Black-winged Trumpeter Psophia obscura


Justification of Red List Category

Based on a model of deforestation in the Amazon basin, and the species’s vulnerability to hunting, it is suspected that its population is declining extremely rapidly over three generations. The total remaining population is likely to be extremely small and may now be restricted to two disjunct subpopulations. For these reasons it has been classified as Critically Endangered.

Population justification
The total remaining population is unlikely to number more than a couple of hundred birds, in two disjunct blocks (A. Lees in litt. 2014).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 77-88% of its extent of suitable habitat in the Amazonian portion of its range (which accounts for c. 88% of its global extent of suitable habitat) over 31 years, as projected after 2002 using a model of forest loss in the Amazon basin (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). By taking the pessimistic (business as usual) scenario of forest loss and factoring in the species’s susceptibility to hunting, fragmentation and edge-effects (following Bird et al. 2011), it is suspected to decline by 87% over three generations from 2002.

Distribution and population

Psophia obscura is endemic to Brazil, occurring in eastern Amazonia to the east of the Rio Tocantins in north-east Pará and northwestern Mato Grosso (Sherman 1996, Oppenheimer and Silveira 2009). It is restricted to large patches of undisturbed or lightly-logged forest in the Amazonian interfluve with the least forest cover. Lees et al. (2012) found this species only in the most pristine patch of forest in the c. 20,000 km2 municipality of Paragominas, and Portes et al. (2011) also found the species infrequently in the same region (A. Lees in litt. 2014). It is long extinct in the northern portion of the interfluve (Moura et al. 2014) and likely now occurs in two disjunct blocks, centred on the Gurupi reserve (under threat from degazetting) and western Paragominas (not a reserve). The species is absent from extensive forest fragments around Moju-Tailandia (A. Lees in litt. 2014).


This is a species of dense lowland rainforest, only occurring away from human settlement. It has a diverse diet, including fruit, arthropods, small vertebrates and carrion. Its breeding is poorly known (Sherman 1996).


The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon basin as land is cleared for cattle ranching and soy production, facilitated by expansion of the road network (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is also declining as a result of hunting pressure (del Hoyo et al. 1996, 2014, A. Lees in litt. 2011).  A new map of forest degradation across the Brazilian Amazon indicates that forest degradation and burning have also occurred recently within the species's range (Floresta Silenciosa 2018). Proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code reduce the percentage of land a private landowner is legally required to maintain as forest (including, critically, a reduction in the width of forest buffers alongside perennial steams) and include an amnesty for landowners who deforested before July 2008 (who would subsequently be absolved of the need to reforest illegally cleared land) (Bird et al. 2011). 

Conservation actions

Conservation and research actions underway
Listed on the Brazilian Red List as Critically Endangered (del Hoyo et al. 2014).

Conservation and research actions proposed
Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). Campaign against proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code that would lead to a decrease in the width of the areas of riverine forest protected as Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs), which function as vital corridors in fragmented landscapes.


45-52 cm. Medium-sized, dark trumpeter. Uniform black, neck and underparts with only minimal iridescence on the neck and outer wing coverts. The mantle is dark brown, becoming dark green towards the rear. Bill and feet are green to olive.


Text account compilers
Khwaja, N., Taylor, J., Ashpole, J, Sharpe, C.J., Wheatley, H., Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A., Martin, R.

Lees, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Psophia obscura. Downloaded from on 04/06/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/06/2020.