Santa Marta Antpitta Grallaria bangsi


Justification of Red List category
This species is classified as Vulnerable because it has a small range, within which suitable habitat is declining at an accelerating rate owing to forest destruction caused by agricultural conversion, logging and burning.

Population justification
The population size or density have not been quantified directly, but the species is described as common (Greeney 2020). Based on observed densities of congeners (G. rufocinerea: 80 individuals/km2; G. milleri: 102 individuals/km2; G. urraoensis: 94 individuals/km2; Renjifo et al. 2016 and references therein) and precautionarily assuming that this species occurs at the lowest density and that one-third of suitable habitat is occupied, the population is inferred to number 28,600 individuals (Renjifo et al. 2016). This roughly equates to 19,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The species is suspected to decline based on ongoing habitat loss within the range (Renjifo et al. 2016). Over the past three generations (12.5 years; Bird et al. 2020), tree cover loss has been low at <2% (Global Forest Watch 2022, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein). Despite occasionally venturing into cleared, open spaces and edge habitat the species strictly depends on humid montane forests (Greeney 2020) and as such it is suspected that population declines may exceed the rate of habitat loss. The rate of past decline is here placed in the band 1-9% over three generations.
Since around 2016, tree cover loss has been accelerating (Global Forest Watch 2022), and projections of habitat loss to deforestation suggest that between 2015 and 2040 the species will lose 21% of suitable habitat (Negret et al. 2021). This equates to a rate of habitat loss of 18% over three generations. Precautionarily assuming that population declines exceed this rate by about half to account for additional impacts of forest degradation, the population may decline by 20-29% over three generations from 2015 onwards.

Distribution and population

Grallaria bangsi is endemic to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, north Colombia.


It inhabits humid montane forest, mature secondary forest and tangled forest edge at 1,390-2,730 m, but is most common above 1,600 m (Hilty and Brown 1986, Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Greeney 2020). It is principally terrestrial, sometimes perching on low horizontal branches, and is generally less retiring and easier to see than congeners (Hilty and Brown 1986).


The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is increasingly being destroyed and fragmented by illegal agricultural expansion, logging and burning (Renjifo et al. 2016, Greeney 2020). Only about 15% of the sierra's vegetation is unaltered, and the species' range has probably lost about 40% of original forests (Renjifo et al. 2016). Projections suggest that habitat loss will continue at an accelerating pace (Negret et al. 2021).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is found within Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta National Park.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine more accurately its geographic and altitudinal range in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta. Conduct censuses to estimate the density and size of the population. Research the species' tolerance of habitat loss, fragmentation and degradation. Design appropriate conservation measures. Monitor the population trend. Effectively protect suitable habitat within the range.


18 cm. Large, rather poorly-marked antpitta. Brown above with white lores and eyering. Underparts white streaked brown, except for bright ochraceous buff throat, brownish flanks (streaked white) and cinnamon buff underwing coverts. Similar spp. Practically the only Grallaria in its restricted range. May overlap with the very different Scaled Antpitta G. guatimalensis at lower elevations. Voice Frequent, loud, flat bob white.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Benstead, P., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C.J., Strewe, R. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Grallaria bangsi. Downloaded from on 04/10/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/10/2023.