Black-capped Piprites Piprites pileata


Justification of Red List Category
This species's population size is not known, but is likely to be small, and to be formed of several small, scattered subpopulations. Rates of forest loss within the range indicate that the species's population size is likely to be undergoing a decline. It is therefore classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
There is no direct data on population densities, but the species appears to be rare and very sparsely distributed. In Argentina, searches in forest remnants across central and northern Misiones over five years only detected the species at six sites (Bodrati et al. 2009).

Based on the lower density estimates for the closely-related species P. chloris (0.5-1.6 individuals/km2; Thiollay 1986, 1992), the approximate area of tree cover with at least 50% canopy cover within the species's range in 2010 (84,000 km2; Global Forest Watch 2020), and assuming 10-25% of the tree cover within the range is occupied, the population size is tentatively suspected to fall between 4,200 and 33,600 individuals, which is assumed to roughly equate to 2,800 - 22,400 mature individuals.

The subpopulation structure is poorly known, but assuming the population size falls towards the lower end of the range, and that there are at least several subpopulations, the largest subpopulation is suspected to have fewer than 1,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
The population is thought to be in decline, but the trend has not been estimated directly. Remote-sensed data indicates that approximately 6% of tree cover was lost within the species's range over ten years from 2009-2019 (Global Forest Watch 2020). Although the species has specialised habitat requirements and occurs at higher elevations, it is dependent on forest and is therefore inferred to be declining.

Based on the amount of tree cover loss, over ten years from 2010 to 2020, the species's population size is tentatively suspected to have undergone a reduction by 1-6%. Assuming a similar rate of forest loss continues into the near future, the species is suspected to undergo a reduction of 1-9% over the next ten years.

Distribution and population

Piprites pileata occurs in south-east Brazil, and Argentina. In Brazil it has been found in Rio de Janeiro, Minas Gerais, Sao Paulo, Paraná, Santa Catarina and Rio Grande du Sul. In Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, it is found in and around the Mantiqueira mountains (Vasconcelos and D'Angelo-Neto 2009). In Sao Paulo, it is found in the Mantiqueira mountains, and in the Bananal region in the Serra da Bocaina (Schunk et al. 2018). In Argentina, there is a specimen collected at Tobuna, Misiones, from 1959, and records since 2006 from the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve, Misiones, and nearby private properties (Maders et al. 2007; Bodrati et al. 2009, 2010; C. Maders in litt. 2020).


The species is found in montane Atlantic forest. In the Mantiqueira mountains in Brazil, the species inhabits Araucaria angustifolia forest, but it has also been recorded in low forests without dominant Araucaria angustifolia in Santa Catarina and Rio Grande do Sul. In Argentina, it appears to be associated with Ocotea pulchella forest on slopes around streams, with Araucaria angustifolia only sometimes also present (Bodrati et al. 2009). Here, Piprites pileata was recorded in areas with a higher density of Ocotea pulchella trees (Bodrani et al. 2009). It has also been recorded in forest edges and logged forest (Vasconcelos and D'Angelo-Neto 2009, Bodrati et al. 2009). Observations in Itatiaia National Park suggest that it may be an altitudinal migrant (A. Whittaker in litt. 1999). If true, it may require continuous tracts of forest within its altitudinal range of 900-2,000 m in Brazil. In Argentina, it has been found from 500 to 600 m. There, it does not migrate, as individuals were observed year-round at the same sites in Caa Yari Provincial Park and Guaraní Multiple Use Reserve (Bodrati et al. 2009). Pairs or single birds forage in the canopy and subcanopy of dense forest, sometimes accompanying mixed-species flocks when these pass through their territories (Bodrati et al. 2009, de Vasconcelos and Neto 2009). The diet consists of arthropods, especially larvae (Bodrati et al. 2009), and fruit. Pairs were seen displaying from September to November, and a nest was under construction in October (Cockle et al. 2008, Bodrati et al. 2009).


Loss of Atlantic forest has been extensive, although montane forests have suffered considerably less destruction than adjacent lowland forests. Araucaria forests have been much reduced in extent. In Paraná, the area covered by Araucaria forests declined from an original 74,000 km2 to 16,000 km2 by 1965 (Hueck 1978). Development for ecotourism is causing forest loss in the Mantiqueira mountains, and forest is also cleared for plantations of potatoes, carrots, and trees such as Araucaria, Pinus, and Eucalyptus (Vasconcelos and D'Angelo-Neto 2009). The population in Argentina is very small and localized, and is not subject to any specific protection, and thus is vulnerable to forest disturbance including selective logging, forest clearing for agriculture, and accidental forest fires (Bodrati et al. 2009). The impact of logging in the Ocotea pulchella forest is not known, but it may promote invasion of other tree species, leading to habitat degradation for P. pileata (Bodrati et al. 2009).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed as Critically Endangered in Argentina (MAyDS and Aves Argentinas 2017). The species is protected in Brazil, where it occurs in Itatiaia, Serra da Bocaina and Aparados da Serra National Parks and Campos do Jordão State Park. In Argentina it occurs in Caa Yarí Provincial Park, and the adjacent Guaraní Multiple Use Reserve and Papel Misionero Natural Cultural Reserve, all in the Yabotí Biosphere Reserve (Bodrati et al. 2009, 2010).

Proyecto Selva de Pino Paraná and Ministry of Ecology of Misiones have searched for additional sites in Misiones (Bodrati et al. 2009), and raised awareness about the importance of Ocotea pulchella forest through talks for park rangers and activities at rural schools (A. Bodrati and K. Cockle in litt. 2012).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey historical localities and other areas of suitable habitat, including sites with Ocotea pulchella along rivers in Misiones, especially within Yabotí Biosphere Reserve, and mixed forest with Ocotea pulchella in Iguazú National Park, Paraná (Bodrati et al. 2009, 2010), with the aid of tape-playback. Determine precise habitat requirements and whether the species migrates altitudinally in Brazil.

Ensure complete protection of the species's habitat (Ocotea pulchella forest) in Guaraní Multiple Use Reserve and adjacent Papel Misionero and other lots (Bodrati et al. 2009, 2010). Protect remaining montane forest within the species's range in Brazil. Enforce protected areas where the species occurs, including by prohibiting logging.


12 cm. Buffy-rufous and black manakin. Black cap and nape contrasting with buffy-rufous upperparts and tail. Black central rectrices. Buff face and underparts. Wings mostly black with yellowish fringes and patch at base of primaries. Orange-yellow legs and yellower bill. Female slightly duller with olive back. Voice Nasal chiéh calls. Song a longer and faster, querulous series.


Text account compilers
Wheatley, H.

Bodrati, A., Cockle, K., De Luca, A., Whittaker, A., Maders, C., Symes, A., Sharpe, C.J., Mazar Barnett, J., Hermes, C., Capper, D. & Pople, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Piprites pileata. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/black-capped-piprites-piprites-pileata on 29/05/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 29/05/2023.