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Coal-crested Finch Charitospiza eucosma
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
Please email us with any relevant information

This species is listed as Near Threatened, as it is uncommon and local within its range, and hence has a moderately small population which is likely to be declining owing to habitat loss, as well as the effects of bird trappers.

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

11.5 cm. A delicate but boldly patterned finch. Long spiny crest usually laid back and crown black, contrasting with white cheeks and ear-coverts. Face, throat and mid breast, continued over centre of belly black, contrasting with flanks and belly orangey buff. Silvery grey back; black wings and tail with pale wing coverts. White in base of outer rectrices visible in flight. Female paler with brown tinge above and brown shorter crest. Greyish face, eyebrow and underparts dull cinnamon buff. Similar spp. Male unmistakable, and females pattern plus white in tail does not resemble other finches. Voice Song is a modest 3-syllabled phrase. Inconspicuous thin tzip-tzip call. Hints In pairs or small groups somewhat inconspicuous in the vegetation cover or even on the ground.

Distribution and population
Charitospiza eucosma occurs in north-east and central Brazil (central Piauí, south Maranhão and south-east Pará south through Goiás, west Bahia and central Minas Gerais to south-east Mato Grosso and central São Paulo) (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Sick 1993), north-east Bolivia (Serranía de Huanchaca in Santa Cruz) (Killeen and Schulenberg 1998) and north-east Argentina (single records from Misiones in 1961 and, bizarrely, one recently collected in Tucumán [B. Schmidt and C. Milensky in litt. 1998]). It can be uncommon to fairly common, but has a very local and erratic occurrence (Ridgely and Tudor 1989).

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

Trend justification
Slow to moderate declines are suspected to be occurring, owing to habitat loss and trapping for the wild bird trade, although precise data on the nature of these declines are lacking.

This species inhabits 'cerrado' and 'caatinga' habitats in lowlands (below 1,200 m). It has been observed invading recently burned areas (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Bates et al. 1992), and may engage in local migrations or semi-nomadism in response to fire succession (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Parker and Willis 1997).

Conversion to agriculture for Eucalyptus plantations, soybeans and pastures for exportable crops (encouraged by government land reform) has had a severe impact on its cerrado habitats in Brazil (Parker and Willis 1997). Caatinga habitats are less threatened, but still suffer from agricultural expansion and grazing. At least in Brazil, it is trapped for the cage-bird trade.

Conservation Actions Underway
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys of sites throughout the known range to determine distribution, abundance, population trends and movements. Campaign for the protection of remaining cerrado habitats.

Bates, J. M.; Parker, T. A.; Capparella, A. P.; Davis, T. J. 1992. Observations on the campo, cerrado and forest avifaunas of eastern Dpto. Santa Cruz, Bolivia, including 21 species new to the country. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 112: 86-98.

Killeen, T. J.; Schulenberg, T. S. 1998. A biological assessment of Parque Nacional Noel Kempff Mercado, Bolivia. Conservation International, Washington, DC.

Parker, T. A.; Willis, E. O. 1997. Notes on three tiny grassland flycatchers, with comments on the disappearance of South American fire-diversified savannas. Ornithological Monographs 48: 549-555.

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

Sick, H. 1993. Birds in Brazil: a natural history. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

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

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., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J

Milensky, C.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Charitospiza eucosma. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

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.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Near Threatened
Family Emberizidae (Buntings, American sparrows and allies)
Species name author Oberholser, 1905
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 52,500 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species