Justification of Red List Category
This species is classified as Near Threatened as it has a small and declining population, but this is divided into a number of subpopulations, the largest of which probably numbers more than 1,000 mature individuals; almost qualifies for listing as threatened under criterion C2a(i).
The population is estimated to number fewer than 10,000 individuals, and so is placed in the band 2,500-9,999 individuals (R. Schlatter in litt. 2002). This equates to 1,667-6,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 1,500-7,000 mature individuals.
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to a lack of suitable habitat.
Phegornis mitchelli is poorly known and perhaps naturally rare in the Andes of north-central Peru (from Ancash south [Clements and Shany 2001]) through north Chile and west Bolivia to south-central Chile and south-central Argentina. The population has been estimated at fewer than 10,000 individuals and declining (R. Schlatter in litt. 2002) to Wetlands International), but occupation of a harsh environment at high altitude suggests that it may be relatively secure (at least) in parts of its range (Piersma 1996).
It occurs in the puna zone on waterlogged mossy tundra and bogs with matted cushion-plant vegetation, especially Distichia bogs, with occasional records from gravel or grass on river plains and near lakes. It breeds at 2,850-5,000 m, and in the south of its range descends to 2,000 m in winter (Parker et al. 1996, Piersma 1996, Fernandes d'Oliveira and Rodríguez Moulin 1997).
Its high altitude habitat is presumably relatively secure. However demand for water resources as well as overgrazing, road networks and human disturbance have been identified as threats in the high Altiplano in north-east Chile (Rundel and Palma 2000).
Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.
Text account compilers
Babarskas, M., Benstead, P., Butchart, S., Capper, D., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Ashpole, J
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Phegornis mitchellii. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/09/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/09/2020.