Family New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Least Concern

White-naped Brush-finch (Atlapetes albinucha)


French: Tohi à calotte blanche German: Weißnacken-Buschammer Spanish: Atlapetes nuquiblanco

Embernagra albinucha

d’Orbigny#R and Lafresnaye

, 1838,

Cartagena; error = Caribbean slope of Mexico


Often placed in genus Buarremon or Arremon. Nominate race distinctive, owing to its yellow vs grey breast to belly (3), but no other characters apparent and voice very similar#R; genetic evidence, however, provides some support for a split#R. Race fuscipygius appears to intergrade with griseipectus in NW El Salvador. Poorly differentiated race coloratus possibly better merged with brunnescens. Eight subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. a. albinucha (d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1838) – White-naped Brush-finch – Caribbean slope of Mexico from Puebla and Veracruz S to Oaxaca and Chiapas.
  • A. a. griseipectus Dwight & Griscom, 1921 – Pacific slope of SW Chiapas (S Mexico), highlands of W Guatemala and El Salvador (San José del Sacre and Volcán de Santa Ana).
  • A. a. fuscipygius Dwight & Griscom, 1921 – highlands of Honduras, NW El Salvador (Los Esesmiles) and NW Nicaragua.
  • A. a. parvirostris Dwight & Griscom, 1921 – subtropical zone of Costa Rica.
  • A. a. brunnescens Chapman, 1915 – subtropical zone of W Panama (W Chiriquí).
  • A. a. coloratus Griscom, 1924 – subtropical zone of E Chiriquí (Panama).
  • A. a. azuerensis Aldrich, 1937 – Azuero Peninsula, in S Panama.
  • A. a. gutturalis (Lafresnaye, 1843) – Grey-breasted Brush-finch – upper tropical and subtropical zones of Colombian Andes S from Antioquia, Santander and Norte de Santander; recently found in N Ecuador (NW Sucumbíos, N Napo)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    17–21 cm; 31–37·2 g. Nominate race has black head with broad white median crownstripe; upperparts, including wings and tail, dark slaty grey with slight... read more


    Song a deliberate series of notes, “tsee tseea tseea tseea tseer”, sometimes... read more


    Thick undergrowth, shrubby clearings, openings in cloudforest, and borders of dense tropical... read more

    Food and feeding

    Variety of insects and seeds. Forages on and near ground. Hops on ground; turns over leaves to find insects and other foods. Sometimes... read more


    Nesting recorded in late Apr in S Mexico (Oaxaca), Apr–Jul in Costa Rica and Panama, and Mar–Sept in Colombia. Nest is an open... read more


    Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common to fairly common in Mexico; common in appropriate habitat in El Salvador, Costa Rica and W & S Panama; fairly common in Colombia. In... read more

    Recommended citation

    Rising, J. (2020). White-naped Brush-finch (Atlapetes albinucha). 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).