Perija Starfrontlet (Coeligena consita): request for information.

BirdLife species factsheet for Perija Starfrontlet

Perija Starfrontlet (Coeligena consita) occurs in the Sierra de Perijá along the border of Colombia and Venezuela. Most records come from one locality in Colombia (López-O. et al. 2014, P. Salaman in litt. 2020); the last record from Venezuela dates back to 1942 (del Hoyo et al. 2020).

Information about the Perija Starfrontlet’s ecology is scarce. The species inhabits cloud and elfin forest as well as open shrubland with scattered vegetation (del Hoyo et al. 2020). Known records span an altitude from 2,550 to 3,025 m (del Hoyo et al. 2020). The population size has preliminarily been placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, but the need for further information on the population size, structure and trend has been identified. The most severe threat to the species is the fragmentation and conversion of its habitat caused by uncontrolled colonisation, which is accompanied by cultivation and cattle-ranching, and by mineral exploitation and road construction. These threats mainly affect the lower slopes of the Sierra de Perijá; yet, forest loss seems to have increased since 2016, particularly on the eastern slope (Global Forest Watch 2014).

Perija Starfrontlet is currently listed as Vulnerable under Criterion C2a(i) (BirdLife International 2020). New information on the population size and trend suggest that the species may warrant a change in Red List status. Therefore, it will be re-assessed against all criteria.

Criterion A – The only threat known to the species is the conversion and loss of its habitat; however, the population trend has not been estimated directly. A remote-sensing study found that forest loss within the Perija Starfrontlet’s range over ten years was potentially <2% (Tracewski et al. 2016; see also Global Forest Watch 2020; one generation length being 2.0 years; Bird et al. 2020). Considering that the species occupies a wide variety of habitat, including different types of forests and open shrubland, the species might not qualify as threatened based on forest loss. Given our current information, the population appears to be stable and hence does not approach the threshold for Vulnerable under this criterion. Perija Starfrontlet may be listed as Least Concern under Criterion A.

Criterion B – This species has a small range. Its Extent of Occurrence (EOO) has been estimated at 4,500 km2; the Area of Occupancy (AOO) has not been quantified. As such, the EOO meets the threshold for listing as Endangered under Criterion B1 (EOO < 5,000 km2). However, in order to be listed under this criterion, further conditions have to be met.

Given the relative stability of forested habitat within the range and the Perija Starfrontlet’s tolerance of low levels of habitat conversion, there is no reason to suggest an ongoing decline in the species’s EOO, AOO, quality/extent of habitat or population size, so that condition b is not met. Moreover, the species is not known to undergo extreme fluctuations and so does not meet condition c. As such, the species does not meet enough conditions to be listed as threatened under Criterion B. However, it may meet condition a and therefore qualify for Near Threatened under this criterion: Perija Starfrontlet is currently known from only one locality (eBird 2020, P. Salaman in litt. 2020). However, given that the higher zones of the Sierra de Perijá are still covered by large areas of forest (eBird 2020), it is plausible that the species occurs in further sites as well. There is no indication that the species can be considered severely fragmented per IUCN definition (see IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee 2019). It hence depends on the number of locations** of occurrence whether the species meets the threshold for condition a. If the species were to occur at ≤ 10 locations**, it may be listed as Near Threatened, approaching the threshold for listing as threatened under Criterion B1a; otherwise, it would qualify for Least Concern under this criterion. We therefore ask for recent information on the distribution range of the species and the known or projected areas of occurrence.

Criterion C – The population size of Perija Starfrontlet has been placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, while the lack of exact data and the need for a precise estimate have been acknowledged (BirdLife International 2020). Recent information suggests that the species is rarer than assumed (P. Salaman in litt. 2020). We have no data on the subpopulation structure, but the relatively low level of forest fragmentation in the higher zones of the Sierra de Perijá suggests that the species may form just one subpopulation. However, given that our current information suggest that the population is stable, the species does not qualify for listing as threatened under Criterion C. It may nevertheless be considered Near Threatened, approaching the threshold for listing as threatened under Criterion C2a(ii).

Criterion D – The population size of Perija Starfrontlet has not been estimated directly, but is thought to be smaller than the previous estimate of 2,500-9,999 mature individuals (P. Salaman in litt. 2020). In case that the population is found to number < 1,000 mature individuals, the species may be listed as Vulnerable under Criterion D1. In case that the population is even smaller, numbering < 250 mature individuals, it may be listed as Endangered under Criterion D. We therefore ask for recent information on the population size of the species.

