Family Tanagers (Thraupidae)

Least Concern

Red-backed Sierra-finch (Ephippiospingus dorsalis)


French: Idiopsar à dos roux German: Braunmantel-Ammertangare Spanish: Yal dorsirrojo

Phrygilus dorsalis


, 1883,

Cerro Bayo, near snow-line, Tucumán, Argentina


See E. erythronotus. Monotypic.


N Chile (Andes of Tarapacá and Antofagasta), SW Bolivia (S from Oruro) and NW Argentina (Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán and Catamarca).

Descriptive notes

15 cm; 35·4–40·5 g. A stocky finch with thick and rather triangular-looking bill. Head and upper nape are blue-grey, usually speckled white below eye,... read more


Song apparently remains unrecorded. Calls include a short “wheenk” and a nasal “... read more


Typically found in bofedales (Altiplano wetlands, or “cushion bogs”) adjacent... read more

Food and feeding

Little known. Diet largely seeds, also arthropods. Forages in pairs or family groups on ground; often forages in crouched posture, with... read more


Season Feb–May. Aerial display described in which bird rises some distance, hovers at apex and descends in fluttering flight like that of... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Generally uncommon and local. Present in some protected sites, such as national parks and national reserves; e.g. occurs in Reserva Nacional de Fauna... read more

Recommended citation

Jaramillo, A. (2019). Red-backed Sierra-finch (Ephippiospingus dorsalis). 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 19 May 2019).