Justification of Red List category
This recently described species qualifies as Critically Endangered because current knowledge suggests that it has an extremely small population, which is restricted to one location and in decline owing to habitat loss. Ongoing deforestation is suspected to be driving a population decline outside adequately protected areas.
The known population numbers only 24 territories; however, an extrapolation of habitat preferences across the reserve and adjacent suitable areas, based on contour maps of the eastern and south-eastern slopes of the Páramo del Sol massif, gives an estimated known range size of potentially only 5.8 km2 and thus a cautious estimate of 57-156 territories. Each territory refers to a singing adult male, so this figure does not necessarily translate to an estimate of the number of pairs, and hence there are estimated to be fewer than 250 mature individuals, with the population placed in the band 50-249 mature individuals. This equates to 75-374 individuals in total, rounded here to 70-400 individuals.
The species's population is considered to be undergoing a decline owing to ongoing forest clearance, primarily for agricultural expansion.
Grallaria fenwickorum was recently described from the Páramo de Frontino massif in the Western Andes of Colombia (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón 2010). It is known only from the Colibrí del Sol Bird Reserve and immediate area. The known population numbers only 24 territories; however, an extrapolation of habitat preferences across the reserve and adjacent suitable habitat, based on contour maps of the eastern and south-eastern slopes of the Páramo del Sol massif, gives an estimated known range size of potentially as low as 5.8 km2 and thus a cautious estimate of between 57-156 territories (Barrera et al. 2010). Each territory refers to a singing adult male, so this figure does not necessarily translate to an estimate of the number of pairs (Barrera et al. 2010). The total range of G. fenwickorum is suspected to exceed that which is currently known (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón 2010); however, surveys in suitable areas have failed to locate the species (Barrera et al. 2010).
This species appears to be restricted to primary and secondary oak-dominated montane forest at 2,500-3,300 m (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón 2010) on the less humid east-facing or sheltered valleys of the Western Andes (Barrera et al. 2010). It has been suggested that the species could range lower in elevation, below 2,500 m (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón 2010); however, the majority of humid montane forest below that elevation on the eastern slope of the Western Andes has been cleared (Barrera et al. 2010). It inhabits the forest understorey and its territories are largely restricted to Chusquea bamboo thickets (Barrera et al. 2010). The stomach contents of specimens contained insects, mostly beetle (Coleoptera) remains, but they have been observed to take worms (Annelida) both in natural situations and at a feeding station (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón 2010, Fundación ProAves in press). Breeding is probably concentrated during the first half of the year (Carantón 2010).
The species has lost 19.5% of its original habitat however forest cover was stable between 2000 and 2010 (Renjifo et al. 2014). The species's habitat is threatened by on-going moderate levels of deforestation for pasture and cultivation, and is potentially threatened by mineral extraction (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón 2010), which has so far been limited by local political instability (Carantón 2010), but has seen a recent increase in interest as public order has improved (Barrera et al. 2010). The threat of forest conversion is exacerbated by the largely private ownership of land in the Páramo de Sol massif and the low level of habitat protection in the region (Barrera et al. 2010). Forests in the region are also affected by timber extraction and hunting (Carantón 2010). In 2010 a fire caused by tourists burned approximately 110 ha of páramo habitat (Carantón 2014).
Conservation Actions Underway
Considered Endangered at the national level in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2014). Most of the species's tiny known range is well protected by the Colibrí del Sol Bird Reserve (Barrera et al. 2010). The only other protected area on the Páramo de Frontino massif is the Reserva Forestal Protectora Urrao-Abriaquí, which may not offer adequate protection (Carantón 2010). It is suspected to occur in other protected areas in the northern region of the Western Andes (Carantón 2010). The species is now the subject of ongoing research (Fundación ProAves in press).
A medium-large Grallaria species. The crown, face, malar area, nape, mantle and wings are medium olive brown to cinnamon brown, with buff edging on the crown and nape (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón 2010). The colouration of the upperparts contrasts with the light grey throat and medium grey breast and belly with variable cinnamon brown wash and feather-edging, especially on the throat, breast and flanks. Remiges stronger cinnamon brown to rufous brown; tail darker rufous brown. The crissum and undertail coverts are whitish grey. The bill is dark bluish grey with pale horn tip and the legs are bluish grey. Iris dark brown. The species is probably sexually monomorphic (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón 2010). Similar spp Brown-banded Antpitta G. milleri of the Central Andes has a brown pectoral band and darker upperparts. Voice The song is on average 0.9 seconds in duration and comprises three notes of increasing length and acoustic frequency, tu tuut TUUET (Barrera et al. 2010, Carantón 2010). Its call is a single loud sharp note.
Text account compilers
Sharpe, C.J., Ashpole, J, Taylor, J., Westrip, J.
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Grallaria fenwickorum. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/urrao-antpitta-grallaria-fenwickorum on 04/12/2023.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 04/12/2023.