Multicolored Tanager Chlorochrysa nitidissima


Justification of Red List category
This species is known from a small number of sites. Its known population is suspected to be small, fragmented into very small subpopulations, and declining as a result of continuing habitat loss. Consequently, it is listed as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population size was previously placed in the band 20,000-49,999 individuals. This roughly equates to 13,000-35,000 mature individuals. Extrapolating recorded densities across the species's range (assuming 10% of its mapped range is likely to be occupied) gives a preliminary population estimate of 21,970 individuals. Based on an observed density of 13-15 individuals per km2 (Cárdenas et al. 2008, Fierro-Calderón et al. 2009), Renjifo et al. (2014) report a population of 26,000 individuals, equating to c.17,000 mature individuals. However, the density used by Renjifo et al. (2014) came from places where the species is presumably most abundant, acknowledging that the estimate given might be too high. Therefore, it is tentatively assumed that the true population size may be closer to the lower estimate of 13,000 mature individuals. Furthermore, it has been suggested that no subpopulation consists of more than 1,000 mature individuals (Renjifo et al. 2014).

Trend justification
The population is thought to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, but the trend has not been estimated directly. Deforestation data from between 2000 and 2012 (Tracewski et al. 2016) suggest that the area of suitable habitat for the species on average is declining by c.3.4% over three generations (11.1 years). It is here tentatively assumed that the rate of population decline is roughly equivalent to the rate of forest loss and continuing at the same pace. Therefore, the species is inferred to decline at < 10% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Chlorochrysa nitidissima occurs in the western and north-central Andes of Colombia (in Antioquia, Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío, Valle del Cauca and Cauca). The majority of records are from the western Andes in the Valle del Cauca. Formerly common, the species is now infrequently recorded. It, however, remains locally fairly common, even in remnant forest fragments.


Multicolored Tanager inhabits humid, mossy, montane forest and forest edges, and also occurs regularly in mature secondary forest and clearings with a few large trees left standing. It ranges from 1,300 to 2,200 m, exceptionally as low as 1,140 m in the north-central Andes and 900 m in the western Andes (Collar et al. 1992). The diet consists of insects and fruits, which are mainly taken when foraging with mixed-species flocks.


The main threat to the species is the loss and fragmentation of the forests within its range. Deforestation has been severe in many parts of the range, notably in and around the Valle del Cauca and around Medellín (Wege and Long 1995, Salaman and Stiles 1996). Forests are lost to mining developments, human settlements, agriculture and the rapid expansion of the road network, which is opening up more remote parts of the species’s range to further encroachment and subsequent increased deforestation (Salaman and Stiles 1996, Stiles 1998). However, large blocks of primary forest still persist (Wege and Long 1995, Stiles 1998).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway

This species is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2014). It has been recently recorded in the Ucumarí section of Los Nevados National Park, Yotoco Forest Reserve, Farallones de Cali National Park, Tambito Nature Reserve and Munchique National Park (Wege and Long 1995, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). The northernmost site of occurrence lies within a proposed regional park (A. Cuervo in litt. 1999). Education and awareness activities within the western Andes have included local schools participating in a Bird Month Celebration and publication of a conservation magazine (Fierro-Calderón et al. 2009).

Conservation Actions Proposed

Survey poorly-known areas of habitat, e.g. in Farallones de Cali National Park (L. Dávalos in litt. 1999). Enforce conservation measures in protected areas, specifically by providing non-damaging alternatives to settlers in Munchique National Park and the Tambito region (L. Dávalos in litt. 1999, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, T. Donegan in litt. 2012). Research the species's ecological requirements and population size (Renjifo et al. 2002). Use recent information to produce a regional management plan for the western Andes (Fierro-Calderón et al. 2009).


12.5 cm. Stunning, brightly coloured tanager. Male has yellow face and throat with gleaming green hindcrown and nape. Black patch on sides of neck bordered chestnut below. Yellow mantle and greenish-blue rump. Emerald-green wings and tail. Bright blue underparts with black median breast and belly. Female similar but duller, and lacks yellow mantle and black on underparts. Similar spp. If seen poorly, could be confused with Saffron-crowned Tanager Tangara xanthocephala, which has black mask and throat. Voice Call single or multiple wheezing ceeet notes.


Text account compilers
Sharpe, C.J., Stuart, T., Symes, A., Khwaja, N., Hermes, C., Pople, R., Isherwood, I.

Cuervo, A., Donegan, T., Dávalos, L. & Salaman, P.G.W.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Chlorochrysa nitidissima. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/multicolored-tanager-chlorochrysa-nitidissima on 29/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 29/09/2023.