Straw-backed Tanager Tangara argyrofenges


Justification of Red List Category

Based on a model of future deforestation it is suspected that the population of this species will decline rapidly over the next three generations, and it has therefore been uplisted to Vulnerable.

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

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 35.8-37.7% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (15 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is therefore suspected to decline by ≥30% over three generations.

Distribution and population

East slope of the Andes in extreme SE Ecuador, N and C Peru with a few records in Junin and Pasco and E slope of the Andes in Bolivia. Occurs between 1,100-2700 m altitude (in Peru 1,100-2,200 m; in Ecuador 1,350-1,600 m and in Bolivia 1,200-2,700 m), but is most numerous in Bolivia between 1,600-1,900 m.


Found in mid-elevation humid montane forest and forest borders, sometimes in adjacent secondary growth. Pairs forage with mixed-species flocks, especially with other Tangara spp. in mid- or upper levels in trees and usually well hidden. Food is fruit and insects, obtained from leaves, bark and thin branches.


Projected deforestation is the primary threat affecting this species (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
The southern population occurs in Madidi, Carrasco, Isiboro Sécure and Amboró National Parks, in Bolivia, while the northern population may occur in or near Podocarpus National Park, in Ecuador, and Cordillera de Colán in Amazonas, in Peru (Hilty and Sharpe 2016).

Conservation Actions Proposed

Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006).


13cm, 18-20g. Sexually dimorphic small tanager. Male has shining pale yellow-buff (straw-coloured) mantle, breast sides and flanks contrasting with jet black crown, nape, underparts, wings and tail. This black encloses a shiny pale aquamarine to opalescent green side of the head and throat. The female lacks the black areas; the crown and nape are dusky green, the belly and lower underparts are greyish-white, the breast sides bright yellowish green and the mantle and rump dull straw yellow tinged green. The face shows a similar opalescent mask to the male, though less bright. Similar spp. This species forms an apparent species group with Black-capped T. heinei, Silver-backed T. viridicollis and Sira T. phillipsi Tanagers and the females are particularly similar. The males of the other three species lack the straw-coloured mantle, breast sides and flanks of T. argyrofenges. Female T. argyrofenges have a more straw-yellow coloured mantle and rump than the other species and are overall more yellow-green than dull green. Voice Song a high, wheezy series of lisping notes and a long, even weee. Calls include a descending tsew.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Sharpe, C.J., Ekstrom, J., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Tangara argyrofenges. Downloaded from on 23/09/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/09/2021.