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Watkins's Antpitta Grallaria watkinsi
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species has a small range (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2) , and is now believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion combined with declining range size and habitat extent/quality. It is known from more than ten locations and not yet considered to be severely fragmented. The population is also predicted to decline by 10-30% over the next three generations. For these reasons, the species has been uplisted to Near Threatened.

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

Distribution and population
Grallaria watkinsi is a Tumbesian endemic with a restricted range in south-west Ecuador (mainly El Oro and Loja provinces) and extreme north-west Peru (Tumbes department), with an isolated population on the coastal cordillera of south-west Manabi and western Guayas, Ecuador (Ridgely and Tudor 1994).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
Freile et al. (2010) predict a population decline of 10-30% over the next three generations, estimated by BirdLife to be 11 years, based on the likely rate of habitat loss (c.290-870 km2 over 10.5 years), thus the species may qualify as Near Threatened under criterion A3c (typically a 20-29% decline over three generations). Of the 18 antpitta species studied by Freile et al. (2010), G. watkinsi had experienced the greatest extent of habitat loss in Ecuador, at 63%. Despite its ability to survive in secondary habitats, the critical degree of habitat degradation that has occurred throughout its range in recent decades has reportedly resulted in the complete devastation of all vegetation cover in large areas (Freile et al. 2010). The species can inhabit dense regenerating scrub and secondary forest, indicating a moderate to high tolerance of habitat degradation and disturbance; however, it is absent from areas described as completely modified or forest patches frequented by livestock. In western Ecuador, remnant forests are generally small and the level of habitat protection is regarded as limited (Freile et al. 2010).

The species generally keeps to dense vegetation where it usually stays on or near the ground (Ridgely and Tudor 1994). It inhabits semi-deciduous forest (Stotz et al. 1996), forest edge (I. Isherwood and J. Willis verbally 1998) and regenerating secondary scrub (Ridgely and Tudor 1994), and although it also occurs in areas of dry deciduous forest, it tends to keep to the greener, denser vegetation in narrow ravines (Parker et al. 1995). It can inhabit dense regenerating scrub and secondary forest (Freile et al. 2010). It may sometimes associate with mixed species flocks of brush-finches and seedeaters (Parker et al. 1995). It has been recorded from 600 to 1,400 m (Stotz et al. 1996), and sometimes as high as 1,700 m (Ridgely and Tudor 1994). Some seasonal altitudinal movement seems likely to take place, but the exact nature of this is unclear (I. Isherwood and J. Willis verbally 1998).

Clearance of forest and scrub for agricultural land, plus the loss of dense understorey through intense grazing by cattle and goats may adversely affect this species (I. Isherwood and J. Willis verbally 1998). However, it is known from several protected areas including Machalilla National Park, Ecuador, and Tumbes Reserved Zone which is part of the North-west Peru Biosphere Reserve (Parker and Carr 1992, Parker et al. 1995).

Conservation measures underway 
It is found within Funcación Jocotoco’s Jorupe Reserve in Ecuador and the El Angolo Reserve in Peru (D. Lebbin in litt. 2012).

Freile, J. F.; Parra, J. L.; Graham, C. H. 2010. Distribution and conservation of Grallaria and Grallaricula antpittas (Grallariidae) in Ecuador. Bird Conservation International 20(4): 410-431.

Parker, T. A.; Carr, J. L. 1992. Status of forest remnants in the Cordillera de la Costa and adjacent areas of southwestern Ecuador (Rapid Assessment Program). Conservation International, Washington, D.C.

Parker, T. A.; Schulenberg, T. S.; Kessler, M.; Wust, W. H. 1995. Natural history and conservation of the endemic avifauna in north-west Peru. Bird Conservation International 5: 201-231.

Ridgely, R. S.; Tudor, G. 1994. 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.

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
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Fisher, S., Harding, M., Sharpe, C J

Becker, D., Angulo Pratolongo, F., Lebbin, D.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Grallaria watkinsi. 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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Formicariidae (Antthrushes and antpittas)
Species name author Chapman, 1919
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 16,600 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species