Slaty Bristlefront Merulaxis ater


Justification of Red List Category
This species is listed as Near Threatened, as it has a moderately small population which is suspected to be declining owing to habitat loss. These declines are predicted to continue into the future, unless remedial conservation measures are taken.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'uncommon' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
Information on population trends is lacking, but moderate declines are suspected, owing to continuing habitat loss and degradation.

Distribution and population

Merulaxis ater occurs in south Bahia (one 19th century record), Espírito Santo (few records), Rio de Janeiro, east São Paulo, east Paraná and east Santa Catarina (two records), south-east Brazil.


This species is uncommon to locally relatively common in thickets within montane and lowland evergreen forest and mature secondary woodland, typically at 800-1,800 m but locally to 100 m (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Parker et al. 1996, Naka et al. 2011), although it is almost entirely montane in Espírito Santo and Rio de Janeiro (Sick 1993, Ridgely and Tudor 1994).


Agricultural conversion and deforestation for mining and plantation production historically threatened its lowland forests. Current key threats are urbanisation, industrialisation, agricultural expansion, colonisation and associated road-building (Dinerstein et al. 1995, Fearnside 1996). Its montane forests have suffered less destruction, but isolated forests in the north of its range have virtually disappeared due to the expansion of pasture and cultivation, and remaining patches are under pressure from clearance and fires spreading from cultivated areas (Gonzaga et al. 1995).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Conservation Actions Proposed
Ensure that remaining areas of suitable habitat receive adequate protection. Repeat surveys of known sites to determine rates of range contraction and population trends.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., Sharpe, C J

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Merulaxis ater. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 27/10/2021.