Giant Conebill Conirostrum binghami


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Near Threatened, as it is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly owing to habitat loss and fragmentation throughout its range. Populations should be monitored carefully for any future changes in the rate of decline.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as uncommon and patchily distributed. Home range size averages between 6.13 ha and 7.15 ha.

Trend justification
Data on precise population trends are lacking, but this rare and habitat-restricted species is suspected to be in moderate decline owing to the on-going destruction of Polylepis woodlands throughout its range.

Distribution and population

Oreomanes fraseri is rare and local within a relatively large range in the high Andes (Vuilleumier 1984, Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990) of south-west Colombia (Nariño [Hilty and Brown 1986], but perhaps extirpated), Ecuador (three sites in Azuay, Pichincha, and on the Pichincha/Napo border [Best et al. 1996]), Peru (Ancash south to Puno and Tacna [Clements 1998]) and west Bolivia (La Paz, Cochabamba and Potosí [Armonía 1995]), with recent records from north Chile (Howell and Webb 1995b) and Salta, Argentina (Mazar Barnett et al. 1998a).


This species is restricted to Polylepis woodland, which is now highly fragmented (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). It occurs at 2,700-4,850 m [Clements in prep.], usually above the timberline, but is not numerous even in apparently optimal habitat (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). It is highly dependent on stands of Polylepis with dense canopies and tall trees, and may be limited to larger patches due to an avoidance of the dense foliage found in woodland edge habitats (Cahill et al. 2006, Cahill and Matthysen 2007). Nests are sited in the interior of forest fragments, and breeding takes place from October to December (Cahill et al. 2008).


Its decline is attributed to the destruction and fragmentation of Polylepis woodland as a result of uncontrolled use of fire, firewood collection, intense grazing (particularly by sheep and cattle), unsound agricultural techniques and afforestation with exotic tree species (especially Eucalyptus) (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor populations at known sites and repeat surveys throughout the range to determine rates of range contraction and population decline. Campaign for the protection of remaining Polylepis woodlands, as well as appropriate reforestation programmes. Manage existing Polylepis woodlands by minimizing grazing and fire near fragments, controlling wood extraction and increasing the size of existing Polylepis fragments (Cahill and Matthysen 2007).


Text account compilers
Gilroy, J., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Conirostrum binghami. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/12/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 02/12/2020.