The Russet-bellied Spinetail is a medium-sized furnariid found in arid montane woody scrub habitat on the west Andean slope of west-central Peru. This is a highly distinctive species of spinetail with no obvious close taxonomic relatives. It has a very limited geographic range and is the only member of its genus found so far south along the west slope of the Andes. Very little is known about most aspects of its natural history. Restricted to patchy arid montane woody scrub on high elevation mountain slopes, it is currently ranked as Endangered. Although quantitative data are sorely lacking, severe habitat loss and degradation from agriculture, combined with ongoing heavy grazing pressure by cattle and goats at all known sites for the species are contributing to a consensus that throughout its range, populations are declining and conservation measures are urgently required.
Russet-bellied Spinetail photos © Paul Noakes