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Russet-winged Spadebill Platyrinchus leucoryphus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species appears to be reliant on primary Atlantic forest, which continues to be lost throughout the its range. Recent surveys have failed to find new populations and known populations are now known to be less extensive than previously estimated. It is likely to be undergoing a continued rapid population decline owing to the extensive habitat loss. Therefore it is listed as Vulnerable.

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

12.5 cm. A small brownish flycatcher with a flat, wide bill. Upperparts brownish olive. Wings and tail dusky, broadly edged cinnamon-rufous. Face with blurred pattern. Loral, eye-ring and post-ocular stripe curving behind auriculars pale buffy-yellow. Dark stripes in auriculars and moustache. Throat yellowish. Rest of underparts pale buffy-yellow with olivaceous band across breast and wash on sides. Pale pinky legs; dusky bill with fleshy mandible. Similar spp. White-throated Spadebill P. mystaceus is smaller, has a much shorter tail and the upperparts show less contrast. The face pattern is also more marked. Voice Distinctive song is a three second whistled trill rising in pitch, ended up with a sudden chíu. Also a sharp fíu call. Hints Hard to find, best located by call.

Distribution and population
Platyrinchus leucoryphus occurs at low densities in primary and old secondary Atlantic forest in lowlands, mountains and interior tablelands of south-east Brazil (central Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná, north-east Santa Catarina and north-east Rio Grande do Sul), east Paraguay (recent records from four protected areas in Canindeyú, Caazapá, and Itapúa (Clay et al. 1998; Lowen et al. 1996; Madroño et al. 1997) and north-east Argentina (five undocumented records in Iguazú National Park, Misiones [Mazar Barnett and Pearman 2001] and one undocumented in Salto Encantado Provincial Park [Giraudo et al. 2008]). Recent surveys in Paraguay have virtually failed to find new populations of the species and documented populations are now known to be less extensive than originally postulated, however important populations remain in three protected areas, most notably San Rafael National Park in Itapúa (Esquivel et al. 2007). The species was not found during searches made with playback in appropriate habitat in northern and central Misiones, including Iguazú National Park, Argentina during 2003 - 2011 (A. Bodrati in litt. 2007, 2012). The Río Iguazu is perhaps a natural barrier to this species and this could account for a continuing lack of records from Argentina (M. Pearman in litt. 2003).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to be declining rapidly, in line with rates habitat loss within its range.

In Paraguay, Platyrinchus leucoryphus appears to prefer forest with an open understorey, with small saplings providing a shady canopy but little undergrowth, and numerous lianas providing perches between flycatching sallies (Lowen et al. 1996). It eats arthropods and has been recorded taking katydids, moths and spiders (Pizo 2003). Recent evidence shows that it is largely reliant on primary forest, but it has also been found in disturbed forest and in an isolated 1 ha forest patch with an open understorey created by cattle grazing (Esquivel et al. 2007). It typically occurs at low densities (e.g. 3 territories in 50 ha in São Paulo state, Brazil (Pizo 2003) and 4 territories in 100 ha in San Rafael National Park, Paraguay (Esquivel et al. 2007)). Nesting has been recorded in November in Paraguay and Brazil. A nest in São Paulo state was built 4.5 m above the ground in an understorey tree in old-growth forest (Pizo 2003), while in San Rafael National Park and nest was prominently situated at a height of 2.5 m in a fork of a lone sapling in primary forest (Clay & Madroño 1997).


The species appears to be reliant on areas with an open understorey and dense canopy typical of primary Atlantic forest. There is extensive and continuing loss and degradation of Atlantic forest throughout its range, through forest clearing and selective logging, which therefore constitute serious threats to this species.

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known. Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor all records of the species to gain a clearer picture of its distribution and population size for future conservation work (M. Pearman in litt. 2003). Further clarify its habitat requirements. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status.

Clay, R. P.; Capper, D. R.; Mazar Barnett, J.; Burfield, I. J.; Esquivel, E. Z.; Fariña, R.; Kennedy, C. P.; Perrens, M.; Pople, R. G. 1998. White-winged Nightjars Caprimulgus candicans and cerrado conservation: the key findings of project Aguará Ñu 1997. Cotinga: 52-56.

Clay, R. P.; Madroño, A. 1997. The first reported nest and eggs of the Russet-winged Spadebill Platyrinchus leucoryphus. Cotinga: 83-85.

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.

Esquivel, A.; Velásquez, M. C.; Bodrati, A.; Fraga, R.; del Castillo, H.; Klavins, J.; Clay, R. P.; Peris, S. J. 2007. Status of the avifauna of San Rafael National Park, one of the last large fragments of Atlantic forest in Paraguay. Bird Conservation International 17(4): 301-317.

Giraudo, A. R; Matteucci, S. D.; Alonso, J.; Herrera, J.; Abramson, R. R. 2008. Comparing bird assemblages in large and small fragments of the Atlantic Forest hotspots . Biodiversity and Conservation 17: 1251–1265.

Lowen, J. C.; Bartrina, L.; Clay, R. P.; Tobias, J. A. 1996. Biological surveys and conservation priorities in eastern Paraguay (the final reports of Projects Canopy '92 and Yacutinga '95). CSB Conservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Madroño N., A.; Clay, R. P.; Robbins, M. B.; Rice, N. H.; Faucett, R. C.; Lowen, J. C. 1997. An avifaunal survey of the vanishing interior Atlantic forest of San Rafael National Park, Departments Itapúa/Caazapá, Paraguay. Cotinga: 45-53.

Mazar Barnett, J.; Pearman, M. 2001. Annotated checklist ofthe birds of Argentina. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.

Pizo, M. A. 2003. Observations on a nest of Russet-winged Spadebill Platyrinchus leucoryphus in the Brazilian Atlantic Forest. Cotinga 20: 57-58.

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.

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

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Williams, R.

Bodrati, A., Clay, R., De Luca, A., Develey, P., Esquivel, A., Pearman, M.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Platyrinchus leucoryphus. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

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 - Russet-winged spadebill (Platyrinchus leucoryphus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Tyrannidae (Tyrant-flycatchers)
Species name author Wied, 1831
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 426,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species