Blue-cowled Barbet (Eubucco steerii): revise global status?

BirdLife species factsheet for Blue-cowled Barbet

Blue-cowled Barbet (Eubucco steerii) is endemic to Peru, where is occurs from Amazonas and Loreto south to northern Huánuco (Short and Horne 2001). It inhabits submontane humid forest at 1,000-2,000 m, but is also found in old secondary forest (del Hoyo et al. 2002). The global population size has not been quantified directly. Based on density estimates of a similar-sized congener (E. richardsoni: 8 mature individuals/km2 in Peru; Santini et al. 2018) and assuming that around 10% of the mapped range is occupied (i.e. 10% of 61,700 km2), the total population may number c. 49,999 mature individuals. As the species is described as ‘uncommon’ (Stotz et al. 1996), the population size is here tentatively placed in the band 20,000-49,999 mature individuals. The principal threat to the species is forest loss for cattle ranging and agricultural plantations (Bird et al. 2011).

Blue-cowled Barbet has been considered Near Threatened, approaching the threshold for listing as threatened under Criterion A2c+3c+4c (BirdLife International 2020). However, new information on trends in habitat availability suggest that the species may warrant a change in its Red List status. Therefore, we have fully reviewed the species here against all criteria.

Criterion A – The population trend has not been assessed directly. Forest loss over the past ten years has been low within the range (<5%; Tracewski et al. 2016, Global Forest Watch 2020; one generation length being 3.1 years; Bird et al. 2020*). The species is strictly forest-dependent and may be susceptible to fragmentation and edge effects, and thus population declines may be higher than forest loss. Blue-cowled Barbet is therefore tentatively suspected to decline at <10% over ten years, triggering a listing as Least Concern under Criterion A.

Criterion B – The Extent of Occurrence (EOO) for this species is 96,200 km2. This is too large to meet the threshold for Vulnerable under Criterion B1, and Blue-cowled Barbet may be listed as Least Concern under this criterion. The Area of Occupancy (AOO) has not been quantified following IUCN Guidelines (IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee 2019), and therefore the species cannot be assessed against Criterion B2.

Criterion C – The population of Blue-cowled Barbet is tentatively placed in the band 20,000-49,999 mature individuals. This is too large to warrant listing as threatened under Criterion C, and the species is considered Least Concern under this criterion.

Criterion D – The global population size and range are too large to warrant listing as threatened under this criterion, and therefore Blue-cowled Barbet is considered Least Concern under Criterion D.

Criterion E – To the best of our knowledge, there has been no quantitative analysis of extinction risk conducted for this species. Therefore, it cannot be assessed against this criterion.

Therefore, it is suggested that Blue-cowled Barbet (Eubucco steerii) be listed as Least Concern.We welcome any comments to the proposed listing.

Please note that this topic is not designed to be a general discussion about the ecology of the species, rather a discussion of the species’ Red List status. Therefore, please make sure your comments are relevant to the species’ Red List status and the information requested. By submitting a comment, you confirm that you agree to the Comment Policy.

*Bird generation lengths are estimated using the methodology of Bird et al. (2020), as applied to parameter values updated for use in each IUCN Red List for birds reassessment cycle. Values used for the current assessment are available on request. We encourage people to contact us with additional or improved values for the following parameters; adult survival (true survival accounting for dispersal derived from an apparently stable population); mean age at first breeding; and maximum longevity (i.e. the biological maximum, hence values from captive individuals are acceptable).

An information booklet on the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here and the Red List Criteria Summary Sheet can be downloaded here. Detailed guidance on IUCN Red List terms and definitions and the application of the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here.


Bird, J. P.; Buchanan, J. M.; Lees, A. C.; Clay, R. P.; Develey, P. F.; Yépez, I.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2011. Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions 18(3): 273-281.

Bird, J. P.; Martin, R.; Akçakaya, H. R.; Gilroy, J.; Burfield, I. J.; Garnett, S.; Symes, A.; Taylor, J.; Šekercioğlu, Ç.; Butchart, S. H. M. (2020). Generation lengths of the world’s birds and their implications for extinction risk. Conservation Biology online first view.

BirdLife International. 2020. Species factsheet: Eubucco steerii. (Accessed 30 April 2020).

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J. 2002. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Global Forest Watch. 2020. Interactive Forest Change Mapping Tool. (Accessed 30 April 2020).

IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee. 2019. Guidelines for using the IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria. Version 14.

Santini, L.; Isaac, N. J. B.; Ficetola, G. F. 2018. TetraDENSITY: A database of population density estimates in terrestrial vertebrates. Global Ecology and Biogeography 27: 787-791.

Short, L.; Horne, J. 2001. Toucans, Barbets and Honeyguides. Oxford University Press, Oxford, UK.

Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago, USA.

Tracewski, Ł.; Butchart, S. H. M.; Di Marco, M.; Ficetola, G. F.; Rondinini, C.; Symes, A.; Wheatley, H.; Beresford, A. E.; Buchanan, G. M. 2016. Toward quantification of the impact of 21st-century deforestation on the extinction risk of terrestrial vertebrates. Conservation Biology 30: 1070-1079.

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3 Responses to Blue-cowled Barbet (Eubucco steerii): revise global status?

  1. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Global Forest Change data on tree cover loss up to 2019 have now been released and made available via Global Forest Watch. Based on these data, over ten years approximately 4.1% of tree cover with 75% canopy cover was lost from within the species’s range (Global Forest Watch 2020). This does not affect the above assessment under Criterion A.

  2. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    The window for consultation is now closed. We will analyse and interpret the new information and post a preliminary decision on this species’s Red List status on this page in early July.

    Thank you,
    BirdLife Red List Team

  3. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Preliminary proposal

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2020 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classification outlined in the initial forum discussion.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline in mid-July, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from those in the initial proposal.

    The final 2020 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2020/January 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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