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BIRD OF THE WEEK
SCIENTIFIC NAME: Atlapetes flaviceps
POPULATION: 250 – 1,000 individuals
IUCN STATUS: Endangered
HABITAT: Degraded forest and thick secondary growth.
A close relative of Ecuador’s Pale-headed Brush-Finch and almost as uncommon, the Yellow-headed Brush-Finch of Colombia is a bird that has come out on the bright side of an identity crisis.
Well into the 20th century, Yellow-headed Brush-Finch was known only from two drab specimens and was classified as the Olive-headed Brush-Finch. But in the 1980s, updated research and field work found that this species actually has variable head coloring, ranging from bright yellow to dark olive, likely depending on the individual bird’s sex and age. This better understanding of its plumage variation led to its current and more colorful common name.