Buffy Helmetcrest Oxypogon stuebelii


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small known range, within which it appears to be uncommon. Despite large parts of the range being protected in a National Park, its preferred páramo habitat is lost and degraded rapidly. The species therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population size has not been estimated directly. Even in its preferred habitat the species appears to be patchily distributed, not common and hard to find. While Renjifo et al. (2016) suspect a population size of below 10,000 mature individuals, other studies suspect an even lower size of fewer than 1,000 mature individuals (Collar and Salaman 2013). Precautionarily, the population is placed here in the band 250-999 mature individuals, though this requires confirmation. It is moreover suspected that all individuals belong to the same subpopulation.

Trend justification
No population trend data are available for the species. Habitat loss within the range is difficult to quantify, as the loss of páramo habitat may be exacerbated by degradation (Renjifo et al. 2016). It is estimated that 50.4% of the original páramo habitat within the range have been lost; between 2000 and 2011, the rate of loss amounted to 25.5% (Renjifo et al. 2016). Assuming that this is continuing at the same pace into the future and accounting for additional impacts of habitat degradation, habitat may be lost at a rate of 30-49% over ten years.

Distribution and population

Oxypogon stuebelii is only known from the Los Nevados National Park and its vicinity, around Nevado del Ruiz, in the Central Andean Paramo EBA in central Colombia (Collar and Salaman 2013; Renjifo et al. 2016).


The species occurs in humid open páramos between 3,000 and 4,600 m, preferring stands of Espeletia hartwegiana (Collar and Salaman 2013; Renjifo et al. 2016). It has been hypothesised that the species is undergoing small-scale altitudinal migrations, following the flowering of its preferred feeding plants (Renjifo et al. 2016).


Paramos continue to be burnt to provide fresh grasslands for cattle, while localised potato cultivation occurs in the subparamo (Collar and Salaman 2013). Even inside Los Nevados National Park, almost half of the páramo has been affected by fires and cattle ranching between 2006 and 2016 (Renjifo et al. 2016).

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions in place
A large part of the range is protected within the Los Nevados National Park.

Conservation and research actions needed
Assess the population size and trend. Delimit the distribution. Determine threats to the species. Monitor the population trend. Investigate life-history traits, breeding behaviour and movement patterns. Protect remaining habitat. Include the species in the management plan of Los Nevados National Park.


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
Martin, R., Hermes, C.

Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Sharpe, C.J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Oxypogon stuebelii. Downloaded from on 22/05/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/05/2022.