This species ranges from the type locality in Imbabura Province, Ecuador, north to Narino and Cauca Departments in southern Colombia. It probably occurs a little more widely than current records suggest, especially in areas between known sites. The type locality is at 3,400m asl, and it occurs at similar altitudes in Colombia.
Habitat and Ecology
It has been found only in undisturbed habitats in dense upper montane forest, with trees reaching heights of as much as 10m, and in sub-páramo bushland. It breeds by direct development.
It appears to be a rare species; however, this may be an artefact of inappropriate survey techniques. For example, when digging into the soil under páramo plants, dozens of specimens have been found (M. Yanez and D.F. Cisneros-Heredia pers. comm.).
The major threat is habitat loss as a result of deforestation for agricultural development, the planting of illegal crops, fire, logging, and human settlement. Pollution resulting from the spraying of illegal crops is an additional threat.
It is not known from any protected areas in Ecuador, but it occurs in Parque Nacional Natural Purace in Colombia. It is recommended that the existing protected areas network be expanded to incorporate remaining patches of high-elevation montane forest.
Red List Status
Listed as Endangered because its Extent of Occurrence is less than 5,000 km2, its distribution is severely fragmented, and there is continuing decline in the extent and quality of its habitat in Ecuador and Colombia.
Luis A. Coloma, Santiago Ron, Taran Grant, Diego Cisneros-Heredia, Ana Almendáriz 2004. Osornophryne talipes. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2004: e.T54860A11203622. http://dx.doi.org/10.2305/IUCN.UK.2004.RLTS.T54860A11203622.en