Cinereous Conebill Conirostrum cinereum

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Andrea N. Chavez


Conservation Status

Cinereous Conebill has a very large geographic range, and its population trend appears to be stable; consequenty, the IUCN (International Union for Conservation of Nature) Red List conservation status of Cinereous Conebill is assessed as Least Concern (BirdLife International 2014, BirdLife International 2018).

Effects of human activity on populations

Cinereous Conebill likely is not especially sensitive to disturbance, as it occurs in heavily modified environments in many parts of its range. It does require woody vegetation, however, a habitat that is subject to long-term decline due to human activities in the high Andes (Bush et al. 2005). Humans have inhabited the high Andes for ca 12,000 years, and have drastically altered landscapes for fuel wood harvest and agricultural uses such as farming and livestock grazing. Throughout history and continued into the present (though with varying frequency and intensity), these practices commonly have involved the clearing of woodlands and native vegetation such that the upper tree line is thought to be substantially lower than the natural potential tree line (Ellenberg 1979;,Andersen et al. 1999). More specifically, Polylepis forests have become increasingly fragmented, and are being rapidly depleted by rural communities, though some reforestation efforts are underway (various projects and partnerships by Antamina, ECOAN, supported by partnerships with American Bird Conservancy, U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, and others). The IUCN Red List currently identifies 14 of the ca 27 species of Polylepis as Vulnerable and one as near-threatened. While Cinereous Conebill is not dependent upon Polylepis exclusively, Polylepis forest patches provide habitat for Cinereous Conebill where no other woody vegetation exists; thus, it is likely that habitat conversion due to widespread human activities over the past several centuries in the Andean highlands may be causing a reduction in suitable habitat for this species. Further research on the ecology of Cinereous Conebill in human-dominated landscapes is recommended.

Recommended Citation

Chavez, A. N. (2018). Cinereous Conebill (Conirostrum cinereum), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.