Cundinamarca Antpitta Grallaria kaestneri


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small population. It occurs in a very small range, in which suitable habitat is declining as a consequence of the logging of humid montane forests. Habitat loss has already led to local extinctions, and is projected to accelerate in the future. The species is therefore listed as Endangered.

Population justification
Recent surveys recorded the species at a density of 2-3 birds/km2; estimates based on this data place the population at 500-1,200 individuals (O. Cortes in litt. 2012), roughly equivalent to 330-800 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Habitat loss, degradation and disturbance in its range suggest that the population has undergone a decline (O. Cortes in litt. 2011). The Farallones de Medina and Monterredondo areas have now been partly deforested (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2003; Renjifo et al. 2014), and subsequent searches there have failed to record the species (O. Cortes in litt. 2012).
Over the past three generations (12.2 years), tree cover loss within the range has been very low (1% over three generations; Global Forest Watch 2022, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein) and as such habitat loss has unlikely been driving a rapid population decline. Tentatively it is suspected that declines over the past three generations did not exceed 5%. However, projections of habitat loss as a consequence of deforestation suggest that between 2015 and 2040 the species may lose 46% of suitable habitat (Negret et al. 2021), which equates to 26% over three generations. Given that the species is strictly dependent on montane forests (Greeney 2020), it is tentatively suspected that population declines are roughly equivalent to the rate of habitat loss. Consequently, the population may be declining by 20-29% over the next three generations.

Distribution and population

Grallaria kaestneri is restricted to the eastern slope of the east Andes in Cundinamarca, Colombia. It is currently known from south-east of Bogotá, from near Monterredondo, above Guayabetal and at Farallones de Medina, and it presumably ranges into Meta department between these sites.


It inhabits very wet primary and secondary cloud-forest and woodland (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2003; Renjifo et al. 2014, Greeney 2020). It is a terrestrial antpitta, preferring dense understorey vegetation below tree gaps (natural or otherwise), where it forages in leaf-litter and on soft ground, mainly for insects, particularly Coleoptera and Orthoptera (O. Cortes in litt. 2007), and also spiders and earthworms. Even though it is found in gap and edge habitat, it still requires closed-canopy forest with epiphytes and a dense understorey (Greeney 2020). It breeds between September and November, during the mid to late rainy season (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2003; O. Cortes in litt. 2012).


The species is threatened by the loss and degradation of its habitat, mainly as a consequence of logging, clearance for small-scale agriculture and grazing by goats (O. Cortes in litt. 2007, Renjifo et al. 2014). The species has disappeared from completely cleared areas in the Farallondes de Medina and near Monterredondo (O. Cortes in litt. 2012, Renjifo et al. 2014). There is fairly extensive disturbance of forest at suitable altitudes on the east slope in Cundinamarca, mostly in the form of timber extraction. However, selective logging may even favour the species, in contrast to clear-cutting, which is clearly a threat and has generally occurred up to altitudes of 1,500-2,000 m on the east slope (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2003).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Parts of the population occurs within Chingaza National Park (Renjifo et al. 2014). Environmental education programmes are carried out in local schools to raise awareness for the species and its protection (Renjifo et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Search for the species in suitable habitat throughout its potential range (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, 2003). Carry out research into the species' ecology, behaviour and dispersal abilities. Monitor the population trend. Protect suitable habitat in the known range. Continue environmental education and awareness campaigns.


15.5 cm. Medium-sized antpitta with whitish throat and streaked breast. Olive-brown above. Dull white throat with dark mottling. Greyish-olive breast with very narrow, white shaft streaking. Voice Song is three sharp, clear, whistled notes (last occasionally omitted), wirt, wiirt weert. Aggression call is a higher pitched, sharp SEEleee.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Alvarez, M., Benstead, P., Cortés, O., Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Khwaja, N., Mark, T., Salaman, P.G.W., Sharpe, C.J., Stiles, F.G., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Grallaria kaestneri. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/03/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/03/2023.