The white-bellied cinclodes, which occurs in the Andes, has brownish-rufous plumage on the upperparts, with gleaming white underparts. The blackish wings have a broad, white bar across them. The head is brownish-grey with a long, black bill. The song of the white-bellied cinclodes is a long, chattering trill (2).
The nest of this little-known bird was found as recently as 2002. It was situated among rocks beside a new road and was constructed from plant material and feathers. Two chicks were spotted fluttering around the nest in mid-December, and were seen again in early January being fed insects by the parents (2). The white-bellied cinclodes is generally seen in pairs or groups of three to four individuals, probing vegetation or searching at the water’s edge for worms, small frogs and insects (2)(3)
The white-bellied cinclodes inhabits boggy areas with short grass, near to rocky outcrops and stony slopes and often below glaciers, from 4,600 metres up to the snowline at around 5,000 metres (2)(3). Cinclodes are typically found near mountain streams and other sources of water (4).
The habitat of the white-bellied cinclodes has been relatively undisturbed by humans due to its high altitude. However, in the past five years the use of peat by humans has increased, for use in activities such as mushroom-growing and gardening, and this peat is extracted from the bogs which are inhabited by the white-bellied cinclodes. Due to the cinclodes’ apparently very specific habitat requirements, the activities of humans in towns and cities could reduce the survival chances of this species high-up in the mountains (2)(3).
The white-bellied cinclodes occurs within Junín National Reserve, and has been the focus of a few recent studies attempting to estimate the species’ population (2). This is an important step towards determining its status, and therefore enabling appropriate conservation measures to be taken, such as designating important reserves, and monitoring the effects of peat extraction on the population (3).
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