Creamy-bellied Gnatcatcher Polioptila lactea


Justification of Red List Category
This species is restricted to lowland forest in a region where habitat destruction has been widespread. Remaining patches of habitat are still under threat, and existing populations are likely to be highly fragmented. Consequently, this species is considered Near Threatened.

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

Trend justification
Slow to moderate and continuing population declines are likely to be occurring as populations have become increasingly fragmented, and are still influenced by habitat loss and degradation.

Distribution and population

Polioptila lactea occurs in the lowland Atlantic Forest (up to 500 m) of south-east Brazil (Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, Paraná, south Mato Grosso do Sul, north Rio Grande do Sul), north-east Argentina (Misiones, Corrientes) and east Paraguay (Canindeyú south to Itapúa) (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). It is found mainly in the Paraná basin, where it is most common in south-east Paraguay (Lowen et al. 1996), and locally in Argentina (J. C. Chebez and J. Mazar Barnett in litt. 1999). However, it is now very rare across much of its historical range. There have been no records from São Paulo since 1905 (Willis and Oniki 1993) and, in south-east Brazil, it is only regularly found at a handful of sites (Tobias et al. 1993).


This species inhabits the canopy and sub-canopy of lowland primary forest, although it also occurs in degraded forest and secondary growth (Lowen et al. 1996).


Agricultural conversion and deforestation for mining and plantation production are historically important factors in the destruction of its habitats, and current key threats are urbanisation, industrialisation, agricultural expansion, colonisation and associated road-building (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Fearnside 1996).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct repeated surveys of known sites to determine rates of population decline and range contraction. Campaign for the rigorous protection of remaining tracts of lowland Atlantic coastal forest.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., Sharpe, C J

Chebez, J., Mazar Barnett, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Polioptila lactea. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/01/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/01/2020.