A medium-sized bird from the central Andes, the threatened bicoloured antpitta is named for its bold orangey-brown and grey plumage. The head, throat and upperparts are orangey-brown, while the underparts are grey with white mottling on the belly. The iris is dark brown and the bill is black. Two subspecies are recognised; Grallaria rufocinerea romeroana has more extensive white on its belly than G.r. rufocinerea(2). More likely to be heard than seen, the bicoloured antpitta’s call is a long, clear, high whistled treeeee or a double treeeeaaaa ending in a low slur (3).
A rather terrestrial bird, the bicoloured antpitta hops or runs along the ground of its forest habitat. It is often difficult to see amongst the dense vegetation and is more likely to be heard, but it will sometimes emerge into a small open area or grassy clearing to feed in the morning and late afternoon (4). Usually found alone, the bicoloured antpitta feeds on insects and larvae(2)(4). It breeds from March to May (3), when two eggs are laid and incubated for14 to 16 days. The young chicks leave the nest at 9 to 12 days of age (4).
Occurs on the slopes of the central Andes of Colombia and Ecuador (3). G.r. rufocinerea’s distribution ranges from southern Antioquia, south to Huila, Colombia (2). G.f. romeroana occurs in Putumayo and Cauca, Colombia, and Sucumbíos, Ecuador (3).
Populations of the bicoloured antpitta are believed to have declined greatly since the early 1900s (2). This has been the result of widespread deforestation for human settlement and agricultural expansion (2)(3). Its forest habitat continues to be impacted today, and its small Ecuadorian range faces total habitat loss within forthcoming decades. The bicoloured antpitta’s restricted range makes it particularly vulnerable to such threats (2).
The bicoloured antpitta occurs in several protected areas such as Puracé National Park, Navarco Reserve and Alto Quindio Acaime Natural Reserve, Colombia (2). The continued effective protection of these areas is essential for the conservation of this little-known South American bird (3).
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