Line-fronted Canastero Asthenes urubambensis


Justification of Red List Category
This montane species is suspected to have a small population, which is confined to several small, isolated subpopulations. The species is feared to be declining owing to ongoing habitat loss and degradation. It is therefore considered to be Near Threatened.

Population justification
The species is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996). Based on its localised distribution, the population is suspected to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, though this requires confirmation.
Even though the subpopulation structure has not been assessed, it is here assumed that the species forms several isolated subpopulations with likely less than 1,000 mature individuals each.

Trend justification
The species is suspected to be declining, as habitat is lost and degraded through agricultural activities and burning, which is moreover hampering vegetation recovery (Remsen 2020). The rate of decline has not been quantified, but is likely low.

Distribution and population

Asthenes urubambensis occurs locally, and probably discontinuously, on the east slope of the Andes. The race huallagae occurs in San Martín, La Libertad, Huánuco and Pasco, north and central Peru, with the nominate race in Cuzco and Puno, south Peru, and La Paz and Cochabamba, west Bolivia (Ridgely and Tudor 1994).


The species occurs in páramo grassland near the treeline, Polylepis woodland, elfin forest and mossy slopes with scrub and Gynoxis and Ribes bushes at 2,750-4,300 m (Ridgely and Tudor 1994; Parker et al. 1996; Remsen 2020).


Although some montane habitats in Peru are still relatively pristine (Fieldjså and Krabbe 1990), in Bolivia native habitats have been extensively degraded by livestock grazing, burning and firewood collection (Dinerstein et al. 1995). Heavy grazing by livestock and the uncontrolled use of fire also combine to prevent Polylepis regeneration, especially where cutting for timber, firewood and charcoal occurs (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species is listed as Near Threatened at the national level in Peru (SERFOR 2018). A population exists in the well-protected Carrasco National Park, Bolivia, and in the Machu Picchu National Sanctuary, Peru (S. K. Herzog in litt. 1999; Remsen 2020).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys of suitable habitats within and surrounding the known range to determine its distribution. Quantify the population size. Monitor the population trend. Protect high-altitude native habitats within the range.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., Herzog, S.K. & Sharpe, C.J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Asthenes urubambensis. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/04/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 01/04/2023.