Overview

Brief Summary

Interesting Facts

Peculiar modifications of certain primary feathers are worthy of mention and are very reminiscent of those noted by Zimmer (1939) for C. subbrunneus (Fig. 1). The twisted orientation of the leading edge of the wing is immediately obvious and very like that noted for C. subbruneus (Zimmer 1939). Primary 10 has a strongly curved leading edge. Primaries 9 through 5 have noticeable emarginations, least exaggerated on primary 9. There is a "bulge" of slightly decomposed barbs on primaries 8, 7, 6, and 5 more basal than the emarginations. These are similar to decomposed barbs on primaries 7, 6, and 5 of C. subbrunneus. In addition to the unique primary modifications, both species of Cnipodectes share a darkened, longitudinally raised "ridge" that is a narrowing of the vane of the inner webs of primaries 8, 7, and 6 (and 5 in C. superrufiis). The shaft structure of these primaries also has the same T-shaped cross-section noted by Zimmer (1939) for C. subbrunneus. Although the evidence is not conclusive, some or all of these feather modifications may be involved in the production of mechanical sound (see below).

Mechanical noises have been noted in both species of Cnipodectes. Hilty and Brown (1986: 483) note that C. subbrunneus "can produce a very audible pr'r'r'r'r'r' in flight with wings." This description is similar to mechanical sounds T.V.H. witnessed, performed by C. superrufus at Kirigueti. In response to playback, Valqui observed the bird approaching aggressively, making an accelerating and decelerating buzzing noise, while flying ca. 4 m off the ground. Although it was not clear what the source of the sound was (and it was not tape recorded), it seems likely that it was mechanical and produced by the wings.

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Grace P. Servat

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Succinct

A tyrannid, assignable to genus Cnipodectes by a combination of relatively large size; broad and flat bill surrounded by well developed rictal bristles; shaggy overall plumage texture; broad and squared tertials with pale inner and outer edges; and primaries twisted in their orientation.
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Grace P. Servat

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Comprehensive Description

Museum Specimens

Holotype.- MUSM 14023; adult male, netted at Puesto de Vigilancia Pakitza on the left (north)
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Etymology

The species epithet superrufus refers to its rich and distinctive rufous coloration that, though commonly exhibited by other members of the Tyrannidae, is rarely so uniform or so deeply saturated. The prefix super underscores the degree of saturation, but alternatively can be interpreted as drawing attention to the large size of the species as compared with Cnipodectes subbrunneus, the only other species of this genus. We also refer to the rufous color in the English and Spanish common names for the bird.
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Specimen Information

Holotype.- MUSM 14023; adult male, netted at Puesto de Vigilancia Pakitza on the left (north) bank of Río Manu (approximately 11°56'S, 71°15'W) in the Zona Reservada del Parque Nacional Manu, elevation 350 m; 22 February 1990 by Grace P. Servat, field number 322. Measurements.- Wing chord 114 mm; tail length 112 mm; bill length (from posterior edge of nares to tip of maxilla) 11.4 mm; bill width (at nares) 6.6 mm; tarsus length (from tibiatarsus/tarsometatarsus joint to ventral base of 19 mm; mass 35 g; testis 4x2.5 mm.

Paratypes. - In addition to the holotype, there are four additional specimens of C. superrufus. Two were netted on the Río Pavoreni close to Kirigueti and prepared by T. Valqui H. A female (MUSM 26447), collected 23 February 2004: 26.3 g; no fat; molt on the two innermost primaries; ovary, 7 × 3 mm; ova minute.

Members of the ERM team netted the fourth specimen in June 2004 at Nuevo Mundo, but we have no further information about this individual. Finally, a fifth specimen was netted at Las Malvinas, Department of Cuzco, prepared by C. Aucca C, and deposited at MUSAAC.The specimen is a male (no institutional or personal catalogue numbers are available), collected 21 September 1997: 29.5 g; little fat; molt on body; left testis, 6.5 × 3.5 mm, right testis, 4 × 2.5 mm; skull 70% ossified; iris white or pale cream (it is not clear whether this was recorded in life or after death, when the color may have faded); maxilla gray with yellow base; mandible yellowish-pink; legs pale bluish-gray. Inspection of the specimen showed that it did not have the modified primaries we noted on the other two male specimens. Thus, we suspect that it represents a first basic male plumage.

