The Jocotoco Antpitta, Grallaria ridgelyi, is an endangered bird from Ecuador and Peru. It is a large (150-200 g) ground antbird with a striking head pattern with tufts of white plumes beneath the eyes, and 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).
As with other true antpittas, assignment to the Formicariidae family is in need of verification (Rice 2005).
G. ridgelyi 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). It was initially believed to be limited to the upper Rio Chinchipe drainage in Zamora-Chinchipe, Ecuador, but in 2006 a population was discovered in Cordillera del Cóndor in Cajamarca, Peru.
This species was only discovered in 1997, and scientifically described in 1999. To protect the presumably small population of this bird, the Tapichalaca Biological Reserve was established on behalf of Fundación de Conservación Jocotoco in 1998. It is presently known only from a very small number of locations in southeastern Ecuador and adjacent Peru, and appears to be declining.
Consequently, 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 5 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 this species.
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 the hooting calls and song (Krabbe et al. 1999).