998. Birds of the West Indies. Christopher Helm, London.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

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

Klein, N., Latta, S.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Turdus swalesi. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - La Selle thrush (Turdus swalesi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Turdidae (Thrushes)
Species name author (Wetmore, 1927)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,100 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species