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Golden-backed Mountain-tanager Buthraupis aureodorsalis
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This species qualifies as Endangered as its population is now estimated to be very small and declining owing to habitat loss, it is only known from five locations and has a very small range.

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

22.5 cm. Large, strikingly plumaged tanager. Black head, breast and back. Dark blue crown and nape. Rest of underparts golden-yellow, mottled chestnut. Chestnut crissum. Orange-yellow upperparts. Black wings and tail. Blue lesser wing-coverts. Thick black bill. Immature has little blue on wing. Voice Song is complex, warbling phrase of whistled and snarling notes. Faint chit, weet and steet calls.

Distribution and population
Buthraupis aureodorsalis is known from five areas within a restricted range on the Cordillera Central in San Martín, La Libertad and Huánuco, north-central Peru (Engblom in litt. 2003). It presumably occurs in unexplored intervening regions, but has not been found in similar habitat further north in the Cordillera de Colán. It is an uncommon species, and was recorded only three times during 27 days of fieldwork in Río Abiseo National Park, San Martín.

Population justification
The population estimate of 250-2,500 mature individuals is derived from G. Engblom (in litt. 2003). This is roughly equivalent to 370-3,800 individuals in total. It described as uncommon to fairly common by Schulenberg et al. (2007).

Trend justification
A moderate and on-going population decline is suspected owing to rates of habitat loss and fragmentation, e.g. its habitat at Bosque Unchog has been reduced by 30-50% in the last 10-15 years (Engblom in litt. 2003).

It inhabits elfin forest (especially Escallonia and Clusia) at elevations of 3,000-3,700 m (Schulenberg et al. 2007), particularly favouring large islands of forest surrounded by grassland. It tends to move around in pairs or small groups, foraging mainly in the middle storey, where it feeds on berries, fruit and insects. Brooding females have been collected in September, and juveniles and immatures have been taken in July, October and November.

Elfin forests are vulnerable to grazing and fires spreading out of adjacent páramo grasslands, both of which inhibit forest regeneration and lead to a detrimental lowering of the treeline (Kessler and Herzog 1998). The human population-density within the species's range is low (T. S. Schulenberg in litt. 1999), but its elfin-forest habitat is more seriously threatened than previously thought. Even in remote protected areas such as Abiseo National Park the forest is degraded by fires started to provide grazing areas for cattle; all five known sites suffer from this threat (Engblom in litt. 2003).

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in the Río Abiseo National Park, San Martín. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to better determine its range between and beyond known localities. Determine the extent to which burning of páramo grassland affects this species. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status.

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.

Kessler, M.; Herzog, S. K. 1998. Conservation status in Bolivia of timberline habitats, elfin forest and their birds. Cotinga 10: 50-54.

Schulenberg, T. S., Stotz, D. F. Lane, D. F. O'Neill, J. P. Parker, T. A. III. 2007. Birds of Peru.

Schulenberg, T. S.; Stotz, D. F. ; Lane, D. F.; O'Neill, J. P.; Parker III, T. A. 2007. Birds of Peru. Prnceton University Press, Prnceton, NJ, USA.

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
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Engblom, G., Schulenberg, T.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Buthraupis aureodorsalis. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 27/10/2016.

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 - Golden-backed mountain-tanager (Buthraupis aureodorsalis) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Thraupidae (Tanagers)
Species name author Blake & Hocking, 1974
Population size 250-2500 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,400 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species