Sao Paulo Tyrannulet Phylloscartes paulista


Justification of Red List category
This species is classified as Near Threatened as it has a small population which is declining slowly due to the loss and fragmentation of suitable habitat.

Population justification
The species' stronghold appears to be in the Serra do Mar in Brazil where it is considered fairly common, while it is described as uncommon or rare in Paraguay and Argentina (see eBird 2023). In Argentina, the population numbers less than 2,500 mature individuals (MAyDS and AA 2017).
The overall population size has not been quantified, but it has been suspected that it may number fewer than 10,000 individuals (del Hoyo et al. 2004, Fitzpatrick 2022). In the absence of a recent estimate the population is therefore tentatively placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals, though an accurate quantification is urgently required.

Trend justification
The population trend has not been investigated. However, observational records suggest that the population has undergone declines particularly in the Argentinian and Paraguayan part of its range, where records have become increasingly infrequent over the past decades and the range appears to have contracted considerably (eBird 2023). Population declines are likely driven by forest loss and fragmentation (Fitzpatrick 2022). Habitat loss appears more extensive in Paraguay and Argentina, while in the Serra do Mar in Brazil large areas of forest remain (Global Forest Watch 2023).
Overall within the range, 8-9% of tree cover is lost over ten years (Global Forest Watch 2023, using Hansen et al. [2013] data and methods disclosed therein). Due to the additive impacts of forest degradation and fragmentation population declines are likely steeper than the rate of tree cover loss suggests; they are here tentatively placed in the band 10-19% over ten years. It is however noted that the rate of decline may vary locally, with steeper declines suspected in the western part of the range and slower declines or even stable populations in the east.

Distribution and population

Phylloscartes paulista occurs in south-east Brazil, east Paraguay and north-east Argentina. In Brazil, it is found in the Atlantic forest of Rio de Janeiro south to Paraná, with further records from east Minas Gerais. It occurs from Canindeyú south to Itapúa in eastern Paraguay and in adjacent Misiones, Argentina, though it has apparently undergone considerable range contractions there (per eBird 2023). Due to its inconspicuous voice its presence may be overlooked, and it probably has a more continuous distribution than currently known.


It inhabits the middle storey of the lowland Atlantic forest interior and along edges, principally below 500 m, but locally up to 1,000 m (Clay et al. 1998, Fitzpatrick 2022). It feeds mainly on arthropods (Fitzpatrick 2022).


Less than 20% of the original extent of this habitat remains intact (Brown and Brown 1992) owing to agricultural conversion and deforestation for coffee, banana and rubber plantations (Fearnside 1996). In Paraguay, 38% of forests disappeared between 1984 and 1991 (Fitzpatrick 2022). Remaining forest suffers from increasing urbanisation, agricultural expansion, mining and associated road building (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Fitzpatrick 2022), but habitat destruction in the Brazilian range of the species has slowed significantly although is continuing in places, and the prospects of future losses are not as dire as in the last decades (see Global Forest Watch 2023).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The species occurs in several protected areas across its range, including Intervales and Ilha do Cardoso state park as well as Iguaçu National Park (Brazil), Caaguazú, San Rafael and Ybycuí national parks (Paraguay) and Iguazú National Park (Argentina). It is listed as Endangered at the national level in Argentina (MAyDS and AA 2017).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey to locate additional populations. Quantify its population size and density accurately. Study its ecology and its ability to persist in degraded and fragmented habitats. Effectively protect areas where the species occurs.


10.5 cm. Small, green-and-yellow tyrannulet. Pale greenish-olive above with lemon-yellow underparts. Lemon-yellow face with dusky loral spot. Narrow, pale yellowish supercilium wraps around rear of prominent, dark auricular crescent. Similar spp. Oustalet's Tyrannulet P. oustaleti is larger, has bolder face pattern, more horizontal posture, and cocked tail is constantly quivered. Voice Subtle but strident fuí-ri-ríp.


Text account compilers
Hermes, C., Fernando, E.

Capper, D., Harding, M., Sharpe, C.J. & Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2024) Species factsheet: Phylloscartes paulista. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/sao-paulo-tyrannulet-phylloscartes-paulista on 01/03/2024.
Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2024) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from https://datazone.birdlife.org on 01/03/2024.