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Sooty Ant-tanager Habia gutturalis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

Improved knowledge of this species's distribution indicates that its range is larger than previously thought and no longer approaches the threshold for Vulnerable. However, it is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid decline owing to severe habitat loss, and is therefore considered Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Taxonomic note
The genera Piranga, Habia and Chlorothraupis were formerly placed in Thraupidae but have been moved to Cardinalidae following AOU (2009).

Distribution and population
Habia gutturalis has a restricted range within northern Colombia, where it occurs in the upper Sinú valley at the north end of the west Andes, and east along the north base of the Andes to the middle Magdalena valley (Hilty and Brown 1986). Despite a report that it may benefit from forest destruction (Willis 1972) it is now considered rare across its range (S. L. Hilty in litt. 1986).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'fairly common'.

Trend justification
Data on population trends are lacking, but declines are likely to be occurring as there have been few recent sightings, and severe habitat destruction is ongoing within the species's range. The population is suspected to have declined by c.30% over the last 11 years (Fundación ProAves de Colombia 2011), which may equate to a moderately rapid decline (20-29%) over the last three generations (13 years).

This species occurs in undergrowth in tall secondary and patchy woodland at 100-1,100 m (Isler and Isler 1987), often beside streams. It is highly insectivorous (Isler and Isler 1987), with pairs or small family groups following swarms of army ants or joining mixed-species flocks (Ridgely and Tudor 1989).

Suitable habitat within its range is unprotected and relatively reduced (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). The middle and lower Magdalena valley has been extensively deforested since the 19th century (for agriculture), and clearance of its foothills has been near total since the 1950s (Forero 1989). Deforestation in the Caribbean lowlands of Colombia has been severe (T. Donegan in litt. 2009). In addition to clearance for agriculture, deforestation is being driven by gold mining in the Serranía de San Lucas (T. Donegan in litt. 2009). However, the species shows some resilience to habitat fragmentation, can persist in patches of mature secondary growth and frequents forest borders (T. Donegan in litt. 2009).

Conservation Actions Underway
This species occurs in several protected areas (T. Donegan in litt. 2009). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey known and likely sites within and surrounding the range to determine the full extent of distribution, as well as estimate rates of population decline and range contraction. Conduct ecological studies to identify habitat associations and tolerance of habitat destruction. Protect areas of suitable habitat.

Forero, E. 1989. Colombia. In: Campbell, D.G.; Hammond, H.D. (ed.), Floristic inventory of tropical countries, pp. 355-361. New York Botanical Garden, New York.

Fundación ProAves de Colombia. 2011. Notes on the status of various threatened birds species occurring in Colombia. Conservacion Colombiana 15: 22-28.

Hilty, S. L.; Brown, W. L. 1986. A guide to the birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Isler, M. L.; Isler, P. R. 1987. The tanagers: natural history, distribution, and identification. Smithsonian Institution Press, Washington, DC.

Ridgely, R. S.; Tudor, G. 1989. The birds of South America. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Willis, E. O. 1972. Taxonomy, ecology and behavior of the Sooty Ant-tanager (Habia gutturalis) and other ant tanagers. American Museum Novitates 2480.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J, Taylor, J.

Donegan, T., Hilty, S., Salaman, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Habia gutturalis. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Cardinalidae (Grosbeaks, saltators and allies)
Species name author (Sclater, 1854)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 80,300 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species