Justification of Red List Category
Although the species may have a restricted range, with the use of a Minimum Convex Polygon to assess its Extent of Occurrence, it is no longer believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). Therefore, the species is now listed as Least Concern.
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. 1996).
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction and unsustainable levels of exploitation.
Chamaepetes unicolor is rare to locally fairly common throughout the highlands of Costa Rica and in Chiriquí, Bocas del Toro, Veraguas (Calovévora and Sante Fe) and west Coclé, Panama (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989). It is common (estimated density of 7.4 birds/km2) in the Monteverde Cloud Forest Preserve, Costa Rica (D. Brooks in litt. 2000). Large areas of suitable habitat are protected in La Amistad International Park and the Cordillera de Guanacaste (F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999). This suggests that the population estimate of 800-1,000 birds in Costa Rica (Strahl et al. 1994) is too low. In Panama, it was reported as locally common in the 1930s, uncommon and local in 1971 (del Hoyo 1994), and rare to locally fairly common (e.g. in Fortuna Forest Reserve) in the 1980s (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). The species was found to be fairly common at Cerro Pena Blanca, west of El Cope, in 2001 (G. Angehr in litt. 2005).
This frugivore inhabits montane cloud forest, preferring steep terrain with ridges and ravines (Wheelwright et al. 1984, Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Stiles and Skutch 1989). It typically occurs at elevations of 900-2,250 m but has been recorded to 450 m (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). In Panama, young birds have been seen in February and June. In Costa Rica, pairing has been observed to begin in March, with both very young chicks and almost full-grown young seen in July (del Hoyo 1994). The species lays 2-3 eggs per clutch (del Hoyo 1994).
This species is much hunted for food (del Hoyo 1994). Highland forests have suffered burning, logging and conversion to intensive agriculture (Dinerstein et al. 1995), and in east Chiriquí only isolated patches of forest remain above 1,000 m (W. J. Adsett in litt. 1993). However, the extent of fragmentation is less than in lowland areas and, where not hunted for food, it persists in forest edge and secondary growth adjacent to undisturbed forest (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Strahl et al. 1994, F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999). In Panama, a belt of nearly continuous forest remains along the cordillera from the Costa Rican border to just east of El Cope, although the continuity may be lost in future.
Conservation Actions Underway
This species occurs in numerous protected areas, including private reserves.
64 cm. Short-tailed glossy black cracid. Overall glossy black, sootier below. Bare blue facial skin with red iris. Coral red legs. Immature duller and sootier. Voice Mostly silent. In breeding season gives soft low piping calls at dawn. Also low kowr when startled and tsik tsik alarm call. Wings rattle when flying between trees. Hints Forages singly, in pairs or small groups, mostly in trees but sometimes on the ground.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Sharpe, C.J., Capper, D., Stuart, T., Keane, A., Taylor, J., Westrip, J.
Stiles, F., Brooks, D., Adsett, W., Angehr, G.
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Chamaepetes unicolor. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/05/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/05/2020.