Justification of Red List Category
This species qualifies as Vulnerable because although it has a larger range than previously estimated, the range is still small, severely fragmented and likely to be declining owing to rapid habitat loss.
Population estimate = 2.1-8.0 individuals/km2 x 360 km2 (20% EOO) = 756-2,880, i.e. probably best placed in the band 1,000-2,499 individuals (density range is lowest to lower quartile of six estimates for three species of Neopelma and Tyranneutes in the BirdLife Population Densities Spreadsheet).
A moderate and on-going population decline is suspected on the basis of habitat destruction and fragmentation. It is projected to lose over 70% of current distribution due to climate change (Anciães and Peterson 2006).
Neopelma aurifrons is found in south-east Brazil, with 20th century records from the vicinity of Salvador (Chapada da Diamantina National Park in 1990 [B. Forrester in litt. 1990], although not since then [Parrini et al. 1999]) and Camamu, Bahia, south to Espírito Santo (three localities, including the lower Rio Doce), east Minas Gerais (including Divisópolis) and Rio de Janeiro (one locality near Anil just north-east of Rio de Janeiro city). It was recently found in the Rio Doce State Park (following an old specimen at this site), Acauã Ecological Station and a forest fragment adjacent to Acauã, all in Minas Gerais (de Vasconcelos et al. 2004). It is one of the least known Atlantic forest birds, partly as a consequence of being treated as a subspecies until 1995. It was listed as uncommon in Sooretama Biological Reserve during fieldwork in 1981, but there has been only one subsequent sighting, and it is apparently quite local within Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserve (Whitney et al. 1995b). Despite the fact that recent observations come from few localities (Kirwan and Green 2011, Snow and Sharpe 2016), recent population and trend estimates suggest that the species is not as rare as previously thought.
It inhabits the interior of undisturbed and lightly disturbed lowland forest (usually numerous trees greater than 50 cm diameter at breast height nearby), sometimes foraging near forest edges, at elevations below 1,000 m. Singing individuals perch on thin, horizontal branches in relatively open shaded areas in the understorey, usually 3.5-7 m above ground. Its diet is primarily comprised of fruit, but an individual has been seen to take a stick insect (suborder Phasmodea). It may nest beneath banks and under hanging roots, but this has yet to be confirmed (Whitney et al. 1995b).
It is threatened since its range is within an area that has been severely deforested over a long period of time (Whitney et al. 1995b). Its lowland forests have been historically threatened by agricultural conversion, deforestation for mining and plantation production (Fearnside 1996). Current key threats to these forests are urbanisation, agricultural expansion, dam construction, colonisation and associated road building (Dinerstein et al. 1995, de Vasconcelos in litt. 2007).
Conservation Actions Underway
It occurs in Sooretama and Augusto Ruschi Biological Reserves in Espírito Santo (Whitney et al. 1995b), Rio Doce State Park and Acauã Ecological Station in Minas Gerais (de Vasconcelos et al. 2004), and Chapada da Diamantina National Park in Bahia (B. Forrester in litt. 1990). However, only the closely related Pale-bellied Tyrant-manakin N. pallescens has been recorded at the latter recently (Whitney et al. 1995b). The Divisópolis population is near to where the 50,000 ha Mata Escura Biological Reserve has been just decreed. It is considered Endangered at the national level in Brazil (MMA 2014).
13 cm. Dull greenish bird. Greyish-olive face and throat, grading to olive wash on chest, and pale lemon-yellow belly and vent. Crown and even nape generally slaty, contrasting with dull pale olive of upperparts, but sometimes shows yellow on centre of crown. Dusky wings and tail, fringed paler olive. Pale iris. Similar spp. Serra do Mar Tyrant-manakin N. chrysolophum is longer tailed, shorter billed and shows conspicuous yellow centre of crown. Voice Simple, four-syllable phrase, kiú kí-chru-chrrí, repeated regularly.
Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Clay, R., Harding, M., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A.
de Vasconcelos, M., Forrester, B.
BirdLife International (2021) Species factsheet: Neopelma aurifrons. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/10/2021. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2021) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 18/10/2021.