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Tamarugo Conebill Conirostrum tamarugense
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is considered Vulnerable because it has a restricted range and breeding has only been confirmed at two locations, where potential changes in forest management could severely affect the entire population.

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

12 cm. Brightly coloured, arboreal bird. Slaty-grey above, with cinnamon-rufous eyebrow, throat and upper breast. Blackish wings and tail. Two rufous wing-bars, white patch at base of primaries and buffy edges to tertials. Rest of underparts pale grey with yellowish belly and cinnamon undertail-coverts. Immature generally paler and duller with less, paler or no rufous on throat. Similar spp. Cinereous Conebill C. cinereum lacks rufous on throat, and has white eyebrow. Voice Thin zie zizie contact call.

Distribution and population
Conirostrum tamarugense is largely restricted to two populations within Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve in Tarapacá, Chile (Estades 1996). It also occurs in tamarugo forest south of Arica in the Chaca (Vitor) valley between the Panamerican highway and the coast, and breeding presumably occurs here (A. P. Jaramillo in litt. 2007). It may also occur further upstream from here although this area is more heavily agricultural. Breeding could take place near Zapiga (Estades 1996, C. Estades in litt. 1999), and in other large areas of forest in Pampa del Tamarugal to the south of its known range (J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999). There are recent records further south along the Loa River, where active singers have been found in May and December at Quillagua and near Maria Elena (eBird 2012, F. Schmitt in litt. 2012). The southermost record of an immature bird is from San Pedro de Atacama (R. Tapia in litt. 2010). It migrates north to Arequipa, Tacna and Moquegua in south Peru. In 1993, the population was estimated at just over 35,000 individuals, breeding in 108 km2 of habitat, and possibly increasing with the expansion of suitable habitat (Estades 1996).

Population justification
Estades (1996).

Trend justification
The species is possibly increasing, owing to the expansion and regeneration of Tamarugo forests.

In Chile, it mostly inhabits plantations or isolated patches (A. P. Jaramillo in litt. 2012) of mature tamarugo trees Prosopis tamarugo, which are probably important for breeding (Estades 1996), as well as riverine scrub, agricultural land and citrus groves, up to 2,950 m. In Peru, it occurs primarily in arid Gynoxys and Polylepis at 3,400-4,050 m, but has been recorded as low as sea level during migration (Høgsås et al. 2002, Peredo et al. 2007, eBird 2012). Breeding occurs between September and December, followed by migration northwards and upwards. Breeding coincides with the seasonal blooming of tamarugo flowers, which provide food for Leptotes trigemmatus caterpillars and, in turn, this bird (Estades 1996).

Tamarugo is managed mainly for the production of sheep forage. There are ongoing attempts to control L. trigemmatus with chemicals or parasitoids. Water for tamarugo plantations comes from aquifers, which also supply the city of Iquique. The consequences of this water removal are not known, but decreases in supply to the plantations could have serious impacts on the species and local communities (Estades 1996). A favoured area in the Chaca (Vitor) Valley was burned in 2006 (A. P. Jaramillo in litt. 2007). Wintering sites suffer activities such as the widespread cutting of Polylepis woodland, although the species is not dependent on the presence of Polylepis (Estades 1996, A. P. Jaramillo in litt. 2007).

Conservation Actions Underway
Tamarugo was almost extirpated when the Chilean government began a replantation programme in the 1930s. By the 1970s, 146 km2 had been reforested. Breeding habitat is currently protected and expanding in Pampa del Tamarugal National Reserve (Estades 1996). Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor the population. Study the effects of tamarugo management strategies. Assess the likely effects of water-pumping. Develop management strategies that benefit the tamarugo ecosystem and local communities. Research alternatives to the control of L. trigemmatus, and economically assess the cost of not controlling populations (Estades 1996).

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.

eBird. 2012. eBird: an online database of bird distribution and abundance. Ithaca Available at: (Accessed: 28/03/2012).

Estades, C. F. 1996. Natural history and conservation status of the Tamarugo Conebill in northern Chile. Wilson Bulletin 108: 268-279.

Hogsås, T. E.; Málaga-Arenas, E.; Pizarro Neyra, J. 2002. Noteworthy bird records for south-west Peru. Cotinga 17: 60-61.

Peredo, R.; Knapton, B.; Jaramillo, A; Schmitt, S. 2007. Lista de las aves de la desembocadura del río Lluta. La Chiricoca 2: 5-11.

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., Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Stuart, T., Symes, A., Sharpe, C J, Khwaja, N.

Estades, C., Fjeldså, J., Jaramillo, A., Tapia, R., Schmitt, F.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Conirostrum tamarugense. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 - Tamarugo conebill (Conirostrum tamarugense) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Thraupidae (Tanagers)
Species name author Johnson & Millie, 1972
Population size mature individuals
Population trend Increasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 3,200 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species