Bird of the Week, April 20, 2012
Masked Antpitta

Masked Antpitta by Oswaldo Maillard


A shy antpitta hops around in the dense understory of a riverside forest along the Beni River in the Amazon Basin of northern Bolivia. Perched on a vine on its long, pinkish legs, it sings out to advertise its presence.  Although it behaves much like other antpittas, this bird, the Masked Antpitta, is found only in a tiny area, and is vulnerable to extinction.


Asociación Armonía, ABC’s partner in Bolivia, recently completed a study of this little-known species, conducting population surveys and documenting the first nests.


Although the full results of this work are not yet published, it suggests that current population estimates and threat status are a bit too optimistic. Instead of being classified as Vulnerable, with populations exceeding 2,500 individuals, Armonía estimates a smaller population between 500 and 1,000 individuals with a smaller range, and suggests that the Masked Antpitta be reclassified by IUCN as Endangered.


This study will help focus future efforts on creating a protected area for the Masked Antpitta, which currently lacks any habitat protection.

Photo by Oswaldo Maillard; Range Map, ABC