Orange-fronted Barbet Capito squamatus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km² combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The population size has not been quantified directly. Based on an observed density of a congener (Capito quinticolor: 3-5 pairs/km2 in disturbed forest [Short and Horne 2020b]), and precautionarily assuming that only around 10% of the range are occupied, the species may number c. 37,000-63,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population trend has not been estimated directly. The only threat known to the species is habitat loss; however, deforestation within the range has been low over the past ten years (c. 4%; Global Forest Watch 2020). The species is not confined to forest, but also occupies a variety of secondary and open habitats (del Hoyo et al. 2002, Short and Horne 2020a); therefore, forest loss is unlikely to drive significant population declines. Tentatively, the species is suspected to undergo a slow decline, which is unlikely to exceed 10% over ten years.

Distribution and population

Capito squamatus is poorly known but uncommon to locally fairly common on the Pacific slope of south-west Colombia (Nariño) and west Ecuador (historically south to El Oro, but now to Los Ríos and south Pichincha) (Parker et al. 1996, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001).


The species inhabits lowland evergreen forest and second growth mainly below 800 m, but ranges locally up to 1,500 m (del Hoyo et al. 2002). The species appears to readily accept edge habitat, young secondary growth, plantations and non-forest habitat, and even visits farms, orchards and pastures in search of fruiting trees (del Hoyo et al. 2002, Short and Horne 2020a). Nevertheless, despite its ability to tolerate degraded and converted habitats, it appears to rely on some forest cover nearby (J. Freile in litt. 2020).


The species is threatened by habitat loss. Forests within the range have been cleared for human settlement and road building, timber extraction, mining activities and agriculture including oil palm plantation and cattle grazing (Salaman 1994, Dinerstein et al. 1995, Stattersfield et al. 1998, Sharpe 1999). In northwestern Ecuador, around 60% of the original forest cover has already been lost (Finer and Mamani 2019).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None are known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Study its ecological requirements and its ability to persist in degraded and fragmented habitats. Search for the species at new sites with potentially suitable habitat. Effectively protect areas of lowland evergreen forest within its range. Establish new community-managed or private protected areas to protect blocks of forest currently threatened by oil palm plantations (Sharpe 1999).


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Benstead, P., Capper, D., Freile, J., Sharpe, C.J. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Capito squamatus. Downloaded from on 29/11/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/11/2022.