Turquoise Cotinga Cotinga ridgwayi


Justification of Red List category
This species is restricted to a small range, in which deforestation is causing a decline in habitat availability and consequently in population size. The species has already disappeared from some previously occupied areas, and it consequently qualifies as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population size has not been quantified. Assuming that the species occurs at a similar density as congeners (C. cayana and C. cotinga in French Guiana: 2-4.5 individuals/km2; Santini et al. 2018), and, to account for its rarity, further assuming that only 10% of its mapped range is occupied, the population may number 1,880-4,230 individuals. This roughly equates to 1,250-2,820 mature individuals.
The subpopulation structure has not been investigated. Based on observational records (per eBird 2021) it is tentatively assumed that all individuals belong to the same subpopulation.

Trend justification
There are no new data on population trends. The species is inferred to be undergoing a continuing decline, which has led to its disappearing from previously occupied sites; there are no records from large parts of its range in Panama since 2013. Declines are thought to be caused by ongoing habitat loss (Snow and Sharpe 2020).
Over three generations (11.1 years; Bird et al. 2020), cover within the range is lost at a rate of 4% (Global Forest Watch 2021,using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein). The species depends on a dense canopy layer (Snow and Sharpe 2020) and as such it is conceivable that population declines are steeper than the rate of forest loss. Tentatively, the population decline is here placed in the band 1-19% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Cotinga ridgwayi inhabits the Pacific slope of central and west Costa Rica and westernmost Panama, where it is generally rare and local. Historically, it occurred from western Chiriquí, Panama, west to Pozo Azul de Pirris, westernmost Puntarenas, Costa Rica. Most records in Panama are from the Santa Clara area west of Volcán and El Chorogo (singles in 1998-1999, a pair in 2000) (Snow 1982; Ridgely and Gwynne 1989; Angehr and Jordán 1998; G. R. Angehr in litt. 1998, 2003; Angehr 2003). Although the species formerly occurred regularly in the Santa Clara area, there have been no records from this area since 2010 (and only one other record from Panama since, south of Volcan in 2013). The reasons for the species's apparent disappearance from this area are unknown since there does not appear to have been extensive deforestation or degradation in the area that would account for it. In Costa Rica, it is recorded in the eastern foothills, the Osa Peninsula and Carara National Park (Wege and Long 1995, Costa Rica Gateway 1998, Kirwan and Green 2011). However, deducing its current distribution is complicated due to its irregular occurrence at some sites (Wege and Long 1995).


The species inhabits the canopy and borders of humid forest, secondary growth, and tall trees in shade coffee plantations (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). It occurs at elevations up to 1,850 m, but in Panama is generally found below 900 m (Snow and Sharpe 2020). Eggs are laid around March (Snow 1982). It feeds on the fruits of mistletoes and palms and typically occurs alone, although it has been witnessed to form small flocks of 7-8 individuals (Skutch and Eckelberry 1969).


Agricultural conversion has resulted in near-complete deforestation in its Panamanian range. Forests within the range in Costa Rica are inadequately protected and similarly at risk of clearance (Snow and Sharpe 2020). Remaining forest within the range are currently being lost at a rate equivalent to 4% over three generations (Global Forest Watch 2021, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Carara and Corcovado National Parks, Costa Rica (Wege and Long 1995, Kirwan and Green 2011).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey the range to determine the current distribution. Urgently quantify the population size. Monitor the population trend. Investigate the population structure.
Protect areas of suitable habitat. Discourage the conversion of shade coffee plantations to sun coffee (Angehr and Jordán 1998, G. R. Angehr in litt. 2003).


17.5 cm. Beautiful, bright blue cotinga. Male bright turquoise-blue, with deep violet chin, throat, upper breast and centre of belly. Mostly black wings and tail, with broad blue edges to wing-coverts and margins to flight feathers. Some dark mottling on mantle. Female dusky above, spotted white on crown and hindneck. Buffy underparts, finely spotted black on throat and conspicuously on breast. Voice Mostly silent, males produce wing slurrings and females raucous shrieks.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C., Everest, J.

Angehr, G., Isherwood, I., Mahood, S., Pople, R., Sharpe, C.J. & Stuart, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Cotinga ridgwayi. Downloaded from on 01/10/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/10/2023.