Watkins's Antpitta Grallaria watkinsi


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a small range (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2) , and is now believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion combined with declining range size and habitat extent/quality. It is known from more than ten locations and not yet considered to be severely fragmented. The population is also predicted to decline by 10-30% over the next three generations. For these reasons, the species has been uplisted to Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
Freile et al. (2010) predict a population decline of 10-30% over the next three generations, estimated by BirdLife to be 11 years, based on the likely rate of habitat loss (c.290-870 km2 over 10.5 years), thus the species may qualify as Near Threatened under criterion A3c (typically a 20-29% decline over three generations). Of the 18 antpitta species studied by Freile et al. (2010), G. watkinsi had experienced the greatest extent of habitat loss in Ecuador, at 63%. Despite its ability to survive in secondary habitats, the critical degree of habitat degradation that has occurred throughout its range in recent decades has reportedly resulted in the complete devastation of all vegetation cover in large areas (Freile et al. 2010). The species can inhabit dense regenerating scrub and secondary forest, indicating a moderate to high tolerance of habitat degradation and disturbance; however, it is absent from areas described as completely modified or forest patches frequented by livestock. In western Ecuador, remnant forests are generally small and the level of habitat protection is regarded as limited (Freile et al. 2010).

Distribution and population

Grallaria watkinsi is a Tumbesian endemic with a restricted range in south-west Ecuador (mainly El Oro and Loja provinces) and extreme north-west Peru (Tumbes department), with an isolated population on the coastal cordillera of south-west Manabi and western Guayas, Ecuador (Ridgely and Tudor 1994).


The species generally keeps to dense vegetation where it usually stays on or near the ground (Ridgely and Tudor 1994). It inhabits semi-deciduous forest (Stotz et al. 1996), forest edge (I. Isherwood and J. Willis verbally 1998) and regenerating secondary scrub (Ridgely and Tudor 1994), and although it also occurs in areas of dry deciduous forest, it tends to keep to the greener, denser vegetation in narrow ravines (Parker et al. 1995). It can inhabit dense regenerating scrub and secondary forest (Freile et al. 2010). It may sometimes associate with mixed species flocks of brush-finches and seedeaters (Parker et al. 1995). It has been recorded from 600 to 1,400 m (Stotz et al. 1996), and sometimes as high as 1,700 m (Ridgely and Tudor 1994). Some seasonal altitudinal movement seems likely to take place, but the exact nature of this is unclear (I. Isherwood and J. Willis verbally 1998).


Clearance of forest and scrub for agricultural land, plus the loss of dense understorey through intense grazing by cattle and goats may adversely affect this species (I. Isherwood and J. Willis verbally 1998). However, it is known from several protected areas including Machalilla National Park, Ecuador, and Tumbes Reserved Zone which is part of the North-west Peru Biosphere Reserve (Parker and Carr 1992, Parker et al. 1995).

Conservation actions

Conservation measures underway 


Angulo Pratolongo, F., Lebbin, D., Becker, D.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Grallaria watkinsi. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 28/11/2020.