Caatinga Black-tyrant Knipolegus franciscanus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is estimated to have a larger range than previously thought. It is listed as being of Least Concern on the basis that it does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under any of the criteria.

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

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in slow to moderate decline owing to on-going habitat destruction. Despite the extensive destruction of dry forest since the early 1960s, populations associated with limestone outcrops in Goiás and Tocantins appear to be stable at present (T. Dornas in litt. 2013). There are, however, intentions by mining companies to explore the potential extraction of agricultural products from these limestone outcrops in the future.

Distribution and population

Knipolegus franciscanus occurs in Brazil, where it is known from ten localities: Vale do Rio Palmeiras in Tocantins (Pacheco and Olmos 2006); Pirapora, Januária, Itacarambi, Manga and Montalvânia in Minas Gerais; Iaciara, Serra Geral (untraced) and Nova Roma (Olmos et al. 1997; F. Olmos in litt. 2004) in Goiás; and São Tomé near Campo Formoso and near São Félix do Coribe (F. Olmos and R. Silva e Silva pers. obs. 2003) in Bahia (Lima 1999). Marini et al. (2010) estimate the species's Extent of Occurrence to be c.606,100 km2.


All localities, except São Tomé, are in dry forest patches associated with limestone outcrops of the Bambuí formation. Although the species is associated with rocky outcrops, seasonal movements to forest areas have been noticed (J. F. Pacheco per F. Olmos in litt. 2004).


Limestone-derived soils are the most fertile in the region, so clearance (including state-sponsored projects in Bahia) for pasture and irrigated cultures has been widespread. The destruction of dry forest has been extensive since the early 1960s (T. Dornas in litt. 2013). Around São Felix do Coribe in western Bahia, remaining dry forest patches are very small (all areas less than 200 ha) and this is the case throughout the limestone region. Remaining forest is exploited for timber, mostly for fence poles (Olmos et al. 1997). Satellite imagery from the Paranã valley in Goiás has shown that dry forests declined from 15.8% of the region in 1990 to only 5.4% in 1999, and less than 1% of the remaining fragments are over 100 ha, although they make up 48% of the remaining forest (Andahur 2001). Most of the remaining forest is associated with rocky outcrops where cultivation or pastures are not viable, and vegetation composition there differs to that of forest on flatter ground. There are intentions by mining companies to explore the potential extraction of agricultural products from limestone outcrops in the future (T. Dornas in litt. 2013).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The only protected area harbouring dry forests where the species may occur is Terra Ronca State Park, Goiás.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor population trends through regular surveys. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status. Track the potential threat to limestone outcrops from mining companies and lobby for legislation if required.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Harding, M., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Dornas, T. & Olmos, F.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Knipolegus franciscanus. Downloaded from on 06/03/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 06/03/2021.