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Henna-hooded Foliage-gleaner Hylocryptus erythrocephalus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is listed as Vulnerable principally because of rapid deforestation within its range, particularly at lower altitudes (Collar et al. 1992, Best et al. 1993). The range and population are now small and severely fragmented.

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

Automolus erythrocephalus Collar and Andrew (1988)

21 cm. Large and brightly patterned furnariid. Largely orange-rufous upperparts, with brownish-olive back. Pale orange-rufous throat, with rest of underparts pale brownish-grey. Long bill and orange-brown iris. Voice Metallic, staccato tok-tok-tok... is most common vocalisation.

Distribution and population
Hylocryptus erythrocephalus occurs in south-west Ecuador (Manabí, Guayas, El Oro and Loja) and north-west Peru (Tumbes, Piura and Lambayeque). Probably the largest population occurs in Peru, on forested ridges between the río Tumbes and the Ecuadorian border (Parker et al. 1995). It is rare to uncommon and very local, being moderately common in only a few areas of suitable habitat (Ridgely and Tudor 1994).

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's population is suspected to be declining rapidly, in line with rates of habitat loss within its range.

It inhabits understorey in deciduous, semi-deciduous and moist evergreen forest, at 150-1,350 m, occasionally to 1,800 m (Pople et al. 1997). It persists in secondary woodland and forest edge, occasionally even narrow woodland strips along watercourses and disturbed scrub near forest (Ridgely and Tudor 1994), but viable populations cannot persist in severely degraded habitats (J. Freile in litt. 2008). It may undertake seasonal elevational movements. It is insectivorous, and characteristically forages on the forest floor or in dense vine-tangles, tossing dead leaves and twigs and probing leaf clusters. It is usually seen alone or in pairs. It nests at the end of a c.1 m-long burrow in an earth bank, principally 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 is ongoing, and will soon remove almost all remaining 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 settlement and deforestation, livestock-grazing and habitat clearance by people seeking land rights. The propensity of this species to nest in banks causes many nests to be built along road-cuts.  Even in protected areas (such as Jorupe Reserve), traffic along such roads may cause disturbance to active nests. If road-cuts act as an artificial sink-habitat for nesting, they may pose a threat to populations which otherwise have suitable habitat nearby (H. F. Greeney in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
Significant populations occur in three protected areas, Machalilla National Park and Cerro Blanco Protection Forest, Ecuador, and Tumbes Reserved Zone, Peru (Best and Kessler 1995) and it was recently discovered in the Laquipampa Reserved Zone, in east Lambayeque (J. Flanagan in litt. 2001). It also occurs in the large (>45,000 ha) Manglares-Churute Ecological Reserve, and the smaller Loma Alta Communal Reserve, Tumbesia-La Ceiba Natural Reserve and Jatumpamba-Jorupe Protected Forest (J. Freile in litt. 2008). The 776 km2 partially forested Chongón-Colonche Protection Forest forms the nucleus of a reforestation project (E. Horstmann in litt. 2000), and may support the species. Conservation Actions Proposed
Locate additional populations, especially in Piura and Lambayeque. Research its ecology, particularly seasonal movements and the extent to which viable populations can persist in secondary and degraded habitats. Strengthen effective habitat protection in Tumbes Reserved Zone and Machalilla National Park. Map forest in the Cordillera Chongón-Colonche to identify sites for future protection (E. Horstmann in litt. 2000).

Best, B. J.; Clarke, C. T.; Checker, M.; Broom, A. L.; Thewlis, R. M.; Duckworth, W.; McNab, A. 1993. Distributional records, natural history notes, and conservation of some poorly known birds from southwestern Ecuador and northwestern Peru. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 113: 108-109, 234-255.

Best, B. J.; Kessler, M. 1995. Biodiversity and conservation in Tumbesian Ecuador and Peru. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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.; Schulenberg, T. S.; Kessler, M.; Wust, W. H. 1995. Natural history and conservation of the endemic avifauna in north-west Peru. Bird Conservation International 5: 201-231.

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

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
Harding, M., Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Flanagan, J., Freile, J., Horstman, E., Greeney, H.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Hylocryptus erythrocephalus. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/10/2016.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Furnariidae (Ovenbirds)
Species name author Chapman, 1919
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 15,400 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species