Black-and-gold Tanager Bangsia melanochlamys


Justification of Red List category
This species has a small range, which is declining owing to continued habitat destruction and fragmentation (Collar et al. 1992). Its small population is assumed to be declining owing to the reductions in habitat. However, it has recently been found from northern locations within its range where it had been thought to be extinct, and its known range has therefore increased. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 1,000-2,499 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 667-1,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 600-1,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A slow and on-going population decline is suspected based on rates of habitat loss within the species's range.

Distribution and population

Bangsia melanochlamys occurs in two disjunct areas of western Colombia. The first is on the north and west slopes of the Central Andes in Antioquia, where it had not been recorded since 1948, until rediscovered in 1999 to the west of the Nechí river. This recent study found it to be the most common species in the Reserva la Serrana (Renjifo et al. 2002). The second area is on the Pacific slopes of the West Andes in Chocó, Risaralda and Valle del Cauca, around Cerro Tatamá and Mistrató, including Alto de Pisones, where it is also common (Pearman 1993, Stiles 1998, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, Renjifo et al. 2002).


It is found at elevations of 1,000-2,285 m (Renjifo et al. 2002) (more recently only 1,400-1,750 m [Pearman 1993, Stiles 1998]), and based on seasonal differences in relative abundance (Stiles 1998), apparently moves to higher altitudes after breeding. It inhabits subtropical humid cloud-forest, and probably cannot persist without primary forest but, in adjacent areas, it forages in secondary and disturbed habitats (Stiles 1998), forest borders and fragments, and in cultivated land. It is observed individually, in pairs and occasionally in mixed-species flocks (Renjifo et al. 2002). Nest-building has been observed in April, and a juvenile has been recorded in June (Stiles 1998). It feeds on a variety of fruit, seeds and (when foraging in mixed-species flocks) insects within the undergrowth and canopy (Renjifo et al. 2002). Stomachs of collected birds contained 75-100% fruit (Stiles 1998).


Principal threats to this species are those that increase fragmentation and destruction of its habitat, including deforestation, cattle ranching, mining, small-scale agriculture and road building (Renjifo et al. 2002). The slopes of Cerro Tatamá have been severely deforested and primary forest, on which the species may be dependent, is disappearing in many areas, particularly below 1,500 m. The species occurs in effectively intact habitat above c.1,500 m in the Mistrató area, and in a large forest block at 800-1,000 m upwards to above 2,000 m around Alto de Pisiones (Wege and Long 1995, F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999). However, the species displays altitudinal movements when breeding, and in none of the protected areas where it is found is the full altitudinal variation represented (Renjifo et al. 2002). A highway is to be built near Alto de Pisiones, opening up the area to logging, mining and human settlement (Stiles 1998). Although the region is inhabited by Embera Indians, further colonisation will inevitably lead to deforestation (Salaman and Stiles 1996, Stiles 1998, F. G. Stiles in litt. 1999). Paramilitary activity within its range has prevented recent survey work, and renders government action and research difficult (Stiles 1998, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2002, 2014). It occurs in Tatamá National Park, and two of the three sites with recent records in Antioquia are within protected areas (Renjifo et al. 2002). A management plan for Alto de Pisiones is in preparation, and a local organisation hopes to execute it, in spite of the paramilitary activity (Stiles 1998). Furthermore, the area may be gazetted within the proposed Caramanta National Park (Stiles 1998). In Risaralda, studies and monitoring are underway in sites where the species is found, alongside environmental eduction activities for local communities (Renjifo et al. 2002).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey unexplored parts of the population's range to improve the information for distribution and altitudinal extent (Renjifo et al. 2002). In particular, study the Espíritu Santo gorge in Yarumal, which is near to where the species was originally seen, and has one of the few remaining forested areas in the region. Establish studies to determine its ecological requirements and the state of the population (Renjifo et al. 2002). Improve and enforce the application of protective measures in Tatamá National Park (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). Extend the park's boundaries to below 2,000 m and clarify the ownership of land (Renjifo et al. 2002).


16 cm. Curiously shaped, black-and-yellow tanager. Black with yellow central underparts from breast to undertail and blue lesser wing-coverts and uppertail-coverts. Voice Song consists of 3-5 phrases, pit-psEEyee or tst-tzEEee, delivered rapidly and followed by a pause. Usual contact call is sharp, staccato tst or pit. Lone birds occasionally give longer pseee or pseeyee.


Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Isherwood, I., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Salaman, P., Stiles, F.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Bangsia melanochlamys. Downloaded from on 22/02/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/02/2024.