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Tucuman Mountain-finch Compsospiza baeri
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species has a small range and population at few locations. Populations are naturally fragmented, with those facing actual and/or potential threats presumably declining. It consequently qualifies as Vulnerable (Collar et al. 1992).

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. Subtly coloured, mainly terrestrial finch. Dull grey with slight olivaceous tinge throughout, slightly paler on belly. Orange-rufous forecrown, eyebrow, spot below eye, throat and upper breast and undertail-coverts. Small dark bill. Sexes similar, although female has slightly reduced breast patch. Immature brownish above, buffier below with brown stripes. Voice Simple, warbling song and inconspicuous, thin tziíp calls.

Distribution and population
Poospiza baeri has been found at about 40 localities in the Sierra del Manchao and Sierra de Ambato, Catamarca, on the east slope of Sierra del Aconquija and Sierra de Medina, Tucumán, and in adjacent Salta, Jujuy and La Rioja, north-west Argentina (Di Giacomo 2005). There is one record from Bolivia of two individuals at Estancia Waykhu, Tarija, in December 1999 (Dupret 1999). The population was estimated at 180-200 birds, with only a few hundred hectares of suitable habitat available in 1985. There have been no estimates since more recent range extensions to the north and south (Pearman 2001), but the known population is still small.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A slow population decline is suspected based on rates of habitat loss within its range.

It inhabits dense scrub in semi-humid to semi-arid, steep-sided ravines, gullies and stream shores with mesophytic shrubs. It occurs at 2,000-3,400 m, but the altitudinal range is often narrow on any particular mountain range (M. Pearman in litt. 2012). A mid winter record of a pair at 1200 m in La Rioja comes from the extreme south of the species range (Bodrati 2005); it is not clear whether this is a freak record or evidence that the species descends at high latitudes in winter (M. Pearman in litt. 2012). It is occasionally observed in adjacent grassy and rocky habitats (Gil 1996, Peris 1997), and may frequent forest edge or shrubbery with patches of grass and trees such as Polylepis and Alnus (Peris 1997, Vides-Almonacid and Cocimano 1998). In the late austral autumn and winter it joins mixed-species flocks in riverside scrub and Salix groves and gardens (especially during heavy snowfalls) (Peris 1997, Vides-Almonacid and Cocimano 1998). Nests with 2-3 eggs have been found in January and February (Peris 1997). A bird has been seen carrying a grasshopper (Peris 1997), and it probably feeds on seeds.

Human settlement in the region has brought goats and cattle, which have destroyed habitat in some ravines. Potato and strawberry plantations are expanding to areas increasingly close to its known distribution. The use of pesticides during the breeding season has affected other species in the region, and may have an impact if the practice is extended (Peris 1997). Fires in adjacent grasslands could spread into ravines.

Conservation Actions Underway
A reserve holding some ravines inhabited by this species has been created at El Infiernillo, Tucumán (Vides-Almonacid and Cocimano 1998), but this is at the upper limit of its altitudinal range (J. Gerwin in litt. 1999). There are recent records from Campo de los Alisos National Park, Tucumán (Gil 1996), and Cordillera de Sama Biological Reserve, Tarija (Dupret 1999). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to locate additional populations and assess population size. Assess the state and distribution of suitable habitat and subsequently implement protection measures. Officially declare the proposed Aconquija National Park. Undertake public awareness campaigns focusing on sustainable land-use and protection of streamside vegetation.

Bodrati, A. 2005. Nuevos aportes a la distribución de algunas especies de aves argentinas. Nuestras Aves 50: 30-33.

Chebez, J. C.; Casañas, H. 2008. Monterita serrana Poospiza baeri. In: Chebez, J. C (ed.), Los que se van. Fauna Argentina amenazada. 2. Aves, pp. 366-368. Editorial Albatros Saci, Buenos Aires.

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.

Di Giacomo, A.S. 2005. Areas importantes para la conservacion de las aves en la Argentina: sitios prioritarios para la conservacion de la biodiversidad. Aves Argentinas/Asociacion Ornitologica del Plata, Buenos Aires.

Dupret, F. X. 1999. Nuevos registros para Bolivia, para el departamento de Tarija y otras observaciones de interes en la Reserva Biológica de la Cordillera de Sama, Departamento de Tarija.

Gil, G. 1996. Primer relevamiento expeditivo del Parque Nacional Campo de los Alisos. Informe inédito DTRNOA-APN, Salta, Argentina.

Pearman, M. 2001. Notes and range extensions of some poorly known birds of northern Argentina. Cotinga 16: 76-80.

Peris, S. J. 1997. Notes on the breeding biology and population density of the Tucumán Mountain-finch (Poospiza baeri; Aves: Emberizidae) in Argentina, with description of nest and eggs. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 70: 221-224.

Vides-Almonacid, R.; Cocimano, C. 1998. Aportes al estudio poblacional y uso de hábitat de Poospiza baeri, especie endémica del noreste Argentino. Libro de resúmenes, X reunión Argentina de ornitologia, Octubre 1998, pp. 52-53. Mar del Plata, Argentina.

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
Babarskas, M., Capper, D., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Gerwin, J., Pearman, M.

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

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

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Thraupidae (Tanagers)
Species name author (Oustalet, 1904)
Population size 1500-7000 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 11,600 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species