Family Tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae)

Near Threatened

Slaty Bristlefront (Merulaxis ater)


French: Mérulaxe noir German: Braunbauchtapaculo Spanish: Macuquiño negro

Merulaxis ater


, 1831,

#R, Mexico; error = Rio de Janeiro, south-east Brazil


Closely related to M. stresemanni and has been considered conspecific (see that species). Monotypic.


SE Brazil from S Bahia (at least formerly) and Espírito Santo S to E Paraná and E Santa Catarina.

Descriptive notes

18·5 cm; one male 37·2 g, one female 33 g. Large, dark tapaculo with short crest of stiff narrow feathers standing upright at base of bill and on forecrown.... read more


Song, reportedly only seasonal, begins with series up to 1 minute long of clicks given at slightly... read more


Humid lowland and montane forest, and mature secondary woodland. At 400–1800 m, locally down... read more

Food and feeding

Details of diet not documented. Usually in pairs, members of which forage c. 10–20 m apart, keeping in vocal contact. Hops, walks or... read more


Song recorded mostly in Oct–Feb, but in São Paulo also in late Jul and in Sept; reportedly single-brooded. No other details... read more


Probably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Currently considered Near-threatened. Restricted-range species: present in Atlantic Forest Lowlands EBA. Uncommon to locally fairly common. At... read more

Recommended citation

Krabbe, N.K. & Schulenberg, T.S. (2020). Slaty Bristlefront (Merulaxis ater). 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 23 February 2020).