Ash-throated Antwren Herpsilochmus parkeri


Justification of Red List Category
This species is known from just two locations and is classified as Endangered because its habitat is declining steadily within this extremely small known range (Collar et al. 1992).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 mature 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 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 3.9-6.6% 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). Given the susceptibility of the species to fragmentation and/or edge effects, it is therefore suspected to decline by <25% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Herpsilochmus parkeri was discovered in 1983, near Jesús del Monte, on an isolated mountain ridge between the ríos Mayo and Paranapura, San Martín, north Peru, where it was found to be relatively common in 1998 (C. Bushell in litt. 1998) and 1999 (Begazo et al. 2001). In July 1999, one individual was found above Afluente, near Abra Patricia, San Martín (B. P. Walker per T. S. Schulenberg in litt. 1999), the first record away from the type-locality.


It is locally fairly common at 1,250-1,450 m (Schulenberg et al. 2007). The type-locality is a low isolated mountain ridge at 1,350 m, vegetated by a mosaic of humid montane forest and savanna-like habitat with transitional, semi-stunted forest, and edaphic stunted forest. The observation near Abra Patricia was at 1,450 m (B. P. Walker per T. S. Schulenberg in litt. 1999). The species favours the mid- and upper-levels of the tallest forest, in areas with a relatively closed canopy and many epiphytes, but is also seen regularly at the savanna-forest ecotone (C. Bushell in litt. 1998). Birds move around in pairs, often with mixed-species flocks, feeding on invertebrates. Breeding is most likely to take place from May to September or October.


Its tiny geographic range is coupled with widespread deforestation of the adjacent lowlands in the río Mayo valley. Forest clearings are gradually encroaching further up onto the mountain ridge. Coca and coffee are widely cultivated in this region. Around Afluente, remaining areas of suitable habitat are gradually being cleared for timber, agriculture, and to secure ownership of the land (J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1999). Recent surveys have confirmed that habitat destruction in the region continues unabated, albeit more extensively at lower altitudes (Sánchez Vega 1999). Abra Patricia is under pressure owing to road improvements, recent immigration and population growth in the area (Sánchez Vega 1999, Hornbuckle 1999b, J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1999).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It has recently been discovered in Alto Mayo Protected Forest, San Martín Dillon and (Sánchez Vega 1999, B. P. Walker per T. S. Schulenberg in litt. 1999). However, this designation appears to have had little or no effect on the rate of deforestation within its boundaries (Sánchez Vega 1999).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to elucidate the species's status near Abra Patricia. Census areas adjacent to the mountain ridge near Jesús de Monte to estimate the population and improve knowledge of the species's distribution (Begazo et al. 2001). Create a reserve on this isolated mountain ridge. Enforce the protection of habitat in Alto Mayo Protected Forest, and ensure that high-altitude forest is included within its boundary (Sánchez Vega 1999, Hornbuckle 1999b, J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1999). Several proposals are set out in Angulo et al. (2008).


12 cm. Grey-and-black antwren. Male has black crown and ocular streak. Greyish underparts. Dark grey upperparts with dark mottling. Blackish wings with white tips to wing-coverts forming wing-bars and whitish edges to remiges. Black tail with mostly white outer feathers and large white tips on other rectrices. Female has black crown heavily spotted white and postocular streak. Ochraceous front. Buffy eyebrow. Dark buff throat. Buffy breast with white lower belly and buffy-greyish flanks. Pale grey upperparts tinged buff on back. Tail and wings much as in male. Similar spp. Male Creamy-bellied Antwren H. motacilloides is not as grey below. Voice Accelerating and slightly descending trill introduced by several well-spaced notes.


Text account compilers
Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Bushell, C., Schulenberg, T., Walker, B., Hornbuckle, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Herpsilochmus parkeri. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/07/2020.