Cabanis's Spinetail Synallaxis cabanisi


Justification of Red List category

This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km² combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

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

Trend justification
This species is assessed as being in decline as a consequence of the loss and fragmentation of forested habitat.
Over ten years, 14% of tree cover is lost within the range (Global Forest Watch 2021, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein). As the species prefers dense secondary or edge habitats (Remsen 2020), population declines are likely to be slow, and are therefore tentatively placed in the band 1-19% over ten years.

Distribution and population

Synallaxis cabanisi is a locally-distributed South American species, with two subspecies. The nominate subspecies cabanisi ranges from Huánuco and west Ucayali south to Puno, in the Andean foothills in Peru (del Hoyo et al. 2003). A completely disjunct population, discovered in north Mato Grosso, Brazil, in 1997, is also currently ascribed to this subspecies, although it may well represent a distinct species (del Hoyo et al. 2003, A. Lees in litt. 2011). Subspecies fulviventris occurs in the Andean foothills in La Paz, Beni and Cochabamba states, north Bolivia (del Hoyo et al. 2003).


This is a species of dense undergrowth, preferring the edges of lowland evergreen forest and hilly tropical forest. It also inhabits in secondary growth and is often found in thickets of Guadua bamboo or Gynerium cane along rivers (Remsen 2020). It is mostly found at 200-350 m elevation (del Hoyo et al. 2003).


The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon Basin, as habitat is converted for cattle pastures and agricultural fields (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Investigate the taxonomic status. Quantify the population size. Research the species's biology, ecology and subpopulation structure.
Expand the protected area network to effectively protect key sites. Effectively manage protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Incentivise conservation on private lands through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture (Soares-Filho et al. 2006).


16-18 cm. Medium-sized, mainly brown spinetail. Brown upperparts with paler underparts; a grey throat with blackish feathers; crown, wings and tail are rufous, with upper back and shoulder a dull brown colour. Similar spp. S. moesta also has a chestnut crown, but it does not extend to the forehead as in S. cabanisi; throat appears more barred in S. cabanisi due to whitish feather margins. Hints Usually found in pairs. Voice A low, nasal nyap.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Lees, A. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Synallaxis cabanisi. 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.