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Species Guide

Chestnut-capped Brushfinch

Arremon brunneinucha

The Chestnut-capped Brushfinch, a robust and mainly terrestrial bird, is a sight to behold. It measures 19 cm in length and tips the scales at 45 g. This species is distinguished by its large feet and legs, and a long slender bill, which it uses deftly to forage through leaf litter.

Identification Tips

Adults of this species are easily recognized by their striking head pattern. A yellow-edged chestnut crown and nape grace their heads, set against a black forehead and sides. White spots adorn the center and each side of the forehead, and a puffed-up white throat is often displayed when the bird is excited. The upperparts are a dark olive, with darker wings, while the central breast is white, separated from the throat by a black band. Grey breast sides transition to olive-green flanks and lower belly. Juveniles, on the other hand, present a sooty-brown cap, face, and olive-brown upperparts, throat, and breast.


The Chestnut-capped Brushfinch favors the undergrowth of wet mountain forests, thriving in second growth and ravines. It is most commonly found at altitudes ranging from 900 to 2500 meters.


This species is a resident of highland regions, with its range extending from central Mexico to southeastern Peru.


Pairs or family parties are the typical social units for the Chestnut-capped Brushfinch. The female takes on the task of constructing a large cup-shaped nest from plant material, which she places in a shrub or small tree within dense scrub or a ravine. The nest is usually situated less than 2.5 meters above the ground.

Song & Calls

The Chestnut-capped Brushfinch communicates with a thin pink call and a very high-pitched 'psssst'. The male's song is a melodic mixture of whistles and sharper notes, which can be heard throughout their habitat.


The female lays a clutch of two glossy, unmarked white or pale blue eggs. She alone incubates these eggs for a period of 12 to 14 days before they hatch.

Diet and Feeding

An inquisitive forager, the Chestnut-capped Brushfinch uses its bill to extract insects and spiders from the leaf litter. It also gleans berries and invertebrate prey from low bushes.

Conservation status

The Chestnut-capped Brushfinch is currently listed as Least Concern by the IUCN, indicating that, for now, this species is not at immediate risk of decline.

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Chestnut-capped Brushfinches on Birda


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