Bicolored Antpitta Grallaria rufocinerea


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a small range and population, which are declining in response to habitat loss. It is consequently classified as Vulnerable (Collar et al. 1992).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be declining slowly, in line with rates of habitat loss within its range.

Distribution and population

Grallaria rufocinerea occurs on both slopes of the Central Andes of Colombia (south Antioquia to west Putumayo) and north Ecuador (Sucumbíos). The subspecies romeroana is found in Putumayo and Cauca, Colombia, and was discovered in adjacent Sucumbíos, Ecuador in 1999 (Nilsson et al. 2001). The nominate subspecies has been found most frequently on the Volcán Ruíz-Tolima massif, but there are also historical records at two localities in Antioquia. In two protected areas on the south-west slope of Volcán Tolima, densities were estimated at 1.6-5 birds per 10 km of transect (Renjifo 1991b) and 3.7-5.7 birds per km of transect (Kattan and Beltran 1999). The population is presumed to have declined significantly during the 20th century.


It inhabits dense, humid montane forest and secondary growth near the treeline, at 2,200-3,150 m, locally as low as 1,950 m (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, López-Lanús et al. 2000). Two studies have found it most abundant in lower parts of its altitudinal range (Renjifo 1991b, Kattan and Beltran 1999). Most records are from forest with many small palms, ferns, vines and epiphytes, but it seems to tolerate considerable disturbance as long as forest cover is maintained. It apparently prefers primary to secondary forest (Renjifo 1991b), and closed-canopy secondary forest (or plantations with an open understorey) to dense vegetation in the early stages of regeneration (Kattan and Beltran 1999). In Navarco Reserve, it was found in remnant natural forest patches within conifer plantations (F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999). Inspection of mist-netted birds suggests that breeding occurs in March-May (Renjifo et al. 2002).


Widespread deforestation for agriculture and human settlement has taken place within its range, including the immediate vicinity of known locations. Forest east of Medellín, Antioquia, has long since been cleared. In the Toche valley, most forest clearance has taken place since the 1950s, primarily for coffee plantations, potatoes, beans and cattle-grazing, leaving scattered patches of mature secondary forest and natural vegetation covering only c.15% of land between 1,900 and 3,200 m (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, López-Lanús et al. 2000). In west Putumayo, continuing improvements to the road network have attracted many immigrants who have settled, logged and farmed previously uninhabited areas (Donegan and Salaman 1999).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is well protected in Puracé National Park (Cauca), Ucumarí Regional Park and Los Nevados National Park (Risaralda), Navarco and Alto Quindío Acaime Reserves (Quindío) (Wege and Long 1995, F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999, Renjifo et al. 2002).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to determine better its population and conservation status. Assess habitat cover throughout its range and search for additional populations. Protect the significant areas of pristine forest on the east Andean slopes (Renjifo 1991b). Ensure continued effective protection at existing reserves.


16.5 cm. Medium-sized antpitta with grey underparts and rufous upperparts. Dark rufous-brown head, throat and upperparts. Dark grey chest to crissum. Black bill. Similar spp. Chestnut-naped Antpitta G. nuchalis is much larger, contrasting chestnut crown with reddish-brown back and blackish throat. Voice Long, clear, high whistled treeeee or double sounding treeeeaaaa, last part slurred lower.


Text account compilers
Symes, A., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Isherwood, I.

Salaman, P., Stiles, F., Krabbe, N.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Grallaria rufocinerea. Downloaded from on 01/06/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/06/2020.