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Black-spectacled brush finch 

Atlapetes melanopsis

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What are the characteristics of the species?

  • Atlapetes melanopsis is an endemic species of Peru of the family Emberizidae, of a leaden color and measuring approximately 18 cm.

  • The head presents in the upper and posterior area a pale reddish color that extends to the front of the neck. The frontal region is black and has a black mask around the eyes, the malar line is thin and undefined.

  • The wings and tail are dark gray with light yellowish brown tints. The bill is black, the iris is dark brown and the legs are gray.

  • A. melanopsis differs from A. forbesi in that the latter has a reddish crest that extends to the nape of the neck and in which the "mask" of the eyes is not defined (it does not join in the frontal region).

  • A. melanopsis does not present sexual dimorphism, females and males have the same appearance.

Where do we study the species?

  • A. melanopsis is associated with ecotones de yungas and puna on the eastern slopes of the central and southern Andes of Peru, between 2400-3400 m.

  • The study was conducted in the area of ​​the montane forest of the Apurímac River Valley (ELU 1) on the eastern slope of the Andes.

What questions do we seek to answer with the study?

  • How is it distributed and what is the abundance of A. melanopsis in the area of ​​influence of the pipeline?

  • How do the structure and floristic composition of A. melanopsis habitat vary in space and time?

  • What is the relative importance of the predictive variables of habitat in the abundance of A. melanopsis in the study area?

What general results have we obtained to date?

  • We report the presence of A. melanopsis (5 individuals observed) in the town of Chiquintirca, river basin of the Apurímac River, which extends the range of the species to southern Peru.

  • Our results suggest that this species could be territorial presenting a permanent alert behavior. This suggests a defensive strategy against predators or disturbances in the habitat.

  • We did not find a significant difference in coverage or floristic composition between the zones with presence and without the presence of A. melanopsis, suggesting that other factors are more relevant to determine the presence of the species.

  • Given the small number of observations and individuals found, a statistical analysis can not be made to determine if there is an impact of the gas pipeline on A. melanopsis.


Why is the conservation of this species important?

  • According to the conservation criteria of the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (as well as for the Bird Endemism Areas and BIOMA), A. melanopsis is in the category "Near Threatened." At the national level, A. melanopsis It is within the category of endemic species protected by the national legislation of Peru (RM No. 01710-77-AG / DGFF and DS 034-2004-AG).

  • As a member of the ecosystem, this species has inter-specific relationships with many other species present in the montane forest and therefore it is important to maintain their roles.

  • A. melanopsis was only found in the humid montane forest, which is a habitat at risk of being lost by conversion to agricultural areas and extraction of timber species.

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