Jocotoco Antpitta

Information about the Bird Jocotoco Antpitta

The jocotoco antpitta (Grallaria ridgelyi) is an endangered antpitta, a bird from Ecuador and Peru. It was discovered in 1997, and scientifically described in 1999.

The new species is a large (150-200g) ground antbird with a striking head pattern showing tufts of white plumes beneath the eyes. It has a song similar to the hooting of the rufous-banded owl.
Its closest relatives appear to be the chestnut-naped antpitta and the pale-billed antpitta, with which it forms a group of antpittas with uniform breast plumage and smoky-grey flanks.
This bird's specific name honors the ornithologist Robert S. Ridgely, who took part in the initial discovery of this species. The common name refers to the local name of the bird, jocotoco, which is onomatopoetic after its hooting calls and song.
The antpitta is known only from a very small number of locations in southeastern Ecuador and adjacent Peru, and appears to be declining. It was believed to be limited to the upper Chinchipe River drainage in Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador, but in 2006 a population was discovered in Cordillera del Cndor in Cajamarca, Peru. It inhabits only wet, mossy forest with ample Chusquea bamboo stands and silvery-leaved Cecropia trees. It is found at altitudes of 2,250 to 2,700 meters.
To protect the presumably small population, the Tapichalaca Biological Reserve was established on behalf of Fundacin de Conservacin Jocotoco in 1998.
The IUCN classifies it as endangered (B1ab(i, ii,iii, v)). This means that based on available data, it is estimated to occur in no more than five locations over a total area of less than 5000km, with both habitat quality and availability, and numbers declining, and some of the subpopulations in danger of disappearance. Owing to its shyness and the call, which might be mistaken for that of a rufous-banded owl, it could be more widespread than now known, although surveys at several seemingly appropriate localities have failed to find any evidence of it.

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