Tamarugo Conebill (Conirostrum tamarugense): revise global status?

BirdLife species factsheet for Tamarugo Conebill

Tamarugo Conebill (Conirostrum tamarugense) breeds in northern Chile, migrating to southern Peru in the non-breeding season. In Chile, it mostly inhabits isolated patches and plantations of tamarugo trees Prosopis tamarugo, as well as scrub, agricultural land and citrus groves (A. P. Jaramillo in litt. 2012, Hilty 2020). In Peru, it occurs primarily in Polylepis forest.

The species is thought to be increasing with the expansion and regeneration of suitable habitat (Estades 1996). The population in Chile has been estimated at 35,000 individuals (Estades 1996), which equates to c. 23,000 mature individuals. Unless more recent information becomes available, the species is tentatively placed in the band 20,000-49,999 mature individuals.

Tamarugo Conebill is currently listed as Vulnerable under Criterion D2 (BirdLife International 2020). However, new information regarding the distribution range suggests that the species may warrant a change in Red List status. Therefore, it will be re-assessed against all Red List criteria:

Criterion A – The population trend has not been estimated directly, but the species is thought to be stable or increasing over ten years (one generation length being estimated at 2.4 years; Bird et al. 2020*) as suitable habitat is regenerating and expanding. Tamarugo Conebill is therefore considered Least Concern under Criterion A.

Criterion B – The Extent of Occurrence (EOO) for the breeding range of this species is 57,000 km2. The maximum Area of Occupancy (AOO), as calculated by a 4 km2 grid over the mapped breeding range, is 19,520 km2. These values do not meet the threshold for Vulnerable (EOO < 20,000 km2; AOO < 2,000 km2). Tamarugo Conebill may be listed as Least Concern under Criterion B.

Criterion C – The population size of Tamarugo Conebill is preliminarily placed in the band 20,000-49,999 mature individuals. This is too large to meet the threshold for listing as threatened under Criterion C, and therefore the species qualifies as Least Concern under this criterion.

Criterion D – The population size is too large to warrant listing as threatened under Criterion D1. The species is not restricted to a very small AOO. Given that the species is widespread throughout its range and  currently not affected by any threat that could eradicate large parts of the population within the near future, it cannot be considered occurring at a limited number of locations**. Thus, Tamarugo Conebill is assessed as Least Concern under this criterion.

Criterion E – To the best of our knowledge no quantitative analysis of extinction risk has been conducted for this species. Therefore, it cannot be assessed against this criterion.

Therefore, it is suggested that Tamarugo Conebill (Conirostrum tamarugense) be listed as Least Concern. We welcome any comments on the proposed listing, and specifically request up-to-date information regarding the population size and trend.

Please note that this topic is not designed to be a general discussion about the ecology of the species, rather a discussion of its Red List status. Therefore, please make sure your comments are relevant to the discussion outlined in the topic. By submitting a comment, you confirm that you agree to the Comment Policy.

*Bird generation lengths are estimated using the methodology of Bird et al. (2020), as applied to parameter values updated for use in each IUCN Red List for birds reassessment cycle. Values used for the current assessment are available on request. We encourage people to contact us with additional or improved values for the following parameters; adult survival (true survival accounting for dispersal derived from an apparently stable population); mean age at first breeding; and maximum longevity (i.e. the biological maximum, hence values from captive individuals are acceptable).

**The term ‘location’ refers to a distinct area in which a single threatening event can rapidly affect all individuals of the taxon present, with the size of the location depending on the area covered by the threatening event. Where a taxon is affected by more than one threatening event, location should be defined by considering the most serious plausible threat (IUCN 2001, 2012).

An information booklet on the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here and the Red List Criteria Summary Sheet can be downloaded here. Detailed guidance on IUCN Red List terms and definitions and the application of the Red List Categories and Criteria can be downloaded here.


Bird, J. P.; Martin, R.; Akçakaya, H. R.; Gilroy, J.; Burfield, I. J.; Garnett, S.; Symes, A.; Taylor, J.; Šekercioğlu, Ç.; Butchart, S. H. M. (2020). Generation lengths of the world’s birds and their implications for extinction risk. Conservation Biology online first view.

BirdLife International. 2020. Species factsheet: Conirostrum tamarugense. http://www.birdlife.org (Accessed 03 April 2020).

Estades, C. F. 1996. Natural history and conservation status of the Tamarugo Conebill in northern Chile. Wilson Bulletin 108: 268-279.

Hilty, S. 2020. Tamarugo Conebill (Conirostrum tamarugense), version 1.0. In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D. A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). Birds of the World. Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.tamcon1.01 (Accessed 03 April 2020).

IUCN. 2001. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K.

IUCN. 2012. IUCN Red List Categories and Criteria: Version 3.1. Second edition. IUCN Species Survival Commission. IUCN, Gland, Switzerland and Cambridge, U.K. www.iucnredlist.org/technical-documents/categories-and-criteria.

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2 Responses to Tamarugo Conebill (Conirostrum tamarugense): revise global status?

  1. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    The window for consultation is now closed. We will analyse and interpret the new information and post a preliminary decision on this species’s Red List status on this page in early July.

    Thank you,
    BirdLife Red List Team

  2. Red List Team (BirdLife International) says:

    Preliminary proposal

    Based on available information, our preliminary proposal for the 2020 Red List would be to adopt the proposed classification outlined in the initial forum discussion.

    There is now a period for further comments until the final deadline in mid-July, after which the recommended categorisations will be put forward to IUCN.

    Please note that we will then only post final recommended categorisations on forum discussions where these differ from those in the initial proposal.

    The final 2020 Red List categories will be published on the BirdLife and IUCN websites in December 2020/January 2021, following further checking of information relevant to the assessments by both BirdLife and IUCN.

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