The black-backed bush tanager also known as the black-backed bush-finch, is a species of bird in the family Thraupidae. It is monotypic within the genus Urothraupis. It is found in Colombia and Ecuador. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.

Distribution and habitat

It is found only in the central Andes of Colombia (from Caldas to Cauca) and on the eastern slope of the Andes mountain range from southwestern Colombia (Nariño) to southeastern Ecuador (up to Morona Santiago)

This species is considered rare and local in its natural habitats; high mountain forests and shrubs (including Polylepis), near the tree line, at altitudes between 3,200 and 4,000 meters above sea level.


It measures 15cm in length. Above it is entirely black with a contrasting white throat; below it is mottled and mottled gray and white.5


Most often, it walks in groups of four to six, actively searching the foliage for insects; they are regularly associated with small mixed flocks of other traupids, chingolos, swamps and others. It is generally tame and easy to be observed.5


Urothraupis stolzmanni, illustration by Smit in Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1885.

Original description

The species U. stolzmanni and the genus Urothraupis were first described by Polish ornithologists Władysław Taczanowski and German Hans von Berlepsch in 1885; its type locality is: «Hacienda San Rafael, 9000 ft [c. 2740 m], Tungurahua Volcano, Ecuador ».


The feminine generic name Urothraupis is composed of the Greek words «oura»: tail, and «θραυπίς thraupis»: small unknown bird mentioned by Aristotle, perhaps some kind of finch (in ornithology thraupis means «tanager»); and the species name ‘stolzmanni’ commemorates the Polish ornithologist Jean Stanislaus Stolzmann (1854–1928) .6


It is monotypic. Recent extensive phylogenetic studies by Burns et al. (2014) verify that the present species is the sister of Nephelornis oneilli, and the pair formed by both is close to Microspingus, all in a Poospizinae subfamily.

Vocalization/ Song


BirdLife International (2012). «Urothraupis stolzmanni». Lista Roja de especies amenazadas de la UICN 2016.1 (en inglés). ISSN 2307-8235. Consultado el 4 de septiembre de 2016.

Tangara de Stolzmann Urothraupis stolzmanni Taczanowski & von Berlepsch, 1885». Avibase. Consultado el 26 de abril de 2021.

Jobling, J.A. (2010). Helm Dictionary of Scientific Bird Names (en inglés). Londres: Bloomsbury Publishing. pp. 1-432. ISBN 9781408133262. «Urothraupis, p. 397, stolzmanni, p. 366».

Burns, K.J., Schultz, A.J., Title, P.O., Mason, N.A., Barker, F.K., Klicka, J., Lanyon, S.M. & Lovette, I.J. (2014). «Phylogenetics and diversification of tanagers (Passeriformes: Thraupidae), the largest radiation of Neotropical songbirds» (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution (75): 41-77. ISSN 1055-7903. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2014.02.006