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Esmeraldas Woodstar Chaetocercus berlepschi
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This species has a very small and severely fragmented range. There are also on-going and very rapid declines in its range, and presumably population. It is therefore listed as Endangered.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Acestrura berlepschi Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Acestrura berlepschi BirdLife International (2004), Acestrura berlepschi Collar and Andrew (1988), Acestrura berlepschi Stotz et al. (1996), Acestrura berlepschi BirdLife International (2000), Acestrura berlepschi Collar et al. (1994)

6-7 cm. Tiny hummingbird with striking violet, green and white plumage in male. Coppery-green upperparts, flanks and narrow breast-band in male, which also has iridescent rosy-violet gorget, short white postocular, greyish-white breast and forked tail, with outermost feathers reduced to shafts. Female has coppery-green upperparts with a white post-ocular stripe, and peach-suffused whitish underparts, with buff-tinged throat, and tawny tail with green central rectrices and a black subterminal bar. Both sexes have a straight black bill. Similar spp. Underparts pattern of both sexes differs from all other woodstars in range, as does tail pattern of female. Voice a series of rapid chit-cheet and chit-chit-cheet calls

Distribution and population
Chaetocercus berlepschi is restricted to a small area of west Ecuador (Esmeraldas, Manabí, Santa Elena and Guayas), where it is very rare and localised (fewer than 15 known sites). Very little suitable habitat remains, and the species's distribution is extremely fragmented. Small numbers persist south of the río Ayampe, Machalilla National Park (Becker et al. 2000), Guayas, between October and March, but it is apparently absent during other months. In 1993, it was found near Súa, Esmeraldas, in an area severely threatened by logging (Best et al. 1996), and, in 1998, one male was recorded on Isla de la Plata (Becker et al. 2000). Several males were observed in the Loma Alta Communal Reserve, Guayas, in December 2002 and 2003, and a male was at Dos Mangas Communal Reserve, Guayas in December 2005 (Agreda 2007). During 2007-2008, 11 new localities were found in the lowlands of Manabí and Santa Elena (Harris et al. 2009).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
A very rapid and ongoing population decline is suspected on the basis of continued habitat destruction and fragmentation. The reduction has been estimated to be greater than 50% over a ten year period (Harris et al. 2009).

This hummingbird inhabits semi-deciduous to evergreen moist (c.1,500 mm annual rainfall) forest along the Pacific coast of western Ecuador from around sea level to 750 m elevation (Becker et al. 2000, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001, Agreda 2007, Harris et al. 2009). The vast majority of records come from the rainy season, i.e. from mid-October until late May. The species is found along a gradient from low elevation (0-250 m), partially disturbed areas (Becker et al. 2000, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001) to more intact, higher elevation (250-750 m), misty "garúa" (low-level cloud) forest in the hills of the Cordillera Chongón-Colonche (Agreda 2007). A recent record from a garden (J. Croxall in litt. 2011) shows at least a partial tolerance for degraded habitat. It appears to breed in lower elevation, disturbed areas along the central Ecuadorian coast and move to northwestern Ecuador for the non-breeding season (Harris et al. 2009). A male studied in 2005 fed mainly in a flowering patch of understorey herb Razisea (Agreda 2007). Other common foodplants include Kohleria spicata, Cornutia pyramidae and flowering Vitex gigantea trees (Harris et al. 2009, E. von Horstman in litt. 2012). A total of 21 active nests were encountered between October and April, at 30-350 m elevation and within 14 km of the sea (Harris et al. 2009, Juiña et al. 2010). Most were in areas disturbed by cattle ranching, but adjacent to large blocks of forest (Harris et al. 2009, Juiña et al. 2010). Nesting biology is discussed further by Juiña et al. (2010).

