Family Gnateaters (Conopophagidae)

Least Concern

Rufous Gnateater (Conopophaga lineata)


French: Conophage roux German: Rotkehl-Mückenfresser Spanish: Jejenero rojizo

Myiagrus lineatus


, 1831,

near Vitória da Conquista, Bahia, Brazil


Until recently considered conspecific with C. cearae. These two may form a group with C. roberti, C. peruviana, C. ardesiaca, C. castaneiceps and perhaps C. melanogaster. Geographical limits of races uncertain, and S populations of race vulgaris are strikingly different in voice from all other populations (and also from C. cearae)#R; marked genetic structure found in S populations#R may reflect these vocal differences. Proposed forms anomalus from Paraguay (Alto Paraná) and rubecula from Brazil (Veadeiros, in Goiás) respectively subsumed into vulgaris and nominate. Two specimens from E Brazil (Ibiquera, in C Bahia) show distinctive plumage differences, and may represent an unnamed taxon. Two subspecies provisionally recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. l. lineata (Wied, 1831) – Bahia S & W to Goiás; also S Mato Grosso (Serra das Araras).
  • C. l. vulgaris Ménétries, 1835 – SC & SE Brazil (S Mato Grosso do Sul and Espírito Santo S to Rio Grande do Sul) to E Paraguay, NE Argentina (Misiones, Corrientes) and E Uruguay.
  • Descriptive notes

    11·5–14 cm; 16–27 g (mean of 11 birds 22·1 g). Male has rufous-chestnut crown, grey supercilium extending into silvery white postocular tuft,... read more


    Song a series of c. 5–15 sweet, whistled notes, rising slightly and usually ending with... read more


    Semi-humid, mostly evergreen woodland and gallery forest in NE and interior Brazil, regularly... read more

    Food and feeding

    Takes small arthropod prey from foliage and leaf litter on or near the ground. In a study in SE Brazil, based on faecal samples, ants... read more


    Breeds in Aug–Jan in S Brazil, often from Oct in Minas Gerais or Dec in São Paulo, and three nests with eggs in Rio Grande do... read more


    Sedentary; some poorly understood post-breeding dispersal.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Locally common, and range recently realized to be more widespread than thought in S Brazil, in state of Rio Grande do Sul, as well as... read more

    Recommended citation

    Whitney, B., de Juana, E. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Rufous Gnateater (Conopophaga lineata). 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 25 May 2019).