Dusky Spinetail Synallaxis moesta


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 uncommon and local to fairly common (Stotz et al. 1996, Remsen 2020).

Trend justification
Due to its dependence on forested habitat, the species is assessed as undergoing a decline as forests are lost, fragmented and degraded.
Over ten years, 6% of tree cover is lost within the range (Global Forest Watch 2021, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein). Due to its susceptibility to severe logging (Remsen 2020), population declines may be steeper than the rate of tree cover loss suggests. Tentatively, the rate of decline is here placed in the band 1-19% over ten years.

Distribution and population

Synallaxis moesta occurs on the east Andean foothills from Casanare and Boyaca in Colombia south through Ecuador to San Martín in Peru.


This is a species of dense undergrowth at forest and river edges, usually in lowland or hilly forest, secondary forest and bamboo thickets. It ranges mainly from 250 to 1,350 m (del Hoyo et al. 2003, Remsen 2020).


The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation in the Amazon basin (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is thought to be susceptible to fragmentation and edge effects and it is not found in heavily deforested areas (del Hoyo et al. 2003, A. Lees in litt. 2011). Its habitat is generally under pressure from agricultural development (del Hoyo et al. 2003).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted actions are known for this species.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Accurately quantify the population size. Monitor the population trend.
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).


16-17 cm. Medium-sized, dark spinetail. Mainly grey, with dark chestnut wings, chestnut crown, darker brown shoulders and a long chestnut tail. Hints Forages in dense undergrowth, in pairs or occasionally alone. Voice Low, nasal chattering.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Synallaxis moesta. Downloaded from on 01/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 01/03/2024.