Family Tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae)

Least Concern

Merida Tapaculo (Scytalopus meridanus)


French: Mérulaxe de Mérida German: Méridatapaculo Spanish: Churrín de Mérida

Scytalopus latebricola meridanus


, 1922,

Culatá, 4000 m, Andes of Mérida, Venezuela


Formerly considered conspecific with S. latebricola, but differs vocally. Taxon fuscicauda, previously treated as a separate species by some authors (including HBW 8: 779) or as a race of S. magellanicus or S. griseicollis by others, appears morphologically indistinguishable from meridanus and may even be synonymous (barring on underparts of fuscicauda may be age-related rather than a distinguishing character); here treated as a race of present species on account of small but detectable differences in introductions to songs#R. Names meridanus and fuscicauda published simultaneously, and former awarded priority by First Revisers#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. m. fuscicauda Hellmayr, 1922 – Lara Tapaculo – Andes of Venezuela in S Lara and Trujillo.
  • S. m. meridanus Hellmayr, 1922 – Merida Tapaculo – Andes of Venezuela in Mérida and Táchira.
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–11·5 cm; 13·5–16·5 g. A medium-sized grey tapaculo with unbarred or indistinctly dark-barred brown flanks. Male has dark grey... read more


    Song c. 10 seconds long, beginning with a few spaced descending notes, then becoming a rapid trill... read more


    Undergrowth of humid forest and humid shrubbery at edge, not showing preference for Chusquea... read more

    Food and feeding

    No information.


    Two nests described, built by same pair in Lara state (race fuscicauda), in Apr–May; both were globular in structure and... read more


    Probably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common and widespread. Common in Páramos del Batallón y La Negra, Sierra de la Culata, and Sierra Nevada National Parks... read more

    Recommended citation

    Krabbe, N.K., Schulenberg, T.S. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Merida Tapaculo (Scytalopus meridanus). 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 17 February 2020).