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White-bearded Antshrike Biatas nigropectus
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A total dependence on one or few species of bamboo whose reproduction is followed by massive die-off events, coupled with a substantial reduction in suitable habitat, suggests that this species's current population is small, fragmented and rapidly declining. It consequently qualifies as Vulnerable.

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

18 cm. Brown-and-black antshrike. Overall rich brown with rufous wings and tail, olivaceous-buff below. Male has black cap, which is often raised. White ear-coverts and chin join pale buff nuchal collar. Whitish supercilium sometimes hidden. Black lower throat and breast. Considerable variation between individuals in extent of black bib, and colour of bill (ivory to silver) and legs (grey to light blue); individuals with different colouration exist at the same sites and variation does not appear to be geographically based. Female has rufous crown, whitish supercilium and olive-brown breast. Similar spp. Female similar to White-collared Foliage-gleaner Anabazenops fuscus, which lacks rufous crown and wings, and has different bill shape and behaviour. Voice Series of 6-12 soft, fluty kíu notes (c.2 per second).

Distribution and population
Biatas nigropectus is rare in south-east Brazil and uncommon in north-east Argentina. All Argentine records are from Misiones, where the largest series of specimens has been obtained. The species persists in stands of Guadua trinii bamboo throughout northern and eastern Misiones from Iguazú National Park to the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve, and especially in the area from the northern half of the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve to Santa Rosa and Piñalito Sur (Bodrati and Cockle 2006, A. Bodrati in litt. 2007). Between 2003 and 2011, more than 300 individuals have been detected in Misiones using tape playback (Bodrati and Cockle 2006, A. Bodrati in litt. 2007, A. Bodrati and K. Cockle in litt. 2012). In Brazil, most records are from Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, with Itatiaia National Park and Intervales State Park particular strongholds. There are further records from Minas Gerais, from Itatiaia on the border with Rio de Janeiro, and at Itabira and São Domingos do Prata in the mid-1980s; Paraná, from Iguaçu National Park, Fazenda Santa Rita and the Tibagi River Basin (Anjos et al. 1997), and Santa Catarina, from Araranguá (do Rosário 1996). Evidence from the 19th century indicates that this was always a rare bird, but it is presumably declining in response to habitat loss.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature 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 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

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

It inhabits stands of bamboo in lowland and montane Atlantic forest up to 1,200 m, occurring primarily in openings and along edges where thickets are most extensive and tall. In Argentina, it is an extreme habitat specialist, found only in stands of Guadua bamboo, with nearly all records in Guadua trinii (Bodrati and Cockle 2006, A. Bodrati in litt. 2007). In Argentina, it inhabits stands of Guadua trinii bamboo even on small-holder farms where all other forest vegetation has been removed (A. Bodrati in litt. 2007). The diet includes insect larvae, spiders, small ants and seeds (Bodrati et al. 2005). Breeding is probably between October and January. It is usually very hard to observe, individuals being hidden among foliage in the bamboo canopy and rarely vocalising spontaneously (Bodrati and Cockle 2006, A. Bodrati in litt. 2007).

