Archived 2010-2011 topics: Sooty Ant-tanager (Habia gutturalis): downlist to Least Concern?

Sooty Ant-tanager Habia gutturalis is found in north-west Colombia, where it occurs in the upper Sinú valley at the north end of the west Andes, and east along the north base of the Andes to the middle Magdalena valley. It is listed as Near Threatened on the IUCN Red List because it was thought to have a restricted range that approaches the threshold for listing as Vulnerable (<20,000 km2) combined with severely fragmented habitat or occurrence at approximately ten or fewer locations and a continuing decline in its habitat, population size or number of locations/sub-populations.

However, this species has been mapped by Natureserve/BirdLife International as having an estimated Extent of Occurrence (EOO) of 80,000 km2, hence it does not appear to approach the IUCN thresholds and appears to warrant downlisting to Least Concern. However, if the species has experienced declines over the past three generations (13 years, BirdLife International unpubl. data) approaching 30% it may warrant listing as Near Threatened under the A criterion (population declines). Given its relatively large range size it seems unlikely that this species will have a population approaching 10,000 mature individuals so it would not qualify as threatened or Near Threatened on population size under the C criterion.

Comments on the population trends of this species and its proposed downlisting are welcomed.

(This discussion was first started as part of the 2010 Red List update)

Habia gutturalis: Habia gutturalis se encuentra en el noroeste de Colombia, en el alto valle de Sinú, al norte de la cordillera Occidental de los Andes, y en hasta el medio Magdalena. Tiene una extensión de la presencia (EOO) calculada en 80.300 km2.

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2 Responses to Archived 2010-2011 topics: Sooty Ant-tanager (Habia gutturalis): downlist to Least Concern?

  1. Andy Symes says:

    Thomas Donegan provided the following comments (October 2009):

    Comments on proposal to downlist Sooty Ant-Tanager Habia gutturalis from NT to LR:

    General comments:

    Habia gutturalis apparently does not meet NT status based on the data presented for its Extent of Occurrence (Category B1). However, its status under Category A and under Category B2b/c (Area of Occupancy) should be re-assessed prior to downlisting.

    Habia gutturalis is a species which is easy to observe and relatively numerous in suitable habitat within its range. Birders which make visits to such habitats are likely to see it. The species is also pretty resilient to fragmentation and can persist, e.g. in scrub along rivers where surrounding forest has otherwise been largely deforested and in relatively small fragments (the Bajo Simacota locality mentioned below is a c. 50 ha fragment). It is also frequently found at forest borders. These factors all give some hope for conservation.

    However, deforestation in the Caribbean lowland region of Colombia, the distribution of this species, has been severe (estimated at over 90% by Colombian government). The nature of such deforestation is generally under the philosophy of “leave not a single tree standing”. (In the Andean region, in contrast, one tends to find forest patches on steep slopes and at locally higher elevations in deforested regions.)
    Furthermore, virtually none of the range of this species is protected. Examples of protected areas that include populations of this species are ProAves’ Pauxi pauxi and El Paujil nature reserves, as well as CORANTIOQUIA’s reserves in foothills below Anorí. These are all Andean foothill localities. Other lowland forest in the species range, such as in Chocó department and Serranía de San Lucas is unprotected and being rampantly destroyed for palm oil and agriculture (in the first case) and ‘non-agricultural’ crops, agriculture and gold mining (in the second case).

    Viable populations of H. gutturalis are mostly now found in forest fragments of foothills bordering the Magdalena and (less so) Cauca valleys. The species’ Area of Occupancy, if only remaining natural habitat is used as a basis for calculating that, may approach or fall under the level for VU status.

    Some of these comments are also relevant to Black-billed Flycatcher, which has a similar range but more fussy habitat requirements.


    There are various recent published records of new localities of Habia gutturalis, particularly in the lower Magdalena valley region of Colombia from research I have been involved with, details of which are set out below in case any further modeling is proposed:

    Serannia de San Lucas
    Comments: “This species is endemic to the Nechí Endemic Bird Area of northern Colombia. It was common by voice and seen frequently in the understorey at SS2 and SS3. Four individuals were captured at SS2 (1,400 m) presenting an upwards elevation extension for the species.”
    Localities: La Punta, Santa Rosa del Sur, Bolivar, 1400 m:
    “Apollo 13”, El Bagre, Antioquia, 200 m
    Ref: Salaman, PGW, Donegan TM, Cuervo AM & Ochoa JM. Biodiversity studies: birds. In: Salaman P. G. W. & Donegan T. M. (eds.) (2001) Presenting the first biological assessment
    of Serranía de San Lucas. Colombian EBA Project Report Series 3: 11-17.

    Serranía de los Yariguíes
    Comments: It was common by voice and seen frequently in the understorey at both in Cerro de la Paz, where 7 were captured (with one retrap) at 1000m and 2 were captured (with two retraps) at 1300m.
    Localities: Cerro de la Paz, Zapatoca, Santander, 1000-1400 m. 06°59’N,73°26’W
    Note: these localities are now within a nature reserve protected by ProAves (Reserva Natural de Aves Pauxi pauxi).
    Ref: Donegan T & Briceño, E. Birds in: Donegan TM & Huertas B (Eds.). 2005. Threatened Species of Serranía de los Yariguíes: Final Report. Colombian EBA Project Report Series 5: 27-35.

    Further locality: Bajo Simacota, Simacota, Santander, 150 m, 06°46’N, 73°44’W
    Ref: Donegan T & Avendaño J. Lista de Aves de la Serranía de los Yariguíes. In: Huertas B.C. & Donegan T.M. (eds.). 2006. Proyecto YARÉ: Investigación y Evaluación de las Especies Amenazadas de la Serranía de los Yariguíes, Santander, Colombia. BP Conservation Programme. Informe Final. Colombian EBA Project Report Series 7: 123-140.

    Serrania de las Quinchas (also a nature reserve protected by ProAves: RNA EL Paujil).
    Ref: Quevedo A, Salaman PGW & Donegan TM. 2006. Serranía de las Quinchas: establishment of a first protected area in the Magdalena Valley of Colombia. Cotinga 25 (2006): 24-32.

  2. Andy Symes says:

    Fundacion ProAves have provided the following information:

    This species is in a very similar situation to Aphanotriccus audax whereby an obvious and vocal understory species (often in multi-species foraging flocks) dependent on lowland humid forest in the Magdalena valley and Sinú valley that has been heavily fragmented, lacks protection and continuing to decline. Its habitat requirements are more generalist than those of Black-billed Flycatcher as it is also found in smaller forest fragments and mature secondary growth. However, forest in its core range has been subject to similar extirpation. We estimate 30% population declines have taken place in the past 11 years to warrant listing as Near Threatened.

    Fundacion ProAves (in press) The status of various threatened or potentially threatened birds in Colombia. Conservación Colombiana 14

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