Apolinar’s wren has a small population and this, combined with its limited geographical range, results in an inherent threat of extinction. Numbers of Apolinar’s wren have indeed declined significantly in the last 50 to 70 years, primarily due to a 95 percent loss in habitat (3). A significant cause of this habitat destruction is the burning of wetlands for agriculture, mainly onion cultivation and cattle-farming. With agriculture also frequently comes the use of insecticides and other chemicals, resulting in a reduction in this bird’s insect prey, and posing a toxic threat to the bird. In areas around the capital, Bogotá, remaining wetland habitats are at risk from human settlement and highway development, and reed-harvesting and tourism also pose minor threats (1).
The shiny cowbird, Molothrus bonariensis, is a brood parasite that poses a further threat to the wren. Although the cowbird tends to favour the nests of the yellow-hooded blackbird (Agelaius icterocephalus), increased numbers of the cowbird in and surrounding the wren’s range are of concern (3).