All forest-types within its range have greatly diminished owing to logging and agricultural clearance (Dodson and Gentry 1991, Best et al. 1996). Persistent grazing by goats and cattle damages the understorey, prevents regeneration and is a serious current threat (Dodson and Gentry 1991, Pople et al. 1997). Rapid habitat loss continues, at least in unprotected areas, and will soon remove almost all extant forest (Dodson and Gentry 1991). Uncontrolled forest fires are a major threat to forest in the Cordillera Chongón-Colonche (E. von Horstman in litt. 2000, 2008). Even in Machalilla, its habitat is threatened by illegal settlement, deforestation, livestock-grazing and habitat clearance by people with land rights (Becker et al. 2000, Harris et al. 2009)..

Conservation Actions Underway
CITES Appendix II. It occurs in Machalilla National Park, but this provides inadequate protection (Harris et al. 2009). The 7.5 km2 Loma Alta Ecological Reserve receives local community support as a watershed reserve and conservation area (Becker and López Lanús 1997). The Chongón-Colonche Protection Forest may support the species, and a biological corridor linking forest remnants between this site and the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest is being set up (E. von Horstman in litt. 2012).Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey remnant moist forest in the Colonche Hills. Determine its status on Isla de la Plata. Exclude roaming livestock from Machalilla (Best et al. 1996, Becker and López Lanús 1997). Prevent further loss and degradation of habitat within Machalilla. Map and protect forest within the Cordillera Chongón-Colonche (Becker and López Lanús 1997, E. von Horstman in litt. 2000, 2008). Encourage ecotourism at Loma Alta Ecological Reserve to financially benefit local people (Becker and López Lanús 1997). Establish a new protected area within the breeding habitat of the species (Harris et al. 2009).

Ágreda, A. E. 2007. Feeding ecology and conservation of Esmeraldas Woodstar Chaetocercus berlepschi in the Chongón-Colonche Hills, western Ecuador. Cotinga: 38-41.

Becker, C. D.; López Lanús, B. 1997. Conservation value of a Garua forest in the dry season: a bird survey in Reserva Ecológica de Loma Alta, Ecuador. Cotinga: 66-74.

Becker, D.; Agreda, A.; Richter, A.; Rodriguez, O. 2000. Interesting bird records from the Colonche Hills, western Ecuador. Cotinga 13: 55-58.

Best, B. J.; Checker, M.; Thewlis, R. M.; Best, A. L.; Duckworth, W. 1996. New bird breeding data from southwestern Ecuador. Ornitologia Neotropical 7(1): 69-73.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Dodson, C. H.; Gentry, A. H. 1991. Biological extinction in western Ecuador. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 78: 273-295.

Harris, J. B. C.; greda, A. E.; Juia, M. E.; Freymann, B. P. 2009. Distribution, plumage and conservation status of the endemic Esmeraldas Woodstar (Chaetocercus berlepschii) of western Ecuador. Wilson Journal of Ornithology 121(2): 227-239.

Juiña, M. E.; Harris, J. B. C.; Greeney, H. F.; Hickman, B. R. 2010. Descripción del nido y cuido parental de la Esmeraldeña (Chaetocercus berlepschi) en el occidente del Ecuador. Ornitologia Neotropical 21(3): 313-322.

Juiña, M. E.; Harris, J. B. C.; Greeney, H. F.; Hickman, B. R. 2010. Descripción del nido y cuido parental de la Esmeraldeña (Chaetocercus berlepschi) en el occidente del Ecuador. Ornitologia Neotropical 21(3): 313-322.

Pople, R. G.; Burfield, I. J.; Clay, R. P.; Cope, D. R.; Kennedy, C. P.; López Lanús, B.; Reyes, J.; Warren, B.; Yagual, E. 1997. Bird surveys and conservation status of three sites in western Ecuador: final report of Project Ortalis '96. CSB Publications, Cambridge, UK.

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.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

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

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Isherwood, I., Pilgrim, J., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A. & Khwaja, N.

Horstman, E. & Croxall, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Chaetocercus berlepschi. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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 - Esmeraldas woodstar (Chaetocercus berlepschi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
Species name author Simon, 1889
Population size 250-999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,400 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species