The conservation status of the Brown Tanager is listed by IUCN Red List as near-threatened (Legal and Kohler 2008, BirdLife International 2015). It received this categorization due to its large estimated range, about 145,000 km2 and, although population size has not been quantified, it has been described as uncommon and there is evidence of population declines and habitat loss (Parker et al. 1996, BirdLife International 2015). Parker et al. (1996) considered this species of “medium” conservation priority relative to other Neotropical birds.
Effects of human activity on populations
Parker et al. (1996) considered Orchesticus abeillei to have a “medium” degree of sensitivity to human disturbance relative to other Neotropical birds. The montane forests in Atlantic coast region have suffered less deforestation than nearby lowland areas, but in the northern part of range, in Bahia, deforestation has been extensive (Hilty 2011). Most remaining patches of forest have been damaged (burnt or cut) for agriculture and ranching. The Brown Tanager occurs in several protected areas, but is vulnerable because protected areas are isolated and at risk of deforestation (Hilty 2011). Anjos (2001) found that Orchesticus abeillei made up 2% of the bird abundance of a certain fragment of the Atlantic Forest, which has become fragmented due to deforestation in order to make ranch lands. Anjos (2001) found that species numbers generally decreased in correlation with decreasing fragment size. This means that there is a possibility that forest fragmentation could have a negative impact on Orchesticus abeillei, though effects are species-specific (Anjos 2001). Willis and Oniki (2002) suggests that human impacts could be facilitating the introduction of ‘invader’ species that could be replacing more specialized native species in the Atlantic forests of Brazil which also poses a potential threat to Orchesticus abeillei.