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Tawny-chested Flycatcher Aphanotriccus capitalis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a small range in which forest has been extensively cleared and fragmented. Despite inhabiting edge environments and even nesting in human-modified habitats, it appears intolerant of forest fragmentation, suggesting that it is declining. However, an elucidation of its habitat requirements or improved knowledge of its distribution, especially in Nicaragua, may result in the species being downlisted to Near Threatened.

Taxonomic source(s)
AOU. 1998. Check-list of North American birds. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.
Sibley, C. G.; Monroe, B. L. 1990. Distribution and taxonomy of birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, USA.
Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

12 cm. Distinctive flycatcher with bright underparts. Darkish grey head, tinged olive in female. Broken white eye-ring and lores. Olive-green upperparts tinged ochraceous. Dusky wings with two ochraceous wing-bars and margins of secondaries. Buffy-white throat. Ochraceous breast and fairly bright yellow belly. Black upper mandible, pinkish on lower with black tip. Grey legs. Similar spp. Much more colourful than sympatric Empidonax flycatchers. Myiobius flycatchers have a yellowish rump. Voice Rapid phrase, with last note loudest, chee chee spt't cheew or chit it-it chee'yew. Sometimes longer and more elaborate.

Distribution and population
Aphanotriccus capitalis occurs on the Caribbean slope in north Costa Rica and south Nicaragua. All Nicaraguan records are historical specimens collected near Lake Nicaragua or its outflow, río San Juan (Specimens in NHM per T. E. H. Stuart in litt. 2000). However, three specimens taken in 1896 are labelled "Río Coco", which, unless there are two Coco rivers, forms the border with Honduras and considerably extends the range northwards (Specimens in NHM per T. E. H. Stuart in litt. 2000). In Costa Rica, it is known from Volcán Orosí (northern tip of the Cordillera de Guanacaste), south to the Río Reventazón drainage, in the foothills between the Cordilleras Central and de Talamanca. It is not common anywhere, with most recent observations at Rancho Naturalista (east of Turrialba), La Selva Biological Reserve and their environs (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Costa Rica Gateway 1998, R. Behrstock in litt. 1999, P. Coopmans in litt. 1999, K. Erb in litt. 1999, N. Newfield in litt. 1999, M. Reid in litt. 1999, F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999, J. VanderGaast in litt. 1999, Van Gausig in litt. 1999).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
There are no new data on population trends; however, the species is suspected to be declining at a slow rate, owing to habitat degradation.

It inhabits mature secondary and evergreen forest, usually in dense understorey vegetation on the forest edges, along forest streams and in natural forest clearings (Stiles and Skutch 1989, F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999, J. VanderGaast in litt. 1999). In La Selva, it has been recorded in cocoa plantations and similar "semi-open" areas (McDade et al. 1994), but is not known from small forest fragments. It ranges from the low foothills to c.900 m, and locally to 1,050 m (Stiles and Skutch 1989). The Nicaraguan localities are apparently in the lowlands, but specimens could have been collected in nearby hilly areas. Nests have been found in hollows of fairly large trees and in large, non-native bamboo stems (J. VanderGaast in litt. 1999).

Logging, conversion to banana plantations and cattle-ranch expansion have resulted in widespread forest clearance and severe fragmentation, particularly in Costa Rica (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Dinerstein et al. 1995, Harcourt and Sayer 1996).

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Rincón de la Vieja National Park and La Selva Biological Reserve, Costa Rica (McDade et al. 1994, P. Coopmans in litt. 1999, F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999), and potentially Braulio Carillo National Park, Costa Rica, and Río Indio-Maíz Biological Reserve, Nicaragua. Rancho Naturalista is an ecotourism lodge where the species receives protection under current management practices (M. Reid in litt. 1999, J. VanderGaast in litt. 1999). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to assess its population and distribution, especially in Nicaragua. Determine the extent to which it can use and maintain a population in unnatural habitats. Increase the area of suitable habitat within governmental and private protected areas.

Costa Rica Gateway. 1998. Rancho's bird list.

Dinerstein, E.; Olson, D. M.; Graham, D. J.; Webster, A. L.; Primm, S. A.; Bookbinder, M. P.; Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assesssment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Harcourt, C. S.; Sayer, J. A. 1996. The conservation atlas of tropical forests: the Americas. Simon and Schuster, New York.

McDade, L. A.; Bawa, K. S.; Hespenheide, H. A.; Hartshorn, G. S. 1994. La Selva: ecology and natural history of a neotropical rain forest. The University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London.

Stiles, F.G. and Skutch, A.F. 1989. A Guide to the Birds of Costa Rica. Cornell University Press, Ithaca, NY.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

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

Text account compilers
Capper, D., Mahood, S., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T.

Behrstock, R., Coopmans, P., Erb, K., Newfield, N., Reid, M., Stiles, F., Stuart, T., Vander Gaast, J., van Gausig, ..

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Aphanotriccus capitalis. 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 - Tawny-chested flycatcher (Aphanotriccus capitalis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Tyrannidae (Tyrant-flycatchers)
Species name author (Salvin, 1865)
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 8,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species