White-capped Tanager Sericossypha albocristata


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, Ridgely and Tudor 2009).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 35.1-35.8% 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 ≥30% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Occurs in the Andes from SW Venezuela, locally on both slopes in Colombia, on the W slope in Ecuador and the E slope in Peru (south to Junin).


Humid and wet montane forest especially mossy higher elevation forest. Most numerous between 1700 and 2700m, has been recorded between 1400-3200m. Recorded as feeding on both vegetable matter and insects, apparently paper wasps (Vespidae) may be an important dietary component. Found in groups of 4-8, though occasionally up to 20 travel together, and the species is usually not with mixed flocks although may be found with jays Corvidae or caciques Cacicus. May have very large home ranges, foraging in the canopy or upper levels of a particular group of trees before often flying several hundred metres. Nesting observed in January, large weakly constructed cup nest of rootlets and pale fibres hidden by fronds. Possibly makes seasonal movements in some parts of its range, eg. in Colombia only noted between Jan-Apr and in Jun in Cueva de los Guácharos National Park.


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

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Occurs in several larger protected areas including Tamá, Cueva de los Guácharos and Puracé National Parks in Colombia, Podocarpus National Park in Ecuador and Tingo Maria National Park in Peru.

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).


24-26cm, 95-125g. Large predominately glossy blue-black tanager with a conspicuous snowy-white crown and lores. Males have a bright crimson throat, females dark wine coloured throat. Immatures have a black throat. Similar spp. Unmistakable, though at distance may recall an icterid or jay. Voice Very loud and piercing including a descending pieeu, peeiep and pew-pew-pew..., recalling a jay.


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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2020) Species factsheet: Sericossypha albocristata. Downloaded from on 07/07/2020. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2020) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 07/07/2020.