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Great Xenops Megaxenops parnaguae

This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

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.

16 cm. A distinctive rufous arboreal furnarid with a large upturned bill. Bright orange-rufous above. Buffier below, with a white throat. Heavy bill grey, with upturned lower mandible pale flesh; small dark grey area around the eye. Chestnut iris. Similar spp. The bill is diagnostic. Voice Song is a rattle, starting quietly with sparser notes and becoming louder and higher pitched before accelerating and fading at the end; also gives single loud sharp call, sometimes in a series. Hints Sometimes accompanies mixed understorey flocks; best located by call.

Distribution and population
This species is a caatinga endemic, which occurs in the interior of north-east Brazil in Ceará, Piauí, Pernambuco, Bahia, Minas Gerais, Distrito Federal and Goiás (Collar et al. 1992, Olmos 1993, J. M. C. da Silva in litt. 1993, 1995, Whitney and Pacheco 1994, G. M. Kirwan in litt. 1995, J. Wall in litt. 1995, M. Marini per T. A. de Melo Júnior in litt. 1999, A. Whittaker in litt. 1999).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but the species is probably fairly common in parts of its range. The species is fairly common in Serra da Capivara National Park, Piauí (Olmos 1993), and Chapada do Araripe National Forest, Ceará, and common at Palmas de Monte Alto, Bahia (J. M. C. da Silva in litt. 1993, 1995). It was common at Coribe, Bahia, in 1987, but habitat loss probably extirpated it from this site by 1993 (da Silva and Oren 1997).

Trend justification
This population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat loss and degradation (del Hoyo et al. 2003). Despite these threats the overall population and distribution seem quite large and recent records have hugely extended its known range in Bahia and into Minas Gerais and Goiás (J. M. C. da Silva in litt. 1993, 1995, G. M. Kirwan in litt. 1995, J. Wall in litt. 1995, M. Marini per T. A. de Melo Júnior in litt. 1999).

The species may primarily inhabit fairly dense caatinga woodland, often on poor, very sandy soils (Whitney and Pacheco 1994), but is known to tolerate degraded and burnt caatingas, where it can be locally common. It has been found within mixed species flocks (L. Silveira in litt. 2003, F. Olmos in litt. 2003), and has been observed foraging in burnt areas with low bushes in Serra da Capivara (Olmos 1993), and grazed and disturbed caatinga near Lago Grande in Pernambuco (A. Whittaker in litt. 1999).

Although the species has a large range, populations are localised, and there has been rapid habitat loss in parts of its range, especially in the Jaíba region of Minas Gerais (M. Marini per T. A. de Melo Júnior in litt. 1999), owing to conversion to irrigated and dry field agriculture, logging for charcoal production and intensive grazing (da Silva and Oren 1997). International financing agencies have accelerated the rate of forest destruction in the south of its range by underwriting irrigation projects (da Silva and Oren 1997).

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.

da Silva, J. M. C.; Oren, D. C. 1997. Geographic variation and conservation of the Moustached Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes falcirostris, an endemic and threatened species of north-eastern Brazil. Bird Conservation International 7: 263-274.

del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Christie, D. 2003. Handbook of the Birds of the World, vol. 8: Broadbills to Tapaculos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.

Olmos, F. 1993. Birds of Serra da Capivara National Park in the "caatinga" of north-eastern Brazil. Bird Conservation International 3: 21-36.

Whitney, B. M.; Pacheco, J. F. 1994. Behavior and vocalizations of Gyalophylax and Megaxenops (Furnariidae), two little-known genera endemic to northeastern Brazil. Condor 96: 559-565.

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
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., O'Brien, A., Harding, M., Fisher, S.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2014) Species factsheet: Megaxenops parnaguae. Downloaded from on 20/04/2014. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2014) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 20/04/2014.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Least Concern
Family Furnariidae (Ovenbirds)
Species name author Reiser, 1905
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 658,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species