email a friend
printable version
Tachira Antpitta Grallaria chthonia
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information
BirdLife Species Champion Become a BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme Supporter
For information about BirdLife Species Champions and Species Guardians visit the BirdLife Preventing Extinctions Programme.

There have been no records of this species since 1956, and, although it may persist within a large national park, it probably has a tiny population which is likely to be declining owing to ongoing forest loss in the region (Collar et al. 1992). For these reasons it qualifies as Critically Endangered.

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

17 cm. Medium-sized antpitta. Brown upperparts with grey crown and nape, and black barring on mantle. Brown throat and ear-coverts with white malar stripe. Whitish lower underparts with greyish barring on flanks and breast. Similar spp. Scaled Antpitta G. guatimalensis has ochraceous lower underparts and lacks barring on breast and flanks. Voice Unknown.

Distribution and population
Grallaria chthonia is known only from the type-locality, at Hacienda la Providencia on the río Chiquito in south-west Táchira, west Venezuela, where four specimens were collected in 1955-1956. The type locality has since been deforested, although there is still forest in the vicinity; specific searches in September 1990 and December 1996 failed to find the species (M. Pearman in litt. 1995, Boesman 1998, P. Boesman in litt. 2000).

Population justification
The population is precautionarily estimated to number fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals, for consistency with other species of similar status.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline at a rate of 1-19% over ten years, owing to ongoing habitat degradation in the region. This part of the Andes is one of the most seriously threatened by deforestation for agriculture (Sharpe and Lentino 2008).

All specimens were collected in dense cloud-forest at elevations of 1,800-2,100 m.

In 1990, habitat at the type-locality was reportedly undisturbed above 1,150 m, but deforestation was proceeding rapidly in the area (M. Pearman in litt. 1995). In 1996, the río Chiquito valley was entirely coffee plantations below 1,600 m, with much habitat at 1,900-2,200 m converted to grow potatoes and other vegetables (P. Boesman in litt. 2000, Sharpe and Lentino 2008). The next valley to the west had some habitat at c.1,850 m, and there is presumably habitat in between these two valleys (P. Boesman in litt. 2000). Some 17% of the El Tamá National Park has been affected by agriculture, especially coffee plantations, and small-scale cattle raising (Sharpe and Lentino 2008). This species is considered Critically Endangered at the national level in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008).

Conservation Actions Underway
The type-locality is within El Tamá National Park. Conservation Actions Proposed
Carry out further surveys (especially in May-June when it should be most vocal) in the vicinity of the type-locality to attempt to relocate the species and assess its current status and ecological requirements (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995, P. Boesman in litt. 2000, Sharpe and Lentino 2008). Reassess the potential impact of deforestation. Ensure the de facto protection of El Tamá National Park (Sharpe and Lentino 2008). Determine its taxonomic status (Sharpe and Lentino 2008, Sharpe in litt. 2011).

Boesman, P. 1998. Some new information on the distribution of Venezuelan birds. Cotinga: 27-39.

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.

Ridgely, R. S.; Tudor, G. 1994. The birds of South America. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

Rodríguez, J. P.; Rojas-Suárez, F. 1995. Libro Rojo de la fauna Venezolana. Provita, Caracas.

Sharpe, C.J. ; Lentino, M. 2008. Hormiguero tororoi tachirense Grallaria chthonia. In: Rodríguez, J.P. and Rojas-Surez, F. (eds), Libro Rojo de la fauna Venezolana. Tercera Edición, pp. 144. Provita & Shell Venezuela, S.A., Caracas, Venezuela.

Sharpe, C.J. 2008. Aves. In: Rodríguez, J.P. & Rojas-Suárez, F. (ed.), Libro Rojo de la fauna Venezolana, 3rd edition, pp. 122-157. Provita & Shell Venezuela, S.A.,, Caracas, Venezuela.

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)

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.

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

Text account compilers
Capper, D., Mahood, S., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Boesman, P., Pearman, M., Sharpe, C J

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Grallaria chthonia. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 Critically Endangered
Family Formicariidae (Antthrushes and antpittas)
Species name author Wetmore & Phelps, 1956
Population size 1-49 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 500 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species