Grallariidae – Antpittas

Giant Antpitta Grallaria gigantea ©Dr George Cruz Website

Grallariidae is a family of smallish passerine birds of subtropical and tropical Central and South America known as antpittas. They are between 10 and 20 cm in length, and are related to the antbirds, Thamnophilidae, and gnateaters, Conopophagidae. They were also formerly placed in the Formicariidae, but studies by Rice (2005) indicated a distinct family was supported. There are 1 large and three fairly small genera.

They are forest birds that tend to feed on insects at or near the ground since many are specialist ant eaters. Most are drab in appearance with shades of (rusty) brown, black, and white being their dominant tones. Compared to other birds that specialise in following ants, this family is the most tied to the ground. The long, powerful legs, which lend the birds a distinctive upright posture, and an essentially vestigial tail aid this lifestyle. This led to their common name although they are notrelated to true pittas.

They lay two or three eggs in a nest in a tree, both sexes incubating.

This newly created family of Antpittas was split from the formicariidae after DNA sequencing confirmed the re-ordering. There are 53 species in this family which are:

Undulated Antpitta Grallaria squamigera
Giant Antpitta Grallaria gigantea
Great Antpitta Grallaria excelsa
Variegated Antpitta Grallaria varia
Moustached Antpitta Grallaria alleni
Scaled Antpitta Grallaria guatimalensis
Tachira Antpitta Grallaria chthonia
Plain-backed Antpitta Grallaria haplonota
Ochre-striped Antpitta Grallaria dignissima
Elusive Antpitta Grallaria eludens
Chestnut-crowned Antpitta Grallaria ruficapilla
Watkins’s (Scrub) Antpitta Grallaria watkinsi
Santa Marta Antpitta Grallaria bangsi
Cundinamarca Antpitta Grallaria kaestneri
Stripe-headed Antpitta Grallaria andicolus
Grey-naped Antpitta Grallaria griseonucha
Bicolored Antpitta Grallaria rufocinerea
Jocotoco Antpitta Grallaria ridgelyi
Chestnut-naped Antpitta Grallaria nuchalis
Pale-billed Antpitta Grallaria carrikeri
White-throated Antpitta Grallaria albigula
Yellow-breasted Antpitta Grallaria flavotincta
White-bellied Antpitta Grallaria hypoleuca
Rusty-tinged Antpitta Grallaria przewalskii
Bay Antpitta Grallaria capitalis
Red-and-white Antpitta Grallaria erythroleuca
Rufous Antpitta Grallaria rufula
Chestnut Antpitta Grallaria blakei
Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis
Brown-banded Antpitta Grallaria milleri
Rufous-faced Antpitta Grallaria erythrotis
Fenwick’s Antpitta Grallaria fenwickorum or Urrao Antpitta Grallaria urraoensis

Streak-chested Antpitta (Spectacled) Hylopezus perspicillatus
Spotted Antpitta Hylopezus macularius
Masked Antpitta Hylopezus auricularis
Thicket Antpitta Hylopezus dives
White-lored Antpitta Hylopezus fulviventris
Amazonian Antpitta Hylopezus berlepschi
White-browed Antpitta Hylopezus ochroleucus
Speckle-breasted Antpitta Hylopezus nattereri
Snethlage’s Antpitta Hylopezus paraensis
Alta Floresta Antpitta Hylopezus whittakeri

Thrush-like Antpitta Myrmothera campanisona
Tepui Antpitta (Brown-breasted) Myrmothera simplex

Ochre-breasted Antpitta Grallaricula flavirostris
Scallop-breasted Antpitta Grallaricula loricata
Hooded Antpitta Grallaricula cucullata
Peruvian Antpitta Grallaricula peruviana
Ochre-fronted Antpitta Grallaricula ochraceifrons
Rusty-breasted Antpitta Grallaricula ferrugineipectus
Slaty-crowned Antpitta Grallaricula nana
Crescent-faced Antpitta Grallaricula lineifrons
Sucre Antpitta Grallaricula cumanensis

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 53

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