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Tanager Finch Oreothraupis arremonops
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is classified as Vulnerable because it is known from few locations in a small range, where there is continuing habitat loss and degradation (Collar et al. 1992).

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

20 cm. Handsome, large, finch-like bird with boldly striped head. Black head and upper throat, with broad silver-grey coronal stripe and eye-stripe reaching to nape. Ferruginous body, brighter on breast. Grey belly and centre of lower breast. Blackish tail. Juvenile duller, with faint head pattern, brownish body with ferruginous back, black wings and tail. Voice Song is high-pitched series of sharp, thin tsip notes. Foraging call sharp tsip and thinner sink. Soft frog-like whistle wert.

Distribution and population
Oreothraupis arremonops has a patchy distribution on the Pacific slope of the West Andes of Colombia (Antioquia, Valle del Cauca, Cauca, Nariño, Risaralda [Echeverry-Galvis and Córdoba-Córdoba 2007]) and north-west Ecuador (Pichincha and Imbabura). In Ecuador, there are modern records from the Tandayapa area, Pichincha, and Cotacachi-Cayapas National Park, Imbabura (M. S. Gregory in litt. 2001), Los Cedros Protected Forest and Mindo (Ridgely and Greenfield 2006, Freile and Santander 2005). The population in Munchique National Park, Cauca, is estimated to number 1,000 mature individuals, probably the global stronghold (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Its apparent rarity may in part result from the inaccessibility of its very wet, often steep-sloped environment (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999).

Population justification
The species is described as very rare and local. Its 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
A slow and on-going population decline is suspected owing to rates of habitat loss.

This poorly-known species inhabits thick undergrowth in primary humid forest (mostly dense, wet, mossy cloud-forest) between 1,200 and 2,800 m altitude. In Cauca, it is most frequently observed between 2,300 and 2,500 m. It has been observed in areas with abundant Clusia spp., Persea sp. and Weinmannia pubescens (Renjifo et al. 2002, Echeverry-Galvis and Córdoba-Córdoba 2007), as well as areas with Palicourea, Asplundia, Besleria, and Allopectus (J. P. López-O per M. A. Echeverry-Galvis in litt. 2012). It forages mainly in dense understory in groups of no more than six individuals (M. A. Echeverry-Galvis in litt. 2012). Juveniles with adults have been seen in June in Cauca, August in Risaralda (Echeverry-Galvis and Cordoba-Cordoba 2007), and November and December in Pichincha (Lowen et al. 2000, Lowen and Benitez undated), where a nest with one egg has been found (also in November) (Greeney et al. 1998). The nest-site was in fairly disturbed forest (Greeney et al. 1998).

Unplanned colonisation following the completion of roads, notably the Cali-Buenaventura and Pasto-Tumaco highways, and extensive logging concessions have been the primary causes of habitat loss (Salaman 1994, Wege and Long 1995, Salaman and Stiles 1996). Deforestation rates are accelerating within its range, primarily because of logging, human settlement, cattle-grazing, coca cultivation and gold mining (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Wege and Long 1995, Salaman and Stiles 1996). Montane forests are less threatened than those in the lowland Chocó region, but habitat loss is occurring, particularly below 2,000 m altitude (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Wege and Long 1995, Salaman and Stiles 1996). Munchique is affected by human settlement, and part of the cloud-forest was illegally burnt during exceptionally dry weather in 1997, to make the land grazeable, but this is apparently only rarely a threat (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999).

Conservation Actions Underway
As well as Munchique and Cotacachi-Cayapas, it occurs in Farallones de Cali and Tatama (M. A. Echeverry-Galvis in litt. 2012) national parks, and Tambito and La Planada Nature Reserves, Colombia, and Mindo-Nambillo Protection Forest, Ecuador (Wege and Long 1995). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey poorly-known cloud-forests, notably in Farallones de Cali National Park (Wege and Long 1995, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Study its ecological requirements, population density and conservation status (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, Lowen et al. 2000, M. S. Gregory in litt. 2001). Fund, support and enforce better protection of national parks, especially Munchique (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999), and, in tandem, compensation of local people. Establish a monitoring program for the population in Risaralda, involving community based groups interested in bird conservation (Echeverry-Galvis & Cordoba-Cordoba 2007). Study basic life-history in Munchique and Tatama, including juvenile dispersal, diet, and breeding season (M. A. Echeverry-Galvis in litt. 2012).

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.

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.

Echeverry-Galvis, M. A.; Cordoba-Cordoba, S. 2007. New distributional and other bird records from Tatamá Massif, West Andes, Colombia. Bulletin of British Ornithologists' Club 127(3): 213-224.

Freile J. F.; Santander T. 2005. reas Importantes para la Conservación de las Aves en Ecuador. In: BirdLife International, Conservation International (ed.), reas Importantes para la Conservación de las Aves en los Andes Tropicales: sitios prioritarios para la conservación de la biodiversidad, pp. 283-370. BirdLife International, Quita, Ecuador.

Greeney, H. F.; Lysinger, M.; Walla, T.; Clark, J. 1998. First description of the nest and egg of the Tanager Finch (Oreothraupis arremonops Sclater 1855), with additional notes on behavior. Ornitologia Neotropical 9(2): 205-207.

Lowen, J. C.; Benitez, S. P.; López-Lanús. B. 2000. Additional breeding data for Tanager-finch Oreothraupis arremonops. Cotinga 13: 67.

Lowen, J.C.; Benitez, S. P. Undated. Breeding data for the Tanager-finch Oreothraupis arremonops.

Ridgely, R. S.; Greenfield, P. J. 2001. The birds of Ecuador: status, distribution and taxonomy. Cornell University Press and Christopher Helm, Ithaca and London.

Salaman, P. G. W. 1994. Surveys and conservation of biodiversity in the Chocó, south-west Colombia. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

Salaman, P. G. W.; Stiles, F. G. 1996. A distinctive new species of vireo (Passeriformes: Vireonidae) from the Western Andes of Colombia. Ibis 138: 610-619.

Wege, D. C.; Long, A. J. 1995. Key Areas for threatened birds in the Neotropics. BirdLife International, Cambridge, U.K.

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

Gregory, M., Salaman, P., Echeverry-Galvis, M.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Oreothraupis arremonops. 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 - Tanager finch (Oreothraupis arremonops)

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Emberizidae (Buntings, American sparrows and allies)
Species name author (Sclater, 1855)
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 13,300 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species