Bicolored Antpitta Grallaria rufocinerea


Justification of Red List category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (extent of occurrence <20,000 km² combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size may be moderately small to large, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

Population justification
The population density has been assessed in various parts of the range: In the Alto Quindió-Acaime Reserve, 1.5-6 individuals were found along 10-km transects, in Ucumarí Regional Park it occurs at a density of 0.8 individuals/ha, while in Caldas a density of 0.9 individuals/km2 were estimated (Renjifo et al. 2014 and references therein). Based on these values, and assuming that one-third of the available habitat is occupied, the population was estimated at roughly 117,000 individuals (Renjifo et al. 2014). This is equivalent to around 78,000 mature individuals. However, this value may well be an overestimation (Renjifo et al. 2014) and therefore, the population is here tentatively placed in the band 20,000-49,999 mature individuals, though this requires confirmation.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be declining slowly, in line with rates of habitat loss within its range. Within the range, tree cover is lost at a rate of up to 2% over three generations (12.2 years; Global Forest Watch 2022, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein). The rate of habitat loss is given as 6.25% over ten years (Renjifo et al. 2014), which equates to 7.6% over three generations. Given the species' apparent tolerance of degradation and disturbance, the rate of population decline is unlikely to exceed the rate of habitat loss; it is here tentatively placed in the band 1-9% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Grallaria rufocinerea occurs on both slopes of the Central Andes of Colombia (south Antioquia to west Putumayo) and north Ecuador (Sucumbíos). The subspecies romeroana is found in Putumayo and Cauca, Colombia, and was discovered in adjacent Sucumbíos, Ecuador in 1999 (Nilsson et al. 2001).


It inhabits dense, humid montane forest and secondary growth near the treeline, at 1,790-4,270 m, being most common at 2,200–3,150 m (Greeney 2020, Huang et al. 2021). Most records are from forest with many small palms, ferns, vines and epiphytes, but it seems to tolerate considerable disturbance as long as forest cover is maintained. Locally, it prefers dense primary forest, but it can also be found in secondary forests of older successional stages and in plantations (Renjifo et al. 2014). It feeds on insects (Greeney 2020). Breeding may occur in June, though otherwise its ecology is largely unknown (Greeney 2020).


The species is threatened by deforestation for agriculture and human settlement (Greeney 2020). Much forest in the area has long been cleared primarily for coffee plantations, potatoes, beans and cattle-grazing, leaving scattered fragments of mature secondary forest and natural vegetation. In west Putumayo, continuing improvements to the road network have attracted many immigrants who have settled, logged and farmed previously uninhabited areas (Donegan and Salaman 1999). The species nevertheless shows some tolerance of habitat degradation and disturbance and may recolonise areas from where it had previously disappeared (Renjifo et al. 2014, Greeney 2020).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in several protected areas throughout its range, including Puracé National Park (Cauca), Ucumarí Regional Park and Los Nevados National Park (Risaralda), as well as Navarco and Acaime-Alto Quindío reserves (Quindío) (Renjifo et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to better determine its population size. Search for additional populations. Monitor the population trend. Protect areas of suitable habitat within the range. Ensure continued effective protection at existing reserves.


16.5 cm. Medium-sized antpitta with grey underparts and rufous upperparts. Dark rufous-brown head, throat and upperparts. Dark grey chest to crissum. Black bill. Similar spp. Chestnut-naped Antpitta G. nuchalis is much larger, contrasting chestnut crown with reddish-brown back and blackish throat. Voice Long, clear, high whistled treeeee or double sounding treeeeaaaa, last part slurred lower.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Isherwood, I., Krabbe, N., Pople, R., Salaman, P.G.W., Sharpe, C.J., Stiles, F.G. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Grallaria rufocinerea. 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.