Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Cactus Canastero (Pseudasthenes cactorum)


French: Synallaxe des cactus German: Kaktuscanastero Spanish: Canastero de los cactos

Asthenes cactorum


, 1959,

Atico, Arequipa, Peru


Sister to P. steinbachi (which see); see also P. humicola. Formerly considered closely related to or even conspecific with Asthenes modesta, but DNA data#R#R reveal that the two are not even congeneric. Supposedly smaller birds from the lomas of Lachay region (having greyish-rose cast and very dark central rectrices with dark rufous webs) described as race lachayensis, and those from higher Andes from Lima S to Arequipa proposed as race monticola (said to differ from birds of coastal lomas in larger size, browner, less ochre, upperparts, darker central rectrices, somewhat darker throat patch, and less uniform underparts with more contrasting darker sides and flanks); although recognized by some authors#R, both populations appear to be products of clinal variation combined with differences in degree of plumage wear, and described characters do not permit diagnosis of individual specimens. Monotypic.


W slope of Andes of SW Peru (W La Libertad#R and Lima S to Arequipa).

Descriptive notes

13–14 cm; 16–19 g. Large-billed, rather dull canastero. Has dull pale buff supercilium behind eye, fuscous lores and postocular band, contrasting dull buff line... read more


Song a weak, dry trill lasting up to 6 seconds; call described as low-pitched, fast, dry trill 0·5... read more


Arid montane scrub; arid slopes with sparse bushes, such as Jatropa, and columnar cacti;... read more

Food and feeding

Little known. Solitary or in pairs. Apparently gleans arthropods from ground, rocks, cacti, and perhaps low vegetation.


Season mainly austral spring-summer; eggs in Oct–Jan (also Jun–Aug for “lachayensis”). Presumably monogamous. Nest in... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Peru-Chile Pacific Slope EBA. Uncommon. A poorly known species. Habitat is subjected to at least moderate... read more

Recommended citation

Remsen, J.V., Jr & de Juana, E. (2020). Cactus Canastero (Pseudasthenes cactorum). 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 25 January 2020).