Plumbeous Antvireo Dysithamnus plumbeus


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a small and fragmented population and range, which are continuing to decline rapidly as a result of habitat loss, and it therefore qualifies as Vulnerable (Collar et al. 1992). However, clarification of its range in southern Bahia may in due course result in its downlisting to Near Threatened.

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

Dysithamnus plumbeus occurs in south-east Brazil, from Bahia (E. O. Willis and Y. Oniki in litt. 1999) (with recent records from Serra do Teimoso Private Reserve at Jussari [B. M. Whitney, J. F. Pacheco, R. R. Laps and L. F. Silveira in litt. 2003] and Serra Bonita Private Reserve [B. M. Whitney and J. F. Pacheco in litt. 2003]) through east Minas Gerais and central Espírito Santo, to southern Espírito Santo (recorded from Cafundo Private Reserve at Cachoeiro de Itapemirim [Bauer 1999]) and extreme north-west Rio de Janeiro (in forest fragments around Itaperuna and Raposo). It is generally considered uncommon and local, and appears to be common at very few sites (notably at Sooretama Biological Reserve, although possibly in a very limited area). However, its range in southern Bahia may be more extensive than recorded as some large forest remnants remain to be surveyed.


It inhabits the lower stratum of tall primary or little-disturbed, lowland Atlantic forest (up to 800 m at Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve [E. O. Willis and Y. Oniki in litt. 1999]). Pairs or singles generally forage within 2 m of the ground (occasionally to 4 m when associating with mixed-species flocks) in dense tangles, especially in shaded, old treefalls overgrown with vines and saplings. The diet consists of arthropods, including katydids, stick insects, pupas and insect eggs, gleaned from leaves and twigs. Territories appear to be fairly small (less than 1.5 ha) and fixed, with pairs exceptionally occurring within 75 m of each other. A nest with two eggs being incubated has been found in August.


The fragmentation of the species's range by extensive forest clearance has been and remains the one significant threat. It is now primarily restricted to a small number of protected areas, several of which remain to be consolidated, and from where recorded numbers are low.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It is considered nationally Endangered in Brazil (MMA 2014) and protected under Brazilian law. Its stronghold is probably within Sooretama Biological Reserve. It is much less common in the adjacent Linhares Forest Reserve. There are additional records from Rio Doce State Park, Feliciano Abdalla Private Nature Reserve, Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve (E. O. Willis and Y. Oniki in litt. 1999, R. Raby in litt. 2009) and Duas Bocas State Biological Reserve.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey known sites to ascertain its status. Survey other forested areas within its range to clarify its current distribution. Monitor known populations, especially those at Sooretama and Rio Doce. Ensure the integrity of protected areas where it does occur.


12.5 cm. Small, chunky, uniformly coloured antbird. Male slate-grey, blacker on chest, with white carpal bend and tips to coverts. Female dull olive-brown above, with buffy-white carpal and covert markings. Whitish throat. Ochraceous lower belly and vent. Similar spp. Myrmotherula antwrens are smaller. Cinereous Antshrike Thamnomanes caesius is larger, and lacks covert markings and black on chest. Voice 2-3 second series of c.10 melancholy, whistled notes, rising at start then fading.


Text account compilers
Williams, R., Sharpe, C J, Harding, M., Clay, R.P., Symes, A.

Whitney, B., Pacheco, J., Silveira, L., Willis, E., Laps, R., Kirwan, G., De Luca, A., Oniki, Y., Develey, P., Raby , R.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Dysithamnus plumbeus. Downloaded from on 28/11/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/11/2020.