Tag Archives: Martinique

Turdus lherminieri ssp. ‘Martinique’

Martinique Forest Thrush (Turdus lherminieri ssp.)

The Forest Thrush (Turdus lherminieri (Lafresnaye)) inhabits, respectively inhabited some of the islands of the Lesser Antilles, where it is known from Dominica, Guadeloupe, and Montserrat as well as from Saint Lucia.

The species is, however, not known from Martinique, which is located between Dominica and Saint Lucia, but almost for sure did once occur there as well and probably did so with an endemic subspecies; yet currently there is no proof so far for that assumption, thus I will only briefly mention this assumption here.

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edited: 02.05.2022

Amazona martinica (Clark)

Martinique Amazon (Amazona martinica)

The Martinique Amazon is known from several eyewitness accounts and at least a single, yet brief description.

The species was very closely related to the still existing Red-necked Amazon (Amazona arausiaca (Statius Müller)) from Dominica and the Saint Lucia Amazon (Amazona versicolor (Statius Müller)) from Saint Lucia and formed a superspecies together with them. 

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The Martinique Amazon appears to have been incredible common, and the early European settlers saw it only as a pest, so did mention it but did never give any description of it, for example: 

Jean-Baptiste Labat, a French glergyman, who was the appointed procurator-general of all the Dominican convents in the Antilles, is the only one who gave at least a brief description of this species in which he mentioned that it was very much identical to the Red-necked Amazon yet differed from it in that its head feathers were rather slate than blue and in that it had less red feathers in its plumage.

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References:

[1] Jean-Baptiste Labat: Nouveau voyage aux isles de l’Amerique: contenant l’histoire naturelle de ces pays, l’origine, les moeurs, la religion & le gouvernement des habitans anciens & modernes: Les guerres & les evenemens singuliers qui y sont arrivez pendant le séjour que l’auteur y a fait. A Paris, au palais: Chez Theodore le Gras 1742
[2] Charles A. Woods; Florence E. Sergile: Biogeography of the West Indies: Patterns and Perspectives, Second Edition. CRC Press; Auflage: Subsequent 2001

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Depiction from: ‘Lionel Walter Rothschild: Extinct birds: an attempt to unite in one volume a short account of those birds which have become extinct in historical times: that is, within the last six or seven hundred years: to which are added a few which still exist, but are on the verge of extinction. London: Hutchinson & Co. 1907’

(public domain)

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edited: 13.02.2020

Troglodytes aedon ssp. martinicensis (Sclater)

Martinique House Wren (Troglodytes aedon ssp. martinicensis)  

This bird was described in the year 1866, it was restricted to the island of Martinique, where it inhabited the native rain forests.  

The Martinique House Wren was last seen in 1886, having been exterminated by introduced rats and feral cats.  

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References:  

[1] Charles B. Cory: Descriptions of new species of birds from the West Indies. The Auk 3(3): 381-382. 1886 
[2] John C. Barlow: Another colony of the Guadeloupe House Wren. Wilson Bulletin 90(4): 635-637. 1978 

[3] Dieter Luther: Die ausgestorbenen Vögel der Welt. Westarp Wissenschaften 1986  

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edited: 06.09.2019

Pholidoscelis major Duméril & Bibron

Martinique Giant Ameiva (Pholidoscelis major)

The Martinique Giant Ameiva was described in 1839; it is known exclusively from museum specimens, whose origins appear to be unknown, they may have come from the island of Martinique or from the so-called Les Iles de la petite Terre, offshore Guadeloupe.

The species disappeared most likely due to predation by introduced mammalian predators.

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Depiction from: ‘C. Duméril; Gabriel Bibron: Erpétologie générale, ou, Histoire naturelle complète des reptiles. Paris: Roret 1834-1854’

(public domain)

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edited: 02.05.2021

Psittacara sp. ‘Martinique’

Martinique Conure (Psittacara sp.)

It’s a fact that parakeets of the genus Psittacara (formerly included in the genus Aratinga) inhabit the islands of the Greater Antilles, where several species still occur on the islands of Cuba, Hispaniola, Jamaica and Puerto Rico; at least one additional subfossil form is known from the island of Barbuda in the Lesser Antilles, which makes it likely that others were once distributed on the islands inbetween. 

Again, some other forms are known from accounts only, and some of these accounts are rather scanty and unfortunately sometimes not very trustworthy.

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The Martinique Conure, however, is known from the description given by M.-J. Brisson in 1760, which again, apparently refers to a description and depiction by George Edwards from 1751 (see below).

G. Edwards in his description just writes:

… My Friend for whom I made the Draught, told me, the Bird was brought from the West-Indies. …” [1]

And then, M.-J. Brisson states:

Habitat in Martinique & variis Americae regionibus

translation:

Lives in Martinique and various American regions

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The bird depicted here is a Brown-throated Parakeet (Eupsittula pertinax (L.)), which occurs naturally with about 14 subspecies in northern South America as well as on many of the small islands off the northern coast of Venezuela, but cannot be assigned to any of the known subspecies without any doubt whatsoever.

There is now the possibility that this species was once much more widespread and might indeed have inhabited some of the islands of the Lesser Antilles, but I personally think that the parakeet depicted here was just caught somewhere on the South American mainland and was then brought to the West Indies from where again it was purchased by the person in whose possession it was when G. Edwards described and drew it.

If the island of Martinique ever harbored an endemic species of parakeet it probably was more closely realted to the more or less plain green (with a little red) species from the genus Psittacara known from subfossil remains from Barbuda, and found still being alive in the Greater Antilles. 

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References:

[1] George Edwards: A natural history of uncommon birds: and of some other rare and undescribed animals, quadrupedes, fishes, reptiles, insects, &, exhibited in two hundred and ten copper-plates, from designs copied immediately from nature, and curiously coloured after life, with a full and accurate description of each figure, to which is added A brief and general idea of drawing and painting in water-colours; with instructions for etching on copper with aqua fortis; likewise some thoughts on the passage of birds; and additions to many subjects described in this work. London: printed for the author, at the College of Physicians in Warwick-Lane 1743-1751
[2] Mathurin-Jaques Brisson: Ornithologie, ou, Méthode contenant la division des oiseaux en ordres, sections, genres, especes & leurs variétés: a laquelle on a joint une description exacte de chaque espece, avec les citations des auteurs qui en ont traité, les noms quils leur ont donnés, ceux que leur ont donnés les différentes nations, & les noms vulgaires. Parisiis: Ad Ripam Augustinorum, apud Cl. Joannem-Baptistam Bauche, bibliopolam, ad Insigne S. Genovesae, & S. Joannis in Deserto 1760

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Depiction from: ‘George Edwards: A natural history of uncommon birds: and of some other rare and undescribed animals, quadrupedes, fishes, reptiles, insects, &, exhibited in two hundred and ten copper-plates, from designs copied immediately from nature, and curiously coloured after life, with a full and accurate description of each figure, to which is added A brief and general idea of drawing and painting in water-colours; with instructions for etching on copper with aqua fortis; likewise some thoughts on the passage of birds; and additions to many subjects described in this work. London: printed for the author, at the College of Physicians in Warwick-Lane 1743-1751’

(public domain)

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edited: 20.09.2019