Bearded Tachuri Polystictus pectoralis


Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Near Threatened because it is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly owing to habitat loss.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon and patchily distributed' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction.

Distribution and population

Polystictus pectoralis has a very localised and disjunct distribution in the Andes of Colombia, where it was known from the upper río Dagua valley (Valle del Cauca), and Bogotá swamp (Cundinamarca) (race bogotensis); north-east Colombia (Meta), Venezuela (from Barinas to Bolívar in the south; also Carabobo), Guyana, south Suriname (Sipaliwini), north French Guiana (Sinnamary), and extreme north Brazil (Roraima, north Pará, and Amapá) (race brevipennis); central-south Brazil (Mato Grosso, Mato Grosso do Sul, south Goiás, São Paulo and Rio Grande do Sul, but relatively few sites (Parker and Willis 1997), Paraguay (uncommon in the extreme south Oriente, but generally rare and unrecorded in extreme eastern regions (Hayes 1995), south Uruguay and east Bolivia (several old specimens from Santa Cruz) (nominate race) (Collar and Wege 1995). It is an austral summer visitor to central-east Argentina (south to Mendoza, La Pampa and west Buenos Aires) (Collar and Wege 1995). Although widespread and fairly common at a few localities, it is generally scarce with no recent records from Bolivia. There have been no confirmed records since the 1950s of Colombian race bogotensis, and it is now considered extinct (Collar and Wege 1995, Donegan 2004).


It inhabits a variety of grassland types, all with varying amounts of shrubby vegetation, with the presence or proximity of water apparently an important factor (Collar and Wege 1995, Parker and Willis 1997).


Conversion to agriculture for Eucalyptus plantations, soybeans and pastures for exportable crops (encouraged by government land reform) have had a severe impact on its habitat in Brazil (Parker and Willis 1997), where two-thirds of cerrado had been heavily or moderately altered by 1993 (Conservation International 1999), with most destruction having occurred since the 1950s (Cavalcanti 1999). Grasslands in Paraguay and Argentina face similar threats combined with extensive cattle-ranching (Pearman and Abadie 1995, Lowen et al. 1996). Elsewhere, intensive grazing and frequent burning has reduced suitable habitat to a few scattered sites (Ridgely and Tudor 1994).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in a number of protected areas including Canaima National Park, Venezuela; Sipaliwini Savanna Nature Reserve, Suriname; Tatí Jupí Reserve, Mbaracayú Forest Nature Reserve, Sombrero Private Reserve and San Rafael National Park, Paraguay; Otamendi Reserve, San Juan de Poriahú Private Reserve and Mburucuyá National Park, Argentina; and Das Emas and Chapada dos Guimarães National Parks, Brazil.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Remove incentives encouraging habitat loss, especially the planting of Eucalyptus trees on grasslands. Effectively protect and manage protected areas where the species occurs. Survey and monitor populations to obtain a global population estimate and trend estimates.


Text account compilers
Capper, D., Clay, R., Isherwood, I., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Khwaja, N.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Polystictus pectoralis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 29/11/2021.