Archived 2011-2012 topics: Brown-banded Antpitta (Grallaria milleri): downlist to Vulnerable?

Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012 [note that this has been moved back by about two months].

BirdLife species factsheet for Brown-banded Antpitta

Brown-banded Antpitta Grallaria milleri has been recorded in secondary forest and plantations in the Volcán Ruíz-Tolima massif in the Central Andes of Colombia (Kattan and Beltrán 1997). The primary forest remnants in the area are generally inaccessible (Kattan and Beltrán 1999). It is listed as Endangered under criterion B1a+b(iii,v), on the basis that is has a very small range, with an Extent of Occurrence (EOO) estimated at c.660 km2, in which it was known from fewer than six locations, with declines taking place in the extent, area and/or quality of habitat and suspected to be taking place in the number of mature individuals.

Recently published information indicates that the species’s range is probably larger than previously thought. Remapping of BirdLife’s range map for this species, with reference to the mapping of suitable habitat by Salaman et al. (2009), has resulted in an estimated EOO of c.12,400 km2. The new EOO does not include the presumed range of G. m. gilesi, a new taxon described by Salaman et al. (2009) from a specimen collected in 1878 and assigned conservatively to subpecies rank, and which may already be extinct. G. m. milleri is now known from 11 locations, more than five of which have yielded recent (<20 years old) records (Salaman et al. 2009, BirdLife International unpubl. data).

Updated BirdLife range map for Brown-banded Antpitta (click on map to see larger version)

The information documented by Salaman et al. (2009) suggests that the species should be downlisted to Vulnerable under criterion B1a+b(iii) on the basis that its EOO is estimated at less than 20,000 km2, in which it has recently been recorded at fewer than 10 locations, and there are on-going declines in the area, extent and/or quality of habitat. It is also proposed that the population estimate for this species be increased to 2,500-9,999 individuals on the basis of the increased EOO estimate. This remains very conservative given the increase in the EOO, and means that the species would still qualify as Vulnerable under criterion C2a(i) because, in addition, the population is suspected to be in decline owing to habitat loss and the largest known sub-population is estimated at fewer than 1,000 individuals.

Comments are invited on the proposal to downlist this species to Vulnerable, and further information on its threat status is requested.


Kattan, G. H. and Beltrán, J. W. (1997) Rediscovery and status of the Brown-banded Antpitta Grallaria milleri in the central Andes of Colombia. Bird Conserv. Int. 7: 367-371.

Kattan, G. H. and Beltrán, J. W. (1999) Altitudinal distribution, habitat use, and abundance of Grallaria antpittas in the Central Andes of Colombia. Bird Conserv. Int. 9: 271-281.

Salaman, P., Donegan, T. M. and Prŷs-Jones, R. (2009) A new subspecies of Brown-banded Antpitta Grallaria milleri from Antioquia, Colombia. Bull. B. O. C. 129: 5-17.

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3 Responses to Archived 2011-2012 topics: Brown-banded Antpitta (Grallaria milleri): downlist to Vulnerable?

  1. We found Brown-banded Antpitta at Reserva Rio Blanco (Reserva for Colombian Antpitta) and Natural Park Los Nevados. I heard at least calling several males at (mostly at 1900–2200m), is rare and none was heard calling above 2300m. Brown-banded Antpitta doubtless occurs further south in the Central Andes of Colombia . It may well be present in mountains above the nature reserve Nevado del huila, which have not yet been investigated ornithologically
    Based on its density ((Kattan and Beltrán 1999, Nieto & Ramírez 2006) other important work is El género Grallaria en Colombia: qué sabemos, qué falta por saber y cuál es su estado. Giannina cadena.

    I hypothesise that this population of Brown-banded Antpitta in Central Andes may comprise >1500 individuals, making the natural PArk Nevados range the species’ global population stronghold

    I dont agree Brown-banded Antpitta downlist to Vulnerable. I think must work more census and use the habitat,

    • I agree that VU is probably more appropriate in this case for the reasons set out in BirdLife’s proposal. It is a testament to the great recent work of birders and ornithologists in Colombia that a species which as late as 1986 was known from only a single locality is now found at so many different localities that it can be treated as VU.

      I agree that the type locality of G. m. gilesi and range extension that this specimen represents should be excluded for purposes of determining the species’ range size.

  2. Es indiscutible negar que desde hace 10 años se han venido registrando nuevas localidades en el áreal previsto de distribución de la especie, sin embargo, existen grandes vacíos acerca de sus requerimientos de hábitat. Hemos llevado numerosas exploraciones en el departamento del Tolima por más de 8 años, en donde la especie ha sido registrada en varias localidades y en varios municipios, no obstante, existen una gran cantidad de sitios visitados que se ajustan a los rangos altitudinales de distribución y de hábitat de la especie, pero esta, no ha sido encontrada. Por otra parte, los registros de abundancia siempre son bajos, exclusivamente asociados a bosques o áreas conectadas a estos, además es un ave de sotobosque, terrestre e incapaz de atravesar matrices de pastizal, que son comunes en sus áreas de distribución. Considero que la especie debe permanecer aun “en peligro”.

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