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

Hence, it appears that the only criterion where the species may meet the threshold for listing as threatened is Criterion D. Therefore, up-to-date information is urgently sought regarding the population size and trend of Perija Starfrontlet, the distribution range, as well as the intensity of habitat loss and potential other threats the species may be facing.

Please note that this topic is not designed to be a general discussion about the ecology of the species, rather a discussion of its Red List status. Therefore, please make sure your comments are relevant to the discussion outlined in the topic. 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).

**The term ‘location’ refers to a distinct area in which a single threatening event can rapidly affect all individuals of the taxon present, with the size of the location depending on the area covered by the threatening event. Where a taxon is affected by more than one threatening event, location should be defined by considering the most serious plausible threat (IUCN 2001, 2012).

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.; 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: Coeligena consita. (Accessed 5 February 2020).

del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N.; Kirwan, G. M.; Sharpe, C. J. 2020. Perija Starfrontlet (Coeligena consita). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D. A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain. (Accessed 5 February 2020).

eBird. 2020. eBird: An online database of bird distribution and abundance [web application]. eBird, Ithaca, New York. (Accessed 5 February 2020).

Global Forest Watch. 2020. Interactive Forest Change Mapping Tool. (Accessed 5 February 2020).

IUCN. 2001. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Second edition. IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

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

López-O., J. P.; Avendaño, J. E.; Gutiérrez-Pinto, N.; Cuervo, A. M. 2014. The birds of the Serranía de Perijá: The northernmost avifauna of the Andes. Ornitología Colombiana 14: 62-93.

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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8 Responses to Perija Starfrontlet (Coeligena consita): request for information.

  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 1.3% 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. Very rarely seen. The hummingbird species could be due to clearing of cloud
    forest, human interference (a lot farm in the area), creation of new pastures for cattle.
    Also I seen few flowers the Bomarea spp, Ericacea and Gesneriacea at Perija the main food for Coeligena consita may be for the deforestation
    appears to be naturally rare where it occurs, with a very patchy distribution.
    The Surveys at Perija over a three year period that I visited I recorded ten individuals in an distance the 8 kilometers . The population is decreasing.

    I agree with the status endangered

  3. Copiado de / copied from: Alex Cortés, Juan Carlos Luna, Andrea Borrero, y Juan Lazaro Toro (2020) Evaluación de especies de aves amenazadas en Colombia / Evaluation of Threatened Birds Species in Colombia. Conservación Colombiana 27: 3-31.

    “La situación de Coeligena consita es muy preocupante. Si bien somos conscientes de que no se está realizando una investigación detallada sobre C. consita, hemos evaluado más de 600 listas de verificación detalladas tomadas en las especies EOO y encuestas ornitológicas realizadas por ProAves y otros para presentar la siguiente evaluación.

    Coeligena consita es endemico a los bosques nubosos superiores (Bosques Andinos superiores), en el borde superior de Serranía de Perijá en la frontera entre Colombia y Venezuela. Desde 1942, creemos que los dos registros originados en los bosques montanos fueron dentro de las 872 has de la Reserva ProAves Chamicero del Perijá en el norte de Colombia. Como esta reportado, el rango de elevación de la especie es de 2,550 a 3,000 m, aunque hay información de un individuo vagante hasta los 2.300 m. La especie no se presenta en pastizales, vegetación de crecimiento secundario joven, cultivos de café, cultivos de moras, bosques degradados y quemados y páramos.

    De más de 600 listas de chequeo de eBird en la Reserva ProAves Chamicero del Perijá desde 2008, solo ha habido 34 registros para C. consita con un promedio de 1.1 individuos. Los esfuerzos de muestreo en la realización de esas listas de chequeo son en promedio de más de seis horas y de varias kms.

    El hábitat boscoso entre 2.550 y 3.000 m en la Reserva ProAves Chamicero del Perijá es quizás una de los que está en “mejores condiciones” de bosque montano en el lado Colombiano de la Serranía.

    A 12 km al norte de la reserva hay fragmentos de bosque por encima de 2.600 m. Pero más allá de 12 km al norte, los filos de las montañas no exceden los 2.500 metros (y disminuyen más hacia el norte), donde no hay un hábitat adecuado.

