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Carrizal Seedeater Amaurospiza carrizalensis
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This species, described in 2003, was known from a single location where its habitat has now been destroyed. It was subsequently found at several locations near to the type locality, and believed to have an extremely small population occupying a tiny range. Further surveys suggest that its range and potential population may be higher than initially suspected, but for the present it is maintained as Critically Endangered. With increased knowledge of the range and potential population of this species it is probable that it may be downlisted.

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

Taxonomic note
Recent mitochondrial genetic data show that the genus Amaurospiza is not a member of the Emberizidae and instead indicate strong support for placement in the Cardinalidae (AOU 2009, SACC 2008).

12 cm. Male is glossy blue-black with sooty black wings and brighter blue shoulder. Underwing coverts and axillars are white. Bill is large, deep and conical, dark grey. Female is light buff-brown with an olive-grey bill. Similar spp separable from other Amaurospiza by the denisty of colouration and black flammulations on the breast as well as overall size.

Distribution and population
This species was recently described following collection of the holotype on Isla Carrizal in the Río Caroní, Venezuela. Since then habitat at the type locality on the island has been destroyed in the development of Guri Dam. Surveys in late 2007 and 2008 recorded the species in seven areas in the lower Caroní basin (M. Lentino in litt. 2008), and further fieldwork increased the number of known sites to fourteen (M. Lentino in litt. 2010). For the moment, it is assumed to have an extremely small population and to be declining as other potentially suitable habitat continues to be destroyed. However, the low number of records may be partly due to the difficulty in surveying its habitat, which as a result has rarely been explored. Some 2,482 km2 of suitable spiny bamboo habitat has been mapped (M. Lentino in litt. 2010).

Population justification
Although it has now been found at several localities since destruction of the type locality, the global population is nevertheless assumed to be tiny, with fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals.

Trend justification
Habitat at the type locality, Isla Carrizal, was destroyed and then flooded during the Guri Dam development, and this development destroyed other potentially suitable habitat, therefore the species's population is suspected to be declining, although the likely rate of decline has not been estimated. However, a significant proportion of its habitat is pristine, far from roads and unlikely to be under any threat (M. Lentino in litt. 2010).

It has been found in stands of spiny Guadua latifolia and Ripidocladus spp. bamboo forest, and at least four of the recent localities the birds were in or next to stands of Guadua angustifolia (M. Lentino in litt. 2008). Its bill shows some degree of specialisation for feeding (R. Restall in litt. 2006). From stomach content analysis of collected specimens it is known to feed on weevil spp. which may be specific to its spiny forest habitat (R. Restall in litt. 2006).

Habitat at the type locality was all destroyed during the development of the Guri Dam, which subsequently flooded this location. This development also destroyed other potentially suitable habitat in this area.

Conservation and Research Actions Underway
The species continues to be a focus for research by the Colección Ornitológica Phelps (COP), and following the destruction of habitat at the type locality four organizations (the hydro-electric company Edelca, COP, Conservation International and the Sociedad Conservacionista Audubon de Venezuela) designed a two-year project to identify, locate and survey potential habitat (M. Lentino in litt. 2008). The spiny bamboo habitat from which the species was described is not only extremely challenging/dangerous to survey in, it also lies beneath the forest canopy and hence aerial survey methods cannot be used to detect habitat. A project to conserve the species at the Lower Caroni river was awarded funding from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund in 2014 (Anon. 2014).

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed

Survey potentially suitable spiny bamboo forest in the eastern reaches of the Llanos, between the Tigre and the Morichal Largo rivers (M. Lentino in litt. 2010). Survey potentially suitable spiny bamboo forest along the Caroní and Orinoco rivers in Venezuala and Colombia. Monitor the loss and degradation of potentially suitable habitat. Designate areas of potentially suitable habitat as protected.

Anon. 2014. Carrizal Seedeater (Amaurospiza carrizalensis) Mohamed bin Zayed Species project number 14057832. The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund Available at:

IUCN. 2015. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2015-4. Available at: (Accessed: 19 November 2015).

Lentino, M.; Restall, R. 2003. A new species of Amaurospiza blue seedeater from Venezuela. The Auk 120: 600-606.

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.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

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
Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Ashpole, J

Ascanio, D., Freile, J., Lentino, M. & Restall, R.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Amaurospiza carrizalensis. Downloaded from on 29/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 29/10/2016.

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 Critically Endangered
Family Cardinalidae (Grosbeaks, saltators and allies)
Species name author Lentino & Restall, 2003
Population size 1-49 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 1 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species