Sooty Ant-tanager Habia gutturalis


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 has not been quantified, 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 global population size has not been quantified. Despite reports that the species may tolerate habitat degradation or even benefit from forest destruction (Willis 1972; Pulgarín-R. and Galvis 2020) it is now considered rare across its range (S. L. Hilty in litt. 1986).

Trend justification
Data on population trends are lacking, but declines are likely to be occurring as habitat destruction is ongoing within the species's range. Tree cover within the range has been lost at a rate of 7% over the past three generations (Global Forest Watch 2020), but habitat loss is likely exacerbated by additional degradation of forests, particularly in the understorey. Assuming that the rate of population decline is roughly equivalent to the rate of habitat loss, the species is tentatively assessed as declining at <20% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Habia gutturalis has a restricted range within northern Colombia, where it occurs in the upper Sinú valley at the north end of the west Andes, and east along the north base of the Andes to the middle Magdalena valley (Hilty and Brown 1986).


The species occurs in undergrowth in tall secondary and patchy woodland at 100-1,100 m (Isler and Isler 1987), often beside streams. It is highly insectivorous, with pairs or small family groups following swarms of army ants or joining mixed-species flocks (Isler and Isler 1987; Ridgely and Tudor 1989).


Suitable habitat within its range has been reduced (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). The middle and lower Magdalena valley has been extensively deforested since the 19th century for agriculture, and clearance of its foothills has been near total since the 1950s (Forero 1989). In addition to clearance for agriculture, deforestation is being driven by gold mining in the Serranía de San Lucas (T. Donegan in litt. 2009). However, the species shows some resilience to habitat fragmentation, can persist in patches of mature secondary growth and frequents forest borders (Willis 1972; T. Donegan in litt. 2009; Pulgarín-R. and Galvis 2020).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
This species occurs in several protected areas (T. Donegan in litt. 2009).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey known and likely sites within and surrounding the range to determine the full extent of distribution. Monitor rates of population change. Conduct ecological studies to identify habitat associations and tolerance of habitat destruction. Protect areas of suitable habitat.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Donegan, T., Gilroy, J., Hilty, S.L., O'Brien, A., Salaman, P.G.W., Sharpe, C.J. & Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Habia gutturalis. Downloaded from on 06/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 06/06/2023.