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Yellow-headed Brush-finch Atlapetes flaviceps
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This species has a very small range and population. It is known from two areas, but has only been recorded once at the more southerly site. There is continuing habitat clearance in its main area of occurrence, indicating that numbers and range continue to decline. It is therefore classified as Endangered.

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

17 cm. Olive-and-yellow understorey passerine. Mainly yellow head with conspicuous yellow lores, eye-ring and faint supercilium, dark olive upperparts, yellow underparts. There is unexplained variability in the amount of yellow on head. Similar spp. Immature Dusky-headed Brush-finch A. fuscoolivaceus has no yellow on head. Voice High pitch hoarse squeaky notes followed by a flurrish of faster notes.

Distribution and population
Atlapetes flaviceps occurs on the east slope of the Central Andes of Colombia. It is has been recorded once in the La Plata Vieja valley, Huila, in 1967. The type-series was collected in Toche valley, Tolima, where it is still locally common (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 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 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and on-going population decline is suspected owing to rates of habitat loss.

At the only currently known locality, it seems to have adapted well to degraded forest, thick secondary vegetation (especially where vines and remnant forest trees are present) and bushy, overgrown bean-fields at 1,300-2,500 m (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Observations have been made of a juvenile with parents in June, adults collecting nesting material in October (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999), and immature birds in November.

Parts of the upper Magdalena valley have been converted to agricultural land since the 18th century (Stiles et al. 1999). However, when the type-series was collected, the higher valleys of the Toche area, Tolima, were heavily forested. Since the 1950s, much of the original habitat in these valleys has been cleared and used for agriculture, including coffee plantations, potatoes, beans and cattle-grazing (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, López-Lanús et al. 2000). Mature secondary forest patches are scattered, and natural vegetation cover is judged to have been reduced to c.15% at elevations of 1,900-3,200 m, most of it occurring above 2,200 m (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, López-Lanús et al. 2000). Some forest clearance continues in remaining patches (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, López-Lanús et al. 2000).

Conservation Actions Underway
Action for Yellow-eared Parrot Ognorhynchus icterotis has increased public awareness and community involvement in conservation issues in the Río Toche area (Salaman et al. 1999b), which should also help A. flaviceps. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey potential habitat in the upper Magdalena valley, the La Plata Vieja valley and intervening areas. Determine the extent of dependence on secondary vegetation, and sensitivity to vegetational succession and habitat destruction (Renjifo et al. 2002). Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status.

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.

García-Moreno, J.; Fjeldså, J. 1999. Re-evaluation of species limits in the genus Atlapetes based on mtDNA sequence data. Ibis 141: 199-207.

López-Lanús, B.; Salaman, P. G. W.; Cowley, T. P.; Arango, S.; Renjifo, L. M. 2000. The threatened birds of the Río Toche, Cordillera Central, Colombia. Cotinga 14: 17-23.

Renjifo, L. M.; Franco-Maya, A. M.; Amaya-Espinel, J. D.; Kattan, G. H.; López-Lans, B. 2002. Libro rojo de aves de Colombia. Instituto de Investigación de Recursos Biológicos Alexander von Humboldt y Ministerio del Medio Ambiente, Bogot, Colombia.

Salaman, P. G. W.; Donegan, T. M.; Cuervo, A. M. 1999. Ornithological surveys in Serranía de los Churumbelos, southern Colombia. Cotinga 12: 29-39.

Stiles, F. G.; Rosselli, L.; Bohórquez, C. I. 1999. New and noteworthy records of birds from the middle Magdalena valley of Colombia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 119: 113-129.

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.

Salaman, P.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Atlapetes flaviceps. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

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 - Yellow-headed brush-finch (Atlapetes flaviceps) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Emberizidae (Buntings, American sparrows and allies)
Species name author Chapman, 1912
Population size 250-999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 230 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species