This discussion was first published as part of the 2012 Red List update, but remains open for comment to enable reassessment in 2013.
Chestnut-capped Piha Lipaugus weberi is restricted to pre-montane forest on the northern slope of the Central Andes of Colombia. It is listed as Endangered under criteria B1a+b(i,ii,iii,iv); C2a(i), on the basis that it occupies a very small and declining range, with an Extent of Occurrence (EOO) estimated by BirdLife at only c.42 km2, in which it is known from five locations, and has a very small population, placed in the band 1,000-2,499 individuals, of which the largest sub-population numbers fewer than 250 individuals (Cuervo et al. 2001), and which is suspected to be in decline overall.
In the Colombian Red List assessment for birds (Renjifo et al. 2002), this species was listed as Critically Endangered under criterion C1 on the basis that its declining population was estimated at fewer than 250 mature individuals and it was thought that the future rate of habitat loss could exceed 80% over 10 years (implying the species should also be listed at Critically Endangered under A3c; A4c, as suggested in the text, but not given with the national category; Renjifo et al. 2002). The same population estimate has also led to the recommendation that it be listed as Critically Endangered under criterion C2a(i) (Fundación ProAves de Colombia 2011).
There is evidently some confusion over the level of habitat fragmentation relevant to this species. According to the IUCN criteria, habitat fragmentation is regarded as severe when over 50% of suitable habitat is in patches too small to support viable populations. Given the extremely small range size of this species, the incorporation of severe fragmentation into the Red List assessment would likely qualify the species for Critically Endangered under criterion B1 (cf. Fundación ProAves de Colombia 2011).
The reassessment of this species is further necessitated by the improving political stability of this region of Colombia, which is facilitating the resumption of agricultural expansion, as well as increased gold mining and exploration, which is also driven by increases in the value of gold (Fundación ProAves de Colombia 2011). Three major hydro-electric dams are under development along the río Porce and new roads are being constructed in the species’s range (Fundación ProAves de Colombia 2011).
Comments are invited on the potential uplisting of this species to Critically Endangered and further information is requested on the level of habitat fragmentation and estimated population size.
Cuervo, A. M., Salaman, P. G. W., Donegan, T. M. and Ochoa, J. M. (2001) A new species of piha (Cotingidae: Lipaugus) from the Cordillera Central of Colombia. Ibis 143: 353-368.
Fundación ProAves de Colombia (2011) Notes on the status of various threatened birds species occurring in Colombia. Conservación Colombiana 15: 22-28
Renjifo, L. M., Franco-Maya, A. M., Amaya-Espinel, J. D., Kattan, G. H. and López-Lanús, B. (2002) Libro rojo de aves de Colombia. Bogotá, Colombia: Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt y Ministerio del Medio Ambiente.
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