Turquoise Dacnis Dacnis hartlaubi


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a highly disjunct and poorly understood range. It is very close to qualifying as Endangered, because the known range is very small and presumably declining (with possibly some local extirpations) in response to continuing habitat loss (Collar et al. 1992). However, it has been recorded at more than five locations and exhibits some habitat tolerance. It is therefore listed as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size (e.g. the lower quartile of such estimates spans 1-3.6 individuals/km2) and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. The estimate equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and on-going population decline is suspected, based on rates of habitat loss within the species's range.

Distribution and population

Dacnis hartlaubi has a restricted and disjunct distribution in all three Andean ranges in Colombia. It has been recorded from Valle de Cauca, Huila (Renjifo et al. 2002), Quindío, Antioquia (Botero and Verhelst 2001), Risaralda (Renjifo et al. 2002), Cundinamarca, Boyacá and Santander (Donegan et al. 2010). The Serranía de las Quinchas, Boyacá, may hold a significant population (Stiles et al. 1999), as does the Yariguíes National Park and adjacent shade coffee and cacao regions, but the only other post-1980 records are from several localities in the río Bogotá drainage, west-central Cundinamarca (although the east slopes of Cundinamarca where it was collected in 1912 are ornithologically poorly known [Stiles 1992]), two sites in Támesis, Antioquia (Botero and Verhelst 2001), one site in Risaralda (Renjifo et al. 2002) and various localities in Santander (Donegan et al. 2010). It is rare and likely to be declining.


It inhabits humid lower montane forest and edge, especially shade coffee and cocoa plantations (especially where Inga spp. and Cordia alliodora are commonest) bordering patches of secondary vegetation in Antioquia (Botero and Verhelst 2001), and clearings with scattered trees. On the west slope of the West Andes it has been recorded as low as 300 m, but mostly occurs at 1,350-2,200 m. Fruit and insects probably form the bulk of its diet (Stiles 1992). A male in breeding condition was collected in August in Cundinamarca.


There is continuing clearance of suitable humid forests for agriculture and human settlement. In central-west Cundinamarca and on the upper slopes of the Cauca valley (Quindío and Valle del Cauca), centuries of cultivation have left only remnant forest patches (Wege and Long 1995, Stiles et al. 1999). Colonisation and conversion of the Andean slopes in the middle Magdalena valley to cultivated and pastureland reached a peak in the 1970s, probably affecting any subpopulations between west Cundinamarca and the Serranía de las Quinchas and de los Yariguíes  (the largest remaining blocks of wet forest in the region [Stiles et al. 1999, T. Donegan in litt. 2012]). However, many areas have since been abandoned and become successional habitats (Stiles et al. 1999). The population in Valle del Cauca is bisected by the Cali-Buenaventura highway, and thus threatened by agricultural expansion (Salaman and Stiles 1996).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
This species is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2014). It occurs in San Antonio de Tequendama Reserve (Wege and Long 1995), Cerro Quinini (Cundinamarca), Soata IBA (Boyaca), Parque Natural Tatama (Cortes in litt. 2011) and the lower elevations of the Yariguíes National Park as well ProAves's El Paujil, Pauxi pauxi and Cerulean warbler reserves (T. Donegan et al. 2010). It has been recorded in Yotoco Forest Reserve (5.6 km2), but not by recent surveys (Silva Arias 1996, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). The Valle del Cauca localities are close to Farallones de Cali National Park.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further field surveys to better assess its population and distribution, notably in the Serranía de las Quinchas (Stiles et al. 1999), but also in east Cundinamarca (Stiles 1992). Research its ecological requirements to determine the extent to which primary forest is necessary to maintain viable populations and understand its occurrence in some shade-tree plantations. Protect Laguna de Pedropalo, Cundinamarca, and its adjoining forest (Renjifo et al. 2002).


11 cm. Short-billed dacnis with bright male plumage. Male blue with black mask (except blue eye-ring), throat, mantle, tail and wings (except blue scapulars and tertial fringes). Female dull brown above, greyer on head, with buff fringes to tertials and scapulars. Greyish below, yellowish on median breast and belly. Both sexes have yellow irides. Similar spp. Female similar to Black-faced Dacnis D. lineata, but is less olive above, buffier below and shows marked wing edgings. Tangara spp. have dark irides. Female Hemithraupis spp. are yellower below. Voice A very high monotonic metallic squeak.


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

Salaman, P., Cortés, O., Verhelst, J. & Donegan, T.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Dacnis hartlaubi. Downloaded from on 16/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/08/2022.