Bahia Spinetail Synallaxis cinerea


Justification of Red List Category
This species has recently been found in more locations and its population is probably larger than previously thought. However, its population is still likely to be small and declining and approaches the threshold for Vulnerable under criterion C. For these reasons the species is evaluated as Near Threatened.

Population justification
Based on the recorded population densities of other Synallaxis species and the area of the species's mapped range, the population size is preliminarily estimated to number between 4,400 - 13,200 mature individuals. Given that the species has been described as 'fairly common to common' (Remsen and Sharpe 2018), the true population size is likely to fall towards the higher end of this range.

Trend justification

Data on forest cover and loss within the species’s mapped range indicated forest loss between 2007 and 2017 at a rate equivalent to 6% over three generations (Global Forest Watch 2018). Although this species tolerates secondary forest, the population is inferred to be undergoing an ongoing continuing decline as a result of this habitat loss, with the rate of decline suspected to be within the range of 1-9% across three generations. Assuming that forest loss continues at a similar rate, the population may be assumed to continue to decline at this rate in future.

Distribution and population

This species was discovered in 1992 near Boa Nova, in the Serra da Ouricana, east Bahia, Brazil (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). Since then, it has been discovered in a number of additional localities: Fazenda Limoeiro (Ribon et al. 2002), Serra Bonita (near Camacã), 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, all in Bahia (Silveira et al. 2005); and near Almenara in NE Minas Gerais (Remsen and Sharpe 2018).


It occurs at elevations of 500-1,200 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, Remsen and Sharpe 2018).


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

Conservation Actions Underway

The species has been recorded in several protected areas.

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 protected areas where it occurs. Investigate the feasibility of protecting remaining forest fragments near Boa Nova.


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.


Text account compilers
Sharpe, C.J., Benstead, P., Symes, A., Mazar Barnett, J., Wheatley, H.

De Luca, A., Develey, P., Goerck, J.M. & Lima, P.C.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Synallaxis cinerea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 13/07/2020.