Diglossa venezuelensis


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family

Scientific Name: Diglossa venezuelensis
Species Authority: Chapman, 1925
Common Name(s):
English Venezuelan Flowerpiercer, Venezuelan Flower-piercer

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Sharpe, C J, Pérez-Emán, J.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Capper, D., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.
This species has a very small range at a minimum of three locations. Significant areas of habitat remain, but it is presumably declining in response to changing agricultural practices and conversion of habitat, especially to shade coffee plantations. It is therefore listed as Endangered.

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Diglossa venezuelensis is restricted to two mountainous areas in north-east Venezuela: the Turimiquire Massif (both the Serranía de Turimiquire west of the San Antonio valley, and the Cordillera de Caripe to the east) on the borders of Anzoátegui, Monagas and Sucre, and the westernmost Paria Peninsula, Sucre. Collections from the 1920s and 1930s suggest that it was once not uncommon, but there have been relatively few records since. Systematic surveys on Cerro Humo in 1990-1991 (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 1992) and 1994 (Evans et al. 1994) failed to find the species, although it has been seen on Cerro Humo sporadically since then (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2011); it has never been recorded elsewhere on the peninsula. Searches in the Cordillera de Caripe during the same period also proved fruitless (Colvee 1999). Since the 1990s it has only been recorded on five mountains: cerros El Guamal and Quiriquire ("Piedra 'e Mole'") in the in the Serranía de Turimiquire (Azpúrua 2007), Cerro Negro and Cumbres de San Bonifacio in the Cordillera de Caripe (Boesman and Curson 1995, Azpúrua 2007) and cerro de Humo on the Paria Peninsula (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2011).

Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 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 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.
Population Trend: Decreasing

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It inhabits montane, evergreen forest edge, secondary forest and second growth scrub (Boesman and Curson 1995), at elevations of 1,525-2,450 m on the Cordillera de Caripe, and c.885 m on the Paria Peninsula. It may have specialised habitat requirements, associating with the ecotone between Clusia-dominated forest and herbaceous vegetation, which would explain its apparently restricted distribution on Cerro Negro. It may undertake some seasonal movements (J. Pérez-Emán in litt. 2012).

Systems: Terrestrial

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): There has been widespread clearance for agriculture and pasture in the Cordillera de Caripe, resulting in extensive degradation of forest. Even in El Guácharo National Park there is clearance, repeated burning and understorey removal for coffee (Boesman and Curson 1995). The slopes of Cerro Negro are largely bare, with the more obvious forest patches actually shade-coffee plantations (Boesman and Curson 1995). There is conversion to coffee, mango, banana and citrus plantations in the Turimiquire Massif, but extensive forest areas remain (Colvee 1999, Sharpe in litt. 2011). On Cerro Humo, increases in cash-crop agriculture since the mid- to late 1980s has resulted in uncontrolled burning and forest degradation. A proposed gas pipeline on the Paria Peninsula could have disastrous consequences for the species's habitat (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2003). A new paved road from Güiria to Macuro will almost certainly lead to increased habitat clearance (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It is formally protected by Paria Peninsula and El Guácharo National Parks. The latter was recently expanded to include a further 500 km2 of largely undisturbed forest (Gabaldón 1992). A programme of research into basic ecology and conservation needs is being carried out at the Central University of Venezuela (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2011). It is likewise considered nationally Endangered in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey El Guácharo National Park, Cumbres de San Bonifacio, Serranía de Turumiquire and Cerro Humo to assess its precise distribution and estimate populations (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995, Sharpe 2008). Assess its habitat requirements and tolerance to degradation and disturbance (Rodríguez and Rojas-Suárez 1995, Sharpe 2008). Increase the area of suitable habitats that have protected status, particularly in the Turimiquire Massif (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2011).

Citation: BirdLife International 2012. Diglossa venezuelensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015.2. <>. Downloaded on 03 September 2015.
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