White-bridled Finch Melanodera melanodera


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.

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

Trend justification
The population is suspected to be in decline owing to habitat degradation caused by over-grazing (Ridgely and Tudor 1989).

Distribution and population

This species occurs in south Chile (south Magellanes) and south Argentina (south Santa Cruz) to Tierra del Fuego, and on the Falkland Islands (S. Imberti in litt. 1999). Although the mainland population is localised and perhaps declining (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Stotz et al. 1996), on the Falklands it is thriving with 7,000-14,000 breeding pairs estimated in 1983-1992 (Woods and Woods 1997).


On the mainland, this species is found in southern temperate dry grasslands of Festuca gracillima and Stipa species, pastures, agricultural land, and around settlements up to 580 m elevation. In the upland (300-400 m) fields of Santa Cruz, it seems common during the breeding season (S. Imberti in litt. 1999). However, its distribution is poorly understood. This may be a function of its possible nomadism, which requires investigation (J. Mazar Barnett in litt. 1999), or simply because of poor observer coverage away from known, accessible sites. In the Falklands, it is found in grass-heath communities, dominated by Cortadeira pilosa (Ridgely and Tudor 1989, Stotz et al. 1996).


The widespread practice of early spring grassland burning in the Falklands presumably destroys many nests, and introduced predators are probably reducing and limiting the population (Woods and Woods 1997). It is not adversely affected by intensive grazing on the Falklands but this is cited as a major reason for its probable decline on the mainland (Stotz et al. 1996).


Text account compilers
Ekstrom, J., Butchart, S., Fisher, S., Harding, M.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Melanodera melanodera. Downloaded from on 28/06/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 28/06/2022.