Black-eared Hemispingus (Sphenopsis melanotis)

Order: Passeriformes Family: Thraupidae | IUCN Status: Least Concern

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Manu Road, Cuzco

Age: Adult (berlepchi) | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Abra Patricia, Amazonas

Age: Adult | Sex: Unknown | Loc. Eastern Andes, Ecuador

Age: Adult (piurae )| Sex: Unknown | Loc. Utuana, Ecuador

Identification & Behavior: ~14 cm (5.5 in). The Black-eared Hemispingus is composed of several sub-species with variable plumages. All forms are gray-brown above and mostly rufous below. All forms also have a variable amount of black on the sides of the head. Some forms (castaneicollis) have white superciliary. It forages in thick foliage in the understory and mid-canopy of humid montane forest often along with mixed-species flocks.  It is similar to a female Slaty Tanager but is distinguished by a smaller size and by having black on the sides of the head.

Status: The Black-eared Hemispingus is uncommon in humid montane forests of the east slope of the Andes at elevations ranging between 1100-2200 m. The sub-species piurae and macrophrys range on the west slope of the northern Andes at elevations ranging between 1200-3050 m. It also occurs in Co, Ec, and Bo.

Name in Spanish: Hemispingo de Oreja Negra.

Sub-species: Black-eared Hemispingus (Sphenopsis melanotis piurae) Chapman, 1923.  southwest Ecuador and northwest Peru.
(S. m.macrophrys), Koepcke, 1961.
(S. m. berlepschi), (Taczanowski), 1880.  E slope of Andes in Peru from Amazonas S to N Cuzco.
(S. m. castaneicollis), (P. L. Sclater), 1858.  E slope in SE Peru (from Puno) S to C Bolivia (W Santa Cruz).

Meaning of Name: Sphenopsis: Gr. Sphēnos= wedge, opsis= appearance. melanotis: Gr. melas, melanos= black and otis= eared.

Formerly known as Hemispingus melanotis (2017).

See more of the Family Thraupidae   peru aves

Distribution Map


    • Species range based on: Schulenberg, T. S., D. F. Stotz, and L. Rico. 2006. Distribution maps of the birds of Peru, version 1.0. Environment, Culture & Conservation (ECCo). The Field Museum. on 03/01/2016.