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The masked saltator is listed as Vulnerable nationally and Near Threatened internationally. It is found in Andean forests in very localized regions of the country. its name Saltator derives from Latin and means dancer while its epithet cinctus also derives from Latin and means collared.


It measures about 21 cm and weighs from 43 to 53 g. Both male and female are similar. It has orange to gold irises, gray legs, and a red bill. It has slate gray crown and upperparts, black flight feathers and uppertail coverts widely edged with white, the four outermost with broad white dots. The loreal area and from the ear coverts to the chin and throat are black, sometimes this black mask is separated from the gray on the back of the head by a narrow pale streak. The upper part of the chest is white with a wide black band, the rest of the underparts are creamy white, the flanks are gray and the belly is barred in black and white. Juveniles paler than adults, with smaller mask and pale yellow bill.


This species is found in Colombia, Ecuador and Peru. In Colombia it is distributed between 2,000 and 3,000 m above sea level in scattered localities on both slopes of the Central mountain range, covering the departments of Caldas, Risaralda, Quindío, Tolima and Valle del Cauca.


This species inhabits Andean forests and within this ecosystem it has been reported using mature forests, secondary forests, forest edges, alder plantations (Alnus acuminata) and especially stands dominated by Podocarpus oleifolius (Podocarpaceae).


It is a frugivorous species. During the year it consumes fruits of Podocarpus oleifolius and has also been recorded consuming fruits of Cissampelos sp. (Menispermaceae), Siparuna echinata (Siparunaceae), Leandra melanodesma (Melastomataceae), Miconia myrtillifolia (Melastomataceae) and Trema micrantha (Cannabaceae).


It makes a nest with eggs in January and an adult takes care of the juvenile at the end of April. Both members of the pair participate in the construction of the nest, which is cup-shaped and built with fern branches (Pteridium sp.), lays two light blue eggs with few small black dots.


Forages mainly in the canopy and appears to have some degree of association with tanagers and woodcreepers. It makes local movements in response to variations in the supply of fruits, so it can remain absent for some time in areas where it had been observed.


The taxonomic affinities of the genus Saltator are uncertain and recent molecular studies indicate that it could belong to the family Thraupidae.

Conservation status

It is classified as a species of Near threatened

Vocalization/ Song



https: //www.icesi.edu.co

http: //avibase.bsc-eoc.org

https: //birdscolombia.com