Fatbirder - linking birders worldwide... Wildlife Travellers see our sister site: WAND

Melanopareiidae - Crescent-chests

Crescentchest
Collared Crescentchest Melanopareia torquata ©Will Price Website

The Melanopareiidae family, or Crescentchests in the vernacular, are a family of birds from South America. The genus has long been placed with the tapaculos in the Rhinocryptidae family. Their placement there has been questioned and in 2007 the genus was placed in its own family, Melanopareiidae by the South American Classification Committee, it has since been split from the Tapaculos by DNA sequencing (2009).

They range in length from 14 to 16 cm and in weight from 16 to 23 g. They have relatively long tails compared to the tapaculos. The plumage is striking with a distinctive band across the chest that gives the group their name.

They are birds of arid scrub and generally forage on the ground, but their diet has not yet been recorded. Two species, the Collared Crescentchest and Olive-crowned Crescentchest, are widely distributed across central and southern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay and northern Argentina, whilst the other two species have a more restricted distribution in Peru and Ecuador.

Little is known about the behaviour of the crescentchests. The only species about which anything is known about the breeding behaviour is the Olive-crowned Crescentchest. It is a seasonal breeder. Its nest is a 15 cm high cup made of vegetable fibres and palm fronds, hidden in grasses or low shrubs close to the ground. The clutch size is two to three eggs, the eggs are white with blotches or black spots.

No species of crescentchest is considered by the IUCN to be threatened by human activities, but the Marañón Crescentchest is listed as near threatened. Although the species is apparently tolerant of some disturbance it has a tiny global range and is uncommon even within that range

It is a small group with just four species set out below:

Collared Crescent-chest Melanopareia torquata
Olive-crowned Crescent-chest Melanopareia maximiliani
Marañón Crescent-chest Melanopareia maranonica
Elegant Crescent-chest Melanopareia elegans

Family Links

Crescentchests Melanopareiidae

Family Account

The colorful crescentchests inhabit arid habitats of central South America. The most widespread is the delightful Collared Crescentchest…

Crescentchests Melanopareiidae

Family Account

he crescentchests are a genus, Melanopareia, of birds from South America. The genus has long been placed with the tapaculos in the Rhinocryptidae family.

Species Links

Collared Crescent-chest Melanopareia torquata

Species Account

Images etc.

Collared Crescent-chest Melanopareia torquata

BirdLife Species Account

Collared Crescent-chest Melanopareia torquata

Species Account

Melanopareia torquata is a species of bird in the Melanopareiidae family. It is found in the Cerrado to northeastern Bolivia and northern Paraguay.

Collared Crescent-chest Melanopareia torquata

Cornell Species Account

Collared Crescentchest is a characteristic bird of the cerrado, especially in relatively open, grassy cerrado with a scattering of bushes or low trees. Crescentchests forage on or near the ground, solitarily or in pairs, where they are difficult to observe; but males often sing from an elevated perch.

Collared Crescent-chest Melanopareia torquata

HBW Species Account

axonomy: Synallaxis torquatus Wied, 1831, Campo Geral of inner Brazil = campos on the Bahia-Minas Gerais border, east Brazil. Genus differs considerably from other members of family, though shows certain structural similarities with Teledromas (see Family Text). Race bitorquata has been treated by some authors as a dark variant of rufescens. Three subspecies recognized.

Collared Crescent-chest Melanopareia torquata

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Elegant Crescentchest Melanopareia elegans

BirdLife Species Account

Elegant Crescentchest Melanopareia elegans

HBW Species Account

Elegant Crescentchest Melanopareia elegans

Cornell Species Account

The Elegant Crescentchest is one of four species in the Melanopareidae of South America. Traditionally placed with the tapaculos taxonomically, the crescentchests are now not thought to be closely allied with that group.

Elegant Crescentchest Melanopareia elegans

Species Account

The elegant crescentchest (Melanopareia elegans) is a species of bird in the Melanopareiidae family. It is found in Ecuador and Peru. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical dry forests.

Elegant Crescentchest Melanopareia elegans

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Marañón Crescentchest Melanopareia maranonica

Species Account

The Marañón crescentchest (Melanopareia maranonica) is a species of bird in the Melanopareiidae family. It is found in the Andes of far southern Ecuador and northern Peru.

Marañón Crescentchest Melanopareia maranonica

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Marañón Crescentchest Melanopareia maranonica

BirdLife Species Account

Marañón Crescentchest Melanopareia maranonica

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Melanopareia maranonicus Chapman, 1924, Perico, Río Chinchipe, north Peru. Genus differs considerably from other members of family, though shows certain structural similarities with Teledromas (see Family Text). May form a superspecies with M. elegans. Vocally very similar to latter, and sometimes considered conspecific, but is proportionally longer-tailed, with distinct plumage pattern, and geographically isolated. Monotypic.

Marañón Crescentchest Melanopareia maranonica

Cornell Species Account

Marañon Crescentchest is a tiny songbird, endemic to the Marañón Valley of northwestern Peru and southern Ecuador. This species is olive above and tawny below, with a dark chest band and a boldly striped black and buff head.

Olive-crowned Crescentchest Melanopareia maximiliani

Species Account

The olive-crowned crescentchest (Melanopareia maximiliani) is a species of bird in the Melanopareiidae family. It is found in Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay.

Olive-crowned Crescentchest Melanopareia maximiliani

HBW Species Account

Taxonomy: Synallaxis Maximiliani d’Orbigny, 1835, summit of Mount Biscachal, near Carcuata, Yungas of La Paz, Bolivia. Genus differs considerably from other members of family, though shows certain structural similarities with Teledromas (see Family Text). Race pallida, differing vocally from others, is possibly a separate species. Racial affinities of birds from C Bolivian Yungas in Cochabamba uncertain; tentatively included in race argentina. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Olive-crowned Crescentchest Melanopareia maximiliani

Cornell Species Account

All crescentchests are sharp looking species, and they now are considered to comprise a family separate from other suboscine passerines. This distinctiveness is clear based on their striking plumage, as well as their vocalizations.

Olive-crowned Crescentchest Melanopareia maximiliani

BirdLife Species Account

Olive-crowned Crescentchest Melanopareia maximiliani

Species Account

Sound archive and distribution map

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 4