Justification of Red List Category
This newly described species has a small population and a very small, severely fragmented range at two locations. Its range and population are likely to be declining because of continuing habitat destruction. It is therefore classified as Endangered.
The population is estimated to be in the band 2,500-9,999 individuals in total, equating to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 individuals.
A rapid and ongoing population decline is suspected, based on rates of habitat loss at the elevations from which the species has been recorded within its very small range.
Scytalopus rodriguezi was described in 2005 from the head of the Magdalena Valley on the east slope of the Cordillera Central mountains of Colombia. Several records of a Scytalopus species in the Serranía de los Yariguíes (representing a 580 km northward range extension), have recently been described as subspecies yariguiorum (T. Donegan in litt. 2007, D. Willis in litt. 2007, Donegan et al. 2013). The nominate subspecies is known from several locations including the Finca Merenberg Natural Reserve, San Agustín municipality, Huila department, and Serranía de las Minas, a ridge 15 km SSE of Finca Merenberg. It was hypothesised that the species may also occur on the East Andes side of the valley; this seems to be supported by the recent re-examination of a museum specimen collected at La Palma, Huila, which is consistent with rodriguezi based on plumage and biometrics (T. Donegan in litt. 2006). The subspecies's range is believed to be very small, with its stronghold centred on Serranía de las Minas. Much habitat at suitable elevations has already been cleared with an estimated 169 km2 remaining and deforestation continues, suggesting that the species may be declining rapidly. Subspecies yariguiorum has been recorded at three localities on both slopes of the Serranía de los Yariguíes (Donegan et al. 2013). There are no records of the species from the intervening departments of Meta, Caquetá, Cundinamarca, Boyacá or Santander.
It inhabits dense understorey of primary humid forest at elevations of 1,700-2,300 m. It is frequently heard but rarely seen. Individuals move inconspicuously within 50 cm of or on the ground. It feeds on small insects.
Deforestation is the principal threat to the species, at least in the short term. The east slope of the Yariguíes massif has been extensively deforested, especially between 400 m and 2,000–2,400 m, while deforestation on the west slope has reached 1,700–1,900 m (Donegan et al. 2013). Selective logging, forest clearance to create pasture, and habitat degradation owing to trampling by free roaming livestock are the main drivers of its decline. Clearance in places of hundreds of mature oak and other hardwoods has drastically changed the forest physiognomy.
Conservation Actions Underway
Considered Vulnerable at the national level in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2014). The nominate subspecies is known from the Finca Merenberg Nature Reserve. However, forest within this reserve continues to be degraded and cleared. The subspecies's stronghold, Serranía de las Minas, is unprotected, but a joint partnership between the national parks authority and Fundación ProAves aims to establish a protected area here. Subspecies yariguiorum is protected by the Serranía de los Yariguíes National Park.
c. 11 cm. A typical Scytalopus tapaculo, predominantly slate-grey all over with some buff-brown barring on the belly. Similar spp lacks distinguishing plumage features. Best identified on voice. Voice the song is amongst the simplest of any Scytalopus, consisting of a single note repeated at a pace of 4-5 per second usually given in bouts of 2-5 phrases.
Text account compilers
Sharpe, C.J., Butchart, S., Symes, A., Wheatley, H., Bird, J.
Willis, D., Donegan, T.
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Scytalopus rodriguezi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/08/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/08/2019.