Grey-backed Tachuri Polystictus superciliaris


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Least Concern as its range is known to be much larger than was once thought, and does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the IUCN criteria. Its population size and trend are also not thought to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable; however, both its population and range are still thought to be declining and it is recommended that the species be closely monitored.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon'.

Trend justification
The species's population is suspected to be in decline owing to habitat loss caused by conversion to cattle ranches and mining operations.

Distribution and population

Polystictus superciliaris occurs very locally in east Brazil from Morro do Chapéu in central Bahia to the Serra do Bocaina in north São Paulo (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Parker et al. 1996, Vasconcelos 1999, Vasconcelos et al. 1999), where it is uncommon within its large range.


It is resident in arid montane scrub (campo cerrado) and rocky outcrops in savannas and grassland (campo rupestre) at 900-1,950 m (Parker et al. 1996, Stattersfield et al. 1998) and has also been found in abandoned pastures.


Much of its range was colonised when diamonds and gold were found there in the 19th century, and small operations persist. Quartz crystals and manganese are also mined. Increasing conversion of land for cattle ranching is currently the principal threat, although it persists in partially degraded areas (WWF/IUCN 1994-1997, Stattersfield et al. 1998, Vasconcelos 1999).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is common in Caraça National Park and also occurs in Serra da Canastra and Serra do Cipó National Parks.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Study its ecology and its ability to persist in degraded and fragmented habitats. Survey and monitor populations to assess trends. Effectively protect large areas of suitable unaltered habitat.


Text account compilers
Capper, D., O'Brien, A., Symes, A., Taylor, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Polystictus superciliaris. Downloaded from on 04/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/06/2023.