Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Black-faced Brush-finch (Atlapetes melanolaemus)


French: Tohi mélanien German: Schwarzgesicht-Buschammer Spanish: Atlapetes carinegro
Other common names: Grey-eared Brush-finch

Buarremon melanolæmus

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1879,

Cchachupata, Cuzco, Peru


Often considered a race of A. latinuchus, and both were originally treated as part of a wider complex that included also A. terborghi and A. rufinucha, although recent studies suggest that various components of this group may not be each other’s closest relatives. Present species probably closest to A. terborghi. One specimen of nominate race of A. rufinucha from La Paz (Bolivia) exhibits dark scalloping on breast, approaching present species; unclear if this is a variation in former species or due to gene flow between the two. Monotypic.


SE Peru (E Cuzco and adjacent Puno) and adjacent W Bolivia (La Paz).

Descriptive notes

17 cm; 27·5–30·3 g. A dark brush-finch with yellow underparts and dark scaling about breast. Has bright rufous forehead to crown and nape; face, including lores, superciliary... read more


Song short and explosive, “Cheoo Ch-Wha-Chee”, as well as a pleasant “Chew-wi Tee-tee” or sometimes... read more


Humid montane forest and shrubby slopes; 1400–3200 m.

Food and feeding

Forages on or near ground. No other information.


Near Manu National Park, Peru, where 47 nests found in 2007–2013, nesting occurs in late Jul–early Dec, peaking in Oct; nest,... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common to fairly common. Has a small, but not tiny, global range, within which it is not uncommon. In addition, no imminent... read more

Recommended citation

Jaramillo, A. (2020). Black-faced Brush-finch (Atlapetes melanolaemus). 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 18 February 2020).