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Atlapetes melanocephalus

Santa Marta Brush-Finch

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Emberizidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Montoya Valencia, Paola Andrea, and Elkin Tenorio

Atlapetes melanocephalus

Colombia; 9 December 2009 © Timothy Boucher

Santa Marta Brushfinch is restricted to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta in northern Colombia, and is one of the many species that are endemic to that isolated range. Although it has a very small range, this brushfinch is common, and appears to face no imminent conservation threat. This brushfinch has a face pattern unlike any other member of the genus. The head is entirely black, with is a contrasting silvery cheek patch, and reddish eyes. Otherwise it is entirely dark olive above and yellow below; yellow underparts are quite common among brushfinches, but the silvery cheek patch is a unique feature. This brushfinch is found in shrubby borders and the second growth of humid subtropical forest. Santa Marta Brushfinches tend to forage below eye level, as is typical of brushfinches, but this species also often forages much higher up in the midstory.

Recommended Citation

Montoya Valencia, Paola Andrea, and Elkin Tenorio. 2016. Santa Marta Brush-Finch (Atlapetes melanocephalus), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map provided by Robert S. Ridgely.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Montane evergreen forest edge
  • Foraging Strata:Understory/Midstory
  • Foraging Behavior:---
  • Diet:Omnivorous
  • Sociality:Pairs/Family Groups
  • Mating System:Unknown
  • Nest Form:Cup
  • Clutch: 2 - 2
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern