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Great Spinetail Siptornopsis hypochondriaca
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species qualifies as Vulnerable because of its small range and limited number of known locations in a region where its habitat is believed to be declining.

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

Taxonomic note
Gender agreement of species name follows David and Gosselin (2002b).

Siptornopsis hypochondriacus Stotz et al. (1996), Siptornopsis hypochondriacus Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993), Siptornopsis hypochondriacus Collar et al. (1994), Siptornopsis hypochondriacus BirdLife International (2000), Siptornopsis hypochondriacus BirdLife International (2004)

18.5 cm. Large, long-tailed spinetail. Brown upperparts, darkest on crown and palest on rump. Long white supercilium, with dusky lores and ear-coverts. Rufous lesser wing-coverts. Narrow, bold streaking on breast and flanks on otherwise white underparts. Similar spp. Baron's Spinetail Cranioleuca baroni, which is similarly built, has rufous crown, wings and tail. Considerably larger than similarly patterned Necklaced Synallaxis stictothorax and Chinchipe Spinetails S. chinchipensis. Voice A loud chatter. Hints The species's large, stick nests, similar to those of many thornbirds, are usually conspicuous within its desert scrub habitat.

Distribution and population
Siptornopsis hypochondriaca occurs on the slopes above the dry upper río Marañón valley in south Amazonas, south-east Cajamarca, east La Libertad and north Ancash (one specimen taken in 1932), north Peru (Ridgely and Tudor 1994). It is currently known from four locations: around Balsas (Amazonas/Cajamarca) (Clements and Shany 2001), above Chagual (La Libertad) (J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1998) and at two sites near San Marcos (Cajamarca) (N. Simpson in litt. 2000, Begazo et al. 2001). There is suitable habitat along the Cajabamba-San Marcos road from Ichocan to the Rio Crisnejas, but none on the Cajabamba side of the river (N. Simpson in litt. 2000, H. Lloyd in litt. 2007). It may be locally common in less disturbed areas (H. Lloyd in litt. 2007).

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

It inhabits arid/desert scrub and low dry forest, often with Acacia trees, at elevations of 2,000-3,000 m (Braun and Parker 1985, J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1998, N. Simpson in litt. 2000). Stream gullies with running water seem to be preferred at one site, where there were also numerous stacks of cut firewood (N. Simpson in litt. 2000). The positive or negative effects of cutting for firewood on the species are unknown (N. Simpson in litt. 2000).

It is highly likely that this species's habitat is under pressure (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990). The Marañón drainage has been under cultivation for a long time and habitat in the valley has progressively deteriorated. The spread of oil-palms, cattle-ranching and logging are all serious threats to remaining habitat, with oil extraction a potential future problem (Dinerstein et al. 1995).

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to determine this species's precise distribution. Study its habitat requirements. Assess the impact of threats. Protect suitable habitat against clearance and degradation.

Begazo, A.J., Valqui, T., Sokol, M. and Langlois, E. 2001. Notes on some birds from central and northern Peru. Cotinga 15: 81-87.

Braun, M. J.; Parker, T. A. 1985. Molecular, morphological, and behavioral evidence concerning the taxonomic relationships of "Synallaxis" gularis and other Synallaxines. In: Buckley, P.A.; Foster, M.S.; Morton, E.S.; Ridgely, R.S.; Buckley, F.G. (ed.), Neotropical ornithology, pp. 333-346. American Ornithologists' Union, Washington, D.C.

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

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.

Fjeldså, J.; Krabbe, N. 1990. Birds of the high Andes. Apollo Books, Copenhagen.

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

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
Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Hornbuckle, J., Lloyd, H., Simpson, N.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Siptornopsis hypochondriaca. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/10/2016.

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 - Great spinetail (Siptornopsis hypochondriaca) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Furnariidae (Ovenbirds)
Species name author (Salvin, 1895)
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 7,600 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species