Orange-bellied Antwren Terenura sicki


Justification of Red List Category
This species has an extremely small population with fewer than 50 mature individuals in each subpopulation, and is in continuing decline owing to habitat loss. For these reasons, the species is evaluated as Critically Endangered.

Population justification
In the Brazilian Red List assessment for birds (MMA 2014) the population size is inferred to be <250 mature individuals with <50 mature individuals in each subpopulation.

Trend justification
A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected, owing to rates of habitat loss.

Distribution and population

Terenura sicki has been recorded at eight localities from the south-east escarpment of the Borborema plateau in Alagoas, north along this coastal range to Pernambuco, north-east Brazil. It was formerly fairly common in the small and fragmented forests at Murici and regularly recorded at Pedra Talhada, and more numerous at Usina Serra Grande/Engenho Coimbra (A. Whittaker in litt. 1999, S. Roda in litt. 2007), Água Azul, Mata do Estado (Roda et al. 2003, S. Roda in litt. 2007) and Frei Caneca/Pedra Dantas in 2003 (Cotinga 2003 20:13, S. Roda in litt. 2007). It was also recorded from Novo Lino in 1986. In 2011, it was recorded at Mucuri-Himalaya Municipal Nature Park (Pereira et al. 2014). However, it appears to be on the brink of disappearing from Murici (Pereira et al. 2014).


It inhabits the upper strata of upland humid forest at 400-700 m, although there is a recent record from lowland forest at 76 m (Albano 2009). Despite occurring in forests that have suffered severe selective logging, it is not present in degraded secondary growth. It is usually seen following mixed-species flocks, even during the breeding season, but isolated pairs have been observed. The diet includes insects such as beetles and cockroaches. Breeding probably occurs from November-February. A nest has been found in the dense foliage of a middle-stratum tree, c.10-12 m above the ground.


There has been massive clearance of Atlantic forest in Alagoas and Pernambuco, largely as a result of logging and conversion to sugarcane plantations and pastureland. Forest at Murici has been reduced from 70 km2 in the 1970s, to a mere 30 km2 of highly disturbed and fragmented habitat in 1999 (J. M. Goerck in litt. 1999). The site is severely threatened by fires spreading from adjacent plantations and further logging (new roads were evident in January 1999) (J. M. Goerck in litt. 1999, A. Whittaker in litt. 1999). Just one pair has been encountered here in recent years, and the species is feared to be disappearing from the reserve (Albano 2009). There is significant (and largely unsurveyed) forest remaining at Usina Serra Grande (A. Whittaker in litt. 1999), but the current condition of forest at Água Azul and in Novo Lino is unknown.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Formerly considered Endangered at the national level (Silveira and Straube 2008), it is now legally recognised as Critically Endangered (MMA 2014) and protected under Brazilian law. Occurs in Pedra Talhada Biological Reserve, where significant areas are being reforested with native trees (A. Studer per A. Whittaker in litt. 1999). Protection at this reserve is enforced by guards and apparently welcomed by local communities (A. Studer per A. Whittaker in litt. 1999). Although land at Murici remains privately-owned and vulnerable to clearance, international efforts to effect its conservation are ongoing (A. Studer per A. Whittaker in litt. 1999). Frei Caneca is a private reserve protecting 630 ha of forest (Cotinga 2003 20:13). It is also found in Mucuri-Himalaya Municipal Nature Park (Pereira et al. 2014).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey Novo Lino and any other remnant patches of habitat in Alagoas and Pernambuco to ascertain the species's presence, and identify suitable areas for conservation action. Ensure the de facto protection of Murici Ecological Station, and protect Mata do Estado and Pedra Dantas (S. Roda in litt. 2007). Continue the reforestation programme and de facto protection at Pedra Talhada.


10 cm. Small, brightly coloured antwren. Male mostly black above, with white streaking on head, nape and mantle. Whitish face and auriculars, streaked black. Black moustachial stripe. Blackish wings and tail. Faint whitish wing-bars and edgings. White underparts with black stripes on sides of breast. Female has blackish crown, streaked white. Rest of upperparts rufous. Rich orange-rufous underparts, with paler, more buffy throat. Black stripes on sides of breast. Voice Soft, uniform trill lasting 3-4 seconds, and fast, repeated call, tzí-de-de-de tzí-de-de-de.


Text account compilers
Capper, D., Pople, R., Sharpe, C.J., Hermes, C., Ashpole, J, Symes, A., Wheatley, H.

Whittaker, A., Roda, S., Studer, A., Mendes, D., Hennessey, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Terenura sicki. Downloaded from on 12/08/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 12/08/2020.