Family Tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae)


Perija Tapaculo (Scytalopus perijanus)


French: Mérulaxe de la Perija German: Perijátapaculo Spanish: Churrín del Perijá

Scytalopus perijanus

Avendaño et al.

, 2015,

above vereda El Cinco, Manaure, Department of Cesar, on western slope of Serranía de Perijá (10°21’50” N, 72°56’51” W; c. 2450 m elevation), Colombia


Museum specimens, although available since 1941, had not been examined carefully and were ascribed to different taxa of the S. latebricola/meridanus/caracae/spillmanni group or to S. atratus. Recent study of a modern series of specimens, combined with analysis of vocal and genetic data, enabled clarification#R; compared with all other known species, this new Scytalopus shows distinctive morphological and vocal traits and represents a separate evolutionary lineage within a clade of northern species that includes S. latebricola, S. meridanus and S. caracae. Monotypic.


Sierra de Perijá in N Colombia (La Guajira and Cesar) and W Venezuela (Zulia)#R.

Descriptive notes

c. 10·5–11·5 cm; 16·5–20·5 g. Adult male mostly dark grey above, with a brown nape patch, rump and uppertail-coverts and posterior underparts (including thighs and undertail-... read more


Primary song a short “churr” repeated 2–65 times at 0·5–3-second intervals, with each “churr”... read more


Inhabits dense interior and edges of humid cloud and elfin forests, and highland woody bushes in... read more

Food and feeding

Diet poorly known; stomach contents of seven specimens comprised entirely insects. Observed foraging alone, either on the ground or up to 1... read more


Poorly known, although overall season based on condition of specimens suspected to be Apr–Jul; one nest, containing two nestlings (mainly... read more


Presumably sedentary.

Status and conservation

VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species, endemic to an area of c. 3200 km² on the Colombia/Venezuela border in the Sierra de Perijá. Overall population estimated at between 2500... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Perija Tapaculo (Scytalopus perijanus). 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).