EN
White-browed Tit-spinetail Leptasthenura xenothorax



Justification

Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small and severely fragmented range and population, which continue to decline with habitat loss and a lack of habitat regeneration (Collar et al. 1992). It therefore is listed as Endangered.

Population justification
Engblom et al. (2002) estimate the known population to be c.500 birds, with a potential total population of c.1,500. The number of mature individuals is therefore likely to fall between 250 and 999.

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 53.2% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (11 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). It is therefore suspected to decline by Given the susceptibility of the species to fragmentation and/or edge effects, it is therefore suspected to decline by ≥50% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Leptasthenura xenothorax has a very restricted and severely fragmented range in the Runtacocha highland (Apurímac), the Nevado Sacsarayoc massif and the Cordillera Vilcanota (Cuzco), south-central Peru. Significant populations of c.35-70 individuals were estimated at three sites in Cuzco in 1987-1989, but declines have been observed at some of these, and the population density is very low in the Runtacocha highland (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). The patchiness and scarcity of its habitat, which may now occupy less than 3% of the estimated potential cover in large parts of Cuzco (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996), suggests that the total population must now be very small (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990), with one recent estimate of 500-1,500 individuals (Engblom et al. 2002).

Ecology

It occurs in small, often widely scattered, patches of humid Polylepis woodland at elevations of 3,700-4,550 m. An adult was observed attending a nest-hole in a Polylepis tree in November 1997 (C. Bushell in litt. 1999), and recently fledged young were observed in December 2003 (H. Lloyd in litt. 2004) but its breeding ecology remains very poorly known. It forages in pairs or small family groups of three or four, picking insects from the bark, moss and lichens on twigs, branches and trunks, often in mixed-species flocks.

Threats

Uncontrolled fires and heavy grazing prevent Polylepis regeneration (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Cutting for timber, firewood and charcoal is locally destructive, but could be sustained if regeneration were not prevented (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Other factors are the change from camelid to sheep- and cattle-farming, and the inadequacy of afforestation projects (in particular the use of exotic tree species) (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). The extent of Polylepis woodlands in Cuzco halved during the 1980s.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
There have been some attempts to draw local attention to the plight of Polylepis woodlands in Cuzco, Peru. In the Runtacocha highland, local families have been advised by a Cuzco-based conservation group, and appear positive towards better environmental control (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). Surveys of Polylepis and high-altitude habitats have been conducted and suggestions for the conservation of these habitats have been published (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996). A recent joint programme aims to protect Polylepis forests and develop alternatives for local consumption of fuel and timber. It provides Polylepis saplings for forest regeneration and Eucalyptus saplings for use as an alternative timber species, and villagers are paid to plant the saplings in a community aid programme (Rome 2003).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey remaining Polylepis habitat in the Cordillera Vilcanota (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996, G. Servat in litt. 1999). Protect Yanacocha forest and other Polylepis habitat in the Cordillera Vilcanota (G. Servat in litt. 1999). Expand the Polylepis planting programme, and plant buffer zones below Polylepis woodland with firewood species to provide an alternative fuel source (Fjeldså and Kessler 1996).

Identification

16 cm. Small, dark furnariid. Bright rufous front and crown. Dark face striped white and buff. Long white eyebrow. Whitish throat coarsely chequered black, contrasting with smoky-grey underparts. Grey-brown back striped white. Unstreaked nape. Dark wings with two whitish panels. Strongly pointed and graduated black tail with white tips to outer rectrices. Voice Very vocal. Song is high-pitched trill lasting 2-5 seconds, sometimes introduced by several tjit calls. Repeated tjit contact call.

Acknowledgements

Text account compilers
Capper, D., Isherwood, I., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Contributors
Bushell, C., Servat, G., Lloyd, H.


Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2019) Species factsheet: Leptasthenura xenothorax. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/08/2019. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2019) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 23/08/2019.