Peruvian Recurvebill Syndactyla ucayalae


Justification of Red List Category
This scarce species is thought to have a moderately small population size, with highly fragmented populations occurring over a wide range. It is likely to be declining owing to habitat loss in parts of the range. It is therefore considered Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon'. A tentative population estimate of c.2,000 pairs has been suggested for Peru.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 12.1-13.3% 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). Given the susceptibility of the species to fragmentation and/or edge effects, it is therefore suspected to decline by <25% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Simoxenops ucayalae has a fragmented range, with a core population in south-east Peru (south Ucayali and Madre de Dios) and extreme north-east Bolivia (Camino Mueden in Pando), and three isolated populations in Amazonian Brazil (Alta Floresta, north Mato Grosso, near the east bank of the lower rio Xingu, south of Altamira, Pará, and at two sites on the upper rio Juruá, Acre) (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Whittaker and Oren 1999). 


It is rare to locally uncommon to 1,300 m, in the undergrowth of lowland evergreen, floodplain and river-edge forest, primarily in or near thickets of Guadua bamboo (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Parker et al. 1996, Kratter 1997).


It appears tolerant of small-scale timber extraction and selective logging. Habitat within its core range is relatively intact, but the region, including those areas under legal protection, is being opened up for development, with oil/gas extraction and mining, and associated road-building and human colonisation, including uncontrolled tourism, resulting in further degradation (Dinerstein et al. 1995, H. Lloyd in litt. 1999, Stattersfield et al. 1998).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Occurs in Manu National Park and Biosphere Reserve, as well as Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone in Peru.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct further surveys within and adjacent to the known range in order to determine its true distribution and abundance. Effectively protect significant areas of suitable forest within its known range, in both strictly protected areas and community led multiple use areas.


Size: 19 cm. Summary: A scarce uniform furnarid with a distinctive large upturned bill. Id: Massive bluish (except blackish on ridge) bill with upturned lower mandible. Above rufescent brown, rufous brown, duskier on crown and wings, rump and tail rufous chestnut. Poorly defined ochraceous supercilium. Underparts orange rufous with faint flammulations on sides of throat and breast. Immature with more conspicuous supercilium and black scalloping on underparts. Similar: Bolivian Recurvebill S. striatus is not sympatric. Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaner Automolus rufipileatus and Brown-rumped Foliage-gleaner A. melanopezus are similar and occur sympatrically but both lack the massive up-turned bill. Hints: favours areas of Guadua bamboo where it forages singly or in pairs, rarely in association with flocks. Best located by call, song or hammering sounds as it forages. Voice: Frequently given call a distinctive loud repeated chek; song a fast sharply ascending series of harsh nasal notes lasting about 5 seconds.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., Mahood, S., Sharpe, C J

Lloyd, H.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Syndactyla ucayalae. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/06/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/06/2022.