Long-wattled Umbrellabird Cephalopterus penduliger


Justification of Red List category
A combination of extensive forest loss since 1960, and some pressure from hunting indicate that this species's population is declining rapidly. The population is presumably now small and fragmented in very small subpopulations. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 10,000-19,999 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 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals. The population in Colombian has been calculated at less than 2500 individuals (Renjifo et al. 2014).

Trend justification
A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected owing to rates of habitat loss and hunting pressure.

Distribution and population

Cephalopterus penduliger occurs on the Pacific slope and adjacent lowlands of south-west Colombia (Chocó to Nariño) and west Ecuador (Esmeraldas to El Oro), as well as in Ecuador's coastal cordillera (Esmeraldas and northern Manabí). In recent decades its distribution in lowland Ecuador has contracted greatly, but a few leks survived at altitudes as low as 80m at least until the early 2000s (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). There are concentrations of records in the far north of the known range in Valle de Cauca (Hilty and Brown 1986, Wege and Long 1995, N. Gómez in litt. 1999), east and west Esmeraldas and adjacent parts of Imbabura and Nariño, although this is likely to be a reflection of observer coverage and the species presumably occurs in suitable habitat between these areas (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). The rapidly declining population (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Jahn et al. 1999) is currently estimated at 7,290-48,600 mature individuals (O. Jahn in litt. 2007).


This lekking species is found in humid and wet forest from 80-1,800 m altitude (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Jahn et al. 1999, Jahn and Mena 2002b). In some areas, it is believed to make seasonal altitudinal movements (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Hornbuckle et al. 1997, Jahn et al. 1999), although there are records throughout the year from lowland and foothill locations (K. S. Berg in litt. 1999, Jahn et al. 1999). It feeds on palm-nuts, insects, amphibians and reptiles such as lizards Anolis spp (Hornbuckle et al. 1997, K. S. Berg in litt. 1999, Jahn et al. 1999, Karubian et al. 2003, Greeney et al. 2006). Nests have been recorded in June and January, at the top of a tree fern Cyathea sp. 5 m in height and 4.5 m above the ground in a vine tangle, both in secondary forest (Karubian et al. 2003, Greeney et al. 2006). Although it appears somewhat tolerant of degraded habitats and human activity when selecting nest sites, it may prefer mature forest for feeding and lekking (Jahn et al. 1999, Jahn 2001, Jahn and Mena 2002b, Karubian et al. 2003).


Hunting pressure is rapidly increasing due infrastructural development and advancing colonization frontiers (Jahn and Mena 2002b, Cárdenas 2007). It is easy to locate the traditional lek sites and to approach the displaying males, making it an easy bag for hunters (Jahn et al. 1999, Jahn and Mena 2002b). Rapid deforestation rates have continued to affect Esmeraldas and Nariño during the 1990s ( Salaman 1994, WWF/ IUCN 1994-1997, Salaman and Stiles 1996, Sharpe 1999). By 1996, in western Ecuador the remnant cover of evergreen lowland and premontane forests was only 18% and 40% respectively. (Sierra 1999). In Esmeraldas, annual deforestation rates in the lowlands (<300m) were 3.8% and accumulated loss of primary forest >38% during the last decade (Cárdenas 2007). During the same period, the cover of primary premontane forest (300-1300m) was reduced by 7% (Cárdenas 2007). At higher altitudes and in Cauca and south Valle de Cauca, Colombia, deforestation has been slower and more habitat remains (Dodson and Gentry 1991, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). However, plans to colonise and develop remoter areas are progressing through infrastructural improvements, particularly the rapid expansion of the road network, which have increased the impact of logging, small-scale agriculture, illegal coca plantations, gold mining and hunting (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Salaman 1994, WWF/ IUCN 1994-1997, Salaman and Stiles 1996, Bowen-Jones et al. 1999, Jahn et al. 1999), which is already affecting some key protected areas (Jahn and Mena 2002b, O. Jahn in litt. 2007, P. Mena Valenzuela in litt. 2007). Intensive agricultural development is a major threat, especially oil palm and banana plantations and livestock-farming (Dodson and Gentry 1991, WWF/ IUCN 1994-1997, P. Coopmans in litt. 1998, Bowen-Jones et al. 1999, Sharpe 1999). Since 2004, some indigenous communities within the Awá Ethnic Reserve have converted their forest into oil palm plantations (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). It also suffers from trade (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Jahn et al. 1999): in the Ventanas area of Esmeraldas, they are highly prized as domestic birds, and local people capture them as pets, for sale to third parties and to eat (Sharpe 1999).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is considered Endangered at the national level in both Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2014) and Ecuador (Granizo 2002). The Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological-Reserve, Esmeraldas, may hold one of the largest subpopulations (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). Jatun Sacha Bilsa Reserve and the neighbouring Mache-Chindul Ecological-Reserve (Esmeraldas) hold significant numbers (Jahn et al. 1999). The species is also present in the Buenaventura Reserve (El Oro) (Greeney et al. 2006), Gran Reserva Chachi (Esmeraldas) (O. Jahn in litt. 2007), Awacachi Corridor (Esmeraldas), Canandé Reserve (Esmeraldas), Protective Forest Mindo-Nambillo (Pichincha), as well as in the private reserves at Milpe and Sachatamia (Pichincha) (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). Two national parks, Los Farallones de Cali (Valle de Cauca) and Munchique (Cauca) are probably important, owing to their large size (Hilty and Brown 1986, Wege and Long 1995, Jahn et al. 1999), although there are no modern records from the latter.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey foothill forests in its range, especially within the two Colombian National Parks (Wege and Long 1995). Consolidate protection of the Awacachi Biological Corridor to maintain link between Awá Ethnic Reserve and Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve and the surrounding buffer zone (Bowen-Jones et al. 1999). Designate the Awá reserve, Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, Awacachi Corridor, Gran Reserva Chachi, and Canandé Reserve, including the Río Santiago, Cayapas, Ónzole, and Hoja Blanca drainages, as a biosphere reserve (Bowen-Jones et al. 1999, Jahn and Mena 2002b). Sustainably manage the buffer zone to the Awá Ethnic Reserve and Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve (Bowen-Jones et al. 1999, Jahn and Mena 2002b). Implement population monitoring programmes (Jahn and Mena 2002b). Consolidate protection of the Mache-Chindul and Cotacachi-Cayapas ecological reserves through law enforcement against illegal logging, hunting, and colonization inside the reserves and sustainable management projects in their buffer zones (O. Jahn in litt. 2007).


51 cm. Large, ornate, black cotinga. Male all black with overhanging crest and long wattle hanging from central chest. Female and immature similar, but wattle much reduced or absent. Voice Generally silent, but displaying males grunt.


Text account compilers
Isherwood, I., Jahn, O., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Coopmans, P., Gomez, N., Sharpe, C J, Berg, K., Salaman, P., Jahn, O.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Cephalopterus penduliger. Downloaded from on 29/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/09/2023.