Asthenes helleri 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Furnariidae

Scientific Name: Asthenes helleri
Species Authority: (Chapman, 1923)
Common Name(s):
English Puna Thistletail
Schizoeaca helleri BirdLife International (2004, 2008)
Schizoeaca helleri Stotz et al. (1996)
Schizoeaca helleri Sibley and Monroe (1990, 1993)
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Taxonomic Notes: Use of the genus Asthenes follows SACC (2010).

Identification information: 17-18 cm. Smallish, brown-and-grey ovenbird. Typical thistletail. Crown and upperparts, including wings, are a dull rufescent brown. The tail is paler, long and deeply forked. The underparts, including throat, are greyish. Voice A series of spluttering notes, first increasing in volume then fading at the end.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A3c ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Taylor, J. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): Lees, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Butchart, S., Ekstrom, J., Khwaja, N., Symes, A.

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.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2009 Least Concern (LC)
2008 Least Concern (LC)
2004 Least Concern (LC)
2000 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1994 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)
1988 Lower Risk/least concern (LR/lc)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Asthenes helleri has a restricted range in the Andes of western South America, described as uncommon to fairly common throughout. In Peru it is limited to the areas of Cuzco and Puno, and is present in the Machu Picchu Historical Sanctuary. Its distribution also touches into extreme north La Paz, Bolivia (del Hoyo et al. 2003).
Countries occurrence:
Bolivia, Plurinational States of; Peru
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 43400
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Continuing decline in number of locations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 2800
Upper elevation limit (metres): 3600
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

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

Trend Justification:  This species is suspected to lose 31-31.3% 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). Given the susceptibility of the species to fragmentation and/or edge effects, it is therefore suspected to decline by ≥30% over three generations.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: Unknown Continuing decline of mature individuals: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: Above the timberline, this species occurs in "páramo" (high tropical montane grassland) and elfin forest; below, it prefers dense undergrowth at the edge of cloud-forest. It is found between 2,800-3,600 m elevation. Its diet consists of arthropods, taken from understorey foliage (del Hoyo et al. 2003).
Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Unknown
Generation Length (years): 3.8
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s):

The primary threat to this species is accelerating deforestation; it is thought likely to be particularly susceptible to fragmentation and edge effects (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011, A. Lees in litt. 2011). It has probably always had a small population, and has also been declining as a result of grazing and burning in its Andean timberline habitat (del Hoyo et al. 2003).

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions:

Conservation Actions Underway
None is known.

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).

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Asthenes helleri. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22702250A39209822. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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