Rufous Twistwing Cnipodectes superrufus

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Tyrannidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Lebbin, Daniel J.


Conservation Status

BirdLife International lists the Rufous Twistwing as a species of Least Concern, although Tobias et al. (2008) recommended that the Rufous Twistwing to be listed as Vulnerable under the IUCN Red List criteria;further surveys could provide additional information warranting a change in status. The Rufous Twistwing appears to be highly specialized upon Guadua bamboo habitats; appears to be the least abundant of all Amazonian bamboo specialist birds. This species may be area sensitive, occurring only in large mature bamboo patches; and may be declining due to habitat loss that is likely to accelerate in the near future due to road development projects (Lane et al. 2007, Tobias et al. 2008). The Rufous Twistwing is recorded from the Peru’s Manu National Park and Tambopata National Reserve (Lane et al. 2007, Tobias et al. 2008), and may well be discovered to occur in other Peruvian protected areas in the region (such as the Alto Purús National Park or the upper reaches of the Los Amigos Conservation Concession).

Effects of human activity on populations

The Rufous Twistwing population could be <10,000 individuals and is likely declining due to habitat loss within its range. Road paving and other road improvements in the region, such as the Trans-Oceanica Highway between Brazil and Peru, will facilitate logging and forest clearing for agriculture, cattle pastures, and human settlements. Although Guadua bamboos can proliferate in areas disturbed by people, the extent to which this species or other bamboo specialists use such habitats remains unknown, unstudied, and this species has not been detected yet in such bamboo re-growth along highways (Tobias et al. 2008).
People also harvest bamboo as construction materials (Bystriakova et al. 2004), but we do not know if such harvests harm the Rufous Twistwing, or if bamboo cultivation could benefit the Rufous Twistwing.

Bamboo and forest clearance adjacent to patch occupied by Rufous Twistwing along the Tahuamanu River, Peru, in 2004. Photo by D. J. Lebbin

Recommended Citation

Lebbin, Daniel J. 2009. Rufous Twistwing (Cnipodectes superrufus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA.