- Its small range puts it at inherent risk from any habitat loss or degradation.
- Habitat in the region is being cleared and degraded for mining, agriculture and cultivation of coca, but probably not yet within the altitudinal range of this species.
This species is classified as Vulnerable because it has a very small range and is known from just two locations. It is therefore highly susceptible to stochastic events, and may be increasingly threatened in the near future by potential human developments in the area. The population is estimated to number 1,000-2,499 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 667-1,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 600-1,700 mature individuals.
Basileuterus ignotus is confined to a very small range, estimated at c.180 km2, on Alturas de Nique and Cerro Tacarcuna in Darién, Panama, and north-west Chocó, Colombia. Within this range it is thought to occupy an area of less than 100 km2 of suitable habitat. It is generally uncommon, but was found to be fairly common above 1,400 m on Alturas de Nique in 1985. It inhabits the lower growth of humid elfin forest, where it is mainly recorded between 1,350 and 1,650 m, but sometimes as low as 1,200 m. The breeding behaviour is virtually unknown, but recently fledged young have been seen in July.
Its small range puts it at inherent risk from any habitat loss or degradation. Habitat in the region is being cleared and degraded for mining, agriculture and cultivation of coca, but probably not yet within the altitudinal range of this species. Completion of the Pan-American highway link through Darién could lead to severe, long-term damage of forests in Darién and the adjacent Chocó.