    Al sur de la reserva (latitudinalmente), la región está fuertemente deforestada, pero hay algunos fragmentos de hábitat adecuado para las especies con buena cobertura forestal por encima de 2600 m en Brisas de Perijá (1 registro). El filo de la Serranía disminuye a menos de 2.500 metros después de 51 km.

    Antes de ser retenido por la guerrilla, una expedición dirigida por Alex Cortés completó 18 días de trabajo de campo en los bosques montanos y páramos de la Serranía de Perijá en el 2006 (Cortes y Ortega 2006). Se estudiaron dos áreas: la Reserva ProAves Chamicero del Perijá (Manaure, Cesar; 2,500 – 3,000 m) y 7 km directamente al sur en el lado opuesto del valle en Brisas de Perija (La Paz, Cesar; 2,400-3,100 m). En cada sitio, se tomaron muestras de tres estaciones cada una durante 3 días (36 horas ) incluyendo un total de 240 metros de redes (8,640 m / horas netas) en cada estación. Se logró la captura de un solo individuo de Coeligena consita en el área Brisas de Perijá a una altitud de 2,800 m (Cortés y Ortega 2006). Otro individuo fue capturado por el personal de ProAves en la reserva el 30 de junio de 2014.

    Un registro reciente de eBird a 30 km al sur de la reserva es el primer registro en Venezuela en casi 80 años (1942).

    Usando la herramienta de cálculo EOO / AOO (, Coeligena consita tiene un EOO de 33.8 km2 y AOO de 20 km2. Sin embargo, modelar todo el AOO potencial por encima de los 2.500 m (excluyendo páramo y grandes áreas deforestadas) no excedería los 96 km2. Los Datos de Global Forest Watch, es errónea, ya que sugiere el 78% de la Serranía de Perijá está cubierta de bosques, sin embargo, la deforestación y potrerizacion completa del piedemonte y áreas montañosas de la serranía del Perija fueron iniciados en la década de los 70 del siglo pasado por el auge de los cultivos de la marihuana, que llevo a la desaparición completa de las coberturas boscosas, y por ende de los hábitats de muchas especies. Una revisión de los polígonos en imágenes de Landsat muestran que la región está fuertemente deforestada con una mezcla de vegetación secundaria en crecimiento y matorrales a lo largo de quebradas de arroyos intercaladas por pastizales que periódicamente son quemados. Esta otra gran amenaza de los incendios forestales, inducidos o naturales no dejan que se restablezcan los procesos de regeneración natural, se provocan en las estaciones secas de diciembre a abril, a elevaciones más bajas en la mañana de modo que las temperaturas crecientes crean fuertes corrientes ascendentes que avivan los incendios y lo trasladan hacia los bosques montanos.

    Al parecer las pendientes más húmedas orientadas al NO alrededor Cerro Pintado, a 3.610 m, se presentan como una gran área boscosa significativo. Estudios de estas zonas muestran significativamente una degradación y potrerizacion del hábitat, mientras que Global Forest Watch, muestra un aumento en la deforestación desde 2016.” hay mas

  4. opiado de / copied from: Alex Cortés, Juan Carlos Luna, Andrea Borrero, y Juan Lazaro Toro (2020) Evaluación de especies de aves amenazadas en Colombia / Evaluation of Threatened Birds Species in Colombia. Conservación Colombiana 27: 3-31.

    “Con tan poco hábitat restante viable e intacto, sospechamos que se habra perdido más del 20% en 10-20 años. Estamos en total desacuerdo con la afirmación “las zonas más altas de la Sierra de Perijá todavía están cubiertas por grandes áreas de bosque” (eBird 2020). Visitas de campo realizadas por Cortes et al (2006), mostraron una fuerte degradación de estos bosques por la presencia de cultivos de la flor de la Amapola, e información muy reciente han mostrado que después de las firmas del proceso de Paz con las FARC, se han incentivado unos fuertes procesos de colonización hacia estas áreas para el establecimiento de potreros para ganado aprovechando la cercanía de los páramos de Sabana Rubia.

