This large finch is notable for its creamy white coloration and extreme rarity. Once considered extinct, the Pale-headed Brush Finch was recently downlisted from Critically Endangered to Endangered after more than a decade of sustained conservation action Fundación Jocotoco, American Bird Conservancy and other partners. The bird now occupies almost all the available habitat at the 370-acre Yunguilla Reserve, its stronghold site. It is listed as an Alliance for Zero Extinction species due to its highly threatened status and the fact that it can be found at only one site on Earth.
Several ongoing threats to this species require continuous vigilance, including nest parasitism by Shiny Cowbirds and habitat-destroying fires. Discussions are underway to create a second reserve for this brush-finch and translocate several breeding pairs to establish a separate population, which would provide some buffer against these threats.