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The Puna Thistletail is a small but slender furnariid restricted to elfin forest/upper cloud forest tree-line habitat. Like all members of the genus, it is readily identifiable from other Furnariids by its long, deeply forked and thin graduated tail that often appears ‘worn’. Individuals from all populations show an indistinct white supercilium behind the eye, either rufous or white chin colour, black upper throat, and have dark-rufescent upperparts. Populations in the southern part of its restricted-range however are noticeably smaller, showing a number of different plumage characteristics, and may represent an undescribed taxon. Fairly vocal, the species forages in dense understorey dominated by Chusquea bamboo, but overall very little is known (quantitatively) about many aspects of its ecology. Nevertheless the species is considered to be common at a number of localities within its restricted-range even where there is considerable habitat disturbance. Currently not considered threatened, surveys are needed to determine patterns of habitat occupancy and abundance across the Andean tree-line ecotone throughout its range.
Puna Thistletail photo © Tor Egil Høgsås