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Cochabamba Mountain-finch Compsospiza garleppi
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This species is thought to have a very small population within a small and severely fragmented range, in which habitat destruction is continuing; it therefore qualifies as Endangered.

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

Taxonomic note
Poospiza baeri (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) and P. garleppi (Sibley and Monroe 1990, 1993) have been transferred into the genus Compsospiza following SACC (2009).

17 cm. Grey-and-rufous finch. Rufous-salmon forecrown, eyebrow, spot below eye and, except flanks, entire underparts. Dull grey hindcrown, eye-stripe, moustachial stripe, upperparts and flanks, darker grey wings and tail. Small dark bill. Immature dusky grey above with throat and breast marked buffy and brown. Similar spp. Rusty-browed Warbling-finch P. erythrophrys is brown above with white in wings and tail. Voice Thin tzeep calls recorded.

Distribution and population
Compsospiza garleppi is principally restricted to the montane slopes surrounding Cochabamba city, Bolivia. Recent visits to most known localities revealed no more than 1-2 pairs per locality, except within Tunari National Park, where regular sightings continue, including over 20 seen in 1994 (Wege and Long 1995). It has also been reported near Totora, outside Carrasco National Park (S. Arias per J. Fjeldså in litt. 1999). Surveys of previously unvisited areas of habitat have been largely fruitless (Huanca-Llanos undated), although a new population was discovered outside the Tunari watershed, at Llallahuani, in the extreme north of Potosí department, in December 2005 (Balderrama 2009). Surveys in November 2008 produced records from other locations in the north of Potosí department, namely La Porta and Sikiri (Balderrama 2009). Present distributional knowledge suggests that the population may number between several hundred and a few thousand individuals.

Population justification
The last known population estimate for this species was given by Collar et al. (1992) and estimated between 400 and 4,000 individuals, roughly equivalent to 270-2,700 mature individuals. In the absence of more up-to-date information regarding the population size, Collar et al.'s (1992) estimate is still used; however, further study is required.

Trend justification
Habitat loss and degradation are continuing within the species's range, and are likely to be causing slow to moderate declines, particularly given the lack of records from areas that have been affected by human development.

It is considered a mixed forest specialist, preferring areas slightly below the main Polylepis zone, particularly in valleys with scattered Polylepis and Alnus, and a variety of dense, thorny bushes (Huanca-Llanos undated). It also frequents mixed agricultural and forested land, and can persist in agricultural areas provided that rich shrubby hedgerows remain . (Fjeldså in litt. 1999, Huanca-Llanos in litt 2007, Huanca et al. 2009). Recent surveys in unbroken dry Polylepis woodland and dense humid Alnus woodland did not yield any records, suggesting that the species prefers more open habitats (Huanca et al. 2009). In general, survey data indicate that the species can tolerate small-scale anthropogenic habitat loss and alteration and may even benefit from moderate levels of habitat fragmentation, although it is absent from areas in which all native vegetation has been cleared (Huanca et al. 2009). It occurs primarily at 2,950-3,800 m, occasionally to 2,700 and 3,900 m. The diet is apparently mainly seeds, but insect parts have also been recorded, and they have been observed feeding on potatoes (Huanca-Llanos in litt 2007), which they sometimes feed to their nestlings (Huanca et al. 2009). It breeds during the rainy season, with breeding activity noted from January to April (Huanca et al. 2009). The species nests in a variety of shrubs (Gynoxis sp., Berberis sp., Baccharis sp., Polylepis subtusalbida), and occasionally in bunchgrass (Cortaderia sp.) and ground bromeliads (Puya sp.), with data from four nests and two pairs with fledged young suggesting that it lays only a small clutch, perhaps usually one or two eggs, and produces one or two young per nest. Data from two nests suggest that the species incubates for c.14 days, followed by a fledging period of c.18 days (Huanca et al. 2009).