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Original Description

Description of the holotype.- Feathering of crown and auricular areas are between Mahogany Red and Auburn (capitalized colors from Ridgway [1912]) with the centers of the elongated "crest" feathers Raw Umber. Loral area with feather bases Ochraceous-Salmon, tips more rufescent; rictal bristles tipped blackish. Back feathers a rich Mahogany becoming intermediate between Mahogany and Burnt Sienna on the rump and uppertail coverts. The chin and upper throat have feather bases Zinc Orange with tips more like Sanford's Brown. There is a broad, ill defined pectoral band that is between Burnt Sienna and Sanford’s Brown. The belly and flanks are between Sanford's Brown and Xanthine Orange with the vent and undertail coverts a richer color between Burnt Sienna and Sandford's Brown. The uppertail coloration is Chestnut Brown on the inner webs and basal outer web of each rectrix. The edge of the outer web, which has a decomposed texture, is a richer color between Mahogany Red and Burnt Sienna. The undertail is a drabber Prout's Brown with the very inner edge of each rectrix Argus Brown. The secondary wing covert feathers (including greater, median, and lesser coverts) are Raw Umber with discrete edging of Mahogany Red. The leading edge of the primary coverts and underwing lining are Xanthine Orange. The primary coverts are Bone Brown. The Primaries have the basal shaft area Bone Brown with the outer portions Olive Brown becoming very pale on the basal inner primary webs. The secondaries are Olive Brown with the very outer edge Sudan Brown. The tertails have the interiors Prout's Brown with a broad inner edge Tawny and an outer edge between Brussels Brown and Auburn Brown. The undersides of the remiges fade to pale Vinaceous-Fawn by the basal inner edge.

Wing feather modification: Peculiar modifications of certain primary feathers are worthy of mention, and are very reminiscent of those noted by Zimmer (1939) for Cnipodectes subbrunneus. The twisted orientation of the leading edge of the wing is immediately obvious, and very like that noted for C. subbruneus (Zimmer 1939). Primary 10 has a strongly curved leading edge. Primaries 9 through 6 have noticeable emarginations, these becoming most exaggerated on primaries 8, 7, 6, and 5. There is a "bulge" of slightly decomposed barbs on primaries 6 and 5 more basal than the emarginations. This is similar to decomposed barbs on primaries 7. 6. and 5 of C. subbrunneus. The inner webs of these same three primaries exhibit the darkened longitudinally-raised "ridge" that is a narrowing of the vane (Zimmer 1939). The shaft structure of these same primaries also has the same "T" shaped cross-section as noted by Zimmer (1939) for C. subbrunneus. Although the evidence is not conclusive, some or all of these feather modifications may be involved in the production of mechanical sound (B. Whitney, pers. comm.; pers. obs.).

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Distribution

Range Description

Cnipodectes superrufus has been recently described from an area of southwestern Amazonia bordering Madre de Dios, Peru, Acre, Brazil and Pando, Bolivia (Tobias et al. 2008). Its range has been estimated at c. 89,000 km2 corresponding to the area of Guadua bamboo dominated habitats; though it appears to be absent from some apparently suitable habitats (Tobias et al. 2008). Field surveys have found the species is the rarest of the bamboo specialists within the region (Tobias et al. 2008). It is a generally scarce species, and based on the extent of potentially suitable habitat it is thought possible that the global population is fewer than 10,000 mature individuals (Tobias et al. 2008). Its habitat is threatened by clearance for development projects, but Guadua may actually increase in area because it can proliferate on deforested land. However, the twistwing is usually recorded in large mature stands of bamboo and is rarely found in young Guadua regrowth, thus a decline is suspected (Tobias et al. 2008).

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Range

sw Amazonia in se Peru, sw Brazil, and nw Bolivia.

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In addition to the type locality, C. superrufus has been encountered at Department of Madre de Dios: Playa Bonita, ~7 km north of Cocha Cashu Biological Station, ~370 m elevation, 11°54'S, 71°18'W; Department of Cuzco: Nuevo Mundo on the lower Rio Urubamba (elevation unknown) 11°32'S, 73°08'W; close to the community of Kirigueti on the Río Pavoreni, a tributary of the Rio Urubamba, ~380 m elevation, 11°38'S, 73°07'W; and Las Malvinas, ~360 m elevation, 11°54'S, 72°57'W (Aucca 1998). B. M. Whitney and J. Rowlett recorded vocalizations that probably belong to the species but were not confirmed visually, near Manu Lodge (12°06'S, 71°06'W, 340 m) also in P. N. Manu, Department of Madre de Dios, a site on the Rio Manu upstream from the type locality. We expect that the species will be encountered elsewhere in stands of Guadua in southeastern Peru and northwestern Bolivia, and perhaps into southwestern Amazonian Brazil. Other locality reports have been made recently by Tobias et al. (in press) within the border of Department of Pando, Bolivia.
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
The species is a Guadua bamboo specialist, and its apparent absence from some well-studied sites suggests that it may only occur in larger patches (Lane et al. 2007). Its density within suitable habitat is not known; it is apparently the scarcest of the bamboo specialists within its range, but comparatively little ornithological work has been conducted in the region allowing the possibility that it may be found to be relatively common (Lane et al. 2007). The species has been observed perched 1-3 m above the ground from where it sallies after arthropods. Both Cnipodectes spp. perform regular wing raises; the purpose of this behaviour is unknown (Lane et al. 2007).


