Archived 2020 topic: Glittering Starfrontlet (Coeligena orina): revise global status?

BirdLife species factsheet for Glittering Starfrontlet

Glittering Starfrontlet (Coeligena orina) is endemic to Colombia, where it occurs in a small range in the western Andes. It occurs in elfin forest, in the páramo-forest ecotone and in adjacent tall humid forest. Until recently, the population was feared to be very small, numbering less than 250 mature individuals. New information however suggests that this was a substantial underestimate, and the population is now placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals (Renjifo et al. 2014). The only potential threat known to the species is the loss and degradation of its habitat. Parts of the range are rich in mineral resources, and it feared that the area may be exploited by mining companies in the future (Renjifo et al. 2014).

Glittering Starfrontlet has been considered Critically Endangered under Criterion C2a(i) due to its presumably small population (BirdLife International 2020). However, the correction of the population size estimate and new information regarding the population trend suggest that this species may warrant a change in Red List status. Therefore, we have fully reviewed the species here against all Red List criteria.

Criterion A – Glittering Starfrontlet is threatened by habitat loss. Forest loss within the range has been negligible over the past ten years though (< 1%; Global Forest Watch 2020, see also Renjifo et al. 2014; one generation length being 2.4 years; Bird et al. 2020*). Nevertheless, habitat may be degraded in the future through the expansion of mining. Therefore tentatively, the species is suspected to undergo a slow decline in the future, the rate of which is likely below 10% over ten years. Glittering Starfrontlet therefore qualifies as Least Concern under Criterion A.  

Criterion B – The Extent of Occurrence (EOO) for this species is 6,100 km2. The maximum Area of Occupancy (AOO), as calculated by a 4 km2 grid over the area of mapped range, is 1,140 km2. These values meet the threshold for listing as Vulnerable under Criterion B1 and B2. To be listed as threatened under these criteria does require at least two further conditions to be met though.

The species is thought to form four relatively large subpopulations and can thus not be considered severely fragmented (see IUCN Standards and Petitions Committee 2019). The most severe threat is the degradation and loss of its habitat. If mining activity increases, it is possible that large parts of the population may be severely impacted within a relatively short time. The number of locations** is therefore tentatively placed in the band 6-10, and condition a is met at the level of Vulnerable. Given the potential increase in mining activity in the future, habitat quality is projected to decline, and condition b(iii) is met. The species is not known to undergo extreme fluctuations, and thus subcriterion c is not met. Overall, Glittering Starfrontlet warrants listing as Vulnerable under Criterion B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii).

Criterion C – The population size is estimated at 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This meets the threshold for listing as Vulnerable under Criterion C. However, in order to do so, the species must meet further subcriteria.

The species is suspected to undergo a slow decline of < 10% in the future. A suspected decline however precludes listing as threatened under this criterion, so that the species can at most be listed as Near Threatened. The species is thought to form four subpopulations. Assuming that the true population size is closer to the lower end of the estimate, it is likely that no subpopulation contains more than 1,000 mature individuals. Glittering Starfrontlet is therefore considered Near Threatened, approaching the threshold for listing as threatened under Criterion C2a(i).

Criterion D – The population size and range are too large to warrant listing as threatened under Criterion D, and hence the species is listed as Least Concern under this criterion.

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 Glittering Starfrontlet (Coeligena orina) be listed as Vulnerable under Criterion B1ab(iii)+2ab(iii). 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).

**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: Coelingena orina. (Accessed 24 April 2020).

Global Forest Watch. 2020. Interactive Forest Change Mapping Tool. (Accessed 2 April 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.

Renjifo, L. M.; Gomez, M. F.; Velasquez-Tibata, J.; Amaya-Villarreal, A. M.; Kattan, G. H.; Amaya-Espinel, J. D.; Burbano-Giron, J. 2014. Libro rojo de aves de Colombia, Volumen I: bosques humedos de los Andes y la costa Pacifica. Editorial Pontificia Universidad Javeriana and Instituto Alexander von Humboldt, Bogota, Colombia.

