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Ecuadorian Tapaculo Scytalopus robbinsi
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This species has a very small range within which habitat is severely fragmented and declining in extent and quality (Krabbe and Schulenberg 2003). The population is suspected to be declining rapidly owing to ongoing habitat loss. As a result of these factors, it qualifies as Endangered.

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

11 cm. A small grey tapaculo with relatively heavy bill and barred brown flanks. The nape, lower back, uppertail-coverts, rump and inner remiges are usually dark brown; tail blackish; bill black. Female has more brown below. Similar spp Very similar in appearance to a number of other tapaculos but these do not occur within its range. Voice Male song is a minute-long series of double notes delivered at pace.

Distribution and population
Scytalopus robbinsi occupies a small known range at Azuay and El Oro on the Pacific slope in south-west Ecuador. Its population size has not been estimated but it is reportedly rarer than El Oro Parakeet Pyrhura orcesi (R. Ridgely in litt. 2003), which occupies a very similar range and whose population has been estimated at less than 1,000 individuals and declining. The species is suspected to be declining rapidly based on estimates of habitat loss, degradation and fragmentation.

Population justification
This species occupies a similar range to El Oro Parakeet, the population of which has been estimated at 2,000 to 10,000 individuals in 2004 (BirdLife International 2004). Ecuadorian Tapaculo is more patchily distributed within this range and comparisons suggest that it is less common (R. Ridgely in litt. 2003). It is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, equating to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals. Population estimates for the El Oro Parakeet have since been revised downwards and it maybe necessary to revise the population estimate for Scytalopus robbinsi in the future.

Trend justification
A very rapid and ongoing population decline is suspected, based on rapid habitat loss within the species's restricted range. Deforestation at the species's stronghold in Azuay has been severe and it has become hard to find in Buenaventura where it was reportedly common 12 years ago (L. Navarete in litt. 2006).

It is a forest dependent species, occurring in the undergrowth of wet forest apparently favouring the most humid areas (Krabbe and Schulenberg 1997, Mery Juiña in litt. 2006). It has been recorded between 700 and 1,250 m above sea level (Krabbe and Schulenberg 1997).

The species is threatened by habitat loss and fragmentation within its small range. As a forest dependent species intolerant of significant habitat modification it is reportedly more susceptible to these threats than El Oro Parakeet Pyrhura orcesi, which occupies a very similar range and is considered to be Endangered. The main threats to remaining habitat are posed by intensification of agriculture, forest clearance for livestock and conversion to plantations.

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in a protected area at Buenaventura where it is apparently rare and has declined in the past 12 years (L. Navarete in litt. 2006). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct playback surveys in September and October in Buenaventura and within the species's altitudinal range at Azuay to monitor population numbers and trends. Encourage SE Guayas and El Oro banana companies to protect remaining forest within their catchments (P. Coopmans in litt. 2006). Establish protected areas within the species's range to help protect remaining forest fragments.

BirdLife International. 2004. Threatened birds of the world 2004. CD-Rom.

Krabbe, N. K.; Schulenberg, T. S. 1997. Species limits and natural history of Scytalopus tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae), with descriptions of the Ecuadorian taxa, including three new species. Ornithological Monographs 48: 47-88.

Krabbe, N. K.; Schulenberg, T. S. 2003. Family Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D.A. (ed.), Handbook of birds of the world, pp. 748-787. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Further web sources of information
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
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Allinson, T

Coopmans, P., Juiña, M., Navarete, L., Ridgely, R., Schaefer, H.M., Krabbe, N.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Scytalopus robbinsi. 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 Endangered
Family Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
Species name author Krabbe & Schulenberg, 1997
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,200 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species