Swallow-tailed Cotinga Phibalura flavirostris


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a moderately small population which is suspected to be declining moderately rapidly owing to habitat loss. It is consequently classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The population is preliminarily estimated to number at least 10,000 individuals, roughly equating to 6,700 mature individuals. This requires confirmation.

Trend justification
A moderately rapid and on-going decline is suspected owing to rates of habitat loss.

Distribution and population

Phibalura flavirostris is found in south-east Brazil (from Bahia and central Minas Gerais south to Rio Grande do Sul; also in south Goiás, perhaps as an austral migrant), north-east Argentina (Misiones, no records since 1977 until seen at several sites in 2004 and 2006, Bodrati and Cockle 2006, Bodrati et al. 2010) and east Paraguay (Canindeyú, Alto Paraná, Guairá and possibly Itapúa, but only four records and none since 1977). It is apparently an austral migrant (at least to some extent), occurring in Rio Grande do Sul only during the austral summer (Snow 1982, Ridgely and Tudor 1994). It is locally uncommon in Itatiaia National Park, on the Rio de Janeiro/Minas Gerais border, at Intervales State Park, São Paulo, and at Caraça, Minas Gerais, but is generally rare and has apparently declined (Ridgely and Tudor 1994) for reasons that are unclear. 


The species is not dependent on primary forest, apparently preferring forest borders, partially or lightly wooded areas, and clearings and gardens with scattered trees (where it often nests) (Ridgely and Tudor 1994), from near sea level to 2,000 m. It is an altitudinal migrant, nesting in montane regions and descending during the austral winter (Snow 1982, Ridgely and Tudor 1994).


Extensive deforestation has presumably had some impact, but its preference for forest borders, partially or lightly wooded areas, and clearings and gardens suggests that it can tolerate some habitat degradation.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
In Brazil it is uncommon in Itatiatia National Park and Intervales State Park and rare in Serra dos Orgãos National Park and Chapada Diamantina National Park (possibly only non-breeding birds at the latter site. 

Conservation Actions Proposed
Study its ecology, migration and ablity to persist in degraded and fragmented habitats and attempt to establish reasons for its apparent decline.  Effectively protect significant areas of suitable habitat in both strictly protected areas and community led multiple use areas.


21-22 cm. A beautiful and strongly patterned cotinga with a long, forked tail. The male has a blackish head with blue gloss. Small red crown patch and blurred brownish grey supercilium. Bright golden yellow throat and cheeks. White line from behind auriculars connect with white breast heavily barred black. Rest of underparts yellow, brighter on crissum, with sparse shaft-like streaks. Upperparts yellowish olive coarsely barred blackish, more dense on nape. Blackish wings, pale grey spots on tertials. Long and forked tail blackish with olivaceous base to outer rectrices; often held separated, in a 'V' shape. Pinkish eyering. Female is duller; greyer on head, less white on neck, more olive on wings and the shorter tail. Similar spp. Unmistakable. Voice Mostly silent, but a high guttural whistle ghewt ghewt has been reported. Hints Perches still for long periods high in the edge of forests, open woodlands and gardens.


Text account compilers
Capper, D., Mansur, E., O'Brien, A., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.

Hennessey, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Phibalura flavirostris. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/10/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 07/10/2022.