Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird (Sciaphylax castanea)


French: Alapi de Zimmer German: Napoameisenvogel Spanish: Hormiguero colicastaño norteño
Other common names: Zimmer's Antbird

Myrmeciza hemimelaena castanea

J. T. Zimmer

, 1932,

Río Negro, 2600 feet [c. 790 m], San Martín, Peru


Until recently considered a race of S. hemimelaena, but shows minor morphological and more notable vocal differences, with some syntopy recorded#R; recent phylogeographical analyses#R found the two to be sisters. Racial identity of N populations in S Colombia (Putumayo) and at lower elevations in E Ecuador (Napo) uncertain, but probably centunculorum. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. c. centunculorum (M. L. Isler et al., 2002) – extreme S Colombia (Putumayo), E Ecuador (Napo, Pastaza) and NE Peru (Loreto).
  • S. c. castanea (J. T. Zimmer, 1932) – SE Ecuador (Zamora-Chinchipe) and N Peru (San Martín).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; 16–17 g. Male has crown and head side grey with darker feather centres, hindcrown to upper mantle browner, rest of upperparts dark yellowish red-brown,... read more


    Loudsong a series (e.g. 7 notes, 1·4 seconds) beginning with long, sharp whistles, notes... read more


    Understorey and floor of lowland and foothill evergreen forest, at 125–1350 m; race ... read more

    Food and feeding

    Nothing published. Presumed to feed on insects and other arthropods. Closely associated partners, individuals, or family groups forage... read more


    Nothing known.


    Presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Little known. Only very recently separated as a full species; conservation status requires assessment. Nominate race has extremely limited range,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2020). Northern Chestnut-tailed Antbird (Sciaphylax castanea). 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 21 February 2020).