Greater Crescent-chested Puffbird Malacoptila striata


Justification of Red List Category
This newly split species is listed as Near Threatened because it is suspected to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline owing to on-going habitat loss.

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

Trend justification

The extensive loss of Brazil’s Atlantic Forests (e.g. Tabarelli et al. 2005, Ribeiro et al. 2009) implies that this species is in decline; however, its tolerance of modified habitats suggests that the decline is not severe. It is therefore suspected to be in moderately rapid decline.

Distribution and population

Malacoptila striata occurs in the Atlantic Forests of eastern and south-eastern Brazil, between southern Bahia and Santa Catarina (del Hoyo et al. 2002). There are apparently no data available on relative abundance.


It occurs in humid lowland forest, ranging up to 2,100m, and tolerates logged forest, secondary growth, forest edges with grass and bamboo groves, and is often found at the edges of clearings or along roads (del Hoyo et al. 2002, WikiAves 2014). It has been observed taking prey at an army ant swarm. One nest was excavated in an earth bank along a road, with breeding reported in April and October in São Paulo state (del Hoyo et al. 2002).


This species occupies a range that has been heavily deforested, and deforestation in this region is said to have been particularly severe since the early 1970s (Tabarelli et al. 2005). It has been estimated that 7-12% remains of the original extent of Atlantic Forest in Brazil (Tabarelli et al. 2005, Ribeiro et al. 2009), some of which now exists in ‘archipelagos’ of tiny and widely scattered fragments (Tabarelli et al. 2005). The proportion of the original forest cover that remains in the biogeographical sub-regions that overlap with this species’s range (Bahia, Serra do Mar, Interior and Araucaria) varies from 7 to 36%, with 3-25% of that remaining forest protected (Ribeiro et al. 2009). Across the Atlantic Forest region in Brazil, it has been estimated that 42% of the total area of remaining forest exists in fragments of less than 250 ha (Ribeiro et al. 2009). Although this species tolerates habitat modification, it requires steep slopes or cavities in hollow trees for nest sites, the availability of which has decreased as deforestation has accelerated (G. Kohler in litt. 2014). In addition, introduced western honeybees Apis mellifera occupy natural tree cavities and contribute to the reduction in nest-site availability for M. striata (G. Kohler in litt. 2014).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
No targeted conservation actions are know for this species, but some of its habitat is protected, for example in Nova Lombardia Biological Reserve and Sooretama Biological Reserve in Espírito Santo.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Monitor rates of land-use change in its range through remote sensing techniques. Increase the area of suitable habitat with protected status.


20cm. Smallish puffbird, rufescent around eye, blackish head and upperparts strongly streaked with buff. Clear white breast with obvious black lower border; below this the belly is dull orange-white. Similar spp. M. minor was previously including within this species and is similar, though is smaller and the lower breast and flanks are much whiter. Voice. High whistle of 10 or more 'bieh, bieh, bieh...' notes.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A. & Taylor, J.

Kohler, G.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Malacoptila striata. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/09/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/09/2020.