Multicolored Tanager Chlorochrysa nitidissima



Conservation Status

The conservation status of the Multicolored Tanager is listed by both the IUCN and the Colombia Red List as Vulnerable (Angarita and Renjifo 2002, Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014, Renjifo et al. 2014). The criteria threshold for Vulnerable are due to extensive fragmentation and remaining habitat quality, additionally this species crosses the threshold for Near Threatened due to the number of known populations with more than a thousand individuals (Renjifo et al. 2014). Ocampo-Peñuela (2016) found that this species would be considered Endangered using IUCN criteria when considering a model of distribution refined by elevation and habitat. Either way, the high levels of conservation concern is is due in part to a limited distribution that is highly fragmented by human activities, with remaining populations susceptible to extirpation and an overall declining population trend (Hilty 1985, Stattersfield and Capper 2000, Renjifo et al. 2014). Parker et al. (1996) has labeled this species of “medium” conservation priority. Because of the small range of habitat, these populations are very susceptible to habitat loss and fragmentation (Collar et al. 1997). Populations appear to be highly local, and observations are infrequent (Stattersfield and Capper 2000, BirdLife International 2019).

Effects of human activity on populations

Habitat loss for the Multicolored Tanager has been extensive and is ongoing, with remaining populations highly fragmented and declining (Hilty 1985, Collar et al. 1997, Angarita and Renjifo 2002, Restall et al. 2006, Hilty 2011). It is estimated that this species has lost 79.3% of its historic range, 81% of potential habitat, with 12% of this loss occurring from 2004-2014 (Sander 2005, Renjifo et al. 2014). Most of this recent habitat loss coincides with areas where this species was relatively abundant (Renjifo et al. 2014). Both Parker et al. (1996) and Renifo (1999) considered Chlorochrysa nitidissima to have a “high” degree of sensitivity to human disturbance relative to other Neotropical birds. The primary reason for the high levels of fragmentation, and the high frequency of species of conservation concern among species that share a similar distribution as the Multicolored Tanager, is that coffee grows very well in the subtropical slopes of the Central Andes, which in turn supports major cities and associated economic development (Donegan and Salaman 1999, Stattersfield and Capper 2000, BirdLife International 2019). Indeed, 16 of 29 range-restricted birds of the Central Andes are considered globally threatened (Stattersfield and Capper 2000). Additional threats are caused by deforestation, road expansion, logging, mining, cattle, and immigration (Fierro-Calderón et al. 2009, Hilty 2011). Populations may be further fragmented and conservation efforts are impeded by illicit crops and armed conflicts in Colombia (Fjeldså et al. 2005).

The economic and cultural significance of this stunning bird is appreciated. This species is a powerful eco-tourism attractant (Winton and Ocampo-Peñuela 2018). Also, it has been the mascot for the Youth World Athletics Championship (Restrepo Moreno 2015). This species has been considered in the design of regional reserve systems and conservation efforts (e.g., Kattan et al. 2006, Fierro-Calderón et al. 2009, Ocampo-Peñuela and Pimm 2014). Some of the remaining areas of suitable habitat have been purchased by conservation organizations. For example, Reserva La Forzosa and Reserva Arrierito Antioqueño were purchased after detection of numerous threatened species of birds including the Multicolored Tanager (Donegan and Salaman 1999). Actions are being taken to create new protected areas and to connect reserved with biological corridors (Toro and Cuervo 2002, Carder 2006, Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014, Ocampo-Peñuela and Pimm 2014). However, it should be noted that Multicolored Tanagers are not known to use existing corridors between populations (Marín-Gómez et al. 2009).

This Colombian endemic is known from the following protected areas, listed north to south by department: Antioquia: Reserva Natural de la Aves (RNA) Arrierito Antioqueño (Meijer and van Scheepen 2014, Sharpe 2015), Reserva la Forzosa (Cuervo et al. 1999, Donegan and Salaman 1999, Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014), Reserva Caracolí-Guayabito (Cuervo et al. 2008a, Sharpe 2015), RNF Mesenia-Paramillo, RNF Selva de Ventanas, Reserva el Tigre, PNN Las Orquídeas (eBird 2019); Caldas: PNN Selva de Florencia (Ballesteros et al. 2006); Chocó: PNN Tatamá (eBird 2019); Risaralda: RNF Cauquitá, RNF de AguaBonita, (eBird 2019), Parque Regional Ucumari (Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014), Santuario de Fauna y Flora Otún Quimbaya (Ríos 2005, Kessler-Ríos and Kattan 2011, Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014, Meijer and van Scheepen 2014, Restrepo 2016), PNN Tatamá (Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014); Quindío: Área Importante para la Conservación de las Aves (AICA) Barbas-Bremen (Marín-Gómez et al. 2009, Gómez-Hoyos et al. 2018), Reserva Natural y Investigación Bremen-La Popa (Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014, Restrepo 2016, Gómez-Hoyos et al. 2018), Reserva Natural (AICA) La Patasola (Arroyave 2005, Arbeláez-Cortés et al. 2007, Arbeláez-Cortés et al. 2011); Valle de Cauca: Reserva Nacional Forestal (RNF) Bosque de Yotoco (Morales-Zuñiga 2012, Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014, Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017), RNF Río Bitaco sector Chicoral (Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014, Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017), RNF Cali (Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014), RNF La Bretaña, RNF Comunitaria Galapagos, RNF Villa Maga, RNF El Danubio, RNF del Pacífico, RNF Rio Bravo, Parque Natural Regional Páramo del Duende, Sendero Ecológico Aguas Lindas (eBird 2019), Parque Nacional Natural (PNN) Farallones de Cali (César Bermúdez-Vera et al 2013, Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014, Loaiza-Muñoz et al. 2017), Reserva Natural Comunitaria (RNC) Cerro El Inglés (Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014), Reserva Ecológica El Robledal (eBird 2019); Cauca: RNF Tambito (Donegan and Dávalos 1999), PNN Munchique (Negret 1994, Fierro-Calderón and Johnston-González 2014).

Recommended Citation

Multicolored Tanager (Chlorochrysa nitidissima), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: