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Peruvian Plantcutter Phytotoma raimondii
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This species has a very small and severely fragmented range, with recent records from four locations. Remaining habitat is subject to rapid and continuing destruction and degradation. It is therefore listed as Endangered.

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

18.5 cm. Distinctive bird with rounded bill. Male is dull ashy-grey above with some striping on crown and back. Duskier wings and tail, with broad, whitish wing-bar and some fringing on tertials. White tips to rectrices. Underparts pale ashy grey, except broad cinnamon-rufous band from mid-breast to mid-belly. Cinnamon-rufous spot above bill and crissum. Yellowish iris. Female has buffy-brown back, broadly striped blackish. Whitish underparts, heavily striped dark brown. Less obvious white on wing. Voice Reported similar to White-tipped Plantcutter P. rutila, raspy and mechanical-sounding wree wree-wree.

Distribution and population
Phytotoma raimondii occurs in coastal north Peru, where it was formerly known from numerous localities from possibly as far north as Tumbes (type specimen listed from here) south to Lima. The species has been recorded historically from 53 sites (Flanagan et al. 2009), but post-1990 records originate from 34 of these, in Piura, Lambayeque, La Libertad, Cajamarca and Ancash (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000, Flanagan and Villavicencio 2000, Begazo et al. 2001, Flanagan et al. 2009), with the majority of sites in the former three departments, (Flanagan et al. 2009). At least three strongholds can be listed: around Talara, particularly to the east and south-east of the town, where the local population is estimated to be 400-600 individuals (Flanagan and Villavicencio 2000, Flanagan et al. 2009); the sanctuary at Bosque de Pomác historical site in Lambayeque, holding c.488 individuals (Nolazco and Roper 2011), and around Paijan, La Libertad, where some 200-400 individuals may exist in some 200-300 ha of dry scrub as well as in very small patches of suitable habitat amongst farmed land. The well-known site at Rafán (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000, Begazo et al. 2001) may support some of the highest population densities—at least 10 birds were observed in 1.5 hours in 1999 (Begazo et al. 2001)—but there was as little as 100 ha of suitable habitat in 1998 and high pressure from logging since then will undoubtedly have reduced suitable habitat yet further (Flanagan et al. 2009).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 1,000-2,500 individuals, roughly equating to 670-1,600 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and ongoing population decline is suspected to be taking place, owing to habitat destruction.

It occurs up to 550 m in desert scrub, riparian thicket and low (dense and open [G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000]) woodland, usually dominated by Prosopis trees, with some Acacia. A shrub layer, including  Capparis avicenniifolia, Capparis scabrida, Scutia spicata and Maytenus among others is apparently required. It feeds on leaves of Prosopis and shrubs, and fruit (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000). It breeds between January and April (C. Devenish in litt. 2012) and lays two or three eggs in a shallow twig nest 1.2-2.5 m up in Prosopis trees (Flanagan and Millen 2008, Rosina and Romo 2010). The species has been reported recently from Samanco, Ancash, in a wetland, an habitat previously unknown for the species (P. F. Angulo in litt. 2012). It has been recorded in Lambayeque, from scrub adjacent to sugar cane plantations (P. F. Angulo in litt. 2012). It is a very vocal species.

The near-complete conversion of coastal river valleys to cultivation—especially large-scale sugar and rice plantations—has extirpated the species from numerous localities (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000). Grazing by goats and burning have removed or heavily degraded the shrub layer in many remaining woodlands (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000). Illegal subsistence logging for firewood and charcoal (especially to provide fuel for chicken grill restaurants in Lima) are now highly significant factors (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000, Flanagan et al. 2009), and the roots of older Prosopis tree are also used in wooden art craft (Begazo et al. 2001). Near the Talara stronghold Prosopis was felled as fuel for commercial squid processing (Flanagan et al. 2009), but this has apparently stopped with a decrease in squid fishing (C. Devenish in litt. 2012). Land rights to part of Murales forest were sold for agricultural conversion in 1999 (Flanagan and Villavicencio 2000). A considerable proportion of habitat close to Rafán is degraded, and parts of this area were converted to sugar production in the 1990s (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000).

Conservation Actions Underway
Murales forest is protected as an Archeological Reserved Zone and strict wardening has maintained habitat. However, government intervention has been necessary to prevent further sales of land for agricultural conversion (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000, Flanagan and Villavicencio 2000). A "Save the Algarrobo" (Prosopis) campaign, including regeneration of grazed areas and replanting, is supported by the sugarcane producer at Rafán (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000). Searches for the species have been made at all historical localities, and many other remnant forests have been surveyed (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000, Flanagan and Villavicencio 2000, Begazo et al. 2001). Surveys and population assessments are currently being implemented (C. Devenish in litt. 2012). The species was named as an emblematic species in the Talara municipality, where eco-clubs were set up to create awareness. A similar scheme is being implemented in Paijan, La Libertad, where the species is also being used to create awareness of conservation issues in the area (C. Devenish in litt. 2012). A “reserved area” future national protected area has been declared at the Illescas Peninsula, where the species is present (C. Devenish in litt. 2012). A new “regional conservation area” is being implemented in Piura (C. Devenish in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Monitor rates of habitat loss and degradation within the species's range. Ensure the integrity of Murales forest and improve legal protection (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000). Effectively protect forest in the Rafán area. Initiate environmental education and ecotourism at Rafán (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000) and other areas. Work with oil companies in the Talara region to protect the extensive tracts of habitat (G. Engblom in litt. 1998, 1999, 2000).

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.

Flanagan, J. N. M.; Engblom, G.; Franke, I.; Valqui, T.; Angulo, F. 2009. Distribution of the Peruvian Plantcutter Phytotoma raimondii (Passeriformes: Cotingidae). Revista Peruana de Biologia 16(2): 175-182.

Flanagan, J. N. M.; Millen, B. 2008. First nest and egg records of Peruvian Plantcutter Phytotoma raimondii, by O. D. Boggs. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 128(4): 271.

Flanagan, J. N. M.; Villavicencio, C. C. 2000. Distribución de la Cortarrama Peruana (Phytotoma raimondii) en la provincia de Talara, Noroeste del Perú.

Flanagan, J. N. M.;. Engblom, G.; Angulo, F.;. Franke, I.; Valqui, T.; More, A., unknown. Distribution of the Peruvian Plantcutter Phytotoma raimondii.

Nolazco, S. and Roper, J. J. 2011. Estimando Parámetros Poblacionales De La Amenazada Cortarrama Peruana (Phytotoma Raimondii) En El Santuario Histórico Bosque De Pómac. IX Congreso de Ornitología Neotropical – VIII Congreso Peruano de Ornitología.

Rosina, M., Romo M. 2010. Hallazgo de dos nidos activos de Phytotoma raimondii, Tackzanowski, 1883, cortarrama peruana. Revista Peruana de Biología 17(2): 257-259.

Further web sources of information
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

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
Calvert, R., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A., Allinson, T

Engblom, G., Flanagan, J., Lloyd, H., Angulo Pratolongo, F., Williams, R., Devenish, C.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Phytotoma raimondii. 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 - Peruvian plantcutter (Phytotoma raimondii) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Cotingidae (Cotingas)
Species name author Taczanowski, 1883
Population size 670-1600 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 4,900 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species