Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Southern Chestnut-tailed Antbird (Sciaphylax hemimelaena)


French: Alapi rougequeue German: Rotschwanz-Ameisenvogel Spanish: Hormiguero colicastaño sureño
Other common names: Chestnut-tailed Antbird

Myrmeciza hemimelæna

P. L. Sclater

, 1857,

Mapiri, La Paz, Bolivia


Until recently considered conspecific with S. castanea. Population in middle reaches of R Madeira, in range of race pallens, appears to be genetically distinct#R; further study required. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. h. hemimelaena (P. L. Sclater, 1857) – E Peru (S of R Marañón and R Amazon), SW Amazonian Brazil (E to R Madeira, S to Acre) and NW Bolivia W of R Mamoré and R Grande (Pando, La Paz, W Beni, Cochabamba, W Santa Cruz).
  • S. h. pallens (Berlepsch & Hellmayr, 1905) – C Brazil S of R Amazon (R Madeira E to SW Pará, S to Rondônia and W & N Mato Grosso) and NE Bolivia (E Santa Cruz).
  • Descriptive notes

    11–12 cm; 14·5–16·5 g. Male has crown and head side to upper mantle grey with black feather centres, rest of upperparts dark yellowish red-brown,... read more


    Loudsong a series of whistles (e.g. 8 notes, 1·6 seconds), begins with abrupt flat notes,... read more


    Understorey and floor of lowland and foothill evergreen forest, from sea-level to 1350 m. Primarily... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on various insects, including orthopterans, hemipterans, lepidopteran larvae; probably also on other arthropods, including spiders.... read more


    Single nests found in Sept and Mar in NW Bolivia. Nest an open cup 10·5–12 cm in diameter, 6–7·5 cm high, made... read more


    None recorded; presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common throughout most of its range. This includes several large formally protected areas, e.g. Manu National Park and Biosphere... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2020). Southern Chestnut-tailed Antbird (Sciaphylax hemimelaena). 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).