Santa Marta Bush-tyrant Myiotheretes pernix


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small range and is currently known from just one location (although there are likely to be others). Its habitat is declining, and concomitant declines in range and population are suspected. It thus qualifies as Endangered.

Population justification
The total population is placed in the band 1,000-2,499 individuals. This equates to 667-1,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 600-1,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A moderate and on-going population decline is suspected, owing to rates of habitat loss.

Distribution and population

Myiotheretes pernix occurs on the north slope of the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta, Magdalena, Colombia, where it is localised and uncommon (Hilty and Brown 1986). Recent records from 15 localities, including the San Lorenzo ridge (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2015, Farnsworth et al. 2015).


It is most commonly seen in shrubby forest and second growth borders, along road cuts, and on overgrown hillsides, from 2,100 to 3,300 m altitude, occasionally higher (Botero-Delgadillo et al. 2015, Farnsworth et al. 2015). It occurs within forest, at tree gaps or forest edge, making aerial sallies to catch insects (Hilty and Brown 1986, Ridgely and Tudor 1994). Although it has been observed near pine plantations, it has never been seen feeding at such sites (Salaman et al. 2002).


Only 15% of the original vegetation in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta remains, albeit largely on the north slope where this species occurs (L. M. Renjifo in litt. 1993). The main past and continuing threat is the conversion of forest to marijuana and coca plantations (L. G. Olarte in litt. 1993,  L. M. Renjifo in litt. 1993, J. Fjeldså verbally 2000, L. M. Renjifo verbally 2000), which was compounded by spraying of the slopes with herbicides (L. G. Olarte in litt. 1993, L. M. Renjifo in litt. 1993). It is not known whether this activity is still undertaken by the Colombian authorities (L. M. Renjifo verbally 2000). Less significant threats, which followed human immigration to the area from the 1950s onwards, are agricultural expansion (e.g. coffee at lower altitudes and livestock), logging, burning and afforestation with exotic trees (e.g. pines) (Dinerstein et al. 1995, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999, Salazar and Strewe undated).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Considered Endangered at the national level in Colombia (Renjifo et al. 2002). The Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta is protected by two national designations and is an international Biosphere Reserve (IUCN 1992), but this formal legislation has not conserved the massif's ecosystems effectively.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey its range to better determine its current population and distribution. Research its ecological requirements (Renjifo et al. 2002). Strengthen and improve the conservation measures in the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta Biosphere Reserve, at least where important populations of this species are found. Work with local communities and regional institutions to identify and prioritise conservation and management strategies (Salazar and Strewe undated).


21 cm. Large rufous-and-brown flycatcher. Dull brown above. Whitish lores. Dusky wings and black tail with outer webs of remiges edged cinnamon (visible in flight). White throat diffusely streaked black. Tinged olive chest. Rest of underparts and underwing-coverts ferruginous. Similar spp. Streak-throated Bush-tyrant M. striaticollis is larger and paler cinnamon-rufous below. Inner webs of remiges edged rufous and tipped black. Breast streaking more striking. Voice A whistled bi-syllabic peeuw


Text account compilers
Sharpe, C.J., Pople, R., Isherwood, I., Stuart, S., Symes, A.

Salaman, P., Renjifo, L., Fjeldså, J., Olarte, L., Kirwan, G.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Myiotheretes pernix. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/08/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 21/08/2019.