Todd's parakeet Pyrrhura picta caeruleiceps is a geographically isolated race of painted parakeet P. picta, a widespread species. Several authors highlight the need to recognize Todd's parakeet at the species level, and despite past efforts to find new populations, no new locations have been found. We applied a Species Distribution Model (SDM) to guide a 30-day survey during 2011 to increase information on its geographic distribution. Surveys resulted in the discovery of two new populations in Los Motilones Mountains, on the north-eastern boundary of Colombia with Venezuela. Our field surveys support previous arguments of a continuous geographic range from the northern part of the Eastern Cordillera to the Perijá Mountains. However, we did not find birds at the base of the Colombian slope of the Perijá Mountains, and confirming its absence there requires further study. Habitat loss at the three localities visited was high, with most remaining habitat represented by continuous gallery forests located on steep and humid slopes at higher altitudes. If conditions for population maintenance are only present in those patches, it will be necessary to identify forest fragments that help maintain connectivity between populations on the northernmost part of the Eastern Cordillera and the Perijá Mountains. More surveys in the Perijá Mountains and in Venezuela are also recommended. This study provides further evidence of the usefulness of species distribution models to increase available information on rare or little known taxa.
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Vol. 59 • No. 2