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Maquis Canastero Asthenes heterura
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This species has a moderately small and fragmented range, and is likely to be declining owing to ongoing loss and degradation of montane habitats. It is therefore considered Near Threatened.

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

17 cm. A long tailed canastero of dry shrubbery. Upperparts greyish brown, underparts paler with a buffy tinge. Orangey chin patch which can look dark, with cinnamon borders. Rufous in wing forming a broad bar visible in flight. Narrow and inconspicuous eyebrow and loral buffy-cream. Tail brownish rufous with dull brown central rectrices. Similar spp. Rusty-fronted Canastero A. ottonis has a rufous forehead and striped neck. Sharp-billed Canastero A. pyrrholeuca is similar but greyer and doesn't occur in range. Cordilleran Canastero A. modesta always shows streaking on neck and breast. Voice Song an accelerating series of fast clear notes, slightly rising in pitch. Call a soft short slightly descending tuírrrrr trill. Hints Concealed in dense vegetation, best located by voice.

Distribution and population
Asthenes heterura occurs in central Cochabamba and La Paz, with recent records in Potosí, Tarija and Chuquisaca, Bolivia (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Fjeldså and Kessler 1996, Fjeldså and Mayer 1996), and there are six records from Jujuy and Salta, north Argentina (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Mazar Barnett and Pearman 2001). It has probably been overlooked (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Fjeldså and Mayer 1996, T. Hjarsen in litt. 1999, S. Mayer in litt. 1999), and in Argentina has almost certainly been confused with Lesser Canastero A. pyrrholeuca, which it resembles morphologically (M. Pearman in litt. 2001).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. (1996).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to be in decline at a slow to moderate rate, owing to habitat loss and degradation, although population trends have not been directly estimated.

It is fairly common to uncommon in dense arid montane scrub and open Polylepis and Alnus woodland with grasses and mixed scrub (e.g. Gynoxys and Baccharis), at elevations of 2,500-4,200 m (Vuilleumier 1969, Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Parker et al. 1996, Mazar Barnett et al. 1998a, T. Hjarsen in litt. 1999). A specimen collected at 1,600 m in Bolivia in June 1914 suggests that it may descend in altitude during the winter months (M. Pearman in litt. 2001). It has also been found in tall clumps of Festuca bunchgrass, intermingled with areas of short turf and even patches of bare soil (Mazar Barnett et al. 1998a), and shrubbery and hedgerows away from Polylepis (S. Mayer in litt. 1999).

Although not entirely dependent on Polylepis woodlands, their destruction through clearance for cultivation, firewood-collection and burning for pasture undoubtedly threatens some populations (Stattersfield et al. 1998). Pinus and Eucalyptus plantations are replacing suitable native vegetation (T. Hjarsen in litt. 1999), but some populations (e.g. around Alto Calilegua, Argentina) receive protection by their remoteness from human habitation.

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Los Cardones National Park, Argentina

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct ecological studies to determine this species's precise habitat requirements and tolerance of habitat fragmentation. Repeat surveys of known sites to determine rates of range contraction and population trends. Grant protection to areas of suitable habitat to safeguard against clearance and degradation.

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

Fjeldså, J.; Mayer, S. 1996. Recent ornithological surveys in the Valles region, southern Bolivia and the possible role of Valles for the evolution of the Andean avifauna.

Mazar Barnett, J. and Pearman, M. 2001. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Mazar Barnett, J.; Clark, R.; Bodrati, A.; Bodrati, G.; Pugnali, G.; della Seta, M. 1998. Natural history notes on some little-known birds in north-west Argentina. Cotinga: 64-75.

Parker, T. A.; Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W. 1996. Ecological and distributional databases. In: Stotz, D.F.; Fitzpatrick, J.W.; Parker, T.A.; Moskovits, D.K. (ed.), Neotropical bird ecology and conservation, pp. 113-436. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Ridgely, R. S.; Tudor, G. 1994. The birds of South America. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

Stattersfield, A. J.; Crosby, M. J.; Long, A. J.; Wege, D. C. 1998. Endemic bird areas of the world: priorities for bird conservation. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

Vuilleumier, F. 1969. Systematics and evolution in Diglossa (Aves, Coerebidae). American Museum Novitates 2381: 1-44.

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

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

Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., Sharpe, C J

Hjarsen, T., Mayer, S., Mazar Barnett, J., Pearman, M.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Asthenes heterura. 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.

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 - Maquis canastero (Asthenes heterura) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Furnariidae (Ovenbirds)
Species name author (Berlepsch, 1901)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 40,200 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species