Posted by: atowhee | November 14, 2011


Most realistic birders have now given up on the slim hope that the Ivory-billed Woodpecker survives either in the U.S. or Cuba.   Clearly neither capitalism not communism were friendly to the bird’s habitat needs.  The last definite sighting in the U.S. was in the 1940s, the last in Cuba after Castro took control.

Now comes word that there is half-century old film of the Imperial Woodpecker in the woods of Mexico.  Both the Imperial and Ivory-billed are in the genus Campephilus, thus they are close cousins.  Both had limited ranges already by the time Europeans colonized the New World.  The Imperial was known only from the mountains of northern Mexico.

The only known film of the Imperial Woodpecker of Mexico.

The last confirmed Imperial sighting was near Durango in 1956.  But there may have been later sightings.  A hopeful, occasional search continues in the bird’s [former?] range.  Besides the one film, there are over 100 museum specimens around the world.  No international bird group has had the heart to officially declare the Imperial extinct so it is technically highly endangered.   Indeed.

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