Pink-legged Graveteiro Acrobatornis fonsecai


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small and declining range and is therefore listed as Vulnerable (Pacheco et al. 1996).

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be declining rapidly, in line with rates of habitat loss within its range.

Distribution and population

Acrobatornis fonsecai is known from the cocoa-growing district of south-east Bahia and north-east Minas Gerais (Ribon et al. 2004), Brazil, between the rio Jequitinhonha and slightly to the north of the rio das Contas. Precise numbers are not known, but it occurs at numerous localities within this range and appears to be not uncommon.


It inhabits the canopy and subcanopy of cabruca (extensive shade cocoa plantations, with native canopy species) within moist lowland forest up to 550 m. It is probably absent from coastal forests. Recorded food items include mainly Coleoptera and other insects. Breeding has been recorded between September and October.


Virtually all forest below 400 m has been converted to cocoa plantations or completely cleared. The system of shaded cocoa plantations has secured the survival of a continuous canopy cover in places, but there is no forest regeneration owing to weeding of the understorey. During the 1990s, falls in the price of cocoa and the introduction of a fungal disease resulted in a downturn in cocoa production. Landowners have started to sell timber from the shading forests, and to shift production from cocoa to other crop-types or livestock-grazing.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is considered Vulnerable at the national level in Brazil (Silveira and Straube 2008, MMA 2014). Populations exist in Boa Nova and Serra das Lontras National Parks, and several private properties, including Serra Bonita Private Reserve (Remsen and Sharpe 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to provide a better delimitation of its range and assess numbers. Research its precise ecological requirements. Designate reserves in the Serra das Lontras and the Serra Bonita that include areas with an extensive cabruca canopy. Provide incentives for landowners to protect remaining forest.


14 cm. Very agile, blackish-grey furnariid. Blackish crown and thin ocular stripe grading on nape to dark ashy-grey upperparts with blackish mottling on back. Paler grey lower back and rump. Pale grey, thin, long eyebrow. Pale grey underparts with slight dark flammulations on breast. Blackish wings with grey edging in coverts and tertials. Large pink legs. Blackish bill with pink mandible. Blackish tail. Juvenile similarly patterned but brownish-rufous, richer on rump and wings. Tawnier underparts. Similar spp. Juveniles resemble some other furnariids but are rarely seen alone. Distinctive behaviour. Voice High-pitched song begins with sparse notes, accelerating and finishing in a long trill.


Text account compilers
Mazar Barnett, J., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Pople, R.

Pacheco, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Acrobatornis fonsecai. Downloaded from on 25/05/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 25/05/2022.