Amaurospiza carrizalensis 


Taxonomy [top]

Kingdom Phylum Class Order Family
Animalia Chordata Aves Passeriformes Cardinalidae

Scientific Name: Amaurospiza carrizalensis
Species Authority: Lentino & Restall, 2003
Common Name(s):
English Carrizal Seedeater
Taxonomic Source(s): SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #
Taxonomic Notes: Recent mitochondrial genetic data show that the genus Amaurospiza is not a member of the Emberizidae and instead indicate strong support for placement in the Cardinalidae (AOU 2009, SACC 2008).

Identification information: 12 cm. Male is glossy blue-black with sooty black wings and brighter blue shoulder. Underwing coverts and axillars are white. Bill is large, deep and conical, dark grey. Female is light buff-brown with an olive-grey bill. Similar spp separable from other Amaurospiza by the denisty of colouration and black flammulations on the breast as well as overall size.

Assessment Information [top]

Red List Category & Criteria: Critically Endangered C2a(i,ii);D ver 3.1
Year Published: 2015
Date Assessed: 2015-10-01
Assessor(s): BirdLife International
Reviewer(s): Symes, A.
Contributor(s): Ascanio, D., Freile, J., Lentino, M. & Restall, R.
Facilitator/Compiler(s): Bird, J., Butchart, S., Calvert, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A. & Ashpole, J
This species, described in 2003, was known from a single location where its habitat has now been destroyed. It was subsequently found at several locations near to the type locality, and believed to have an extremely small population occupying a tiny range. Further surveys suggest that its range and potential population may be higher than initially suspected, but for the present it is maintained as Critically Endangered. With increased knowledge of the range and potential population of this species it is probable that it may be downlisted.

Previously published Red List assessments:
2013 Critically Endangered (CR)
2012 Critically Endangered (CR)
2010 Critically Endangered (CR)
2009 Critically Endangered (CR)
2008 Critically Endangered (CR)
2007 Critically Endangered (CR)
2006 Not Evaluated (NE)
2004 Not Recognized (NR)
2000 Not Recognized (NR)
1994 Not Recognized (NR)
1988 Not Recognized (NR)

Geographic Range [top]

Range Description: This species was recently described following collection of the holotype on Isla Carrizal in the Río Caroní, Venezuela. Since then habitat at the type locality on the island has been destroyed in the development of Guri Dam. Surveys in late 2007 and 2008 recorded the species in seven areas in the lower Caroní basin (M. Lentino in litt. 2008), and further fieldwork increased the number of known sites to fourteen (M. Lentino in litt. 2010). For the moment, it is assumed to have an extremely small population and to be declining as other potentially suitable habitat continues to be destroyed. However, the low number of records may be partly due to the difficulty in surveying its habitat, which as a result has rarely been explored. Some 2,482 km2 of suitable spiny bamboo habitat has been mapped (M. Lentino in litt. 2010).

Countries occurrence:
Venezuela, Bolivarian Republic of
Continuing decline in area of occupancy (AOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in area of occupancy (AOO): No
Estimated extent of occurrence (EOO) - km2: 1
Continuing decline in extent of occurrence (EOO): Yes
Extreme fluctuations in extent of occurrence (EOO): No
Number of Locations: 1
Continuing decline in number of locations: Yes
Extreme fluctuations in the number of locations: No
Lower elevation limit (metres): 95
Upper elevation limit (metres): 1600
Range Map: Click here to open the map viewer and explore range.

Population [top]

Population: Although it has now been found at several localities since destruction of the type locality, the global population is nevertheless assumed to be tiny, with fewer than 50 individuals and mature individuals.

Trend Justification:  Habitat at the type locality, Isla Carrizal, was destroyed and then flooded during the Guri Dam development, and this development destroyed other potentially suitable habitat, therefore the species's population is suspected to be declining, although the likely rate of decline has not been estimated. However, a significant proportion of its habitat is pristine, far from roads and unlikely to be under any threat (M. Lentino in litt. 2010).

Current Population Trend: Decreasing
Additional data:
Number of mature individuals: 1-49 Continuing decline of mature individuals: Yes
Extreme fluctuations: No Population severely fragmented: No
No. of subpopulations: 1 Continuing decline in subpopulations: Unknown
Extreme fluctuations in subpopulations: No All individuals in one subpopulation: Yes
No. of individuals in largest subpopulation: 100

Habitat and Ecology [top]

Habitat and Ecology: It has been found in stands of spiny Guadua latifolia and Ripidocladus spp. bamboo forest, and at least four of the recent localities the birds were in or next to stands of Guadua angustifolia (M. Lentino in litt. 2008). Its bill shows some degree of specialisation for feeding (R. Restall in litt. 2006). From stomach content analysis of collected specimens it is known to feed on weevil spp. which may be specific to its spiny forest habitat (R. Restall in litt. 2006).

Systems: Terrestrial
Continuing decline in area, extent and/or quality of habitat: Yes
Generation Length (years): 3.8
Movement patterns: Not a Migrant

Threats [top]

Major Threat(s): Habitat at the type locality was all destroyed during the development of the Guri Dam, which subsequently flooded this location. This development also destroyed other potentially suitable habitat in this area.

Conservation Actions [top]

Conservation Actions: Conservation and Research Actions Underway
The species continues to be a focus for research by the Colección Ornitológica Phelps (COP), and following the destruction of habitat at the type locality four organizations (the hydro-electric company Edelca, COP, Conservation International and the Sociedad Conservacionista Audubon de Venezuela) designed a two-year project to identify, locate and survey potential habitat (M. Lentino in litt. 2008). The spiny bamboo habitat from which the species was described is not only extremely challenging/dangerous to survey in, it also lies beneath the forest canopy and hence aerial survey methods cannot be used to detect habitat. A project to conserve the species at the Lower Caroni river was awarded funding from the Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund in 2014 (Anon. 2014).

Conservation and Research Actions Proposed

Survey potentially suitable spiny bamboo forest in the eastern reaches of the Llanos, between the Tigre and the Morichal Largo rivers (M. Lentino in litt. 2010). Survey potentially suitable spiny bamboo forest along the Caroní and Orinoco rivers in Venezuala and Colombia. Monitor the loss and degradation of potentially suitable habitat. Designate areas of potentially suitable habitat as protected.

Citation: BirdLife International. 2015. Amaurospiza carrizalensis. The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species 2015: e.T22733800A83759586. . Downloaded on 29 May 2016.
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