Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Tapajos Scale-backed Antbird (Willisornis nigrigula)


French: Fourmilier du Tapajos German: Schwarzkehl-Ameisenwächter Spanish: Hormiguero dorsiescamado del Tapajós

Hypocnemis poecilonota [sic] nigrigula

E. Snethlage

, 1914,

Boim, Rio Tapajós, Brazil


Until recently treated as conspecific with W. poecilinotus, but split (treating present form as a race of W. vidua) proposed on vocal evidence#R. Although vocally very similar for the most part to W. vidua, differs, however, in its solid black vs whitish throat in male (3); much larger white (but usually concealed) interscapular patch in female (2); slightly darker grey crown and mantle in male (1); and distinctly longer “chirr” calls (from published data#R effect size 2.16, score 2). Moreover, this and W. vidua have been found within 1 km of each other in Pará#R, strongly suggesting parapatry. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

SC Amazonian Brazil (extreme E Amazonas E to both banks of R Tapajós, and on E bank of R Teles Pires S to N Mato Grosso).

Descriptive notes

12–13 cm. Male of present species distinguishable from those of previously conspecific W. poecilinotus (to the W) and W. vidua (further E) in its slightly... read more


Like W. poecilinotus and W. vidua, loudsong is a series of long upslurred notes,... read more


Mainly inhabits understorey of humid evergreen forest on terra firme, but is occasionally... read more

Food and feeding

Diet is presumably based principally on insects, but no detailed studies. Stomach contents have included orthopterans, lepidopteran larvae... read more


Very little known, but one nest was described as a well-concealed cup 5 cm in diameter, partially covered by a half-overhang of leaves,... read more


None recorded; presumed resident.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common throughout its range, although E parts of this, especially, have been subject to extensive and ongoing deforestation... read more

Recommended citation

del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Tapajos Scale-backed Antbird (Willisornis nigrigula). 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 May 2019).