This species occurs at elevations of 1,800-3,100m asl on the Pacific slopes of the Cordillera Occidental and the Andean plateau of southern Ecuador, south to northern Peru on the western slopes of the Cordillera de Huancabamba in Piura Province and San Andrès de Cutervo (at 1,800m asl) in the northern part of the Cordillera Occidental in Cajamarca Province.
Habitat and Ecology
It can be found in the upper humid montane forest at sub-páramo. Many frogs are abundant in forest-edge situations, but scarce in the interior of the forest (Lynch and Duellman, 1997). In Ecuador, many individuals have been found in the axils of elephant ear plants and arboreal bromeliads by day. In Peru, an individual was found on a mossy cliff at night and another was calling at night from low vegetation. It breeds by direct development and the egg deposition site is not known. It occurs in disturbed and undisturbed habitats.
In Ecuador this species is common (recorded in 2003), but in Peru it is a rare species.
Destruction and loss of habitats for livestock and selective wood extraction are major threats to this species. This also applies to the protected areas in the region.
In Peru, this species might occur in one small-protected area in NW Peru Tabaconas Namballe National Sanctuary. In Ecuador, its geographic range overlaps with Reserva Ecológica Los Illinizas, Reserva Geobotánica Pululahua, and Area de Recreación Cajas.
Lily Rodríguez, Jorge Luis Martinez, Santiago Ron, Luis A. Coloma, Diego Almeida 2004. Pristimantis phoxocephalus. In: IUCN 2014