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9 Responses to Archived 2020 topic: Glittering Starfrontlet (Coeligena orina): 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 0.8% 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. although least two protected area (Paramillo and Tatama) has report the presence the Glittering Starfrontlet
    The sight the this hummingbird is very weird also the unknow of the breeding biology and the impact the fragmentation (habitat loss driven by forest clearance for large-scale agricultural and wood logging)
    I advice firts Increased understanding of ecology, population size and distribution of the hummingbird at western andes in colombia before the change the status.

  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.

    “Of 230 observations in eBird over 70% originate from a single location – Colibri del Sol ProAves Reserve in Antioquia where the species was rediscovered in 2004 after 50 years and immediately protected. The average number of birds seen (typically across a day in the reserve) is 3.8 individuals with a record high in 2014 of 18 individuals across an entire day and 12 km. The species breed above 2,950 meter to the timberline at around 3,450 m in mature and dense montane cloud forest and elfin forest between. Over 15 years, the species gradually started to visit a hummingbird feeding station at the Colibri del Sol ProAves Reserve, although individuals only visit for short periods before returning to primary forest nearby.

    While a trapliner with seemingly large movements, this species is exceptionally rare in pasturelands and paramo and also rare in young secondary forest, although can be seen feeding on primary forest edges and treefalls inside forest. A population density study by ProAves in 2010 concluded an estimate of 7.77 ind/km2 that would indicate 56 individuals in the reserve. While low, these seems like a realistic density as a two-year mist-net study in the reserve in prime habitat for the species every month resulted in just 21 captures. Trapliner hummingbirds that feed on understory and mid-strata flowers in low stature montane cloud forest would typically be frequently caught in mist-nets because they are so mobile.

    Seasonally the species has been rarely recorded down to 1,800 metres elevation at several sites although not breeding: Las Tangaras ProAves Reserve (1,800 m; 2 sightings in >700 observations), Mesenia-Paramillo Nature Reserve (2,100-2,900 m; 4 observation in >60 checklists), and Loro Orejiamarillo ProAves Reserve and adjacent private properties (2,900-3,100 m; 19 observations out of >850 lists). There are likely to be small breeding populations nearby these site at Farallones de Citara and Cerro Caramanta with approx. 5-10 km2 of suitable habitat in each.

    The species second confirmed breeding area is Tatama National Park where observations are concentrated on a peak with a military baser (2,500 m) on the Camino Montezuma with 84 observation with 1.3 individuals from approx. 10% of observation lists with records restricted to March-May and November-December. We believe that the species is not breeding there, rather seasonal elevational movements during the non-breeding period. However, at higher elevations in Tatama National Park the species is confirmed to breed but there are no population estimates.

    When the species was discovered in 2004, it was considered a specialist “to elfin forest-timberline-páramo habitats (and adjacent tall humid forest), which are restricted to only a further five localities in the entire Western Andes. We recommend searches for the species in those areas.” Since then, searches have shown the species is absent from three of the five principal areas and the range is restricted to the highest peaks of the Western Cordillera from Paramo del Sol to 140 km south to Cerro de Tatama. To-date, there remains only two key sites for the species with viable populations – Colibri del Sol ProAves Reserve and Tatama NP.

    Using the EOO/AOO calculator tool (, Coeligena orina has an EOO of 3,241 km2 and AOO of 60 km2 which would provide a population estimate of 466 individuals.

    We propose that the AOO and population estimates in Renjifo (2014) are likely overestimates as population calculations are based on the abundant and non-specialist Coeligena lutetiae that ranges from Colombia to Peru and on modeled AOO that is influenced by seasonal records of non-breeding vagrants at lower elevations. Based on population studies of this species and eBird data, this species occurs at low population densities. For example, the two population strongholds of Paramo del Sol and Tatama are also major birding areas that have attracted hundreds or even thousands of eBird checklist submissions, yet the species remains localized and rare.”

  4. 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.

