Diglossa gloriosissima 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Thraupidae

Scientific Name: Diglossa gloriosissima
Species Authority: Chapman, 1912
Common Name(s):
English Chestnut-bellied Flowerpiercer, Chestnut-bellied Flower-piercer
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 14.5 cm. Smart, chestnut-and-black flowerpiercer. Black with blue shoulder patch and rufous-chestnut lower breast and belly. Similar spp. Black-throated Flowerpiercer D. brunneiventris is more extensively rufous below, with black limited to small throat patch, and greyish flanks and shoulder. Voice A house sparrow-like but higher pitched chirrup, and complex, hig-pitched vocalisations similar to those of other flowerpiercers.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Endangered B1ab(iii) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Butchart, S. & Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Pulgarín, P., Salaman, P. & Cortés, O.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Capper, D., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A., Temple, H.
After 40 years without any records this species has been rediscovered, with records from several new locations. It has a very small known range, within which habitat loss is continuing, and is therefore listed as Endangered, but if it is found to be more widespread and proves to be tolerant of some habitat degradation it is likely to become eligible for downlisting.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Endangered (EN)
2006 Endangered (EN)
2004 Endangered (EN)
2000 Endangered (EN)
1994 Lower Risk/near threatened (LR/nt)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Diglossa gloriosissima is local and apparently scarce in the West Andes of Colombia (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). Until recently it was known from three well-spaced localities in the West Andes of Colombia: Páramo Frontino and Cerro Paramillo, both in Antioquia, and Cerro Munchique, in Cauca (Moynihan 1979, Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). The species went unreported for 40 years after a record from the páramo at Frontino in 1965 (Moynihan 1979), but there have been more recent reports from three localities. The first, from near Jardin, Antioquia, in October 2003 (Pulgarín et al. 2005, Pulgarín and Munera 2006), was closely followed by records at the type locality (Flórez et al. 2004), and 70 km further south at Farallones del Citará (Pulgarín et al. 2005, P. C. Pulgarín in litt. 2006), both in August 2004. At the latter site, three were netted and three others were seen in the field during three days of fieldwork (Pulgarín and Munera 2006). At the type locality, ten were observed and three collected during six days of fieldwork, and the species was described as locally common (Flórez et al. 2004). It has since also been recorded at Tatama National Park, near Cerro Montezuma and Reserva Mesenia-Paramillo near Mesenia (O. Cortes in litt. 2011). The small number of sightings probably reflects the dearth of fieldwork at these sites and on high mountains between them (Parker et al. 1996), with the exception of the relatively well-known Cerro Munchique, and likely reflects the lack of exploration and difficulties related to gaining access to the highlands of the western cordillera.

Countries occurrence:
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 90
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 5
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 3000
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3800
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The species is not uncommon in suitable habitat, within a very small range. A population estimate of 1,000-2,499 mature individuals seems appropriate, but this is provisional and requires confirmation. This equates to 1,500-3,749 individuals in total, rounded here to 1,500-4,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  A slow and on-going population decline is precautionarily maintained owing to rates of habitat loss and degradation, however, it has been suggested that the population may in fact be stable (P. Pulgarin and O. Cortes in litt. 2012)
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 1000-2499 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology:

It occurs near the timberline at elevations of 3,000-3,800 m in semi-humid/humid montane scrub and elfin forest edge, apparently ranging only a few metres or tens of metres below the páramo edge (Moynihan 1979, Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990, Parker et al. 1996). It favours Polylepis spp. with other small trees such as Escallonia or Baccharis. (O. Cortes in litt. 2011). Like most members of the genus, however, it does seem able to tolerate some habitat degradation and its population density is fairly high (Flórez et al. 2004). An apparent competitor is Black-throated Flowerpiercer D. brunneiventris, territories of the two species being mutually exclusive in the páramo at Frontino (Moynihan 1979). 

Systems: Terrestrial
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): Human settlement and extensive deforestation are threats near Cerro Paramillo. A communication facility, and associated military activity, near the top of Cerro Munchique and its timberline may have an impact (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Generally, the key threat to páramo/elfin forest habitats is livestock-grazing and fires set by tourists or to encourage the vegetation to shoot (Wege and Long 1995, Kessler and Herzog 1998,  P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, Koenen and Koenen 2000). A study in Ecuador found Black Flowerpiercer D. humeralis to be significantly more abundant in páramo that had been unburnt for eight years than in páramo burnt two months before counts (Koenen and Koenen 2000). It is not known whether D. gloriosissima uses the animal-pollinated flowers of herbs and shrubs in less-disturbed páramo (and largely replaced by grasses in frequently burnt páramos [Koenen and Koenen 2000]), but if so, it is likely to be significantly affected by frequent fires. Most areas where there species has recently been found are relatively inaccessible and are currently in protected (private or governmental) areas (P. Pulgarin in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway

The species has been recorded in Paramillo and Munchique National Parks, Reserva Mesenia-Paramillo and Tatama National Park (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, O. Cortes in litt. 2011).  

Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine the population size and trends at the sites with recent records. Survey the high peaks of the West Andes to determine the true extent of the range and overall population size of this species. Support, finance and enforce better conservation measures for the two national parks. Manage protected páramos by increasing the amount of time between fires (Koenen and Koenen 2000). Extend Las Orquídeas National Park into the páramo zone (Flórez et al. 2004).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Diglossa gloriosissima. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22723656A38105802. . Downloaded on 01 December 2015.
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