Archived 2011-2012 topics: Cinnamon-breasted Tody-tyrant (Hemitriccus cinnamomeipectus): uplist to Vulnerable?

Initial deadline for comments: 31 January 2012.

BirdLife species factsheet for Cinnamon-breasted Tody-tyrant

Cinnamon-breasted Tody-tyrant Hemitriccus cinnamomeipectus is known only from a few remote and isolated mountain ranges in extreme southern Ecuador and northern Peru, where it inhabits the undergrowth of dense, mossy montane forest. It is currently listed as Near Threatened under criterion B1a+b(i,ii,iii,v) because its estimated Extent of Occurrence is very small (9,000km2) and it is known from very few locations; however, it has not qualified for a higher threat category because declines in its habitat and population were not thought to be occurring.

If its habitat and/or population is found to be declining and a) it is still believed to occur at fewer than ten localities, or b) its population is considered to be severely fragmented, it is likely to qualify for uplisting to Vulnerable under criterion B1a+b(iii,v). Ridgely and Greenfield (2001) imply that the population may be decreasing due to habitat loss: “given the species’ minute range, and the fact that all or significant portions of it are now being affected by human activities (on the Ecuadorian side of the Cordillera del Cóndor by extensive gold-mining), we feel the species merits Vulnerable status”.

We therefore invite those with experience of this species in its small range in Ecuador and Peru to help determine whether or not this species should be considered globally Vulnerable. Are there continuing declines in the area, extent and/or quality of habitat? Is its population declining? Does it occur at fewer than ten locations, or is its population severely fragmented? In terms of the IUCN criteria, fragmentation is regarded as severe when over 50% of suitable habitat exists in patches that are too small to support viable populations and are isolated by distances several times greater than the species’s average long-term dispersal distance.


Ridgely, R. S. and Greenfield, P. J. (2001) The birds of Ecuador: status, distribution and taxonomy. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

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4 Responses to Archived 2011-2012 topics: Cinnamon-breasted Tody-tyrant (Hemitriccus cinnamomeipectus): uplist to Vulnerable?

  1. Niels Krabbe says:

    I am not quite sure what category should be applied.
    The ridge in the Condor where I first met with the species is said to now be completely denuded by gold-mining activities. The soil there is a mosaic of sand and proper soil, and access is fairly easy.
    I have recently found the species to be fairly common on a sandstone ‘tepui’ in the Nangaritza Valley near the southern end of Cordillera del Condor in Ecuador. Although the tepuis in this region are few and small (the biggest about 10 km long), they are are virtually inaccessible and are so poor in nutrients that they are useless for hunting and agriculture. They are as safe from direct human influence as can be.
    So despite its tiny range, I am not sure the species is threatened.

  2. Joe Taylor says:

    An analysis of the effects of projected deforestation in Amazonia on bird species population trends (Bird et al. 2011) indicates that H. cinnamomeipectus qualifies as Near Threatened under criterion A4. For further details, please see the post: ‘Input required on proposal to uplist a suite of Amazonian birds owing to predicted declines from projected forest loss’ (

  3. Juan Freile says:

    Partially agree with Niels. It seems to be reasonably common atop small ‘tepuis’ in the Nangaritza Valley of Cordillera del Condor (at least 3 birds were found in a single morning, during a survey we carried out at San Miguel de las Orquideas). There is also a new population found further north (Agreda et al. 2005). Two local organisations (Asociaciones San Miguel de las Orquideas and Centro Shuar Tayunts) have created a conservation area in the higher parts of these ‘tepuis’, so populations of H. cinnamomeipectus might be secured there. However, mining is on the rise in the Cordillera del Condor, including opening up new roads and very large concessions to international companies (two of the largest concessions in Ecuador, apparently for open pit mining) are settled in Cordillera del Condor. I have heard that the species has been recorded in environmental impact studies, which are basically inventories of biodiversity that will be lost with exploitation. Deforestation, per se, does not seem to be a major threat for this species as its habitat is rather poor in timber and soils are poor. But mining is in deed a very serious threat, particularly if we take into account the ‘open-arms’ policy of the Ecuadorian Government to massive mining.
    Near threatened status might, at least, reflects the species status in the near future.

    Freile, J.F., P. Piedrahita, G. Buitrón-Jurado, C.A. Rodríguez & E. Bonaccorso. 2011. Aves de los tepuyes de la cuenca alta del río Nangaritza, cordillera del Cóndor. Pp. 63-75, 119-123. In: Guayasamin, J.M. & E. Bonaccorso (eds.). Evaluación ecológica rápida de la biodiversidad de los tepuyes de la cuenca alta del río Nangaritza, cordillera del Cóndor, Ecuador. Boletín de Evaluación Ecológica Rápida No. 58. Conservation International, Quito.
    Freile, J. F., P. Moscoso & C. Félix. 2010. La magia de los tepuyes del Nangaritza: una guía para conocer a sus habitantes. Conservación Internacional Ecuador, Quito.

  4. In Peru, ECOAN and ABC have worked together to establish the Abra Patricia-Alto Nieva Private Conservation Area (PCA) and Abra Patricia-Alto Nieva Conservation Concession. The PCA is now 3,100 ha and the concession (40-yr) is 6,700 ha. Both are managed together as a contiguous reserve. The reserve faces pressures from squatters and road projects, but so far has been effective at protecting habitat within its boundaries. The reserve started in 2005 and has grown since, and we are still hoping to acquire additional small inholdings within the PCA along the interoceanic highway in order to better secure this reserve. H. cinnamomeipectus has been recorded within this reserve at Abra Patricia, but is fairly local within it. It is much harder to see or hear at Abra Patricia than the Royal Sunangel (EN). I have heard it at several locations, but by comparison the Royal Sunangel is very relaible along at least two ridges crossed by the road within the reserve. Outside this reserve, including within the Bosque Protegida Alto Mayo, deforestation is rapidly occuring and ongoing. There is a newly declared Rio Nieva Reserved Zone of 36,348 ha immediately north of Abra Patricia within which this species may occur, however little to no on-the-ground management occurs within this new Reserved Zone (so protection here is more conceptual on paper, than actual). If this area is effectively managed for conservation in the future and the Hemitriccus occurs here, then it will provide much greater protection for this species. Although this species may be OK in a small portion of its range in Ecuador and at Abra Patricia, threats and deforestation within the rest of its range (and EN status of the similarly distributed Royal Sunangel) may warrant an uplisted status to Vulnerable.

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