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Jocotoco Antpitta Images
The Jocotoco Antpitta, Grallaria ridgelyi, is an endangered antpitta, a bird from Ecuador and Peru. It was only discovered in 1997, and scientifically described in 1999.
The new species is a large (150–200 g) 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 relative appears 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 (Krabbe et al. 1999). 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 (Krabbe et al. 1999).
The antpitta is presently known only from a very small number of locations in southeastern Ecuador and adjacent Peru, and appears to be declining.It was initially believed to be limited to the upper Chinchipe River drainage in Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador, but in 2006 a population was discovered in Cordillera del Cóndor in Cajamarca, Peru. It inhabits only wet, mossy forest with ample Chusquea bamboo stands and silvery-leaved Cecropia trees. It is found at an altitude of 2,250 to 2,700 meters (Krabbe et al. 1999).
To protect the presumably small population, the Tapichalaca Biological Reserve was established on behalf of Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco in 1998. The IUCN classifies it as Endangered (B1ab(i, ii,iii, v)). This means that based on currently available data, it is estimated to occur in no more than five locations over a total area of less than 5000 km², with both habitat quality and availability, and numbers declining, and some of the subpopulations in danger of disappearance. Due to its shyness and the call which might be mistaken for that of a Rufous-banded Owl, it could be more widespread than presently known, although surveys at several seemingly appropriate localties have failed to find any evidence of it.