Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Cordilleran Canastero (Asthenes modesta)


French: Synallaxe des rocailles German: Graslandcanastero Spanish: Canastero pálido

Synallaxis modestus


, 1852,

#R, Bolivia (?)


In past, sometimes considered to include Pseudasthenes cactorum as a race (or even as synonym), but genetic data#R have shown latter as not even congeneric with present species. Nominate race apparently varies clinally in back colour, darkest in N, palest and sandiest in S. Proposed race navasi (S Argentina) described as differing from australis in biometrics (significantly shorter bill, longer wing and tail), but overlap in measurements prevents separation of many specimens. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. m. proxima (Chapman, 1921) – Andes of C & S Peru (Junín S to Cuzco).
  • A. m. modesta (Eyton, 1852) – Andes of SW Peru (Arequipa, Puno) and W Bolivia (W La Paz, Oruro, Potosí) S to N Chile (Tarapacá, Antofagasta) and NW Argentina (Jujuy, Salta, Catamarca).
  • A. m. rostrata (Berlepsch, 1901) – C Bolivia (E slope in La Paz and Cochabamba).
  • A. m. hilereti (Oustalet, 1904) – Andes of NW Argentina (Sierra de Aconquija and Cumbres Calchaquíes, in Tucumán and Catamarca).
  • A. m. australis Hellmayr, 1925 – C & S Chile (Andes from S Atacama S to Colchagua, lowlands in Aisén and N Magallanes) and W & S Argentina (Andes S from La Rioja, and lowlands from La Pampa, and Serranías de Ventania in SW Buenos Aires, S to Santa Cruz).
  • A. m. serrana Nores, 1986 – Cerro Famatina, in La Rioja (W Argentina).
  • A. m. cordobae Nores & Yzurieta, 1980 – Córdoba (Sierras Grandes, Sierra de Comechingones) and NE San Luis (Sierra de San Luis), in C Argentina.
  • Descriptive notes

    15–16 cm; 13–22 g. Typical canastero with coloured throat patch, some striping on head, medium-length tail. Nominate race has narrow light buff-brown super­... read more


    Song an ascending fast trill that ends abruptly, c. 2 seconds long; also more complex trill with... read more


    Puna grassland, southern temperate grassland; arid to semi-humid grassland, often rocky... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods; recorded dietary items are Coleoptera, ants, cockroaches (Blattidae). Usually forages solitarily, occasionally in pairs. Gleans... read more


    Season during austral spring-summer; eggs in Oct–Jan and nestlings in Nov and Feb in Argentina; eggs in Nov in Chile; fledglings in... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common in much of its range. Habitat occupied by this species is generally subjected to at least moderate overgrazing.

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2019). Cordilleran Canastero (Asthenes modesta). 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 13 December 2019).