In Brazil, there has been rapid destruction and fragmentation of Atlantic forest for agriculture, mining, and coffee, banana and rubber plantations (Fearnside 1996). Remaining forest in Brazil suffers from urbanisation, associated road-building and agricultural expansion (Dinerstein et al. 1995). In Argentina, the species depends on Guadua trinii bamboo (Bodrati and Cockle 2006), which has a 30 year cycle of growth, mast seeding, and massive die-off (Parodi 1955). It is not known how Biatas nigropectus responds to these bamboo cycles, but strong population fluctuations are suspected, with bottlenecks during periods of bamboo die-off, increasing the species's vulnerability to stochastic extinction (A. Bodrati in litt. 2007). It is a species that could easily "fall through the cracks" of current conservation policies, because its bamboo habitat is rarely contemplated in conservation strategies for the Atlantic forest. In Misiones, most Guadua trinii, and hence most records of Biatas nigropectus, are outside of parks, often near houses, plantations and roads, where the bamboo has colonised degraded forest and is at considerable risk of being cleared (A. Bodrati in litt. 2007, A. Bodrati and K. Cockle in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in a number of protected areas: Itatiaia, Serra dos Órgãos and Iguaçu national parks, Juréia-Itatins Ecological Station (Develey 1997), Intervales, Serro do Mar and Desengano state parks, all in Brazil, and Yabotí Biosphere Reserve (A. Bodrati in litt. 2007), Iguazú National Park, and Cruce Caballero, Piñalito, and Urugua-í provincial parks, in Argentina (Wege and Long 1995, Bodrati and Cockle 2006). Proyecto Selva de Pino Paraná is raising local awareness of this species and its dependence on Guadua trinii around San Pedro and Tobuna, Misiones. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to estimate population densities and clearly delineate the distribution of this species using tape-playback. Study its dependence on Guadua bamboo, particularly in Brazil where other genera are reportedly used (A. Bodrati and K. Cockle in litt. 2012). Determine its response to massive bamboo die-off events, to advise the creation of networks of protected areas capable of sustaining the species through full cycles of bamboo growth and die-off. Determine the minimum size of bamboo stands needed to support a territory. Study the ecology and life cycle of Guadua bamboos. Assess the distribution of its bamboo habitat. Target populations of Biatas nigropectus when creating or enlarging protected areas in Argentina, e.g. Cruce Caballero Provincial Park (Bodrati and Cockle 2006). Protect key areas in Santa Catarina and Paraná. In Misiones, raise local awareness and provide technical support to promote soil conservation on small-holder farms, especially around parks, to avoid clearing of Guadua bamboo for crops. Conservation strategies for the Atlantic forest should include measures to conserve the complex spatio-temporal dynamics of bamboo stands and their inhabitants (A. Bodrati and K. Cockle in litt. 2012).

Anjos, L. Dos; Schuchmann, K. L.; Berndt, R. 1997. Avifaunal composition, species richness, and status in the Tibagi river basin, Parana state, southern Brazil. Ornitologia Neotropical 8(1): 145-173.

Bodrati, A.; Cockle, K. 2006. Habitat, distribution and conservation of Atlantic forest birds in Argentina: notes on nine rare or threatened species. Ornitologia Neotropical 17: 243-258.

Bodrati, A.; Cockle, K.; Matuchaka, V.; Maders, C. 2005. Reserva de la Biósfera Yabotí. Areas importantes para la conservación de la aves en Argentina: sitios prioritarios para la conservación de la biodiversidad, pp. 300-302. Aves Argentinas/Asociación Ornitológica del Plata, Buenos Aires.

Chebez, J. C. 1994. Los que se van: especies argentinas en peligro. Albatros, Buenos Aires.

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.

Develey, P. F. 1997. Ecologia de bandos mistos de aves de Mata Atlântica na Estaçao Ecológica Juréia-Itatins.

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.

do Rosário, L. A. 1996. As aves em Santa Catarina: distribuiçao geográfica e meio ambiente. Glorianópolis, Santa Catarina, Brazil.

Fearnside, P. 1996. Brazil. In: Harcourt, C.S.; Sayer, J.A. (ed.), The conservation atlas of tropical forests: the Americas, pp. 229-248. Simon & Schuster, New York and London.

Parodi, L. R. 1955. La floración de la tacuara brava (Guadua trinii). Revista Argentina Agronomia 22: 134-136.

Pearman, M. 2001. Notes and range extensions of some poorly known birds of northern Argentina. Cotinga 16: 76-80.

Saibene, C. A.; Castelino, M. A.; Rey, N. R.; Herrera, J.; Calo, J. 1996. Inventario de las aves del parque nacional "Iguazu", Misiones, Argentina. LOLA, Buenos Aires.

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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
Capper, D., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Williams, R., Khwaja, N.

Bodrati, A., Cockle, K., De Luca, A.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Biatas nigropectus. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

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.

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Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - White-bearded antshrike (Biatas nigropectus) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Thamnophilidae (Antbirds)
Species name author (Lafresnaye, 1850)
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 18,800 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species