We describe a new species of the genus Oreotrochilus from the southwestern Andes of Ecuador. The new species is most similar in adult male plumage to O. stolzmanni and O. chimborazo. However, male and female show unique combinations of plumage characters that are likely to act as social signals. Phylogenetic analyses based on mitochondrial DNA indicate that this new taxon is closely related to O. stolzmanni and O. melanogaster, whereas genetic distances and preliminary comparisons of vocalizations suggest a sister relationship with O. stolzmanni. The geographic distribution of the new species seems to be restricted to cordillera Chilla-Tioloma-Fierro Urcu, in the southwestern highlands of Ecuador, an area historically poorly explored by ornithologists. Thus, based on its restricted distribution, apparently low population size, and lack of protection of its habitat, we evaluate it as critically endangered.
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Vol. 135 • No. 4