Sao Francisco Sparrow Arremon franciscanus


Justification of Red List Category
This species is thought to be undergoing a moderately rapid population decline, owing to the loss and degradation of caatinga habitats, thus, although its range is larger than previously estimated, it remains listed as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population may exceed 10,000 mature individuals, thus it is suspected to number 10,000-19,999 mature individuals, roughly equivalent to 15,000-30,000 individuals in total; however, more research is required.

Trend justification
This species's population is suspected to be in moderately rapid decline, owing to the loss and degradation of caatinga scrublands, although data are lacking on the magnitude of these effects.

Distribution and population

Arremon franciscanus has a patchy distribution over a wide area of central Bahia and north Minas Gerais, Brazil. It seems to be uncommon to locally fairly common in suitable habitat.


This species occurs in thick scrub 'caatinga', mainly in areas adjacent to patches of arboreal caatinga (Raposo 1997, Parrini et al. 1999).


The whole region in which caatinga habitats occur has suffered the impact of human settlement over a long period, and there has been extensive conversion to agriculture and cattle-ranching, and associated fires. The area around the type-locality is subject to a large irrigation scheme, which will possibly lead to habitat loss and fragmentation (Raposo 1997, J. Mazar Barnett in litt. 2000).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Chapada Diamantina National Park and Peruaçú Environmental Protection Area, but neither provide de facto protection (Parrini et al. 1999, J. Mazar Barnett in litt. 2000).

Conservation Actions Proposed

Surveys are urgently required to delineate the full range of this species and identify the most suitable sites for protection. Conduct ecological studies to determine year-round habitat requirements. Improve the active protection of Chapada Diamantina National Park and Peruaçú Environmental Protection Area. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status.


15cm. An olive, black and white sparrow of the undergrowth. Black head with greyish centre of crown and long white superciliary. Black chin. Upper neck greyish. Rest of upperparts, wings and tail olivaceous, brighter on bend of wing. Underparts whitish washed greyish on sides of belly. Bold black patch next to shoulder, on sides of breast. Yellowish bill with bold black culmen. Similar spp. Resembles the Half-collared Sparrow A. semitorquatus which has more extensive black on breast and only the mandible yellow. It is also more extensively shaded dark grey on sides of belly. Pectoral Sparrow A. taciturnus has a complete breast band. Voice A complex series of three high pitched phrases, the last being a trill. Hints Hops in the dense understorey, where easily found following its calls.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., O'Brien, A. & Taylor, J.

Mazar Barnett, J.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Arremon franciscanus. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/sao-francisco-sparrow-arremon-franciscanus on 06/06/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 06/06/2023.