Settlement and agricultural conversion have already had a dramatic effect on its habitats, and further expansion threatens remaining fragments. The species's preferred habitat, comprising areas of mixed woodland below the Polylepis zone, is also the most suitable for conversion to agriculture (Huanca-Llanos in litt 2007). Clearance also occurs for firewood collection, replacement with Eucalyptus, and burning for pasture. Habitat loss is even a threat within Tunari National Park (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Fjeldså and Kessler 1996, S. K. Herzog in litt. 1999). Although the species persists in moderately altered landscapes, it is lost from areas in which all native vegetation is removed (Huanca et al. 2009), thus uncontrolled and intensive habitat clearance and degradation are serious threats. The species's use of human-altered and agricultural landscapes renders it susceptible to disturbance and poisoning through exposure to pesticides (Huanca et al. 2009). It is also suspected to suffer perhaps a low, but as yet unquantified, level of mortality through indiscriminate persecution by children (Huanca et al. 2009).

Conservation Actions Underway
Research into the distribution, population size and ecological requirements of the species is on-going (Huanca-Llanos in litt 2007). It occurs in Tunari National Park (Wege and Long 1995), but local pressure is being applied to have this status reduced to departmental park, which would render its (already minimal) level of protection still less effective (S. K. Herzog in litt. 1999). A project within the park is reducing pressure on Polylepis forest by providing glasshouses and gas stoves to local people, and excluding cattle from the forest (B. Hennessey in litt. 1999, S. K. Herzog in litt. 1999), although this may have now ceased (. S. K. Herzog in litt. 2007). Several reforestation programmes have been implemented in hills around Cochabamba (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Education and awareness-raising programmes have commenced (Huanca-Llanos in litt 2007) and two local communities - Palcapampa and Ch’aqui Potrero - have begun to protecting this species as a result (Huanca 2011). Surveys of high-altitude habitats have been conducted, and suggestions for their conservation published (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Continue surveys of suitable habitat within the region, as well as studies to assess the species's ecological requirements in detail (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996, Huanca-Llanos in litt 2007). Use the latest survey data to calculate an up-to-date population estimate. Research potential impact of pesticides on survival and productivity within agricultural habitat (Huanca-Llanos in litt 2007, Huanca-Llanos undated). Ensure the effective protection of birds and habitats within Tunari National Park, and the Cochabamba basin as a whole (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Improve land-use management by segregating agricultural, grazing and forest areas (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Encourage local people to take a leading role in land-use management and restoration schemes (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Survey all areas of potential habitat (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996, Anon. 2007, Huanca-Llanos in litt 2007, Balderrama 2009). Consider implementing a programme to plant a variety of native shrubs (Huanca et al. 2009).

Anon. 2007. Unexpected discovery a boost for rare bird. Bird Conservation: 6.

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.

Fjeldså, J.; Kessler, M. 1996. Conserving the biological diversity of Polylepis woodlands of the highland of Peru and Bolivia. NORDECO, Copenhagen.

Huanca, N. E. 2011. Reducing threats of the endemic and endangered Cochabamba Mountain-Finch (Poospiza garleppi). Ecotone 3(1): 18-20.

Huanca, N. E.; Hosner, P. A.; Hennessey, A. B. 2009. Nests, vocalizations and conservation status of endangered Cochabamba Mountain-finches (Compsospiza garleppi). Journal of Field Ornithology 80(3): 215-223.

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
Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE) species/site profile. This species has been identified as an AZE trigger due to its IUCN Red List status and limited range.

Click here for more information about the Alliance for Zero Extinction (AZE)

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
Gilroy, J., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Taylor, J.

Fjeldså, J., Hennessey, A., Herzog, S., Huanca-Llanos, A.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Compsospiza garleppi. 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 - Cochabamba mountain-finch (Compsospiza garleppi) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Endangered
Family Thraupidae (Tanagers)
Species name author Berlepsch, 1893
Population size 270-2700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 3,800 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species