IUCN Species of the Day: Pale-Headed Brush-Finch


The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species(tm)
Pale-headed Brush-Finch

Photo credit: A. Soronza


The Pale-headed Brush-finch, Atlapetes pallidiceps, is listed as ‘CRITICALLY ENDANGERED’ on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™. Restricted to an extremely small region in south-western Ecuador, this species was believed to be extinct until its unexpected but thrilling rediscovery in 1998.

Unfortunately, with a current population of just over 100 pairs, and an extremely restricted range, the future of the Pale-headed Brush-finch is still far from certain. Habitat loss from human landscape modification seems to be the primary reason for the bird’s limited distribution, while brood parasitism by the Shiny Cowbird, Molothrus bonariensis, is significantly affecting its breeding success.

After the Pale-headed Brush-finch’s rediscovery, the small patch of suitable habitat in which it was found, only 27 hectares in size, was purchased to form the Yunguilla Reserve. Intensive management of the species has increased the population in recent years, and is credited with saving the bird from extinction. However, further population growth depends on the acquisition and protection of more habitat, and the continuing control of Shiny Cowbird numbers.


Geographic Range of the Pale-headed Brush-finch

Geographical region of Pale-headed Brush-finch

Credit: IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™


To learn more about the Pale-headed Brush-finch, click here. Or visit the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species™ by clicking their logo below.

To learn more about the Bush Warriors “Species of the Day” feature, please click here and read up on our initiative to raise awareness about the loss of earth’s biodiversity.


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