Pinto's Spinetail Synallaxis infuscata


Justification of Red List Category
This species has has been found to have a larger range than previously estimated (Collar et al. 1992). Nevertheless this is still very small, fragmented and declining as a result of habitat clearance and disturbance, and it consequently qualifies as Endangered.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 250-999 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 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid ongoing population decline is suspected owing to rates of habitat loss.

Distribution and population

Synallaxis infuscata occupies a tiny range in eastern Alagoas and eastern Pernambuco, north-east Brazil, where it is locally common (Pereira et al. 2014). Originally found at Murici and Pedra Talhada in Alagoas, and then recorded elsewhere in Alagoas at Usina Serra Grande (Silveira et al. in press.), Mata da Salvia (Silveira et al. in press.), Quebrângulo (Roda 2002) and Engenho Coimbra (Roda 2002). It was subsequently recorded from a number of localities in Pernambuco, including Frei Caneca Private Reserve, Engenho Água Azul, Taquaritinga do Norte, Mata do Estado, Caetés Ecological Reserve and Caruaru/Brejo dos Cavalos (Roda 2002) and is now known from over 60 localities (Pereira et al. 2014). These recent findings show the extent of occurrence of the species is not as restricted as has been suggested, and that several populations remain.


It has been found in patches of Atlantic forest suffering various degrees of disturbance. There are observations in second growth at the forest edge and in a coffee plantation mixed with second growth near a remnant forest patch. Singles or solitary pairs forage very near the ground in dense tangles and thickets, probing in clusters of dead leaves and perch-gleaning.Appears to tolerate habitat fragmentation better than previously supposed (Pereira et al. 2014, Remsen and Sharpe 2015).


There has been massive clearance of Atlantic forest in Alagoas and Pernambuco, and it is estimated that only 2% of the original forested area remains in the range of the species. Also, most forest fragments the species occur are smaller than 500 ha. The extent of 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), largely as a result of logging and conversion to sugarcane plantations and pastureland. In January 1999, new logging roads were evident and such forest fragments are still severely threatened by fires spreading from adjacent plantations (J. M. Goerck in litt. 1999, A. Whittaker in litt. 1999).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Officially listed as Endangered at the national level in Brazil (MMA 2014). It is protected under Brazilian law and occurs in Pedra Talhada Biological Reserve. Land at Murici remains privately-owned and a number of conservation initiatives have so far failed to halt forest loss (J. M. Goerck in litt. 1999). There are more promising developments at Pedra Talhada, 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). There are recent records from Caetés Ecological Reserve and Frei Caneca Private Reserve (Roda 2002), and older records from UFPE Ecological Reserve and Saltinho Biological Reserve.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey sites with historical records of this species and any other remnant patches of habitat in Alagoas and Pernambuco. Designate Murici as a biological reserve and ensure its de facto protection. Continue the reforestation programme and de facto protection at Pedra Talhada Biological Reserve.


16 cm. Greyish-and-rufous spinetail. Bright rufous crown. Slightly buff postocular supercilium. Dusky cheeks. Grey-brown mantle with contrasting rufous wing-coverts and tail. Silvery throat. Rest of underparts greyish. Similar spp. Rufous-capped Spinetail S. ruficapilla is pale buff on belly. Voice Frequent, sharp, nasal chep-chep notes.


Text account compilers
Capper, D., Harding, M., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Silveira, L., Whittaker, A., Studer, A., Roda, S., Goerck, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Synallaxis infuscata. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/11/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 14/11/2019.