Family Ground-antbirds (Formicariidae)

Least Concern

Black-headed Antthrush (Formicarius nigricapillus)


French: Tétéma à tête noire German: Schwarzkopf-Ameisendrossel Spanish: Formicario cabecinegro

Formicarius nigricapillus


, 1893,

Buena Vista, Costa Rica


Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • F. n. nigricapillus Ridgway, 1893 – Caribbean slope of Costa Rica and both slopes of Panama (E to W San Blas).
  • F. n. destructus E. J. O. Hartert, 1898 – Pacific Colombia (C Chocó) to Ecuador (S to E Guayas and NW Azuay).
  • Descriptive notes

    18 cm; two males 59 g and 68 g, two females 58 g and 61·5 g. Adult has dark dusky brown to blackish crown, black side of head, black throat; back, rump and wings dark... read more


    Song 4–5 seconds long, by both sexes throughout year, a trill of c. 10 notes per second at 1... read more


    Wet primary forest and adjacent tall second growth, favouring ravines and other places with very... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food includes a variety of arthropods, i.e. crickets (Gryllidae), cockroaches (Blattodea), earwigs (Dermaptera), woodlice (Isopoda),... read more


    Eggs in Apr–May in Costa Rica; 5 birds in breeding condition in Dec–Mar in Colombia (Chocó and Valle); territorial throughout... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally fairly common. Occurs in several protected areas, e.g. Manglares-Churute Ecological Reserve and Río Palenque Science Centre,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Krabbe, N.K. & Schulenberg, T.S. (2018). Black-headed Antthrush (Formicarius nigricapillus). 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 15 November 2018).