Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Bolivian Brush-finch (Atlapetes rufinucha)


French: Tohi à nuque rousse German: Rotnacken-Buschammer Spanish: Atlapetes nuquirrufo

Embernagra rufi-nucha

d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye

, 1837,

Yungas, La Paz, Bolivia


Often considered conspecific with A. latinuchus, and both were originally considered part of a wider complex that included also A. terborghi and A. melanolaemus, although recent studies suggest that various components of this group may not be each other’s closest relatives. Has been suggested that all of these species, and A. schistaceus, are related in a complex manner, with yellow coloration lost or gained in a “leap-frog” pattern, such that taxa which do not look alike may in fact be closely related to each other. One specimen of present species from La Paz exhibits dark scalloping on breast, approaching A. melanolaemus; unclear if this is a variation in nominate race or due to gene flow between the two species. Name “Buarremon melanops” refers to specimens apparently assignable to nominate form of present species. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. r. rufinucha (d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1837) – subtropical zone of Andes of La Paz and Cochabamba, in WC Bolivia.
  • A. r. carrikeri J. Bond & Meyer de Schauensee, 1939 – Andes of Santa Cruz, in C Bolivia.
  • Descriptive notes

    17 cm; 20·9–22·2 g. Nominate race has blackish forehead, striking rufous crown to nape; face blackish, accented by bright yellow supraloral spot, yellow mousta­chial area... read more


    Song relatively simple, loud and often includes inflected or modulated notes at end, each song c. 1... read more


    Edge of montane forest, and in moist highland thickets, overgrown pastures and second growth, and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Insufficient information on diet. Forages on and near ground. Usually found in pairs or family groups.


    Birds in breeding condition in Dec–Feb. No other information.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common. Given its abundance, and adequately large range, this species is considered not to be at any immediate risk. As it prefers... read more

    Recommended citation

    Jaramillo, A. (2020). Bolivian Brush-finch (Atlapetes rufinucha). 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).