Diglossa venezuelensis 

Scope: Global
Language: English

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Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Thraupidae

Scientific Name: Diglossa venezuelensis Chapman, 1925
Common Name(s):
English Venezuelan Flowerpiercer, Venezuelan Flower-piercer
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2005 and updates. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 13.5 cm. Dull black flowerpiercer. Male black with small white tuft on flanks. Female olive-brown above with yellowish-olive head and buffy-brown below. Upcurved, hook-tipped bill. Similar spp. Only sympatric Diglossa is Rusty Flowerpiercer D. sittoides. Female similar, but smaller and lacks white on flanks.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(i,ii,iii,v) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2016
Date Assessed: 2016-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Sharpe, C J, Pérez-Emán, J. & Santos, M.
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.

Previously published Red List assessments:

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 (Sharpe 2015), although it has been seen on Cerro Humo sporadically since then (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2011); it has not been recorded elsewhere on the peninsula, despite significant effort (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 2015). Searches in the Cordillera de Caripe during the 1990s also proved fruitless (Colvee 1999). Since then 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). Recent sightings (post-2000), involving only a handful of birds, come from only three localities: Quiriquire ("Piedra 'e Mole'"), Cerro Negro and Cerro Humo (C. J. Sharpe in litt. 20158, Sharpe 2015).

Countries occurrence:
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Additional data:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO):Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO):NoEstimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2:920
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO):YesExtreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO):No
Number of Locations:3Continuing decline in number of locations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations:NoLower elevation limit (metres):885
Upper elevation limit (metres):2450
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.

Trend Justification:  A comparison of historical collection data with that obtained over the past few decades suggests that the population is decreasing (Sharpe 2008). An on-going population decline of 10-19% over ten years is suspected owing to rates of habitat loss and fragmentation.
Current Population Trend:Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals:1500-7000Continuing decline of mature individuals:Yes
Extreme fluctuations:NoPopulation severely fragmented:No
No. of subpopulations:2-100Continuing decline in subpopulations:Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations:NoAll individuals in one subpopulation:No

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, Hilty and Sharpe 2015).

Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat:Yes
Generation Length (years):3.7
Movement patterns:Not a Migrant

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, Sharpe 2015). 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). In 2012, the state oil company PDVSA began preparations to construct antennas, a radar, and a heliport on the summit of Cerro Patao (the second highest summit of the Paria Peninsula), where a patch of 0.1 km2 of cloud forest remains (M. Santos in litt. 2012). By 2012, the number of park personnel in the Paria Peninsula National Park had fallen to two, one of whom was a trainee (M. Santos in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It is considered nationally Endangered in Venezuela (Sharpe 2008, Sharpe 2015). It is formally protected by Paria Peninsula and El Guácharo National Parks; neither park is adequately resourced and both are subject to deforestation for agriculture and hunting. The latter was 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).

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. 2016. Diglossa venezuelensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2016: e.T22723648A94827365. . Downloaded on 21 October 2017.
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