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Masked Mountain-tanager Buthraupis wetmorei
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is considered Vulnerable because it is suspected that the population is small and declining in line with habitat loss and degradation (Collar et al. 1992).

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

20.5 cm. Lethargic, yellowish tanager. Yellow-olive crown and nape, yellow forehead and outline to black facial area, olive upperparts with yellow rump, underparts yellow, lightly mottled blackish on the flanks, blue fringing to coverts giving blue shoulder and wing-bar. Hints Usually found in pairs or small groups near timberline. Voice High pitch metallic monotonic calls - 2/sec

Distribution and population
Buthraupis wetmorei occurs in the Andes from south-west Colombia, through Ecuador, into north-west Peru. In Colombia, there are records from Puracé National Park and its environs, Cauca, and recently from Nariño (Strewe and Kreft 1999). It is restricted to the east Andes in Ecuador (Carchi, Napo, Morona-Santiago, Azuay, Loja and Zamora-Chinchipe) (Krabbe et al. 1997, 1998, J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999), and occurs on Cerro Chinguela, eastern Piura, Peru. It is generally considered rare or uncommon, but is fairly common at Cajanuma, Podocarpus National Park, which may protect a significant population. Nevertheless, it is unlikely that the total population exceeds 5,000 birds, and it is inferred to be declining.

Population justification
The population is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 individuals, equating to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and on-going population decline is suspected, based on rates of habitat loss within its range.

It inhabits very humid elfin forest, scattered bushes, bamboo, giant grasses and dense brush, on the páramo-forest ecotone from 2,900 to 3,600 m, and possibly higher before human alteration of the treeline.

Timberline habitats in the Andes have been diminishing for millennia, primarily through human use of fire (Kessler and Herzog 1998). Regular burning of páramos adjacent to elfin forest, to promote the growth of fresh shoots for livestock, has lowered the timberline by several hundred metres, thereby destroying large areas of habitat, and is a continuing threat (Kessler and Herzog 1998). In south-west Colombia, the proportion of timberline habitat remaining is estimated at less than 10%, and human pressure is increasing (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Temperate forest has been replaced with exotic pine plantations near the known site in Nariño (Strewe and Kreft 1999), and other threats include firewood-gathering and potato cultivation (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). The area where the species occurs in Peru is being heavily deforested and burned for agriculture and cattle ranching; fragmentation is severe around cerro Chinguela (F. Angulo in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is known from seven protected areas: Puracé National Park, Cauca, (which is burnt regularly), near and probably within Galeras Fauna and Flora Sanctuary, Nariño, (where there is currently no burning of vegetation) (Strewe and Kreft 1999), Guandera Biological Reserve, Carchi (Cresswell et al. 1999), Cayambe-Coca Ecological Reserve, Napo/Imbabura/Pichincha (Wege and Long 1995), Sangay National Park, Morona-Santiago, Llanganates National Park (P-Y. Henry in litt. 2007) and Podocarpus National Park, Loja/Zamora-Chinchipe, (which has one of the few pristine timberline areas in the tropical Andes, because burning does not take place [Kessler and Herzog 1998]). In Peru it is considered as Nationally Vulnerable (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys to clarify its distribution. In particular,  survey suitable habitat in Tabaconas Namballe national sanctuary, since it is not present in any protected area in Peru (F. Angulo in litt. 2012). Regulate the use of fire (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996), and prohibit the burning of páramo in national parks. Educate and encourage local people to take a leading role in land-use management and restoration schemes (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996).

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.

Cresswell, W.; Mellanby, R.; Bright, S.; Catry, P.; Chaves, J.; Freile, J.; Gabela, A.; Hughes, M.; Martineau, H.; MacLeod, R.; McPhee, F.; Anderson, N.; Holt, S.; Barabas, S.; Chapel, C.; Sanchez, T. 1999. Birds of Guandera Biological Reserve, Carchi province, north-east Ecuador. Cotinga 11: 55-63.

Fjeldså, J.; Kessler, M. 1996. Conserving the biological diversity of Polylepis woodlands of the highland of Peru and Bolivia. NORDECO, Copenhagen.

Kessler, M.; Herzog, S. K. 1998. Conservation status in Bolivia of timberline habitats, elfin forest and their birds. Cotinga 10: 50-54.

Krabbe, N.; Poulsen, B. O.; Frølander, A.; Barahona, O. R. 1997. Range extensions of cloud forest birds from the high Andes of Ecuador: new sites for rare or little-recorded species. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 117: 248-256.

Krabbe, N.; Skov, F.; Fjeldså, J.; Petersen, I. K. 1998. Avian diversity in the Ecuadorian Andes - an atlas of distribution of Andean forest birds and conservation priorities. Centre for Research on Cultural and Biological Diversity of Andean Rainsforests (DIVA), Ronde, Denmark.

Strewe, R.; Kreft, S. 1999. First records of Masked Mountain-tanager (Buthraupis wetmorei) and Black-backed Bush-tanager (Urothraupis stolzmanni) (Thrayoubae) for Nariño, southwestern Colombia. Ornitologia Neotropical 10: 111-113.

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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.

Fjeldså, J., Henry, P.Y.H., Krabbe, N., Salaman, P.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Buthraupis wetmorei. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

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 - Masked mountain-tanager (Buthraupis wetmorei) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Thraupidae (Tanagers)
Species name author (Moore, 1934)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 10,300 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species