Published online by Cambridge University Press: 19 August 2019
We documented the consequences of large-scale habitat loss on a community of Galápagos native bird species on San Cristóbal island, based on point counts conducted between 2010 and 2017. Surprisingly, despite considerable habitat change and a variety of other threats, the landbirds of San Cristóbal have fared much better than on the neighbouring islands Floreana or Santa Cruz. While two species went extinct very soon after human colonisation, the majority have adapted well to subsequent vegetation change and habitat loss. The endemic San Cristóbal Mockingbird Mimus melanotis is more widespread than previously thought and its population seems to be stable since the 1980s. We thus propose a change in IUCN classification from ‘Endangered’ to ‘Near threatened’. We present evidence gained by interviewing locals which suggests that a small population of the Least Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus dubius, classified as ‘Extinct’ by BirdLife International, may have persisted until very recently. Although extensive searches in 2018 and 2019 were unsuccessful, the possibility remains that a few birds may have survived in remote parts of the island. Further searches that involve the general public and other interested parties are therefore deemed necessary.