Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

Slaty Brush-finch (Atlapetes schistaceus)


French: Tohi ardoisé German: Graubrust-Buschammer Spanish: Atlapetes pizarroso

Tanagra (Arremon) schistaceus


, 1840,

Santa Fe de Bogotá, Colombia


Until recently, generally treated as conspecific with A. canigenis, and hitherto also with A. taczanowskii. Sometimes thought to be closely related to A. seebohmi and A. nationi, and often considered conspecific with one or both. It has been suggested that this species, A. terborghi, A. melanolaemus and A. rufinucha are related in a complex manner, with yellow coloration lost or gained in a “leap-frog” pattern, such that taxa that do not look alike may in fact be closely related to each other. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. s. fumidus Wetmore & Phelps, Jr, 1953 – Sierra de Perijá, on N Colombia–W Venezuela border.
  • A. s. castaneifrons (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1875) – Andes of Venezuela (Trujillo, Mérida and C & E Táchira).
  • A. s. tamae Cory, 1913 – W Venezuela (SW Táchira) and adjacent Colombia (Norte de Santander).
  • A. s. schistaceus (Boissonneau, 1840) – W & C Colombian Andes (S from Antioquia and Norte de Santander) and N & C Ecuador.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–18 cm; 22·6–43·9 g. A largely greyish brush-finch. Nominate race has crown to nape rusty, face down to lower edge of ear-coverts and back to sides of neck black, usually a... read more


    Song an energetic series of loud, sharp, high-pitched trills and squeaks, ending in distinctive... read more


    Shrubby forest borders and undergrowth of humid woodland, reaching to treeline. Found in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet includes insects and fruit. More arboreal, less terrestrial, than other brush-finches. Tends to forage from ground level to 5 m up;... read more


    In Colombia, fledglings observed in Apr–Aug in Cauca and Apr in Cundinamarca and birds in breeding condition in Apr–Sept in N and in Nov in... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common in Venezuela and Colombia; uncommon in Ecuador. No known threats. Because of its large range, generally good levels of... read more

    Recommended citation

    Jaramillo, A. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Slaty Brush-finch (Atlapetes schistaceus). 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 24 February 2020).