Family Tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae)

Least Concern

Spillmann's Tapaculo (Scytalopus spillmanni)


French: Mérulaxe de Spillmann German: Roststeißtapaculo Spanish: Churrín de Spillmann

Scytalopus latebricola spillmanni


, 1937,

Volcán Iliniza, Ecuador


Formerly considered a race of S. latebricola. Most closely related to S. parkeri. Population in E Andes of Colombia may warrant subspecies status; research needed. Monotypic.


W#R, C & E#R Andes (including Serranía de los Yariguíes#R) of Colombia S to Ecuador (in W to Cotopaxi, in E to right bank of R Paute).

Descriptive notes

12 cm; male 21–30 g, female 20–29·5 g. A medium-sized tapaculo with dark-barred brown flanks. Male is blackish-grey above, feathers narrowly and indistinctly... read more


Male song 10–20 seconds long (rarely longer), a trill at 4 kHz (first overtone), usually with... read more


Inhabits humid forest undergrowth, especially with Chusquea bamboo, mostly at 1900–... read more

Food and feeding

29 stomachs held small beetles and other small or tiny insects; stomach of one juvenile contained a fairly large spider. Forages low in... read more


Specimens with active gonads indicate probable breeding throughout year; two juveniles collected in Jan in Ecuador (Napo). No other... read more


Probably sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Common and widespread; fairly common in Ecuador. Occurs in several national parks and ecological reserves.

Recommended citation

Krabbe, N.K. & Schulenberg, T.S. (2020). Spillmann's Tapaculo (Scytalopus spillmanni). 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 24 February 2020).