Systems
  • Terrestrial
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On the basis of the habitat present at all sites where the species has been confirmed by sight or specimen, C. superrufus have been labeled a Guadua specialist (sensu Kratter 1997). The only reports not pertaining to birds in bamboo-dominated habitat are the two voice encounters at Manu Lodge in the years 1991 and 2000, neither of which could be verified by sight (B. M. Whitney and J. L. Rowlett pers. comm.). Here, the habitat was reported to be in riveredge thicket vegetation with no bamboo growth visible. If the Manu Lodge records were also of C. superrufus, this hypothesis is not necessarily refuted, because other "bamboo specialists" also occur marginally in other habitats (Kratter 1997, Aleixo et al. 2000). The patches of Guadua at the Pakitza and Playa Bonita sites have bloomed and died, or are dying at the time of this writing (G. P. Servat pers. obs.). Whether C. superrufus will remain at these sites for the long term in the absence of bamboo is a topic to study; other bamboo-specialist bird species are known to abandon dying patches (Kratter 1997). However, H. Lloyd (pers. comm.) found the species in a remnant patch of bamboo amid floodplain forest at Pakitza in August 2004, which suggests that the species can persist even in dying bamboo patches. It may be that the Manu Lodge records were of a bird maintaining its territory at a site where the bamboo had died and not yet regenerated.
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General Ecology

Ecosystem Role

Understory insectivore.
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Ecology and Behavior

In all the authors' encounters with C. superrufus, the individuals perched 1-3 m off the ground and sallied for arthropods, changing perches with each foraging maneuver. T.V.H. estimated a foraging maneuver about every 30 s as the bird progressed along a 30-m-wide bamboo corridor between two pastures. F.R.L. noticed that the species performs a lethargic wing-raising behavior, similar to that reported for C. subbrunneus (Hilty and Brown 1986, Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001b, Fitzpatrick et al. 2004). It is not clear what the exact source of these sounds is; it may be the thickened primary shafts, the twisted orientation of the feathers, or the raised, blackish ridges on the trailing edges of some of the primaries (Zimmer 1939).
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Evolution and Systematics

Systematics or Phylogenetics

Classification

Animalia, Chordata, Aves, Passeriformes, Tyrannidae, Genus: Cnipodectes, Species: superrufus
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Conservation

Until more fieldwork is conducted about the habitat requirements and potential distribution of C. superrufus, the authors were hesitant to make any conjectures regarding its conservation status. However, they point out that Pakitza and Playa Bonita are within the Manu Biosphere Zone, and therefore receive protection. Presumably, there is a healthy population nearby within this biosphere zone.
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Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
C2a(i)

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Butchart, S. & Symes, A.

Contributor/s
Tobias, J.

Justification
This newly described species is classified as Vulnerable because although widespread it occurs at low densities and is consequently suspected to have a small, patchily distributed population that is declining in line with habitat conversion within its range.

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Population

Population
The precise distribution and population density of this newly described species are not known, so no accurate population estimate is available. However, while Guadua bamboo habitat is widespread within its range, it appears to show a prefence for larger patches, it is usually recorded in mature patches rather than regrowth, and it appears to be scarce throughout its range. Therefore, the species is precautionarily suspected to have a global population of <10,000 mature individuals, placed in the band 2,500-9,999 mature individuals. This equates to 3,750-14,999 individuals in total, rounded here to 3,500-15,000 individuals.

Population Trend
Increasing
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Threats

Major Threats
Preliminary evidence suggests that the species shows a preference for larger patches of mature Guadua bamboo. This habitat is threatened within the species range by development projects such as the Trans Oceanica Highway and the available area of mature bamboo stands is likely to decrease. The highway's construction is likely to open the region to further deforestation for cattle ranching and biofuels in the future.

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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
Two Peruvian sites, Pakitza and Playa Bonita are within the Manu Biosphere Zone (Lane et al. 2007). Several surveys have targeted and identified this species, improving knowledge of its global distribution.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Confirm the species's distribution by checking additional Guadua sites that may support it. Study its ecology assessing whether there is a relationship between presence and bamboo patch size/patch maturity. Map the potential impact of development projects within its range to assess future population declines and identify key sites for conservation/mitigation.

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Wikipedia

Rufous twistwing

The rufous twistwing (Cnipodectes superrufus) is a species of bird in the family Tyrannidae (tyrant flycatchers). It was described as a new species in 2007.

It is associated with bamboo growing in humid forested regions in south-eastern Peru, northern Bolivia and far western Brazil (Acre only). Most of its range is remote. Nevertheless, it has recently been estimated that the total population is below 10,000 individuals, leading to recommendations of treating it as vulnerable, and this was followed by BirdLife International in 2009. As suggested by its common name, its primaries are modified as in the related, but smaller, brownish twistwing. Unlike the brownish twistwing, the rufous twistwing is bright rufous overall.

In 2009, Andrew Spencer recorded the effect of the twist in the wings of the rufous twistwing. To hear the sound, follow the link at the bottom of this page.

References[edit]

  • Lane, D., G. P. Servat, T. Valqui H., & F. R. Lambert. 2007. A distinctive new species of Tyrant flycatcher (Passerifomer: Tyrannidae: Cnipodectes) from south-eastern Peru. Auk. 124(3): 762–772.
  • Tobias, J. A., D. J. Lebbin, A. Aleixo, M. J. Andersen, E. Guilherme, P. A. Hosner, & N. Seddon. (2008) Distribution, Behaviour and Conservation Status of the Rufous Twistwing Cnipodectes superrufus. The Wilson Journal of Ornithology 120(1): 38–49.
  • BirdLife Species factsheet
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References and More Information

People

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