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Antioquia Brush-finch Atlapetes blancae
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This newly described species is listed as Critically Endangered because there are no known populations and the last record is from 1971; consequently if it does remain extant it is assumed that any population must be tiny.

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

An overall grey brush-finch. Slate grey on the back and uppertail coverts; darker sooty-grey flight feathers and a black face mask from just in front of the eye to the back of the ear coverts. Has a bright rufous forehead, crown and nape. Pale below. Dark, fine, indistinct moustachial stripe. Shows a small white wing panel at the base of its central primaries. Juveniles lack the wing panel and show overall browner tones. Similar spp. It is slightly paler on the back than sympatric congeners. Differs from A. latinuchus in its brighter rufous crown, smaller wing panel, greyer (rather than blacker) back and grey rather than yellow plumage below. Differs from A. schistaceus in its larger and less pointed bill, brighter more extensive rufous crown, smaller wing panel, paler underside and lack of a bold moustachial or stong demarcation between the throat and breast.

Distribution and population
This species has been recently described based upon three specimens collected at a Universidad de la Salle retreat called La Lana, vereda Llano de Ovejas, near San Pedro de los Milagros, Antioquia, Colombia. Two of the specimens are undated, but the third was collected in 1971 (Donegan 2007). Fieldwork in 2007 and 2008 (P. Salaman in litt. 2008) failed to detect the species close to the labelled type locality; there are no known extant populations. While there is hope that it persists at the type locality, if it does it must be rare. Rapid assessment surveys in the Northern Andes have typically recorded over 90% of resident birds at survey sites, and fieldwork at La Lana did record two other Atlapetes species, both of which were also recognised by local people; no-one recognised photographs of the A. blancae specimens. It is plausible that the species occurs nearby, but not at the type locality; several specimens of A. schistaceus are labelled from La Lana, but the species was only recorded away from the site where it was rare at 2,800 m. Alternatively A. blancae may be locally extinct on the Llano de Ovejas given the extent of recent deforestation and the presence of A. latinuchus in all secondary and forest edge habitats. An assessment of old collections from La Lana reveals that the only other missing species were transient migrants and waterbirds (Donegan et al. 2009).  Atlapetes can be abundant in scrub bordering natural marshlands in the Colombian Andes, and most wetlands in this region have been drained or replaced with reservoirs (Donegan et al. 2009).

Population justification
The species is only known from three specimens; the most recent date of collection was in 1971. Recent searches in 2007 and 2008 have failed to identify an extant population, which would likely number fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals.

The species was collected on the Llano de Ovejas, a small plateau at 2,400-2,800 m. It probably occurred in forest, which has largely been denuded in this area. Several congeners occur in the region of the type locality; with two species A. schistaceus and A. latinuchus apparently occurring sympatrically. These species may be partly separated by altitudinal range with schistaceus only found at 2,800 m at the site, and a third species A. albinucha occurring at lower elevations (Donegan 2007).

Forest habitats at the type locality have been converted to pasture for milk production and commercial flower growing.

Conservation Actions Underway
Surveys were conducted in 2007 and 2008 to search for the species, though these proved unsuccessful (P. Salaman in litt. 2008, Donegan et al. 2009).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Explore various hypotheses discussing its potential distribution and target searches based upon these possibilities.

Donegan, T. M. 2007. A new species of brush finch (Emberizidae: Atlapetes) from the northern Central Andes of Colombia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 127(4): 255-268.

Donegan, T. M.; Avendaño-C, J. E.; Huertas, B; Flórez, P. 2009. Avifauna de San Pedro de los Milagros, Antioquia: una comparación entre colecciones antiguas y evaluaciones rápidas. Boletín Cientifico del Centro de Museos, Museo de Historia Natural (Caldas) 13(1): 63-72.

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

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
Bird, J., Sharpe, C J & Symes, A.

Salaman, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Atlapetes blancae. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

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 Emberizidae (Buntings, American sparrows and allies)
Species name author Donegan, 2007
Population size 1-49 mature individuals
Population trend Unknown
Distribution size (breeding/resident) -
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species