Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Chestnut-capped Brush-finch (Arremon brunneinucha)


French: Tohi à nuque brune German: Braunkopf-Buschammer Spanish: Cerquero coronicastaño

Embernagra brunnei-nucha


, 1839,

Mexico = Jalapa, Veracruz


Often placed in genus Buarremon or Atlapetes. A. kuehnerii was described, as a new species, from highlands of Guerrero, W Mexico, solely on basis of DNA, being otherwise identical to specimens of race suttoni#R, with which it is here provisionally considered synonymous. Race apertus proposed for treatment as separate species#R, but shares blackish tail and lack of tawny-yellow supercilium with race alleni, and song not different from brunneinucha, unlike more southern races#R. Proposed race nigrilatera (no specimens examined in present review), described from Cerro Baúl (extreme SE Oaxaca), in S Mexico, considered synonymous with suttoni (in HBW and some other checklists#R) but seems more likely on biogeographical grounds to be part of macrourus, if it is not in fact recognizable. Nine subspecies currently ­recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. b. brunneinucha (Lafresnaye, 1839) – E Mexico from San Luis Potosí and Veracruz S to NE Oaxaca.
  • A. b. apertus (Wetmore, 1942) – Sierra de los Tuxtlas, in SE Veracruz (Mexico).
  • A. b. suttoni (Parkes, 1954) – Guerrero E to C Oaxaca, in S Mexico.
  • A. b. macrourus (Parkes, 1954) – extreme SE Oaxaca and Chiapas (S Mexico) to SW Guatemala.
  • A. b. alleni (Parkes, 1954) – Honduras, N El Salvador and W Nicaragua.
  • A. b. elsae (Parkes, 1954) – Costa Rica and W & C Panama.
  • A. b. frontalis Tschudi, 1844 – extreme E Panama, Colombia, W & N Venezuela (except in Falcón and Yaracuy), Ecuador (except W slope from SW Chimborazo S to NW Azuay) and Peru.
  • A. b. allinornatus (Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1949) – Sierra de San Luis (Falcón) and Sierra de Aroa (Yaracuy), in NW Venezuela.
  • A. b. inornatus (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1879) – SC Ecuador from SW Chimborazo S to NW Azuay (vicinity of R Chimbo and R Chanchán).
  • Descriptive notes

    16·3–19·5 cm; c. 32–47 g. Fairly large brush-finch. Nominate race has large black mask from forehead and forecrown down to gape and rearwards... read more


    Song a jumble of high-pitched, slurred whistles and staccato notes, “peetee-zeer, peetee-s... read more


    Thick undergrowth of dense tropical forest and thickets, at 400–3500 m; in Panama usually... read more

    Food and feeding

    Variety of insects and seeds. Forages on and near ground; hops on ground. Skulks. Turns over leaves to find food items, but does not... read more


    In Mexico, laying mid-May to Jun and breeding Aug in Guerrero, breeding early Apr in C Oaxaca; fledglings in late Jul in Guatemala; nests... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Status difficult to determine, as species skulks in dense undergrowth and is generally rather difficult to observe. Probably fairly common in... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2020). Chestnut-capped Brush-finch (Arremon brunneinucha). 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).