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Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer Diglossa gloriosissima
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After 40 years without any records this species has been rediscovered, with records from several new locations. It has a very small known range, within which habitat loss is continuing, and is therefore listed as Endangered, but if it is found to be more widespread and proves to be tolerant of some habitat degradation it is likely to become eligible for downlisting.

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

14.5 cm. Smart, chestnut-and-black flowerpiercer. Black with blue shoulder patch and rufous-chestnut lower breast and belly. Similar spp. Black-throated Flowerpiercer D. brunneiventris is more extensively rufous below, with black limited to small throat patch, and greyish flanks and shoulder. Voice A house sparrow-like but higher pitched chirrup, and complex, hig-pitched vocalisations similar to those of other flowerpiercers.

Distribution and population
Diglossa gloriosissima is local and apparently scarce in the West Andes of Colombia (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). Until recently it was known from three well-spaced localities in the West Andes of Colombia: Páramo Frontino and Cerro Paramillo, both in Antioquia, and Cerro Munchique, in Cauca (Moynihan 1979, Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). The species went unreported for 40 years after a record from the páramo at Frontino in 1965 (Moynihan 1979), but there have been more recent reports from three localities. The first, from near Jardin, Antioquia, in October 2003 (Pulgarín et al. 2005, Pulgarín and Munera 2006), was closely followed by records at the type locality (Flórez et al. 2004), and 70 km further south at Farallones del Citará (Pulgarín et al. 2005, P. C. Pulgarín in litt. 2006), both in August 2004. At the latter site, three were netted and three others were seen in the field during three days of fieldwork (Pulgarín and Munera 2006). At the type locality, ten were observed and three collected during six days of fieldwork, and the species was described as locally common (Flórez et al. 2004). It has since also been recorded at Tatama National Park, near Cerro Montezuma and Reserva Mesenia-Paramillo near Mesenia (O. Cortes in litt. 2011). The small number of sightings probably reflects the dearth of fieldwork at these sites and on high mountains between them (Parker et al. 1996), with the exception of the relatively well-known Cerro Munchique, and likely reflects the lack of exploration and difficulties related to gaining access to the highlands of the western cordillera.

Population justification
The species is not uncommon in suitable habitat, within a very small range. A population estimate of 1,000-2,499 mature individuals seems appropriate, but this is provisional and requires confirmation. This equates to 1,500-3,749 individuals in total, rounded here to 1,500-4,000 individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and on-going population decline is precautionarily maintained owing to rates of habitat loss and degradation, however, it has been suggested that the population may in fact be stable (P. Pulgarin and O. Cortes in litt. 2012)


It occurs near the timberline at elevations of 3,000-3,800 m in semi-humid/humid montane scrub and elfin forest edge, apparently ranging only a few metres or tens of metres below the páramo edge (Moynihan 1979, Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Parker et al. 1996). It favours Polylepis spp. with other small trees such as Escallonia or Baccharis. (O. Cortes in litt. 2011). Like most members of the genus, however, it does seem able to tolerate some habitat degradation and its population density is fairly high (Flórez et al. 2004). An apparent competitor is Black-throated Flowerpiercer D. brunneiventris, territories of the two species being mutually exclusive in the páramo at Frontino (Moynihan 1979). 

Human settlement and extensive deforestation are threats near Cerro Paramillo. A communication facility, and associated military activity, near the top of Cerro Munchique and its timberline may have an impact (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Generally, the key threat to páramo/elfin forest habitats is livestock-grazing and fires set by tourists or to encourage the vegetation to shoot (Wege and Long 1995, Kessler and Herzog 1998,  P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, Koenen and Koenen 2000). A study in Ecuador found Black Flowerpiercer D. humeralis to be significantly more abundant in páramo that had been unburnt for eight years than in páramo burnt two months before counts (Koenen and Koenen 2000). It is not known whether D. gloriosissima uses the animal-pollinated flowers of herbs and shrubs in less-disturbed páramo (and largely replaced by grasses in frequently burnt páramos [Koenen and Koenen 2000]), but if so, it is likely to be significantly affected by frequent fires. Most areas where there species has recently been found are relatively inaccessible and are currently in protected (private or governmental) areas (P. Pulgarin in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway

The species has been recorded in Paramillo and Munchique National Parks, Reserva Mesenia-Paramillo and Tatama National Park (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, O. Cortes in litt. 2011).  

Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine the population size and trends at the sites with recent records. Survey the high peaks of the West Andes to determine the true extent of the range and overall population size of this species. Support, finance and enforce better conservation measures for the two national parks. Manage protected páramos by increasing the amount of time between fires (Koenen and Koenen 2000). Extend Las Orquídeas National Park into the páramo zone (Flórez et al. 2004).

Fjeldså, J.; Krabbe, N. 1990. Birds of the high Andes. Apollo Books, Copenhagen.

Kessler, M.; Herzog, S. K. 1998. Conservation status in Bolivia of timberline habitats, elfin forest and their birds. Cotinga 10: 50-54.

Koenen, M. T.; Koenen, S. G. 2000. Effects of fire on birds in páramo habitat of northern Ecuador. Ornitologia Neotropical 11: 155-163.

Moynihan, M. 1979. Geographic variation in social behaviour and in adaptations to competition among Andean birds. Publications of the Nuttall Ornithological Club 18: 1-162.

Parker, T. A.; Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases. In: Stotz, D.F.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Parker, T.A.; Moskovits, D.K. (ed.), Neotropical bird ecology and conservation, pp. 113-436. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Pulgarín-R., P. C.; Múnera-P., W. A. 2006. New bird records from Farallones del Citará, Colombian Western Cordillera. Boletín SAO 16: 44-53.

Pulgarin, P.C.; Munera, W. A.; Solis, I. 2005. Fotos aves Citará. Boletín SAO XV: 138-142.

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

Vuilleumier, F. 1969. Systematics and evolution in Diglossa (Aves, Coerebidae). American Museum Novitates 2381: 1-44.

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Capper, D., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A., Temple, H.

Pulgarín, P., Salaman, P., Cortes, O.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Diglossa gloriosissima. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

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.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Chestnut-bellied flower-piercer (Diglossa gloriosissima) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Thraupidae (Tanagers)
Species name author Chapman, 1912
Population size 1000-2499 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 90 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species