Leucopternis occidentali is threatened by rampant habitat destruction and fragmentation. Records generally only refer to one or two pairs at any one site, perhaps suggesting that these fragmented outposts represent stranded birds rather than dispersive resilience.
Viable populations may survive at only a few sites, notably Machalilla National Park in Ecuador, which has many settlers within its boundaries, and Tumbes National Park (now the north-east Peru Biosphere Reserve) in Peru, which is currently secure only because of its remoteness.
Leucopternis occidentalis is confined to deciduous and evergreen forests in western Ecuador (Esmeraldas, ManabÃ, Pichincha, Los RÃos, Azuay, El Oro, Loja) and immediately adjacent north-west Peru.
This species is considered as "Endangered" by the IUCN. CITES lists the species as "Appendix 2".