BirdLife species factsheet for Santa Marta Sabrewing
Santa Marta Sabrewing (Campylopterus phainopeplus) is endemic to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia. During the dry season, it inhabits humid forests, forest borders and shaded coffee plantations at 1,200-1,800 m, while during the wet season it moves to open páramo at up to 4,800 m (Hilty and Brown 1986, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Renjifo et al. 2016). Known threats to the species include the loss and fragmentation of its habitat due to human encroachment and agricultural expansion, and pollution by herbicide spraying (Renjífo et al. 2016).
Santa Marta Sabrewing is not well known and rarely observed. Since the species was first collected in 1946, it has only been recorded with certainty once in 2010 (Butler 2010, P. Salaman in litt. 2020). A tape-recording from 2006 proved erroneous, and other sightings have been attributed to misidentification of White-vented Plumeleteer (Chalybura buffonii) (P. Salaman in litt. 2020).
Santa Marta Sabrewing is currently listed as Endangered under Criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) (BirdLife International 2020). New information regarding the population size suggest that the species may warrant a change in Red List status. Therefore, it will be re-assessed against all Red List criteria.
Criterion A – The population trend has not been estimated directly. Given that the species has become very difficult to observe over the last decades, with only one record confirmed since 1946, we can infer a continuing decline in population size. However, there is no information on the rate of decline over ten years (one generation length being 2.4 years; Bird et al. 2020*), and thus Santa Marta Sabrewing cannot be assessed against Criterion A.
Criterion B – Santa Marta Sabrewing has a small range, with an Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of 2,900 km2. The Area of Occupancy (AOO) has not been quantified. Given that the species has only been observed at one site, the number of locations** of occurrence is likely ≤ 5. The species is inferred to undergo a continuing decline in EOO, AOO, quality/extent of habitat and in population size. Therefore, it may be listed as Endangered under Criterion B1ab(i,ii,iii,v).
Criterion C – The population size of Santa Marta Sabrewing has not been estimated. However, the paucity of confirmed records since 1946 suggest that the species is very rare and likely undergoing a continuing decline. Pending new information regarding the population size, we can tentatively assume that the population numbers < 50 mature individuals, which all belong to the same subpopulation. As such, Santa Marta Sabrewing may qualify for listing as Critically Endangered under Criterion C2a(i,ii).
Criterion D – The population size of Santa Marta Sabrewing is feared to be very small. Unless new information becomes available, the population is assumed to number < 50 mature individuals. Therefore, it may be listed as Critically Endangered under Criterion D.
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.
Therefore, it is suggested that Santa Marta Sabrewing (Campylopterus phainopeplus) be listed as Critically Endangered under Criteria C2a(i,ii); D. We welcome any comments on the proposed listing and specifically request up-to-date information regarding the population size.
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: Campylopterus phainopeplus. http://www.birdlife.org (Accessed 5 February 2020).
Butler, R. 2010. First-ever photo of rare and spectacular hummingbird from Colombia. Mongabay. https://news.mongabay.com/2010/03/first-ever-photo-of-rare-and-spectacular-hummingbird-from-colombia/ (Accessed 6 February 2020).
Fjeldså, J.; Krabbe, N. 1990. Birds of the high Andes. Apollo Books, Copenhagen, Denmark.
Hilty, S. L.; Brown, W. L. 1986. A guide to the birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, Princeton, U.S.A.
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. www.iucnredlist.org/technical-documents/categories-and-criteria.
Renjifo, L. M.; Amaya-Villareal, A. M.; Burbano-Girón, J.; Velásquez-Tibatá, J. 2016. Libro Rojo de Aves de Colombia, Vol. II: Ecosistemas abiertos, secos, insulares, acuáticos continentales, marinos, tierras altas del Darién y Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta y bosques húmedos del centro, norte y oriente del país. Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana e Instituto Alexander von Humboldt. Bogotá, Colombia.