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Swallow-tailed Cotinga Phibalura flavirostris
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a moderately small population which is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly owing to habitat loss. It is consequently classified as Near Threatened.

Taxonomic note
Phibalura flavirostris (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) has been split into P. flavirostris and P. boliviana by the BirdLife Taxonomic Working Group on the basis of the evidence presented by Hennessey (2011).

21-22 cm. A beautiful and strongly patterned cotinga with a long, forked tail. The male has a blackish head with blue gloss. Small red crown patch and blurred brownish grey supercilium. Bright golden yellow throat and cheeks. White line from behind auriculars connect with white breast heavily barred black. Rest of underparts yellow, brighter on crissum, with sparse shaft-like streaks. Upperparts yellowish olive coarsely barred blackish, more dense on nape. Blackish wings, pale grey spots on tertials. Long and forked tail blackish with olivaceous base to outer rectrices; often held separated, in a 'V' shape. Pinkish eyering. Female is duller; greyer on head, less white on neck, more olive on wings and the shorter tail. Similar spp. Unmistakable. Voice Mostly silent, but a high guttural whistle ghewt ghewt has been reported. Hints Perches still for long periods high in the edge of forests, open woodlands and gardens.

Distribution and population
Phibalura flavirostris is found in south-east Brazil (from Bahia and central Minas Gerais south to Rio Grande do Sul; also in south Goiás, perhaps as an austral migrant), north-east Argentina (Misiones, no records since 1977 until seen at several sites in 2004 and 2006, Bodrati and Cockle 2006, Bodrati et al. 2010) and east Paraguay (Canindeyú, Alto Paraná, Guairá and possibly Itapúa, but only four records and none since 1977). It is apparently an austral migrant (at least to some extent), occurring in Rio Grande do Sul only during the austral summer (Snow 1982, Ridgely and Tudor 1994). It is locally uncommon in Itatiaia National Park, on the Rio de Janeiro/Minas Gerais border, at Intervales State Park, São Paulo, and at Caraça, Minas Gerais, but is generally rare and has apparently declined (Ridgely and Tudor 1994) for reasons that are unclear. 

Population justification
The population is preliminarily estimated to number at least 10,000 individuals, roughly equating to 6,700 mature individuals. This requires confirmation.

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

The species is not dependent on primary forest, apparently preferring forest borders, partially or lightly wooded areas, and clearings and gardens with scattered trees (where it often nests) (Ridgely and Tudor 1994), from near sea level to 2,000 m. It is an altitudinal migrant, nesting in montane regions and descending during the austral winter (Snow 1982, Ridgely and Tudor 1994).

Extensive deforestation has presumably had some impact, but its preference for forest borders, partially or lightly wooded areas, and clearings and gardens suggests that it can tolerate some habitat degradation.

Conservation Actions Underway
In Brazil it is uncommon in Itatiatia National Park and Intervales State Park and rare in Serra dos Orgãos National Park and Chapada Diamantina National Park (possibly only non-breeding birds at the latter site. Conservation Actions Proposed
Study its ecology, migration and ablity to persist in degraded and fragmented habitats and attempt to establish reasons for its apparent decline.  Effectively protect significant areas of suitable habitat in both strictly protected areas and community led multiple use areas.

Avalos, V. del R. 2010. Seleción de sitios de anidación por la palkachupa (Phibalura flavirostris boliviana, Cotingidae) en Bolivia. Ornitologia Neotropical 21(2): 195-202.

Bodrati, A., Maders, C., di Santo, G., Cockle, K., Areta, J. I., Segovia, J. M. 2010. La avifauna del Parque Provincial Cruce Caballero, Provincia de Misiones, Argentina. Cotinga 32: 41-64.

Bodrati, A.; Cockle, K. 2006. Habitat, distribution and conservation of Atlantic forest birds in Argentina: notes on nine rare or threatened species. Ornitologia Neotropical 17: 243-258.

Bromfield, G.; Ritchie, W.N.; Bromfield, V.; Ritchie, J.; Hennessey, A. B. 2004. New information on plumage, nesting, behaviour and vocalisations of the Bolivian Swallow-tailed Cotinga Phibalura flavirostris boliviana from the Apolo area of Madidi National Park, Bolivia. Cotinga 21: 63-67.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2004. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 9: Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Hayes, F. E. 1995. Status, distribution and biogeography of the birds of Paraguay. American Birding Association, Colorado Springs.

Parrini, R.; Raposo, M. A.; Pacheco, J. F.; Carvalhaes, A. M. P.; Melo, T. A. J.; Fonseca, P. S. M.; Minns, J. C. 1999. Birds of the Chapada Diamantina, Bahia, Brazil. Cotinga 11: 86-95.

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

Saibene, C. A.; Castelino, M. A.; Rey, N. R.; Herrera, J.; Calo, J. 1996. Inventario de las aves del parque nacional "Iguazu", Misiones, Argentina. LOLA, Buenos Aires.

Snow, D. 1982. The cotingas: bellbirds, umbrellabirds and their allies. British Museum (Natural History) and Oxford University Press, London and Oxford.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

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

Text account compilers
Capper, D., Mansur, E., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Hennessey, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Phibalura flavirostris. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 21/10/2016.

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 Near Threatened
Family Cotingidae (Cotingas)
Species name author Vieillot, 1816
Population size 6700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1,080,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species