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Grey-backed Tachuri Polystictus superciliaris
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species is listed as Least Concern as its range is known to be much larger than was once thought, and does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the IUCN criteria. Its population size and trend are also not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable; however, both its population and range are still thought to be declining and it is recommended that the species be closely monitored.

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

Distribution and population
Polystictus superciliaris occurs very locally in east Brazil from Morro do Chapéu in central Bahia to the Serra do Bocaina in north São Paulo (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Parker et al. 1996, Vasconcelos 1999, Vasconcelos et al. 1999), where it is uncommon within its large range.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon'.

Trend justification
The species's population is suspected to be in decline owing to habitat loss caused by conversion to cattle ranches and mining operations.

It is resident in arid montane scrub (campo cerrado) and rocky outcrops in savannas and grassland (campo rupestre) at 900-1,950 m (Parker et al. 1996, Stattersfield et al. 1998) and has also been found in abandoned pastures.

Much of its range was colonised when diamonds and gold were found there in the 19th century, and small operations persist. Quartz crystals and manganese are also mined. Increasing conversion of land for cattle ranching is currently the principal threat, although it persists in partially degraded areas (WWF/IUCN 1994-1997, Stattersfield et al. 1998, Vasconcelos 1999).

Conservation Actions Underway
It is common in Caraça National Park and also occurs in Serra da Canastra and Serra do Cipó National Parks.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Study its ecology and its ability to persist in degraded and fragmented habitats. Survey and monitor populations to assess trends. Effectively protect large areas of suitable unaltered habitat.

Parker, T. A.; Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases. In: Stotz, D.F.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Parker, T.A.; Moskovits, D.K. (ed.), Neotropical bird ecology and conservation, pp. 113-436. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

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

Stattersfield, A. J.; Crosby, M. J.; Long, A. J.; Wege, D. C. 1998. Endemic bird areas of the world: priorities for bird conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Vasconcelos, M. F. De; Maldonado-Coelho, M.; Duraes, R. 1999. Notas sobre algumas espécies de aves ameaçadas e pouco conhecidas da porçao Meridional da Cadeia do Espinhaço, Minas Gerais. Melopsittacus: 44-50.

Vasconcelos, M. F. de. 1999. Natural history notes and conservation of two species endemic to the Espinhaço Range, Brazil: Hyacinth Visorbearer Augastes scutatus and Grey-backed Tachuri Polystictus superciliaris. Cotinga 11: 75-78.

WWF/IUCN. 1994-1997. Centres of plant diversity. A guide and strategy for their conservation. IUCN, Cambridge, UK.

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., O'Brien, A., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Polystictus superciliaris. 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 Least Concern
Family Tyrannidae (Tyrant-flycatchers)
Species name author (Wied, 1831)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 314,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species