Pearly-breasted Conebill Conirostrum margaritae


Justification of Red List Category

Based on a model of future deforestation in the Amazon basin, it is suspected that the population of this species will decline rapidly over the next three generations, and it has therefore been uplisted to Vulnerable.

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

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 33.6-34.3% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (11 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is therefore suspected to decline by ≥30% over three generations.

Distribution and population

This species is very locally and disjunctly distributed along the upper Amazon in north-east Peru (near the mouth of the Río Napo in Loreto and E to the vicinity of Iquitos) and along the middle Amazon in Brazil from near the mouth of the Rio Jamunda to near the mouth of the Rio Negro (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Sick 1993). Several records from rivers Beni, Mamoré and Madre de Dios, in northern Bolivia (Whittaker 2004, Tobias and Seddon 2007). May occur patchily along the length of the river Amazon and major tributaries but erratic due to the ephemeral nature of the species habitat (Hilty and Sharpe 2016).


A river island specialist along the Amazon and major tributaries. The species occurs in lines of largely middle-aged Cecropia trees that occupy a particular successional stage following tall cane Gynerium and preceding figs Ficus (Hilty and Sharpe 2016). Seems not to use secondary growth that is younger or significantly more diverse, nor scrubby vegetation. Seen in pairs or small groups that rapidly work through the leafy canopy of the Cecropia, believed to concentrate on areas where leaf damage is extensive. Presumed to feed on small arthropods. Recorded between sea level and 150m. Populations exceptionally dynamic with a relatively narrow successional stage apparently utilised, numbers increasing rapidly in a suitable area before dispersal by individuals to find new river island habitat.


Projected deforestation is the primary threat affecting this species (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). May be somewhat buffered from deforestation and selective exploitation as its habitat is a short-lived successional vegetation that arises through seasonal flooding. This also suggests that the species is well-adapted to frequent dispersal events and capable of colonizing new habitat as it becomes suitable. Intensive logging and selective exploitation are accelerating deforestation within its várzea forest habitat and there appears to be an extensive industrial timber infrastructure to maintain the logging (Dinerstein et al. 1995, WWF/IUCN 1997). Proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code reduce the percentage of land a private landowner is legally required to maintain as forest (including, critically, a reduction in the width of forest buffers alongside perennial steams) and include an amnesty for landowners who deforested before July 2008 (who would subsequently be absolved of the need to reforest illegally cleared land) (Bird et al. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is known to occur in only two protected areas: Pacaya Samiria National Park in Peru and Manuripi-Heath National Reserve in Bolivia (Hilty and Sharpe 2016). Nothing further is known.

Conservation Actions Proposed

Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006). Campaign against proposed changes to the Brazilian Forest Code that would lead to a decrease in the width of the areas of riverine forest protected as Permanent Preservation Areas (APPs), which function as vital corridors in fragmented landscapes.


11.5cm. Dull pale bluish-grey upperparts and lighter greyish-white underparts. The belly and crissum are off-white, the palest part of the plumage. The iris is pale pinkish to dull reddish-pink, legs are pinkish to pale pinkish-brown. The bill is typical of Conirostrum; dusky, sharp and evenly downcurved along the length. Similar spp. Very like Bicolored Conebill C. bicolor, but slightly paler grey above and lacking buff tones below. Voice A rapid series of high-pitched squeaky chip notes sustained for up to 15 seconds or more, considerably longer and more rapid than the song of C. bicolor. Calls are weak and easily overlooked, and include a high teep and ti-ti-ti.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Fisher, S., Harding, M., Symes, A. & Sharpe, C J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Conirostrum margaritae. Downloaded from on 03/12/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 03/12/2021.