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Slaty Becard Pachyramphus spodiurus
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This species qualifies as Endangered as it has a very small and severely fragmented range, which is declining rapidly owing to ongoing habitat loss. Although it may show some tolerance of degraded habitat, the species appears to be genuinely rare and to be undergoing population decline. Further information on distribution, population size and trends may show that the species is less threatened than feared.

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

14 cm. Typical becard in shape and posture. Male has predominantly dark slaty upperparts, with black crown contrasting with whitish supraloral and forehead. Some black in mantle, and blackish wings and tail, with whitish edges to wing feathers. Lacks wing-bars. Uniform grey underparts. Female has bright cinnamon-rufous upperparts, darker on crown, and black primary coverts and outer primaries. Whitish supraloral spot and underparts, with some buff on throat sides, breast and flanks. Similar spp. Female frequently confused, especially with Cinnamon Becard P. cinnamomeus, but differs in having black (not reddish-brown) primary coverts, and less white throat and belly. Both sexes resemble One-coloured Becard P. homochrous, which is larger, heavier-billed, lacks pale lores, and the males of which have almost plain wings. Voice Song a fast series of musical notes on descending pitch, ti-ti-ti-ti-tee-tee-the-the-tu. Hints Forages close to the ground more frequently than other becards.

Distribution and population
Pachyramphus spodiurus is rare and very local in the west lowlands of Ecuador (from Esmeraldas and Pichincha south to Loja) and extreme north-west Peru (Tumbes, north Piura, Cajamarca and Amazonas). There have been very few recent records, particularly in Peru and the north of its Ecuadorian range, and it appears likely that it has suffered a serious decline.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 1,000-2,499 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 667-1,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 600-1,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid and ongoing population decline is suspected, based on rates of habitat loss.

It inhabits deciduous, semi-deciduous and humid woodland, shrubby clearings with scattered tall trees, patches of evergreen shrubbery and second growth within humid forest, mostly below 750 m, but locally as high as 1,100 m (Best and Kessler 1995, Clements and Shany 2001, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001). It forages in the canopy of semi-deciduous forest, where the mean height of trees is c.10 m. Its habits are largely unknown, although its diet is presumed to be insects and fruit. Like other species of the same region, it is believed to breed in the rainy season (January-March) and a nests have been found in February (Rheindt 2008) and April (Gelis et al. 2009).

Below 900 m, the rate of deforestation in west Ecuador in 1958-1988 was 57% per decade (Dodson and Gentry 1991). Significant habitat loss continues in both Ecuador and Peru, at least in unprotected areas, and will soon have removed almost all lowland forest, unless effective action is taken urgently. Heavy grazing by goats and cattle causes disturbance and degradation of the understorey in remaining deciduous woodland. However, the species has been reported to persist in some areas that have been subject to a substantial degree of habitat degradation (Ridgely and Greenfield 2001).

Conservation Actions Underway
Apart from the Tumbes Reserved Zone (part of the Northwest Peru Biosphere Reserve) in Peru where it is uncommon, it has not been recorded from any other protected area that is sufficiently large to support a viable population. Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys for the species in the Marañón drainage. Establish its ecological requirements. Effectively protect the Northwest Peru Biosphere Reserve. Establish additional protected areas for the species.

Best, B. J.; Kessler, M. 1995. Biodiversity and conservation in Tumbesian Ecuador and Peru. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Clements, J. F.; Shany, N. 2001. A field guide to the birds of Peru. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

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.

Dodson, C. H.; Gentry, A. H. 1991. Biological extinction in western Ecuador. Annals of the Missouri Botanical Garden 78: 273-295.

Gelis, R. A.; Greeney, H. F.; Eliot, T. M. 2009. Further observations on nesting Slaty Becard Pachyramphus spodiurus. Cotinga: 132-134.

Rheindt, F. E. 2008. Descripción preliminar del nido de Pachyramphus spodiurus, especie amenazada. Cotinga 29: 162–163.

Ridgely, R. S.; Greenfield, P. J. 2001. The birds of Ecuador: status, distribution and taxonomy. Cornell University Press and Christopher Helm, Ithaca and London.

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
Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Temple, H.

Lloyd, H.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Pachyramphus spodiurus. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 26/10/2016.

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 - Slaty becard (Pachyramphus spodiurus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Cotingidae (Cotingas)
Species name author Sclater, 1860
Population size 600-1700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,100 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species