Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Short-tailed Antbird (Poliocrania maculifer)


French: Alapi maculifère German: Schieferkopf-Ameisenvogel Spanish: Hormiguero colicorto

Myrmelastes exsul maculifer


, 1906,

Paramba, 3500 feet [c. 1065 m], Esmeraldas, Ecuador


Hitherto considered conspecific with P. exsul, but (although voices appear identical) differs in its white spots on wing-coverts (3); brighter underparts in female (1); paler grey underparts in male (1); olive-chestnut vs dark chestnut upperparts in both sexes (ns[1]); shorter tail (effect size −4.9, score 2); narrow zone of hybridization (2). Two subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. m. cassini (Ridgway, 1908) – extreme SE Panama (Darién S of Golfo de San Miguel) and N Colombia (N Chocó E to S Cesar and lower Magdalena Valley S to Bolívar).
  • P. m. maculifer (Hellmayr, 1906) – Pacific slope in WC & SW Colombia (S from C Chocó) and W Ecuador (S to El Oro).
  • Descriptive notes

    13·5–14·5 cm; 22·5–35 g. Shorter-tailed than P. exsul (see also Taxonomy, for other morphological differences). Male has mantle, wings and tail chestnut-brown, with... read more


    Apparently vocalizations identical to that of formerly conspecific P. exsul.


    Understorey of humid evergreen forest and adjacent mature second-growth woodland; mostly below 900... read more

    Food and feeding

    Very few specific data, but those that are available indicate that the species’ foraging ecology and behaviour are similar to those of ... read more


    Virtually nothing known, although nesting ecology and behaviour presumably similar to formerly conspecific P. exsul. In N & W... read more


    Presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to common throughout most of its range. Occurs in a number of protected areas, e.g. Darién National Park, in Panama, El... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Short-tailed Antbird (Poliocrania maculifer). 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 18 February 2020).