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Bahia Spinetail Synallaxis whitneyi
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This species has a small range and population which is likely to be declining rapidly owing to habitat loss. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

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

Taxonomic note
Described as new to science by Pacheco and Gonzaga (1995), under the name whitneyi; this was thought to be a synonym of S. cinerea (Remsen 2003) but the name whitneyi has now been reinstated by SACC (2006).

Synallaxis whitneyi BirdLife International (2000), Synallaxis whitneyi BirdLife International (2004)

16 cm. Rufous-and-brown spinetail. Rufous crown, wings and tail. Warm brown upperparts with olive tinge. Bright buff postocular eyebrow, and dark plumbeous face. Grey throat stippled pale, grading into darker plumbeous belly, with brown tinge in belly. Similar spp. Rufous-capped Spinetail S. ruficapilla has lighter coloured underparts. Voice Distinctive disyllabic and rather low-pitched song, repeated constantly.

Distribution and population
Synallaxis whitneyi was discovered in 1992 near Boa Nova, in the Serra da Ouricana, east Bahia, Brazil (Pacheco and Gonzaga 1995). However, no more than 10 pairs have been found in the remnant forests of this serra (Pacheco and Gonzaga 1995). It was subsequently found in three discrete areas of Chapada da Diamantina National Park in central Bahia (Parrini et al. 1999). Recently however, it has been discovered in a number of additional localities: Mata Escura; Fazenda Limoeiro (Ribon et al. 2002); Serra Bonita, near Camacã; southern Chapada Diamantina (Parrini et al. 1999); a forest belt 5 km wide running along the coast between Ituberá and Camamu (P. C. Lima in litt. 2003) and at Serra das Lontras in southern Bahia (Silveira et al. 2005).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 1,000-2,499 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 667-1,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 600-1,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be declining rapidly, in line with rates of habitat loss within its range.

It occurs at elevations of 750-1,200 m in montane Atlantic forest and apparently tolerates second growth and forest edge (Pacheco and Gonzaga 1995). It gleans for insects (mainly arthropods) in the dense undergrowth where there are high densities of vines and sometimes bamboo (Pacheco and Gonzaga 1995).

In the Serra da Ouricana, forests have virtually disappeared owing to the expansion of pastureland and cultivation (Gonzaga and Pacheco 1995, Gonzaga et al. 1995). Only a few privately-owned tracts of forest remain, and these are under pressure from clearance and fires spreading out of cultivated areas (Gonzaga and Pacheco 1995, Gonzaga et al. 1995). By 1999, the largest remaining patch of c.3 km2 had been largely destroyed and the long-term survival of this species in the area is highly questionable (J. M. Goerck in litt. 1999). Illegal charcoal burning and forest clearance has been observed in Chapada da Diamantina National Park, where the sight of logging trucks is not uncommon (Parrini et al. 1999).

Conservation Actions Underway
It has been recorded in Chapada da Diamantina National Park but the latter does not provide de facto protection (Parrini et al. 1999). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey areas of potentially suitable habitat between Boa Nova and Chapada Diamantina. Assess the population in Chapada da Diamantina National Park. Research its ecological requirements. Ensure the de facto protection of Chapada da Diamantina and surrounding forests. Investigate the feasibility of protecting remaining forest fragments near Boa Nova.

Gonzaga, L. P.; Pacheco, J. F. 1995. A new species of Phylloscartes (Tyrannidae) from the mountains of southern Bahia, Brazil. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 115: 88-97.

Gonzaga, L. P.; Pacheco, J. F.; Bauer, C.; Castiglioni, G. D. A. 1995. An avifaunal survey of the vanishing montane Atlantic forest of southern Bahia, Brazil. Bird Conservation International 5(2/3): 279-290.

Pacheco, J. F.; Gonzaga, L. P. 1995. A new species of Synallaxis of the ruficapilla/infuscata complex from eastern Brazil (Passeriformes: Furnariidae). Ararajuba 3: 3-11.

Parrini, R.; Raposo, M. A.; Pacheco, J. F.; Carvalhaes, A. M. P.; Melo, T. A. J.; Fonseca, P. S. M.; Minns, J. C. 1999. Birds of the Chapada Diamantina, Bahia, Brazil. Cotinga 11: 86-95.

Ribon, R.; Whitney, B. M.; Pacheco, J. F. 2002. Discovery of Bahia Spintail Synallaxis cinerea in north-east Minas Gerais, Brazil, with additional records of some rare and threatened montane Atlantic Forest birds. Cotinga 17: 46-50.

Silveira, L. F.; Develey, P. F.; Pacheco, J. F.; Whitney, B.M. 2005. Avifauna of the Serra das Lontras-Javi montane complex, Bahia, Brazil. Cotinga 24: 45-54.

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
Benstead, P., Mazar Barnett, J., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

De Luca, A., Develey, P., Goerck, J., Lima, P.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Synallaxis whitneyi. 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 Vulnerable
Family Furnariidae (Ovenbirds)
Species name author Pacheco & Gonzaga, 1995
Population size 600-1700 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 2,000 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species