Family Tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae)

Least Concern

Paramo Tapaculo (Scytalopus opacus)


French: Mérulaxe du paramo German: Kordillerentapaculo Spanish: Churrín paramero

Scytalopus magellanicus opacus

J. T. Zimmer

, 1941,

Tambillo, 8000 feet [c. 2440 m], Río Upano, Ecuador


Previously treated as a race of S. magellanicus; subsequently, and until recently, as a race of S. canus. Differs from latter in its dark-barred brown vs all-grey rear flanks, somewhat larger size and distinctive song (much faster, not accelerating but usually decelerating, lower-pitched)#R. Birds from S of range (S of R Zamora in Ecuador), with different call note and most males possessing white wing patch, recently described as a new subspecies#R. Two subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. o. opacus J. T. Zimmer, 1941 – C Andes in Colombia (Caldas) S to SC Ecuador.
  • S. o. androstictus Krabbe & Cadena, 2010 – E slope of Andes in S Ecuador (Zamora-Chinchipe) and N Peru (N Cajamarca)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5 cm; male 13·9–17·9 g, female 13·4–16 g. Nominate male differs from previously conspecific S. canus in having flanks and vent usually ochraceous tawny to... read more


    Male of nominate race song a fast, somewhat dry trill up to 30 seconds long, pitch 3·8 kHz (first... read more


    Low Escallonia myrtilloides and ericaceous scrub at and above treeline, and sometimes in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Stomachs of 36 individuals held remains of small arthropods; one juvenile stomach contained a berry. Forages on moss-covered trunks, along... read more


    Both females with brood patch and juveniles collected in Mar, May and Nov. No other information.


    Probably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Generally fairly common and probably of stable population, with a comparatively large range estimated at 188,000 km²; uncommon and... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Paramo Tapaculo (Scytalopus opacus). 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 19 February 2020).