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Ash-breasted Tit-tyrant Anairetes alpinus
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This species has a very small population and is confined to a habitat which is severely fragmented and undergoing a continuing decline in extent, area, and quality. It is consequently listed as Endangered.

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

13 cm. Plain, grey-and-white, tyrannulet. Dark grey above, inconspicuously streaked blackish on mantle. Long and narrow, black bifurcated crest, exposing white in crown. Dark wings with two bold white wing-bars and edgings. Long black tail with white outer rectrices. Ashy-grey below, with centre of belly yellowish-white in nominate, white in bolivianus. Similar spp. Other Anairetes spp. are heavily streaked below. Unstreaked Tit-tyrant Uromyias agraphia has plain crest, pale eyebrow and brown upperparts. Voice Call is soft, rolling series of nasal, repeated crriu notes.

Distribution and population
Anairetes alpinus occurs locally in the high Andes of Peru and Bolivia. Subspecies alpinus occurs in the cordilleras Central and Occidental (La Libertad [G. Engblom in litt. 2000], Ancash and Lima), Peru. Subspecies bolivianus occurs in the Cordillera Oriental (Apurímac and Cuzco), Peru, and the Cordillera Real (La Paz), Bolivia (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996, Maynard and Waterton 1998, G. Servat in litt. 1999, Vogel and Hennessey 2002, I. Gomez in litt. 2003, 2007). Confirmation is required for a report near Laraos (Lima), Peru (G. Servat in litt. 1999). It is relatively common in the Runtacocha highland, Apurímac, and the Cordillera Vilcabamba, Cuzco (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996), with the population at Abra Málaga estimated as c.20-30 birds (Engblom et al. 2002). In Bolivia it is locally common at the north end of the Cordillera Real in the Cordillera Apolobamba, and the total Bolivian population was estimated at 150-300 birds in 2007 (I. Gomez in litt. 2003, 2007). The total population is perhaps in the mid- or upper hundreds, but estimates vary, and there have been several recent discoveries that have extended the known range of this species (G. Engblom in litt. 2000; Fjeldså and Kessler 1996, Maynard and Waterton 1998, G. Servat in litt. 1999, Vogel and Hennessey 2002).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 individuals (G. Servat in litt. 1999, G. Engblom in litt. 2000). This equates to 167-666 mature individuals, rounded here to 150-700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be experiencing a moderate and ongoing decline, in line with habitat loss and degradation within its range.

It inhabits semi-humid, mixed Polylepis-Gynoxys woodland at 3,700-4,500 m. In the Runtacocha highland stronghold, Polylepis woodland is mature and has several strata that may provide a richer supply of insects. In Bolivia it is known only from Polylepis pepei forests (I. Gomez in litt. 2003, 2007). It typically moves in pairs or groups of three individuals, sometimes with other species, searching for invertebrates on the outermost branches (Engblom et al. 2002). Immatures have been collected in March and July, a pair feeding young were recorded in December and in the Cordillera Apolobamba an active nest was found in November (I. Gomez in litt. 2003, 2007). Territory size has been estimated at between 1 and 2 ha, and the species does not appear to persist in forest fragments smaller than 1 ha (I. Gomez in litt. 2003, 2007).

The main threats are heavy grazing (especially in Ancash) and the uncontrolled use of fire, which combine to prevent Polylepis regeneration (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996, G. Servat in litt. 1999, Engblom et al. 2002), especially where cutting for timber, firewood and charcoal also occurs (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). The change from camelid to sheep- and cattle-farming, erosion and soil degradation caused by agricultural intensification and afforestation, especially where exotic tree species (e.g. Eucalyptus) are planted (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996), are further contributory factors. The extent of Polylepis woodland in Cuzco halved during the 1980s.

Conservation Actions Underway
It is very rare in the actively managed Huascarán National Park (Wege and Long 1995, G. Servat in litt. 1999, Byers 2000). Public awareness campaigns in Cuzco, Peru, have been locally successful (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Small numbers have been found within Río Abiseo National Park, La Libertad, and Cotapata National Park, La Paz (A. B. Hennessey in litt. 1999, G. Engblom in litt. 2000, Vogel and Hennessey 2002). The Madidi and Apolobamba National Parks protect part of the Cordillera Apolobamba, probably the most important area for the species in Bolivia (I. Gomez in litt. 2003, 2007). Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine its distribution in Bolivia (A. B. Hennessey in litt. 1999; I. Gomez in litt. 2003, 2007), the Cordillera Vilcanota, Cuzco (G. Servat in litt. 1999, G. Engblom in litt. 2000) and Laraos, south Lima (G. Servat in litt. 1999). Continue management of Huascarán National Park. Protect Polylepis habitat in the Cordillera Vilcanota, Peru and Cordillera Real, Bolivia (G. Servat in litt. 1999, I. Gomez in litt. 2003, 2007) Improve land-use management by segregating agricultural, grazing and forest areas (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Encourage local people to develop land-use management and restoration schemes (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Conduct studies to ascertain its precise ecological requirements, habitat requirements, population and distribution (I. Gomez in litt. 2003, 2007).

Byers, A. C. 2000. Contemporary landscape change in the Huascarán National Park and buffer zone, Cordillera Blanca. Mountain Research and Development 20: 52-63.

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.

Engblom, G.; Aucca Chutas, C.; Ferro Meza, G.; Palomino, W.; Samochuallpa, E. 2002. The conservation of Polylepis-adapted birds at Abra Málaga, Cuzco, Peru. Cotinga 17: 56-59.

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

Maynard, E.; Waterton, R. 1998. An Oxford University expedition to the high altitude Polylepis forests of the Cordillera Huayhuash, central Peru.

Vogel, C.; Hennessy, A. B. 2002. Discovery of a new site for Ash-brested Tit-tyrant Anairetes alpinus in Bolivia. Cotinga 17: 80.

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.

View photos and videos and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Pilgrim, J., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Engblom, G., Gomez, I., Hennessey, A., Servat, G.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Anairetes alpinus. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 - Ash-breasted tit-tyrant (Anairetes alpinus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Tyrannidae (Tyrant-flycatchers)
Species name author (Carriker, 1933)
Population size 150-700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 11,900 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species