Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Antbird (Percnostola rufifrons)


French: Alapi à tête noire German: Schwarzscheitel-Ameisenvogel Spanish: Hormiguero cabecinegro

Turdus rufifrons

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Cayenne, French Guiana


Closely related to P. arenarum#R#R. Race minor has been treated as a separate species (with jensoni as a race)#R, but detailed analysis of plumage and voice does not support this#R, a view followed by other authors#R. Four subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. r. jensoni Capparella et al., 1997 – NE Peru (Quebrada Orán, in Loreto).
  • P. r. minor Pelzeln, 1868 – E Colombia (Guainía S to Caquetá), SW Venezuela (SW Amazonas) and NW Amazonian Brazil (upper drainage and S bank of middle R Negro, S to N bank of R Içá).
  • P. r. rufifrons (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – E & S Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana and NE Amazonian Brazil (NE Roraima, and R Trombetas E to Amapá).
  • P. r. subcristata Hellmayr, 1908 – lower R Negro E to R Trombetas, in N Brazil.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–15·5 cm; 21–32 g. Male nominate race is dark grey, crown, short crest and throat black, wings and tail blackish-grey, wing-coverts tipped white;... read more


    Loudsong a short, countable series (e.g. 8 notes, 2·3 seconds) of strident downslurred... read more


    Understorey of lowland and foothill evergreen forest and adjacent tall second-growth woodland,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on variety of insects and other arthropods; occasionally small reptiles flushed by army ants; also occasionally fruit. Recorded prey... read more


    Aug–Mar in French Guiana; in Brazil, nest found in Jun in Pará (nominate), and season Oct–Aug in Amazonas (... read more


    None recorded; presumed resident throughout range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Locally uncommon to fairly common throughout most of range. Substantial populations of race minor likely to be present in Jaú... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2020). Black-headed Antbird (Percnostola rufifrons). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 18 February 2020).