    Estimamos la densidad de población de C. consita es muy inferior que para C. orina (con 7,77 ind./km2 y donde el promedio de registros de eBird es de 3.8 individuos por lista de chequeo). No estamos seguros de por qué la densidad es tan baja, pero tal vez está relacionada con la condición degradada de los bosques que quedan en la región y porque cualquier movimiento de elevación estacional es un desafío ya que el bosque primario de menor elevación ha desaparecido. Estimamos de manera conservadora la densidad de población es de 2.23 ind / km2 y una población total posible en 96 km2 de 211 individuos, de los cuales solo 7 individuos están protegidos en la Reserva ProAves Chamicero del Perijá (el hábitat adecuado se extiende a través de 343 ha).
    Por lo tanto, hemos revisado completamente la especie aquí contra todos los criterios de la Lista Roja.

    Criterio A – Una inferencia en la reducción de la población basada en la pérdida de hábitat. pero listan a C. consita como En Peligro A2c.
    Criterio B – C. consita EOO cumple el umbral para la inclusión como Critico bajo el Criterio B1 un b ( i, i v,iv ) y AOO como En Peligro B2ab ( ii, iii ).
    Criterio C: el tamaño de la población de C. consita se colocó en la banda <250 individuos maduros y dentro del umbral de inclusión como Critico bajo el Criterio C2a ( i ).
    Criterio D : la población pequeña y restringida de C. consita alcanza el umbral de En Peligro.

    Por lo tanto, ProAves recomienda que C. consita se enumere como Critico bajo el Criterio B1ab ( i, iv,iv ) + C2a ( i )."

  5. English translation copied from: Alex Cortés, Juan Carlos Luna, Andrea Borrero, y Juan Lazaro Toro (2020) Evaluación de especies de aves amenazadas en Colombia / Evaluation of Threatened Birds Species in Colombia. Conservación Colombiana 27: 3-31.

    The situation for Coeligena consita is of grave concern. While we are aware of no detailed research being undertaken on C. consita, we have assessed over 600 detailed checklists taken in the species EOO and ornithological surveys by ProAves and others to present the following assessment.

    Coeligena consita is endemic to the upper montane cloud forests on the upper brim of Serranía de Perijá that straddles the border between Colombia and Venezuela. Since 1942, we believe all bar two records originate from the montane forests within the 872 ha Chamicero del Perijá ProAves Reserve in northern Colombia. As reported, the species elevational range spans from 2,550 to 3,000 m, although one vagrant was reported down to 2,300 m. The species is absent from pasturelands, young secondary growth, coffee plantations, blackberry plantations, burnt and degraded forest, and páramo.

    Of over 600 eBird checklists in the Chamicero del Perijá ProAves Reserve since 2008, there were only 34 unique checklist records for C. consita that record only an average of 1.1 individuals. The average field effort of those checklist is 6 hours or more and across several kms.

    The forest habitat between 2,550 to 3,000 in Chamicero del Perijá ProAves Reserve is perhaps some of the better “condition” of montane forest on the Colombian side of the range.

    For 12 km north of the reserve there are fragments of forest above 2,600 m. But beyond 12 km to the north the ridgelines does not exceed 2,500 meters (and decreases further northwards) where there is no suitable habitat.

    To the south of the reserve, the region is heavily deforested but there are some fragments of adequate habitat for the species with good forest cover above 2600 m at Brisas de Perija (1 record). The ridgeline of the Serranía graduals decreases to below 2,500 meters after 51 km.

    Before being held by the guerrilla, an expedition led by Alex Cortes completed 18 fieldwork days in the montane forests and paramo of the Serranía de Perijá in 2006 (Cortes & Ortega 2006). Two areas were surveyed: Chamicero del Perijá ProAves Reserve (Manaure, Cesar; 2,500 – 3,000 m) and 7 km directly south on the opposite side of the valley at Brisas de Perija (La Paz, Cesar; 2,400-3,100 m). At each site, three stations were sampled each for 3 days (36 hours) including a total of 240 meters of mist-nets (8,640 m/net hours) at each station. That expedition captured a single individual of Coeligena consita in the Brisas de Perija area at 2,800 m (Cortes & Ortega 2006). Only one other individual was captured by ProAves staff in the reserve on June 30, 2014.

    One recent eBird record 30 km south of the reserve is the first record in Venezuela for almost 80 years (1942).

