Buffy Helmetcrest Oxypogon stuebelii


Justification of Red List Category
This newly-split species has a very small known range within which it appears to be patchily distributed and uncommon. It is therefore thought to have a small population, and for this reason has been classified as Vulnerable. The species occurs within a well-protected national park and is not currently thought to be subject to any imminent threats, however any evidence of a decline may result in its uplisting to a higher threat category.

Population justification
The extent of suitable habitat is less than 400 km2, and even in its preferred habitat it appears to be patchily distributed, not common and hard to find. A preliminary population estimate is therefore that there may be fewer than 1,000 mature individuals (Collar and Salaman 2013), placed here in the band 250-999 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Although no trend data are available, the species is known only from within a well-protected national park, and there appears to be no reason to suspect a population decline.

Distribution and population

Oxypogon stuebelii is only known from within the boundaries of the 583 km2 Los Nevados National Park, around Nevado del Ruiz, in the Central Andean Paramo EBA in central Colombia (Collar and Salaman 2013). Even in its preferred habitat it appears to be patchily distributed, not common and hard to find.


Assumed to be similar to O. guerinii, though little data relating directly to this taxon. The preferred habitat is stands of Espeletia hartwegiana across the páramos (Collar and Salaman 2013).


Threats are reasonably limited inside Los Nevados National Park, which is well protected and an ecotourism destination. Nevertheless, the paramos continue to be burnt to provide fresh grasslands for cattle, while localised potato cultivation occurs in the subparamo (Collar and Salaman 2013).

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions in place
The entire known range is within the Los Nevados National Park.

Conservation and research actions needed
Assess population size and trend, and determine potential threats.


A medium-sized hummingbird with a prominent crest and elongated chin and throat feathers forming a 'beard'. Crest and throat are mostly a tan colour, and a tan collar from breast side behind ear coverts to back of head contrasts with the blackish face. Bill is fairly short and straight. Central feathers of the 'beard' are metallic green becoming purple distally, and the tail has a broad off-white stripe on the outer rectrices. Similar spp. O. cyanolaemus, O. lindenii, and O. guerinii were previously lumped with the present species. Unlike the present species, the other taxa have the pale areas bright white, including the 'beard' sides and crest. In addition, O. cyanolaemus has an extensive buff-white area on the outer rectrices, and the beard of the male is purplish-blue. O. lindenii has a longer crest and greatly reduced green feathering in the beard. O. guerinii has a green 'beard' and white in the outer rectrices.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Martin, R, Symes, A., Taylor, J., Sharpe, C J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Oxypogon stuebelii. Downloaded from on 12/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 12/08/2020.