Little Inca-finch Incaspiza watkinsi


Justification of Red List Category
This species is assessed as Vulnerable on the basis of its small population. Exact data on the population trend are lacking, but the species is suspected to undergo a slow decline due to habitat loss and degradation. If this is confirmed, or if the species is found to be declining more rapidly than suspected, if may qualify for a higher threat category.

Population justification
The global population is estimated to number 1,292 individuals (Angulo et al. 2008 per García Bravo 2020), which roughly equates to 860 mature individuals. To account for uncertainty, the population is here placed in the band 250-999 mature individuals. The species is described as 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. 1996).
Based on observational records (per eBird 2021), the species is assumed to form one subpopulation.

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to on-going habitat degradation and conversion within the range (García Bravo 2011, 2020). The rate of decline has not been quantified, but it is tentatively suspected that declines do not exceed 10% over ten years.

Distribution and population

Incaspiza watkinsi has a very restricted range in the central río Marañón drainage (north Cajamarca and adjacent Amazonas), west Peru (Ridgely and Tudor 1989). It is relatively common within suitable habitat.


This species occurs in undisturbed arid lowland scrub at 350-900 m (Schulenberg et al. 2007) and, despite tolerating some habitat degradation, has a particular association with terrestrial bromeliads (Ridgely and Tudor 1989; Parker et al. 1996; R. Webster and R. A. Rowlett in litt. 1998; J. Hornbuckle in litt. 1999).


The Marañón drainage has been cultivated for many years and its native habitats have progressively deteriorated (Dinerstein et al. 1995, see also Guzman et al. 2021). The spread of cultivations, plantations and cattle ranching are serious threats within its limited range, and oil extraction is a potential future problem (Dinerstein et al. 1995). The habitat is further degraded through forest cutting for firewood and charcoal production (García Bravo 2020).

Conservation actions

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

Conservation Actions Proposed
Quantify the population trend. Make repeated surveys of the range to monitor population trends and identify key threats. Campaign for the protection of remaining native arid scrub habitats in the Marañón drainage.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C.

Bruslund, S., Capper, D., Gilroy, J., Hornbuckle, J., O'Brien, A., Rowlett, R.A., Sharpe, C.J. & Webster, R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Incaspiza watkinsi. Downloaded from on 04/12/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 04/12/2022.