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White-cheeked Cotinga Zaratornis stresemanni

This species has a small population, which is severely fragmented and continuing to decline owing to loss and degradation of habitat. For these reasons, it is listed as Vulnerable.

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

Ampelion stresemanni Collar and Andrew (1988), Ampelion stresemanni Stotz et al. (1996), Ampelion stresemanni stresemanni Collar and Andrew (1988), Ampelion stresemanni stresemanni Stotz et al. (1996)

18 cm. Distinctively patterned cotinga. Black crown. Silvery-white face and cheeks. Grey-brown throat and upper breast. Rest of underparts yellowish-buff, coarsely streaked black, except in mid-belly. Brighter crissum. Upperparts striped buff and dusky. Dusky wings and tail fringed yellowish. Red iris. Juvenile paler, with drab breast. Similar spp. Juvenile Red-crested Cotinga Ampelion rubrocristatus has grey crown, lacks white face and has less well-defined plumage. Voice Frog-like song is loud, low-pitched and nasal reh-reh-reh-rrrrr-rE-rE, lasting c.4 seconds.

Distribution and population
Zaratornis stresemanni is patchily distributed in the Cordillera Occidental of the Andes in Peru (La Libertad, Ancash, Lima and Ayacucho), with most records on the west slope. It has been observed at Tayabamba, La Libertad, in the Cordillera Central, where it may be resident, seasonal or vagrant. A recent observation at El Molino, also in La Libertad, suggests its range may be greater than previously thought (F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2012). It is common north of Oyón, with an estimated 500 birds in this district (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996); in the Cordillera Huayhuash area (Maynard and Waterton 1998), and in the upper Santa Eulalia Valley, where it numbers upwards of 250 birds (Maynard and Waterton 1998, G. Servat in litt. 1999). It is also fairly common in parts of the río Cañete drainage, Lima (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996, Maynard and Waterton 1998, G. Servat in litt. 1999). In 1992, the population was estimated at c.3,000 individuals; actual numbers are probably between 1,500 and 6,000.

Population justification
The species is rare and local. A population size of 1,500-6,000 was estimated by Collar et al. (1992). This is roughly equivalent to 1,000-4,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be decreasing slowly, in line with rates of habitat loss and degradation within its range.

It mainly inhabits Polylepis-Gynoxys woodland at elevations of 3,800-4,400 m (Clements and Shany 2001, Schulenberg et al. 2007), but, in the dry season (between August and November), occurs to 2,700 m in mixed woodland and casually to 2,000 m. These seasonal movements may mean it is only able to maintain high populations in valleys with a continuum of oligothermic to mesothermic forest (J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999, 2007). It apparently feeds primarily on two genera of mistletoe, for which it is the main seed-dispersal agent. Nest-building has been recorded in March, and nests with eggs and young have been found in May.

Uncontrolled fires and heavy grazing prevent Polylepis regeneration. Cutting for timber, firewood and charcoal is locally destructive, but could be sustained if regeneration were allowed (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996) The Pacific slope cloud forest which is occupied in the non-breeding season is threatened by grazing goats which prevent forest regeneration (J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999, 2007). Other factors may include the change from camelid to sheep-farming and cattle-farming, and the inadequacy of afforestation projects, in particular the use of exotic plants (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996).

Conservation Actions Underway
There have been surveys of Polylepis and high-altitude habitats and conservation measures proposed (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). The north of the species's range (but not Oyón) is mostly within Huascarán National Park, Ancash, but cutting continues, to supply the local furniture industry and firewood for a gold-mining camp (Frimer and Møller Nielsen 1989, Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Pampa Galeras National Reserve, Ayacucho, protects a small population, but is poorly enforced (J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999, G. Servat in litt. 1999,J. Fjeldså in litt. 2007). Zarate Forest, Lima (a non-breeding site), has been recently gazetted as a reserved zone (T. Valqui in litt. 1999, F. Angulo Pratolongo in litt. 2012). Conservation Actions Proposed
Determine its year-round distribution and population, and the extent of Polylepis in the central Cordillera Occidental (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996, G. Servat in litt. 1999). Implement the management plan for Huascarán (Frimer and Møller Nielsen 1989, Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Protect Polylepis forests north of Oyón and in the Santa Eulalia Valley. Plant Polylepis in degraded areas. Plant buffer zones of firewood trees below Polylepis and supply coal for industry. Encourage local people to take leading roles in land-use management and restoration schemes (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Prevent over grazing by goats in the Pacific slope cloud forest non-breeding habitat (J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999, 2007).

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.

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

Frimer, O.; Mo1ller Nielsen, S. 1989. The status of Polylepis forests and their avifauna in Cordillera Blanca, Peru. Technical report from an inventory in 1988, with suggestions for conservation management.

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

Schulenberg, T. S., Stotz, D. F. Lane, D. F. O'Neill, J. P. Parker, T. A. III. 2007. Birds of Peru.

Schulenberg, T. S.; Stotz, D. F. ; Lane, D. F.; O'Neill, J. P.; Parker III, T. A. 2007. Birds of Peru. Prnceton University Press, Prnceton, NJ, USA.

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.

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomo

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

Fjeldså, J., Servat, G., Valqui, T., Angulo Pratolongo, F.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Zaratornis stresemanni. Downloaded from on 16/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 16/04/2014.

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 - White-cheeked cotinga (Zaratornis stresemanni) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Cotingidae (Cotingas)
Species name author Koepcke, 1964
Population size 1000-4000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 77,300 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species