email a friend
printable version
Grey-breasted Flycatcher Lathrotriccus griseipectus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species is considered Vulnerable because both its range and population are now small and severely fragmented as a result of rapid and ongoing deforestation (Collar et al. 1992).

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

Empidonax griseipectus Collar and Andrew (1988), Empidonax griseipectus Stotz et al. (1996)

13 cm. Largely grey flycatcher. Greyish-olive upperparts, greyest on crown, with whitish, broad broken eye-ring and supraloral. Dusky wings with two whitish wing-bars. Pale grey throat, with darker breast and whitish belly. Similar spp. Greyer than all other similar flycatchers, except sympatric race of Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus, which is larger, lacks bold wing-bars and eye-ring, and behaves very differently. Voice Song a burry zhweéur zhweer-zhwer-zhwer. Most vocal during rainy season.

Distribution and population
Lathrotriccus griseipectus is confined to west Ecuador (Esmeraldas, Pichincha, Manabí, Los Ríos, Guayas, Cañar, Azuay, El Oro and Loja) and north Peru (Tumbes, Piura, Lambayeque and Cajamarca), on the Pacific slope of the Andes and in the Marañón and Chinchipe valleys on the east slope. It is apparently relatively common at two localities in Ecuador (Jauneche Reserve and Machalilla National Park [Parker and Carr 1992]), and two in Peru (near San José de Lourdes, Cajamarca in 1968, and Parque Nacional Cerros de Amotape, [formerly Tumbes Reserved Zone], Tumbes [R. Webster and R. A. Rowlett in litt. 1998, Walker 2002]), but is otherwise rare and local (Clements and Shany 2001,Ridgely and Tudor 1994). In Peru it is common in Laquipampa Wildlife Refuge (Lambayeque) and in Quebrada Limon, Frejolillo (Piura) (F. Angulo in litt. 2012).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature 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 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to be declining rapidly in numbers, in line with rates habitat loss within its range, however it has recently been suggested that the population may be stable, at least in Peru (F. Angulo in litt. 2012).

It is confined to the understorey of tropical deciduous, semi-deciduous and moist forest, from sea-level to as high as 1830 m at Laquipampa Wildlife Refuge and 2000 m at Udima Wildlife Refuge,  Zaña Valley (F. Angulo in litt. 2012), with an additional specimen from 2,200 m (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). At least in the Cerro Blanco area appears to favour semi-deciduous forest in ravines (E. Von Horstman in litt. 2000, 2008). Some seasonal movements may be undertaken and, although their exact nature is unclear, it may move to moister forest in the dry season (Pople et al. 1997). It is usually found alone or in pairs, perching inconspicuously in shady vine-tangles, from which it makes aerial sallies into sunlit gaps. Immatures have been collected in March, with breeding assumed to take place during the wet season, in January-May.

Below 900 m, the rate of deforestation in west Ecuador in 1958-1988 was 57% per decade (Dodson and Gentry 1991). Significant habitat loss continues, at least in unprotected areas of both Ecuador and Peru, and will soon have removed almost all lowland forest. Disturbance and degradation through heavy grazing by goats and cattle also pose a significant threat to the understorey of deciduous forests. Even protected areas are affected by illegal settling, deforestation and livestock-grazing. Uncontrolled forest fires started by to clear land for agriculture, or to clear vegetation to kill ticks and improve pastures for grazing, are a major threat in the Cordillera Chongon-Colonche (E. Von Horstman in litt. 2000, 2008).

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in several protected areas, including Machalilla National Park, Cerro Blanco Protected Forest and Jauneche Reserve, Ecuador, and Parque Nacional Cerros de Amotape, Coto de Caza El Angolo, Refugio de Vida Silvestre Laquipampa, Salitral – Huarmaca Regional Conservation area, Refugio de vida silvestre Bosques Nublados de Udima (recognised in part due to the presence of the species), Angostura - Faical Regional Conservation area, Peru (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). The 776 km2 partially forested Chongón-Colonche Protected Forest may support the species, however the reforestation here focuses on non-native and/or commercially valuable trees such as Cedrela odorata and Prosopis juliflora and provides little or no incentive to maintain or enrich existing native forest (E. von Horstman in litt. 2000, 2008). The Pro-Forest Foundation has restored approximately 250 ha of potential Lathrotriccus habitat in the Cerro Blanco Protected Forest, using 35 native tree species, and also maintains an ongoing environmental education programme for the c.3,500 annual visitors and 2,500 school children in the reserve buffer zone (E. von Horstman in litt. 2012).
Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to determine its distribution, particularly in the Marañón and Chinchipe valleys. Research its ecological requirements, seasonal movements and tolerance of habitat disturbance. Strengthen protection in all protected areas holding the species. Identify sites for future protection within the Cordillera Chongón-Colonche (E. Von Horstman in litt. 2000, 2008). 

Clements, J. F.; Shany, N. 2001. A field guide to the birds of Peru. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Dodson, C. H.; Gentry, A. H. 1991. Biological extinction in western Ecuador. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 78: 273-295.

Parker, T. A.; Carr, J. L. 1992. Status of forest remnants in the Cordillera de la Costa and adjacent areas of southwestern Ecuador (Rapid Assessment Program). Conservation International, Washington, D.C.

Pople, R. G.; Burfield, I. J.; Clay, R. P.; Cope, D. R.; Kennedy, C. P.; López Lanús, B.; Reyes, J.; Warren, B.; Yagual, E. 1997. Bird surveys and conservation status of three sites in western Ecuador: final report of Project Ortalis '96. CSB Publications, Cambridge, UK.

Ridgely, R. S.; Greenfield, P. J. 2001. The birds of Ecuador: status, distribution and taxonomy. Cornell University Press and Christopher Helm, Ithaca and London.

Ridgely, R. S.; Tudor, G. 1994. The birds of South America. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

Walker, B. 2002. Observations from the Tumbes Reserved Zone, dpto. Tumbes, with notes on some new taxa for Peru and a checklist of the area. Cotinga 18: 37-43.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Horstman, E., Rowlett, R., Webster, R., Angulo Pratolongo, F.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Lathrotriccus griseipectus. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Grey-breasted flycatcher (Lathrotriccus griseipectus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Tyrannidae (Tyrant-flycatchers)
Species name author (Lawrence, 1870)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 13,800 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species