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Selva Cacique Cacicus koepckeae
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Based on a model of future deforestation in the Amazon basin, and the species's susceptibility to habitat fragmentation and hunting, it is suspected that its population will decline very rapidly over the next three generations, and it has therefore been uplisted to Endangered.

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

23 cm. Medium-sized, black icterid. Square, yellow rump patch. Relatively small-headed appearance. Bluish-white iris. Bluish-grey bill, paler on tip and relatively small for an icterid. Similar spp. Most similar to allopatric Mountain Cacique C. chrysonotus. Voice Somewhat variable and generally quiet, but gives rather loud, rapid series of explosive, paired chick-pouw notes, with some three-syllabled notes interspersed. Also quick succession of sharp chih notes, more widely-spaced chih-chih, pouw-pouw phrases. Pairs have been heard giving bursts of six phrase-types combined into long sequence.

Distribution and population
Cacicus koepckeae was long known only from the type-locality, Balta, in Loreto, Peru. However, fieldwork in 1998 and 1999 discovered the species on the río Shihuaniro near its confluence with the lower río Urubamba, and on the latter's tributary the upper río Camisea, both Cusco (Gerhart 2004). There were at least two possible sightings from Manu National Park, Madre de Dios, during the 1980s, but owing to the lack of subsequent records these were often disregarded (Tobias 2003). However, in 2001, three groups were found near Cocha Cashu Biological Station (Tobias 2003), lending credence to the earlier Manu records. It was recently also discovered in the Santuario Nacional Megantoni (Vriesendorp et al. 2004), together with an unconfirmed report from the Parque Nacional Cordillera Azul (H. Lloyd in litt. 2007). It is thought to occur at intrinsically low densities, and is apparently highly local (Tobias 2003).

Population justification
The species is considered rare and local, but it is probably fairly widespread. The population is provisionally estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, but this requires confirmation. The estimate equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 70.4% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (14 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is therefore suspected to decline by ≥50% over three generations.

It inhabits humid forested lowlands and foothills at elevations of 300-575 m (Gerhart 2004). All records are from river-margin habitats, including Gymnerium canebreaks and transitional forest on banks and islands (Gerhart 2004). Long periods of time spent within high-ground, terra firme forest adjacent to the recent sites have provided no further records (Gerhart 2004). It occurs along relatively narrow rivers, but apparently not lower parts of major rivers such as the río Urubamba (Gerhart 2004). It is probably arboreal, with pairs or small groups moving steadily through the canopy of transitional forest (Gerhart 2004). It has been seen foraging among clumps of seed pods, possibly for insects, and ignoring fruiting trees nearby (Gerhart 2004). The type-specimen was one of a party of six birds that were seen bathing and drinking, and groups of four to six have been recorded elsewhere (Tobias 2003).

It is apparently restricted to riverine habitats, and it may therefore be at heightened risk from actual and impending settlement and agricultural development. However, small-scale, low-impact farming may not adversely affect the species, and it has been heard calling from mosaics of forest and cultivated land around a village (Gerhart 2004). The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon basin as land is cleared for cattle ranching and soy production, facilitated by expansion of the road network (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011, A. Lees in litt. 2011).

Conservation Actions Underway
It has now been confirmed to occur in Manu National Park (Tobias 2003) and in the Santuario Nacional Megantoni (Vriesendorp et al. 2004), and may also occur in the Parque Nacional Cordillera Azul (H. Lloyd in litt. 2007). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to clarify the species's range and population, especially in the headwater regions of the ríos Alto Manu, Serjali, Mishagua, Cashpajali, de las Piedras, Cujar, Alto Purús, Curanja and possibly into west Brazil (Gerhart 2004). Conduct further ecological research, particularly into habitat specialisations and the extent to which secondary or degraded habitats are tolerated (Gerhart 2004). Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006).

Bird, J. P.; Buchanan, J. M.; Lees, A. C.; Clay, R. P.; Develey, P. F.; Yépez, I.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2011. Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions: doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00843.x.

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.

Gerhart, N. G. 2004. Rediscovery of the Selva Cacique (Cacicus koepckeae) in southeastern Peru with notes on habitat, voice, and nest. Wilson Bulletin 116: 74-82.

Soares-Filho, B.S.; Nepstad, D.C.; Curran, L.M.; Cerqueira, G.C.; Garcia, R. A.; Ramos, C. A.; Voll, E.; McDonald, A.; Lefebvre, P.; Schlesinger, P. 2006. Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440(7083): 520-523.

Tobias, J. 2003. Further sightings of Selva Cacique Cacicus koepckeae in Manu National Park, Peru. Cotinga 19: 79-80.

Vriesendorp, C.; Chávez, L. R.; Moskovits, D.; Shopland, J. 2004. Peru: Megantoni. The Field Museum, Chicago.

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

Lloyd, H.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Cacicus koepckeae. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

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 Endangered
Family Icteridae (New World blackbirds)
Species name author Lowery & O'Neill, 1965
Population size 2500-9999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 550 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species