Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Hairy-crested Antbird (Rhegmatorhina melanosticta)


French: Fourmilier chevelu German: Grauschopf-Ameisenvogel Spanish: Hormiguero canoso

Pithys melanosticta

P. L. Sclater and Salvin

, 1880,

Sarayacu, Pastaza, Ecuador


Morphologically and vocally the most distinct member of the genus. Races currently included herein may involve more than one species, although some of the plumage variation may be only clinal; taxonomic study needed. Populations from S of range (SE Peru E to upper R Juruá, in W Brazil, and S to N Bolivia) sometimes separated as race badia, but they appear to intergrade with purusiana and are better included therein. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • R. m. melanosticta (P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1880) – Hairy-crested Antbird – SC Colombia (base of Andes from Meta S to Putumayo and Amazonas), E Ecuador and NE Peru (N of R Amazon in vicinity of R Napo and N of R Marañón).
  • R. m. purusiana (E. Snethlage, 1908) – E Peru (S of R Amazon, E of R Ucayali), SW Amazonian Brazil (E to R Madeira) and NW Bolivia (Pando, La Paz).
  • R. m. brunneiceps Chapman, 1928 – Golden-crested Antbird – C Peru S of R Marañón and W of R Ucayali (San Martín S to N Ayacucho).
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 29–33 g. Large periorbital patch pale bluish-white. Male nominate race has bushy crest pale grey, tinged olive, nape, neck side, upperparts, wings and... read more


    Loudsong (e.g. 6 notes, 3·6 seconds) begins with 4 long whistles that rise and fall in... read more


    Understorey of humid lowland and foothill evergreen forest; mostly below 900 m, race ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on various insects and other arthropods, virtually all of which obtained when flushed by army-ant swarms. Recorded prey include... read more


    Nests in Peru span period Sept–Dec; a nearly grown juvenile with pale gape angles accompanying two adults on 20th Oct in E Ecuador.... read more


    Presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon throughout its somewhat patchy range. Has more extensive distribution than other members of genus. Occurs in some large formally protected... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2020). Hairy-crested Antbird (Rhegmatorhina melanosticta). 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 24 February 2020).