Yellow-billed Cotinga Carpodectes antoniae


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small range in at least seven disjunct areas. Habitat destruction may have almost extirpated the species in Panama, and the total population is probably now very small and declining rapidly. It is therefore considered Endangered.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 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, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 167-666 mature individuals, rounded here to 150-700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
There are no new data available on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be experiencing a moderately rapid and on-going decline, owing to habitat degradation.

Distribution and population

Carpodectes antoniae occurs on the Pacific coast of Costa Rica and westernmost Panama. The northernmost records are from the mouth of the río Tárcoles and the nearby Carara Biological Reserve. About 40 km to the south, it has been recorded at Parrita and the nearby estuary of the río Palo Seco. The stronghold is probably the area of the Golfo Dulce and the Osa peninsula. The río Sierpe and its estuaries are probably the principal nesting areas, and it also occurs at Golfito, Rincón, Puerto Jimenez, and in small number at ríos Esquinas and Coto and possibly at Carara (E. Jones in litt. 2012). Few recent records in Panama: it has been recorded infrequently on the Burica Peninsula, but these non-coastal records are thought to refer to wandering individuals (Angehr 2000, 2003). In 1997, a resident population was discovered at Cerro Batipa and the adjacent David Mangroves, Chiriquí, and the species may also occur in other smaller mangrove areas nearby, such as the Playa de la Barqueta Agrícola Wildlife Refuge (Angehr 2000, 2003). There is a recent sighting from the Golfo de Montijo to the east (G. R. Angehr in litt. 2007). In the 1920s, a (now lost) specimen was apparently taken near Aguadulce, Panama, c.200 km east of the currently known range.


It primarily occurs in extensive mangroves, but also lowland forest or scrub adjacent to mangroves and occasionally isolated trees in nearby clearings or pastures. Post-breeding wanderers have been found in foothill forest, and there is one record of displaying males at 760 m. Appears to require both mangroves and lowland and foothill forest for survival (Jones et al. 2014, Snow and Sharpe 2015). The breeding season is probably December-June (Leavelle et al. 2015, Snow and Sharpe 2015). It feeds on a variety of fruits, including those of Ocotea rivularis (Jones et al. 2014) and pava tree Schefflera morototoni (Angehr 2000, 2003).


Mangroves are being cut down and converted to shrimp nurseries, salt ponds, rice cultivation and ranching, and are used for charcoal production and as poles for light construction. Dyke and road construction have affected the hydrology at several sites. Lowland and foothill forests inland from mangroves have largely been removed, especially in Panama (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, G. R. Angehr in litt. 1998). Though rates of mangrove deforestation seem to have slowed in recent years, protection of the habitat is still minimal and ineffective (G. R. Angehr in litt. 2007). The stronghold of the species in the rio Sierpe area is threatened by tentative plans to build an international airport at the headwaters of the river (E. Jones in litt. 2012). In addition, the forest adjoining the mangroves where where the species breeds is privately owned and so could be developed in the future. At Cerro Batipa, the forest has been cut in recent years which may have a negative effect on the population (E. Jones in litt. 2012).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
In Costa Rica, it occurs in Piedras Blancas and Carara National Parks, Golfito Wildlife Refuge and Térraba-Sierpe National Wetland, with seasonal wanderers in Corcovado National Park (Snow and Sharpe 2015). In Panama, Cerro Batipa is a private reserve and the Playa de la Barqueta Agrícola Wildlife Refuge protects a small area of mangroves where the species may occur (Angehr 2000, 2003). It also almost certainly occurs in the Golfo de Montijo Wetland of International Importance protected area, since there is a recent sighting from nearby (G. R. Angehr in litt. 2007). Cutting mangroves is illegal in Costa Rica, but this law is widely ignored.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor populations at the known strongholds. Survey mangroves in Panama to assess the species's distribution. Monitor the population at Cerro Batipa to assess the impact of tree cutting on the population. Protect major mangroves (e.g. the estuaries of the río Sierpe and río Tárcoles, and those south of David) (Capper et al. 1998, F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999, Angehr 2000, Angehr 2003). Plant vegetation corridors between remnant forest patches in south Chiriquí, Panama (Angehr 2003).


21.5 cm. Striking white cotinga. Male has slight grey tinge to upperparts, and slightly bluish-grey crown. Bright yellow bill with black line along culmen. Female ashy-grey, but darker on forehead and crown. Blackish wings and tail, with broadly edged white wing-coverts and secondaries. Pale grey throat and breast becoming paler in vent. White eye-ring. Black bill with yellow base. Voice Dove-like cah or cow.


Text account compilers
Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J, Pople, R., Capper, D.

Leavelle, K., Jones, E., Stiles, E., Angehr, G.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Carpodectes antoniae. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 12/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 12/08/2020.