    “Global Forest Watch data shows increasing deforestation around the Paramo del Sol massif since 2015. The FARC peace process has resulted in a broad nationwide spike in deforestation that includes the high elevational forest in the Western Cordillera. For example, on the northern slope of the Paramo del Sol, there has been a 9.6% (2,730 ha) decrease in forest cover since 2000, of which 35% has been in the last 3 years. Furthermore, we suggest that these last unprotected forests are highly susceptible to climate change and severe drought whereby forest fires can destroy large tracks within a season. ProAves reported major fires in and around Paramo del Sol in the drought of 2010. The Colibri del Sol ProAves Reserve only protects the southern flank of the massif. The upper elevations of Tatama National Park are at much less risk as the entire massif is protected. Nevertheless, climate change will impact the species across its range as it is restricted to the highest elevation forests.

    Therefore, we have reviewed the species here against relevant Red List criteria;

    Criterion B – The EOO and AOO meets the threshold for listing as Endangered under Criterion B1+B2ab(ii,iii,iv).

    Criterion C –We consider listing as Endangered under Criterion C2a(i).

    Therefore, ProAves recommends Coeligena orina be listed as Endangered under Criterion B1+B2ab(ii,iii,iv)+C2a(i).”

  5. 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:

    “De 230 observaciones en eBird, más del 70% se originan en una sola ubicación: la Reserva de Colibrí del Sol ProAves en Antioquia, donde la especie se redescubrió en 2004 después de 50 años y se protegió de inmediato. El número promedio de individuos observados (generalmente durante un día en la reserva) es de 3.8 individuos con un registro en el año 2014 de 18 individuos en un día entero y a lo largo de 12 km. La especie se reproducen por encima de los 2.950 metros hasta el límite Arbóreo a unos 3.450 m en bosques densos maduros de montañas nubosas y bosques enanos intermedios. A lo largo de 15 años, la especie comenzó a visitar gradualmente una estación de alimentación de colibríes en la Reserva de Colibrí del Sol ProAves, aunque los individuos solo visitan por períodos cortos antes de regresar al bosque primario cercano.

    Si bien es un trapliner con movimientos aparentemente grandes, esta especie es excepcionalmente rara en pastizales y páramo y también rara en bosques secundarios jóvenes, aunque se puede ver alimentándose de los bordes del bosque primario y las áreas de los árboles caidos dentro del bosque. Un estudio de densidad de población realizado por ProAves en 2010 concluyó una estimación de 7.77 ind / km2 que indicaría 56 individuos en la reserva.

    Si bien es baja, parece una densidad realista, ya que un estudio de dos años mes a mes con redes de niebla en la reserva en el hábitat principal para la especie solo se lograron 21 capturas. Los colibríes trapliner que se alimentan de flores de sotobosque y de estratos medios en bosques nubosos montanos de baja estatura generalmente se atrapan con frecuencia en redes de niebla porque son muy móviles.

    Estacionalmente, la especie rara vez se ha registrado en varios sitios a una altura de 1.800 metros, aunque no en periodos reproductivos: La Reserva ProAves Las Tangaras (1.800 m; 2 avistamientos en > 700 observaciones), Reserva Natural Mesenia-Paramillo (2.100-2.900 m; 4 observaciones en >60 listas de verificación), y la Reserva ProAves Loro Orejiamarillo y propiedades privadas adyacentes (2,900-3,100 m; 19 observaciones de más de >850 listas). Es probable que haya pequeñas poblaciones reproductoras cercanas a este sitio en Farallones de Citara y Cerro Caramanta con aprox. 5-10 km2 de hábitat adecuado en cada uno.

    La segunda área de reproducción confirmada de la especie es el Parque Nacional Tatama, donde las observaciones se concentran en un pico con una base militar (2,500 m) en el Camino Montezuma con 84 observaciones con 1.3 individuos aproximadamente el 10% de las listas de observaciones con registros restringidos a marzo-mayo y noviembre-diciembre. Creemos que la especie no se reproduce allí, sino que se debe a movimientos estacionales de elevación durante el período no reproductivo. Sin embargo, en elevaciones más altas en el Parque Nacional Tatama, se confirma que la especie se reproduce pero no hay estimaciones de población.

