Archived 2010-2011 topics: Antioquia Antpitta (Grallaria fenwickorum): newly described, and Critically Endangered?

Antioquia Antpitta Grallaria fenwickorum was recently described from the Western Andes of Colombia (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos 2010). The species is known only from the Colibrí del Sol Bird Reserve and immediate area, on the south-eastern slope of the Páramo del Sol massif. It appears to be restricted to oak-dominated montane forest at 2,500-3,300 m (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos 2010), on the less humid east-facing or sheltered valleys of the Western Andes, where territories are largely restricted to Chusquea bamboo thickets (Barrera et al. 2010).

The known population numbers 24 territories; an extrapolation of habitat preferences across the reserve and adjacent suitable habitat, based on contour maps of the eastern and south-eastern slopes of the Páramo del Sol massif, gives an estimated Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of 5.8 km2 and thus a cautious estimate of between 57-156 territories (Barrera et al. 2010). Each territory refers to a singing adult male, so this figure does not necessarily translate to an estimate of the number of pairs (Barrera et al. 2010).

The total range of G. fenwickorum is suspected to exceed the currently known range (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos 2010); however, surveys in suitable areas have failed to locate the species (Barrera et al. 2010). This suggests that the species has a particularly restricted range, in an area that has been severely impacted by deforestation. It is suggested that the species could range lower in elevation, below 2,500 m (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos 2010); however, the majority of humid montane forest below that elevation on the eastern slope of the Western Andes has been cleared (Barrera et al. 2010). The species’s habitat continues to be threatened by moderate levels of deforestation for pasture and cultivation, and is potentially threatened by mineral extraction (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos 2010), which is exacerbated by the largely private ownership of land in the Páramo de Sol massif and the low level of habitat protection in this region (Barrera et al. 2010).

Following recommendations put forward by Barrera et al. (2010) and Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos (2010), it is proposed that this species be listed as Critically Endangered under criteria B1a+b(i,ii,iii,v); C2a(ii), on the basis that the EOO is estimated to be less than 100 km2, the species is only known to occupy one location, and declines are projected in the EOO, Area of Occupancy, area, extent and/or quality of habitat, and the number of mature individuals, which is estimated at fewer than 250, with at least 90% of these in one sub-population. Comments on this proposed listing would be welcomed.

Barrera, L. F., Bartels, A. and Fundación ProAves de Colombia (2010) A new species of antpitta (family Grallariidae) from the Colibrí del Sol Bird Reserve, Colombia. Conservación Colombiana 13: 8-24

Carantón-Ayala, D. and Certuche-Cubillos, K. (2010) A new species of antpitta (Grallariidae: Grallaria) from the northern sector of the Western Andes of Colombia. Ornitología Colombiana 9: 56-70.

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One Response to Archived 2010-2011 topics: Antioquia Antpitta (Grallaria fenwickorum): newly described, and Critically Endangered?

  1. Andy Symes says:

    Fundacion ProAves have provided the following information:

    As detailed in the publication (Barrera & Bartels 2010) and text above, we concur that Grallaria fenwickorum be listed as Critically Endangered under criteria B1a+b(i,ii,iii,v); C2a(ii). ProAves continues to undertake research on Grallaria fenwickorum. Ornithological surveys of the Paramo del Sol massif by ProAves and CorpoUraba failed to locate additional territories in 2010. In early 2011 the second year of monitoring of the species will be completed to compare the population. Unfortunately, the sole territorial bird (or pair) outside the Colibri del Sol Bird Reserve (in a small forest fragment) was lost in mid-2010.

    A worm feeding station having been set up and successfully operated with a family of Grallaria fenwickorum visiting the feeder 1-2 a day in a bamboo thicket across from the reserve lodge. This has alleviated pressure for playback on the species in the reserve by visiting birders.

    Fundacion ProAves (in press) The status of various threatened or potentially threatened birds in Colombia. Conservación Colombiana 14

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