    Using the EOO/AOO calculator tool (, Coeligena consita has an EOO of 33.8 km2 and AOO of 20 km2. However, modeling all potential AOO above 2,500 m (excluding páramo and large deforested areas) would not exceed 96 km2. Global Forest Watch data is erroneous as it suggests 78% of the Serranía de Perijá is forested, yet the deforestation and complete potrerization (small clearings and fields) of the foothills and mountainous areas of Perijá were initiated in the 1970s by the boom in marijuana crops, which led to the complete disappearance of forest cover, and therefore of the habitats of many species. A review of LandSat images and on-the-ground surveys of those “forested polygons” show the region is heavily deforested with a mix of young secondary growth / scrub along stream gullies interspersed by grassland that are periodically burnt. The other great threat is from forest fires, induced or natural, does not allow natural regeneration processes to be restored, they are caused in the dry seasons from December to April, where fires are set at lower elevations in the morning in the dry season so that rising temperatures create strong upward drafts to fan fires and shift them upslope into montane forests.

    It appears that the wettest NW-facing slopes around the Pintado massif which peaks at 3,610 m remains as only significant forest blocks. Surveys of those areas show significant habitat degradation and clearance while Global Forest Watch notes a spike in deforestation since 2016.” More follows…

  6. English translation copied from: Alex Cortés, Juan Carlos Luna, Andrea Borrero, y Juan Lazaro Toro (2020) Evaluación de especies de aves amenazadas en Colombia / Evaluation of Threatened Birds Species in Colombia. Conservación Colombiana 27: 3-31.

    “With so little viable and intact habitat remaining we suspect more than 20% has been lost across 10-20 years. We firmly disagree with the statement “higher zones of the Sierra de Perijá are still covered by large areas of forest” (eBird 2020). Field visits made by Cortes et al (2006), showed a strong degradation of these forests due to the presence of poppy flower crops, and very recent information has shown that after the signatures of the Peace process with the FARC, strong colonization processes have been encouraged towards these areas for the establishment of farms for livestock, taking advantage of the proximity of the Sabana Rubia páramos.

    We estimate the population density for C. consita is far lower than for C. orina (with 7.77 ind./km2 and where eBird records average 3.8 individuals per checklist). We are unsure why the density is so low, but perhaps related to the degraded condition of forests left in the region and because any seasonal elevational movements is challenging as lower elevation primary forest is now absent. We conservatively estimate the population density at 2.23 ind/km2 and a total possible population across 96 km2 of 211 individuals of which only 7 individuals are protected in the Chamicero del Perijá ProAves Reserve (suitable habitat extends across 343 ha).

    Therefore, we have fully reviewed the species here against all Red List criteria.

    Criterion A –An inferred population reduction based on habitat loss but list C. consita as Endangered A2c.

    Criterion B – C. consita EOO meets the threshold for listing as Critically Endangered under Criterion B1ab(i,iv.iv) and AOO as Endangered B2ab(ii,iii).

    Criterion C – The population size of C. consita has been placed in the band <250 mature individuals and within the threshold for listing as Critically Endangered under Criterion C2a(i).

    Criterion D – The small and restricted population of C. consita meets the threshold as Endangered.

    Therefore, ProAves recommends C. consita be listed as Critically Endangered under Criterion B1ab(i,iv.iv)+C2a(i)."

  7. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Many thanks to everyone who has contributed to this discussion. We greatly appreciate the time and effort invested by so many people in commenting. 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 once again,
    BirdLife Red List Team

  8. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Preliminary proposal

    The population of the Perija Starfrontlet has been re-estimated following the discussion above, tentatively placed here in the band of 250-999 mature individuals; the largest subpopulation is additionally likely to contain fewer than 250 mature individuals. Additionally, based on extensive deforestation still prevalent across the species’s range, it is assumed that the population may be undergoing a continued decline. The species therefore initially meets an Endangered status under Criterion C. Furthermore, using available data from eBird (2020), GeoCAT (2020), and information provided above (Fundación ProAves in litt. 2020), a newly mapped range (that does not extend far north across the Columbian and Venezuelan border as previously considered) translates to an Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of c. 2,400 sqkm. The species therefore also meets an Endangered status under Criterion B. With the previous assumption that the species only occurs in one locality, and evidence that it is unlikely to extend further north due to little forest coverage in the higher zones of Sierra de Perijá (Cortes et al. 2006, Fundación ProAves in litt. 2020), the number of locations (**see above definition) likely falls below 5. Extensive forest loss, agriculture, livestock, and urbanisation are considered the main drivers of loss. Thus, given the recent rarity of the species, as well as a restricted range, our preliminary proposal for the 2020 Red List would be to list the Perija Starfrontlet as Endangered, under Criteria B1ab(iii); C2a(i).

    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 the initial proposal.

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

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