Conservationists and Communities Rally to Save Colombia's Rare, Rediscovered Brushfinch

The Antioquia Brushfinch, seen here feeding on a native blueberry plant, has benefited from conservation efforts since the species' rediscovery in 2018. Photo courtesy of SalvaMontes

Conservationists and communities in northwestern Colombia are rallying to save the recently rediscovered Antioquia Brushfinch, finding new populations and taking action to protect the Critically Endangered bird's rapidly disappearing habitat. Partners in this effort include local researchers and land managers, supported by Colombian and international conservation organizations including Corporación SalvaMontes, American Bird Conservancy (ABC), World Land Trust, and others.

The Antioquia Brushfinch, a rusty-crowned Colombian songbird, was described as a new species in 2007, based solely on old museum specimens. In the wild, however, this bird eluded scientists until it was documented for the first time in the field in January 2018. Researchers Rodolfo Correa Peña, Sergio Chaparro-Herrera, Andrea Lopera-Salazar, and Juan L. Parra published this rediscovery in the journal Cotinga in 2019. This promising news catalyzed efforts to find more individuals and to better protect the species' alpine shrubland habitats from being converted to crops and pasture.

“The area where the bird was rediscovered was rapidly being cleared for cropland, therefore finding additional populations and sites was critical to develop conservation actions,” says Daniel Lebbin, ABC's Vice President of Threatened Species.

Subsequent search expeditions resulted in conservation actions, including the following:

“Much work remains to be done to save the Antioquia Brushfinch from extinction, but with the efforts made since rediscovery nearly three years ago, and conservation being implemented now, the future for this species is looking much brighter,” says Sussy de la Zerda, ABC's International Programs Manager.

ABC would like to acknowledge the many donors who have supported our Antioquia Brushfinch conservation efforts, including Hank Kaestner, The Mohamed bin Zayed Species Conservation Fund, the estate of Mary Janvrin, Ted Reissing, Ivan Samuels, David and Patricia Davidson, John Harris, Sharon Forsyth, and David Harrison. We also thank Wendy Willis for her efforts to raise funds for the Antioquia Brushfinch, and the many individuals who contributed to her Trailblazing for Brushfinches fundraiser.


Media Contact: Jordan Rutter, Director of Public Relations, 202-888-7472 | | @JERutter
Expert Contact: Daniel Lebbin, Vice President of Threatened Species, 607-351-5467 |

American Bird Conservancy is a nonprofit organization dedicated to conserving birds and their habitats throughout the Americas. With an emphasis on achieving results and working in partnership, we take on the greatest problems facing birds today, innovating and building on rapid advancements in science to halt extinctions, protect habitats, eliminate threats, and build capacity for bird conservation. Find us on, Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter (@ABCbirds).




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