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REDISCOVERY OF THE PALE-HEADED BRUSH-FINCH, ATLAPETES PALLIDICEPS

by Jane A. Lyons de Perez, Ph.D.
Head, Americas Division
BirdLife International

Niels Krabbe, Orfa Rodriguez and Ana Agreda found a small population of Atlapetes pallidiceps Pale-headed Brush-Finch between 1600-1900m near Giron, Ecuador. Six individuals have been seen, one of which was netted and photographed and blood samples taken. The birds have been found in dense tangled undergrowth with acacia in a transitional zone between the acacia and a higher zone, as well as in adjacent shady ravines. No song was heard from any of the individuals, which makes it difficult to know if there may be more birds in or near the area. The team is still in the field and will continue to look for suitable habitat and more individuals over the next few weeks.

The area is heavily disturbed and the habitat is in serious decline. This species has been considered critically threatened and possibly extinct, with no records since 1969 despite extensive searches, so these new findings are extremely exciting and important. Anyone who would like to help in this effort or support purchase/protection of the sites is invited to contact Niels.

A special thanks to the American Bird Conservancy for funding this initial expedition.

Jane A. Lyons de Perez, Ph.D.
Head, Americas Division
BirdLife International
Casilla Postal 17-17-717
Quito, Ecuador
Tel: 593-2-453645/445079
Tel/Fax: 593-2-459627

Photograph of Pale-headed Brush-Finch

A. Agreda, N. Krabbe & O. Rodriguez. Pale-headed Brush-finch Atalpetes pallidiceps is not extinct. Cotinga 11 (1999): 50-54.


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