email a friend
printable version
Creamy-bellied Gnatcatcher Polioptila lactea
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species is restricted to lowland forest in a region where habitat destruction has been widespread. Remaining patches of habitat are still under threat, and existing populations are likely to be highly fragmented. Consequently, this species is considered Near Threatened.

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

Distribution and population
Polioptila lactea occurs in the lowland Atlantic Forest (up to 500 m) of south-east Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná, south Mato Grosso do Sul, north Rio Grande do Sul), north-east Argentina (Misiones, Corrientes) and east Paraguay (Canindeyú south to Itapúa) (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). It is found mainly in the Paraná basin, where it is most common in south-east Paraguay (Lowen et al. 1996), and locally in Argentina (J. C. Chebez and J. Mazar Barnett in litt. 1999). However, it is now very rare across much of its historical range. There have been no records from São Paulo since 1905 (Willis and Oniki 1993) and, in south-east Brazil, it is only regularly found at a handful of sites (Tobias et al. 1993).

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

Trend justification
Slow to moderate and continuing population declines are likely to be occurring as populations have become increasingly fragmented, and are still influenced by habitat loss and degradation.

This species inhabits the canopy and sub-canopy of lowland primary forest, although it also occurs in degraded forest and secondary growth (Lowen et al. 1996).

Agricultural conversion and deforestation for mining and plantation production are historically important factors in the destruction of its habitats, and current key threats are urbanisation, industrialisation, agricultural expansion, colonisation and associated road-building (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Fearnside 1996).

Conservation Actions Underway
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys of known sites to determine rates of population decline and range contraction. Campaign for the rigorous protection of remaining tracts of lowland Atlantic coastal forest.

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.

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.

Lowen, J. C.; Bartrina, L.; Clay, R. P.; Tobias, J. A. 1996. Biological surveys and conservation priorities in eastern Paraguay (the final reports of Projects Canopy '92 and Yacutinga '95). CSB Conservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Ridgely, R. S.; Tudor, G. 1989. The birds of South America. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

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

Tobias, J. A.; Catsis, M. C.; Williams, R. S. R. 1993. Notes on scarce birds observed in southern and eastern Brazil: 24 July - 7 September 1993.

Willis, E. O.; Oniki, Y. 1993. New and reconfirmed birds from the state of São Paulo, Brazil, with notes on disappearing species. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 113: 23-34.

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

Chebez, J., Mazar Barnett, J.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Polioptila lactea. 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 - Creamy-bellied gnatcatcher (Polioptila lactea) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
Species name author Sharpe, 1885
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 441,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species