New records concerning range and altitudinal distribution of
Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus in Ecuador
Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia and Pierre-Yves Henry
Cotinga 21 (2004): 74-75
Se reportan dos nuevas localidades para el Sinsonte Colilargo Mimus gilvus en Ecuador. Junto a
estos registros la especie es conocida por cuatro observaciones en el país, todas ubicadas en los
Andes del norte de Ecuador. Se sugiere que Mimus gilvus puede estar extendiendo su rango de
distribución desde Colombia, colonizando nuevas áreas posiblemente debido a la modificación de
hábitats por actividades antropogénicas. Además, se presenta una extensión al rango altitudinal de la
especie (laguna de Cuicocha 3,100m).
Tropical Mockingbird Mimus gilvus is widespread
from southern Mexico to Brazil1,2. It was introduced
and is now widespread in Panama3 and has recently
expanded its range in Nicaragua4 and El Salvador5.
In Colombia, it is common in the north2, but in
Nariño, near the border with Ecuador, the species
was not recorded until 19966. The highest altitudinal
records are from Colombia: 2,600 m in the Bogotá
savanna, and 2,100 m in Tolima1–3.
The species has only recently been recorded in
Ecuador, where it is known from two localities in
the northern Andes: near Otavalo (where initially
discovered by C. Vogt and J. Nilsson in September
1996), Imbabura province (00°14'N 78°16'W; 2,600
m) and one found at Cosanga (by M. Lysinger in
September 1998), Napo province (00°36'S 77°52'W;
1,900 m)3. Ridgely & Greenfield3 considered its
status in Ecuador uncertain, as both records may
have involved natural vagrants from Colombia, and
indeed the Cosanga record probably does relate to a
vagrant, supporting this hypothesis3.
On 17 November 2001, during a trip of the ‘2001
Protected Areas’ group of the Universidad San
Francisco de Quito, an adult and juvenile M. gilvus
were observed on Padre Yerovi island, within
Cuicocha Lagoon, Imbabura province (00°18'N
78°22'W; 3,100 m). The adult was feeding the juve-
nile within a patch of native bushes near the shore.
This represents the first proof of breeding in
Ecuador. The habitat was montane forest and elfin
forest, dominated by shrubs and low trees.
On 5 April 2002, two adults were observed at
Yaguarcocha Lagoon, near Ibarra, Imbabura
province (00°22'N 78°07'W; 2,450 m). They were
foraging in the ornamental garden of a tourist resort,
on the north-west side of the lagoon, 50 m from the
shore. Away from the garden, the dominant
vegetation was xerophytic scrub, with scattered
Mimosa trees, according with the species’ known
habitat requirements3, i.e. semi-open agricultural
lands and suburban areas. The two were in flight
together, and one was heard singing several times.
This behaviour could suggest pair-formation and
possible breeding activity. Identification was
straightforward given the grey upperparts and white
underparts, the white supercilium and tail pattern.
The new localities are also in the northern Andes
of Ecuador, and suggest that the species may be
currently colonising Ecuador from Colombia, a
spread perhaps promoted by the modification of
natural environments by human activity, as in
Nicaragua4. The Cuicocha record is also the highest
known site for the species, at 3,100 m, representing
an altitudinal range extension of 500 m.
P-YH is especially grateful to Fanny Ines Paucar Muñoz
for her assistance during his visit to Ecuador. DFC-H
thanks Maria Elena & Laura Heredia for financial and
logistic support, and appreciates the support of the ‘2001
Protected Areas’ group of the Life Sciences College,
Universidad San Francisco de Quito, especially Dr
Gunther Reck. The staff of the Cotacachi-Cayapas
Ecological Reserve was very also helpful. Paul
Greenfield and Christopher Canaday provided
constructive suggestions on the manuscript.
1. Fjeldså, J. & Krabbe, N. (1990) Birds of the high
Andes. Copenhagen: Zool. Mus., University of
Copenhagen & Svendborg: Apollo Books.
2. Hilty, S. L. & Brown, W. L. (1986) A guide to the
birds of Colombia. Princeton, NJ: Princeton
3. Ridgely, R. S. & Greenfield P. J. (2001) The birds of
Ecuador, 1. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
4. Weidenfeld, D. A., Morales M., J. & Lezama L., M.
(2001) Sight records of new species for Nicaragua
and noteworthy records on range and occurrence.
Cotinga 15: 53–57.
5. Komar, O. (2001) Contribuciones a la avifauna de
El Salvador. Cotinga 16: 36–41.
6. Strewe, R. (2000) New distributional sightings of
28 species of birds from Dpto. Nariño, SW
Colombia. Bull. Brit. Orn. Club 120: 189–195.
Diego F. Cisneros-Heredia
Life Sciences College, Universidad San Francisco de
Quito, Ave. Interoceánica y calle Diego de Robles,
Campus Cumbayá, P.O. Box 17-12-841, Quito, Ecuador.
Le Fruchâge, Av. de Viton, 84400 Apt, France. E-mail: