Masked Antpitta Hylopezus auricularis


Justification of Red List Category
This species is currently known from a very small area, and thus qualifies as Vulnerable. Little is known about its requirements, and it cannot be considered secure. However, surveys may find the species to be more widespread, resulting in a downlisting to Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals. Its population may be considerably larger, if the species's range proves to be more expansive than first thought.

Trend justification
It has apparently adapted well to heavy habitat disturbance by humans. However, knowledge of its distribution and ecological requirements is very limited, and it cannot at present be considered secure.

Distribution and population

Hylopezus auricularis is currently known from five sites in the lower río Beni drainage, north Bolivia. Four specimens were collected at Victoria, Pando, in 1937, one was observed between Lago Tumi Chucua and the río Beni in 1976, it was tape-recorded at Remanso on the río Madre de Dios in 1991 (S. Mayer in litt. 2004) and it was frequently seen near Riberalta, on the east bank of the río Beni, Beni, in 1994, where a specimen was collected in 1995 (Maijer 1998), with another three obtained at nearby Hamburgo in 1998 (Maillard et al. 2008). In 2012-2013 there were a number of unpublished sightings from the Hamburgo-Riberalta area (eBird 2016). A pair was observed foraging at a sixth locality near Las Piedras, between the río Beni and Puerto Gonzalo Moreno, Pando in September 2001 (Maillard et al. 2008).


The site near Riberalta is a matrix of clay-pits (for brick-making), grassy open spaces and low secondary forest, with this species apparently occurring in low-lying, muddy forest and thickets (Maijer 1998). Most records are from thickets adjacent to open areas, possibly because birds move from the interior to the forest edge to sing (Maijer 1998).


It has apparently adapted well to heavy habitat disturbance by humans (Maijer 1998). However, knowledge of its distribution and ecological requirements is very limited, and it cannot at present be considered secure (Maijer 1998).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is considered Critically Endangered (non-IUCN criteria) at the national level in Bolivia (Ministerio de Medio Ambiente y Agua 2009). No targeted actions are is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey suitable habitats in north Bolivia (S. Mayer in litt. 1999). Conduct research into the species's ecology (S. Mayer in litt. 1999). Designate a protected area for the species (J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1999).


14 cm. Smallish, masked antpitta. Grey crown. Dark mask, white lores, broad black stripes bordering white throat. Light brownish-olive upperparts, paler uppertail-coverts. Dusky flight feathers edged ochraceous-olive, orangey-bronze wing-coverts. Rufescent tail. Creamy-white breast streaked black. Streaks become olive-brown on sides of largely white belly, warm-buff undertail-coverts. Voice Slow, trilling song, slightly descending series of hollow and high-pitched cu notes. Call is swift succession of 2-3 melodious notes fuí notes, followed by short, lower-pitched cuu. Also single cuiu call.


Text account compilers
Capper, D., Stuart, T., Pople, R., Symes, A., Sharpe, C.J.

Hornbuckle, J., Mayer, S.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Hylopezus auricularis. Downloaded from on 22/07/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/07/2019.