Developing research and higher education on animal biodiversity and wildlife conservation in the Caribbean

Project on the White-breasted Thrasher

Wed 13 Jul, 2016

The White-breasted Thrasher Ramphocinclus brachyurus, is an endemic bird of two Caribbean islands, Martinique and St Lucia for the subspecies Ramphocinclus brachyurus sanctaeluciae.

In Martinique, the White-breasted Thrasher was declared on the verge of extinction in 1905 and was considered to be extinct in 1950. However, this small bird species managed to survive, and its population increased despite the adverse environmental conditions such as unstable climate or high predation pressure. Currently, the population is ranging from 200 to 400 individuals distributed over a 5 km² territory, in the Caravelle Nature Reserve (Gros-Desormeaux, Lesales, & Tayalay, 2014). The slow growth of the population of the White-breasted Thrasher is a real issue for the conservation of this bird which has the status of “endangered species”.

Suivi de la population de Moqueur gorge-blanche au Parc de la Caravelle en Martinique

Research project on the White-breasted Thrasher in the Caravelle Nature Reserve – Martinique

Subsequent to preliminary research work that was done on the species, a research project named “Population size, stress, and reproductive success in the White-breasted Thrasher, Ramphocinclus brachyurus” has been designed by Jean-Raphaël GROS-DESORMEAUX (CNRS researcher at the CRPLC) and Frank CEZILLY (Professor at the University of Burgundy) in order to provide more information on the environmental and socioecological factors affecting the population growth rate. This six-month project will be carried out by Steven SON, a second year master’s degree student registered at the University of Burgundy.

The aim of the research project is to provide an estimation of global population size and number of breeding associations, and to compare the level of individual stress (assessed from the intensity of vigilance behavior while feeding on the ground) and health status (assessed from body condition and prevalence of infection with blood parasites) of the birds in different parts of the reserve.

Steven Son
Master Student – Year 2
Burgundy University, France

Reference: Gros-Desormeaux, J.-R., Lesales, T., & Tayalay, A.-G. (2014). Behavioral observations on the White breasted Thrasher (Ramphocinclus brachyurus brachyurus): conservation implications. Acta Ethologica, 18, 197–208.
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