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White-tipped Quetzal Pharomachrus fulgidus



Conservation Status

Although this species may have a restricted range, it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern (BirdLife International, 2012; BirdLife International, 2016).

Effects of human activity on populations

Per Boucard (1891), thousands of specimens were sent to Europe yearly for the feather trade. He considered P. fulgidus to be rare and scarcely seen, inhabiting “the densest and most savage places of the semi tropical forests, in the barrancas (deep ravines) where it is very difficult to get at them, and it is only due to the active search made by several hundred native hunters that a certain number can be obtained.” Ending the millinery trade in the late 19th and early 20th centuries relieved a significant population pressure for these birds.

For species that nest in potentially limiting microhabitats like old tree cavities, the availability of nesting sites often limits reproductive rates of populations (Newton 1998; Brightsmith 2005).

Habitat loss has been found to be the most important of 17 types of threats in an analysis of threatened species in the Americas (Collar et al 1992). The Cordillera de Caripe and Paria is currently threatened by habitat destruction (Long 1995).

The destruction of enormous forested areas in the Neotropics largely threaten wood-cavity nesting birds. This group of birds is particularly susceptible to forest destruction as construction and use of their nesting cavities depend directly on the presence of trees. Even alternative forestry practices, such as extraction of standing dead trees, will increase the risk of extinction of local populations of wood-cavity nesting birds (Sandoval 2009).

Recommended Citation

White-tipped Quetzal (Pharomachrus fulgidus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: