Calyptura cristata 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Cotingidae

Scientific Name: Calyptura cristata
Species Authority: (Vieillot, 1818)
Common Name(s):
English Kinglet Calyptura, Kinglet Cotinga
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 8 cm. Minute, yellowish cotinga. Bright yellowish-olive above. Yellow forehead and rump. Very short tail and dusky wings, the latter with two white wing-bars and tip to tertials. Bright yellow below with olive wash on breast. Long red feathers of the mid-crown, surrounded by black, often raised to form crest. Voice Sharp notes have been reported.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,v);C2a(i,ii);D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Lambert, F. & Olmos, F.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Capper, D., Clay, R., Mahood, S., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Williams, R.
This species qualifies as Critically Endangered because its tiny population, known from just one locality in the 1990s following over 100 years without a confirmed record, is likely to be continuing to decline owing to extensive habitat loss and fragmentation within its tiny range.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2013 Critically Endangered (CR)
2012 Critically Endangered (CR)
2010 Critically Endangered (CR)
2009 Critically Endangered (CR)
2008 Critically Endangered (CR)
2004 Critically Endangered (CR)
2000 Critically Endangered (CR)
1996 Critically Endangered (CR)
1994 Critically Endangered (CR)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Calyptura cristata has apparently declined to near-extinction within a very restricted range to the north of Rio de Janeiro city, Brazil. From the evidence of skins and one sight record, it was not uncommon, even in secondary habitat, in the mid-19th century. However, although there have been several rumours and unverified reports, the species was unrecorded during the 20th century until two birds were observed in the Serra dos Órgãos on several days in October 1996 (Pacheco and Fonseca 2001). There have been no reliable records of the species since 1996 despite searches in the Reserva Ecologica Guapiaçu, the Teresopolis area, the foothills of the Serra do Mar, Ubatuba and between Nova Friburgo and Soumidoura in September to November 2006, which investigated several unconfirmed reports (F. Olmos in litt. 2003;  Lambert 2007, Lambert and Kirwan 2010). A specimen of this species, collected somewhere in the state of São Paulo between May 1819 and April 1820, was discovered in the Museum für Naturkunde, Berlin, in 2007 and extends the area over which the species is known to have at least formerly occurred (Stopiglia et al. 2009).

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 3
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 1
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 900
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The single known remaining population, rediscovered in 1996 after more than 100 years, is assumed to be tiny (fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals).

Trend Justification:  The species is suspected to be declining at an unknown rate, owing to ongoing forest loss within its historic range. The degree to which it can tolerate secondary growth and its ecological requirements are poorly known.

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 1-49 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 1 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is apparently restricted to foothill forest, but tolerates secondary habitats, and the 1996 birds were in secondary growth (Lambert 2007). However, secondary growth supports far fewer epiphytic plants and bromeliads (which retain quantities of suspended water that significantly alter the microclimate within a forest); hence large areas of secondary forest may be unsuitable for the species (Lambert 2007). Seasonal altitudinal movements are suspected, which might explain the lack of post-1996 records in the Serra dos Órgãos. This tiny, inconspicuous species is probably easily overlooked, perching in the canopy where it actively explores clumps of bromeliads, apparently avoiding treetops. It has been recorded eating fruit, seeds and insects, though the 1996 sightings suggest that it may specialise on mistletoe (C. E. Carvalho verbally 1998).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 4.6
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Deforestation appears to have brought this species to the brink of extinction - historically driven by gold and diamond mining and the creation of coffee plantations in areas where the species was initially collected (Lambert 2007). If it is an altitudinal migrant, the lack of remaining forest below 1,000 m is likely to be a particular threat. Development within forest around the edges of the Serra dos Órgãos National Park, particularly at the site of the 1996 rediscovery, is concerning (C. E. Carvalho verbally 1998). The harvesting of bromeliads, mistletoes and orchids from the forest of the region may further threaten the species by reducing food supply, but also by altering habitat structure and microclimate (Lambert 2007).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and Research Actions Underway
It is protected by Brazilian law. The sightings in 1996 were on the edge of the Serra dos Órgãos National Park. Some areas of apparently suitable habitat are protected within the park, and there are adjacent tracts of forest to elevations of c. 50 m. Suitable habitat also occurs within the Reserva Ecologica Guapiaçu (Lambert 2007).

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed
Develop and follow a standardised survey protocol involving focal watches at suitable fruiting trees, focusing particularly in suitable habitat in the Serra dos Órgãos including the Reserva Ecologica Guapiaçu, and in the Serra do Mar near Ubatuba (Ridgely and Tudor 1994; Lambert 2007). Protect all remaining low-altitude forest in the vicinity of the rediscovery site. Continue to search for extant populations in the state of São Paulo.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Calyptura cristata. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22700827A79845686. . Downloaded on 28 November 2015.
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