Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Spot-backed Antbird (Hylophylax naevius)


French: Alapi tacheté German: Ockerflecken-Ameisenwächter Spanish: Hormiguero dorsipunteado

Pipra nævia

J. F. Gmelin

, 1789,

Cayenne, French Guiana


Recent evolutionary study of this species and H. naevioides#R suggests that forms theresae and consobrinus (latter synonymized with nominate by some authors) may not be monophyletic; more detailed study in progress. Independent vocal analysis indicates perhaps three groups#R. Listed races and distributions tentative, largely reflecting current knowledge of plumage and vocalizations. Proposed race obscurus (N Brazil N of R Amazon) inseparable from nominate. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. n. consobrinus Todd, 1913 – S Venezuela (S Bolívar, Amazonas) and adjacent NW Brazil.
  • H. n. naevius (J. F. Gmelin, 1789) – the Guianas, SE Colombia (S from Meta and Vaupés), extreme NE Ecuador and N Peru (N of R Napo), and NC & NE Brazil N of R Amazon.
  • H. n. theresae (Des Murs, 1856) – S of R Napo in E Ecuador and lowland NE Peru (Loreto), and SW & SC Amazonian Brazil (E to R Tapajós, S to S Amazonas and Rondônia).
  • H. n. peruvianus Carriker, 1932 – N Peru foothills (Amazonas, San Martín).
  • H. n. inexpectatus Carriker, 1932 – EC & SE Peru (Ucayali S to Puno, possibly extending W to base of Andes in Huánuco and Junín), extreme SW Amazonian Brazil (Acre) and NW Bolivia (W Pando, La Paz and S Beni S to extreme SW Santa Cruz).
  • H. n. ochraceus (Berlepsch, 1912) – SE Amazonian Brazil (E from R Tapajós to R Tocantins, S to N Mato Grosso).
  • Descriptive notes

    10·5–11·5 cm; 11–14 g. Interscapular patch white. Male nominate race has crown and upperparts dark yellowish-brown, except centre of back black with pale buff... read more


    Loudsong a long series of doublets, varies geographically: nominate race (e.g. 9 doublets, 3... read more


    Understorey of humid lowland and foothill evergreen forest (terra firme, transitional,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on variety of insects and spiders; recorded prey in Pará (Brazil) include beetles of families Carabidae, Aphodiidae, Curculionidae,... read more


    Breeds in Dec–Mar and Aug–Oct, once in Jul, in French Guiana; nests found in late Apr–May and Sept in E Ecuador, but... read more


    None recorded; presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common throughout most of its extensive range. Occurs in a number of formally protected parks and reserves in virtually every... read more

    Recommended citation

    Zimmer, K. & Isler, M.L. (2020). Spot-backed Antbird (Hylophylax naevius). 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 21 February 2020).