Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Ayacucho Thistletail (Asthenes ayacuchensis)


French: Synallaxe d’Ayacucho German: Kastanienkehlcanastero Spanish: Piscuiz de Ayacucho

Schizoeaca fuliginosa ayacuchensis

Vaurie et al.

, 1972,

Puncu, 3370 m, 30 km north-east of Tambo, 12°47’ S, 73°49’ W, Ayacucho, Peru


Initially described as a race of A. fuliginosa#R, and until very recently#R considered conspecific with A. vilcabambae, but differs in its richer, darker rufous throat (2); more uniform underparts with much-reduced soft white edges to feathers, so that effect of light scaling is almost lost (1); slightly blacker lores and adjacent areas of face (1); slightly less obvious supercilium (ns[1]); and evidently different song (2) and call (2). Scores for vocal differences could be much higher, but many Asthenes have one of two song types while at least one species has both, with a similar situation for call types; in this case, therefore, considerable caution is called for, and ideally a larger sample is needed in order to confirm that apparently different song types are not shared#R. In addition, DNA data#R indicate that ayacuchensis is closer to A. palpebralis and A. ottonis than to A. vilcabambae. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Andes of S Peru (W of R Apurímac, N Ayacucho).

Descriptive notes

18–20 cm. A typical thistletail. Differs from formerly conspecific A. vilcabambae in having a darker and more extensive rufous chin patch, it being bright reddish... read more


Primary vocalization a rapid, high-pitched, even trill lasting two seconds in duration, delivered... read more


Forest edge at the ecotone with puna, including Polylepis woodland, secondary... read more

Food and feeding

Little known. Feeds alone or in pairs in understorey; probably gleans arthropods from foliage and branches.


No information, although a juvenile has been observed in early Dec.


Presumably resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Population unknown, but presumably small. Overall range estimated at 17,200 km², although its Area of Occupancy is perhaps just 500... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Ayacucho Thistletail (Asthenes ayacuchensis). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 17 February 2020).