    Cuando se descubrió la especie en 2004, se consideraba un especialista “para hábitats de bosques enanos-Bosques altoandinos-Paramos (y bosque húmedo alto y adyacente), que están restringidos a solo otras cinco localidades en todos los Andes occidentales. Recomendamos búsquedas de la especie en esas áreas”. Desde entonces, las búsquedas han demostrado que la especie está ausente en tres de las cinco áreas principales y el rango está restringido a los picos más altos de la Cordillera Occidental desde Páramo del Sol hasta 140 km al sur hasta Cerro de Tatama. Hasta la fecha, solo quedan dos sitios clave para las especies con poblaciones viables: Colibri del Sol ProAves Reserve y el Parque Nacional Natural Tatama.

    Usando la herramienta de cálculo EOO / AOO (, Coeligena orina tiene un EOO de 3.241 km2 y un AOO de 60 km2 que proporcionaría una estimación de población de 466 individuos.

    Nosotros proponemos que los AOO y poblaciones estimadas en Rengifo (2014) son probablemente una sobreestimación como los cálculos de población se basan en el abundante y no especializado Coeligena lutetiae con una distribución que va desde Colombia a Perú y en AOO modelado que está influenciado por los registros estacionales de vagantes no reproductivos en elevaciones más bajas. Según los estudios de población y los datos de eBird, esta especie se produce a bajas densidades de población. Por ejemplo, las dos áreas claves de las poblaciónes de Páramo del Sol y Tatama también son áreas importantes de observación de aves que han atraído a cientos o incluso miles de envíos de listas de verificación de eBird, sin embargo, la especie sigue siendo localizada y rara.”

  6. 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:

    “Los datos de Global Forest Watch muestran un aumento de la deforestación alrededor del macizo del Páramo del Sol desde 2015. El proceso de paz con las FARC; ha dado lugar a un amplio aumento de la deforestación en todo el país que incluye el bosque de alta elevación en la Cordillera Occidental. Por ejemplo, en la ladera norte del Páramo del Sol, se ha producido una disminución del 9,6% (2.730 ha) de la cobertura boscosa, desde el año 2000, de los cuales el 35% ha sido en los últimos 3 años. Además, sugerimos que estos últimos bosques desprotegidos son altamente susceptibles al cambio climático y la sequía severa, por lo que los incendios forestales podrían llegar a potrerizar grandes áreas dentro de un tiempo. ProAves reportó grandes incendios en y alrededor de Páramo del Sol en la sequía de 2010. La Reserva ProAves de Colibri del Sol solo protege el flanco sur del macizo. Las elevaciones superiores del Parque Nacional Tatama tienen mucho menor riesgo ya que todo el macizo está protegido. Sin embargo, el cambio climático afectará a las especies en todo su rango ya que está restringido a los bosques de mayor elevación.

    Por lo tanto, hemos revisado las especies aquí contra los criterios relevantes de la Lista Roja;

    Criterio B: El EOO y el AOO alcanzan el umbral para figurar como En Peligro según el Criterio B1 + B2ab (ii, iii, iv).

    Criterio C: consideramos enumerar como En Peligro bajo el Criterio C2a(i).

    Por lo tanto, ProAves recomienda que Coeligena orina figure como En Peligro bajo el Criterio B2ab (ii, iii, 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 following decision is based on scarcity of observations in recent years (Fundación ProAves in litt. 2020), thus estimating that the population is unlikely to exceed 2,500 mature individuals. With the likelihood that deforestation is extensive across the species’s range, with the population further compounded by susceptibility to climate change, drought, and forest fires, it is also assumed that the population may be undergoing a continued decline. Suspecting that the largest subpopulation will hold fewer than 250 mature individuals therefore, our preliminary proposal for the 2020 Red List would be to list the Glittering Starfrontlet as Endangered under Criterion 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.

  9. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Recommended categorisation to be put forward to IUCN

    The final categorisation for this species has not changed. Glittering Starfrontlet is recommended to be listed as Endangered under Criterion C2a(i).

    Many thanks for everyone who contributed to the 2020 GTB Forum process. 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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