Sporophila frontalis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Emberizidae

Scientific Name: Sporophila frontalis
Species Authority: (Verreaux, 1869)
Common Name(s):
English Buffy-fronted Seedeater, Buffy-throated Seedeater
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Identification information: 13 cm. Large, forest seedeater. Olivaceous upperparts with greyer head. Whitish-buff forecrown and narrow postocular streak. Whitish throat. Dull olive underparts with yellowish-buff belly centre. Two buffy wing-bars and patch at base of primaries. Stout, yellowish bill. Immature male browner above, without pale front. Similar spp. No similar forest species within range. Voice Loud and clear jet cheh-cheh-chéw.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Vulnerable A2cd+3cd+4cd;C2a(i) ver 3.1
Year Published: 2012
Date Assessed: 2012-05-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A. & Butchart, S.
Contributor(s): De Luca, A., Develey, P., Luiz, E., Martuscelli, P., Olmos, F., Silveira, L., Cockle, K. & Bodrati, A.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Capper, D., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Williams, R.
This species is Vulnerable because the population is likely to be small and rapidly declining as a result of deforestation (compounded by its dependence on bamboo) and trapping (Collar et al. 1992). It can appear numerous at bamboo flowering events, but these concentrations of birds may represent a high proportion of the population.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2008 Vulnerable (VU)
2004 Vulnerable (VU)
2000 Vulnerable (VU)
1996 Endangered (EN)
1994 Endangered (EN)
1988 Threatened (T)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: Sporophila frontalis has become very patchily distributed in south-east Brazil, with a few records in north-east Argentina and east Paraguay. In Brazil, it is most abundant in Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, with records in Minas Gerais, Espírito Santo (Simon 2004) and Paraná (Mitroszewski et al. 2004, Carrano et al. 2004) and several recent records in Bahia from near Una Biological Reserve (A. C. De Luca in litt. 2007), Serra das Lontras (Silveira et al. 2005), Boa Nova (E. R. Luiz in litt. 2007) and Serra Bonita private reserve in Camacan (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012). It is rarer in Santa Catarina (records in 1991 and 1992 [F. Olmos and P. Martuscelli in litt. 1995, do Rosário 1996], and 200 birds in flowering bamboo in a private forest in São José dos Campos in 2009 [L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012]) and Rio Grande do Sul (no records since the 19th century). There are four records for Misiones, Argentina, none of them documented: Iguazú in 1978 (A. Tarak per Olrog 1979), 2004 (Savigny 2010) and 2008 (Areta et al. 2009), and Obraje Esmeralda in 1993 (E. Krauczuk per Chebez 1994). The only record for Paraguay is a specimen collected at the end of the 19th or beginning of the 20th century. In Brazil, "hundreds" to "thousands" were noted at single sites in 1883, 1952 and 1985, and it is still periodically fairly common to common at several sites. However, it is not regularly recorded at any one site, and these large counts may represent a high proportion of the population. The population has been greatly reduced since the late 19th century, and it is now more frequently seen in cages than the wild.

Countries occurrence:
Argentina; Brazil; Paraguay
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 76200
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 11-100
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1500
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: The population is estimated to number 2,500-9,999 mature individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Trend Justification:  A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected owing to rates of habitat loss and capture for the bird trade.
Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 2500-9999 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: Yes
No. of subpopulations: 2-100 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: No

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It is a nomadic bamboo specialist, inhabiting forest interior, borders, second growth and cultivated land adjacent to forest. Breeding has been recorded in the austral spring (September-October) when males are territorial and very vocal in or near bamboo flowerings.

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 4.8
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): The rapid and continuing clearance of Atlantic forest has extended the intervals between major bamboo flowerings and nestings, and its nomadic habits suggest that existing reserves may afford inadequate protection. Persecution for the pet trade is severe, with lots of 100-200 birds recorded on sale at certain times in Rio de Janeiro.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected under Brazilian law, and regularly occurs in (at least) Tijuca, Serra dos Órgãos and Itatiaia National Parks, Serra do Mar, Desengano and Ilha do Cardoso State Parks, Ubatuba Experimental Station, Brazil (Wege and Long 1995). It has also been recorded in Serra das Lontras National Park, Serra Bonita Reserve, and Carlos Botelho, Serra do Mar and Serra do Caraça State Parks, Minas Gerais, and Serra da Cantareira, Intervales, and Curucutu State Parks, São Paulo (L. F. Silveira in litt. 2012). Argentine records are from Iguazú National Park and Esmeralda Provincial Park (Chebez 1994, Areta et al 2009, Savigny 2010). However, because the species follows bamboo flowerings, no population is adequately protected within a park (Areta et al. 2009).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Develop a long-term study of bamboo specialist birds in Atlantic forest. Assess the distribution of suitable bamboo stands. Protect stands of even secondary forest outside reserves to facilitate its nomadic movements. Effectively protect existing reserves, especially against trappers during bamboo flowerings. Completely ban the capture of wild birds. Develop a CMS agreement for nomadic bamboo species.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2012. Sporophila frontalis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2012: e.T22723399A38203530. . Downloaded on 29 November 2015.
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