Family Antpittas (Grallariidae)

Least Concern

Variegated Antpitta (Grallaria varia)


French: Grallaire roi German: Bartameisenpitta Spanish: Tororoí pintado

Formicarius varius


, 1783,



See G. squamigera. Races form two geographically separate groups, N & W “varia group” (also including cinereiceps and distincta) and E & S “imperator group”, although songs of all races very similar#R. Racial identity of birds from SE Minas Gerais uncertain; currently included in intercedens, but further study required. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. v. cinereiceps Hellmayr, 1903 – extreme S Venezuela and immediately adjacent N Brazil (upper R Negro), and NE Peru (N bank of R Napo).
  • G. v. varia (Boddaert, 1783) – Northern Variegated Antpitta – the Guianas and Brazil N of R Amazon (W from lower R Negro).
  • G. v. distincta Todd, 1927 – Brazil S of R Amazon from R Madeira E to R Tapajós, S to Rondônia and N Mato Grosso.
  • G. v. intercedens Berlepsch & Leverkühn, 1890 – E & SE Brazil in Pernambuco, and from S Bahia S to SE Minas Gerais and probably Espírito Santo.
  • G. v. imperator Lafresnaye, 1842 – Southern Variegated Antpitta – S Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro S to N Rio Grande do Sul, E Paraguay and NE Argentina (Misiones).
  • Descriptive notes

    18–20·5 cm; male 90–121 g, two females 122 g and 126 g ( “varia group”), one unsexed 134 g (“imperator group”). Adult has dark olive-brown fore... read more


    Song of two imperator birds 2·2–3·1 seconds long, a series of 11–14 notes at c... read more


    Humid forest and mature secondary woodland; at dawn, sometimes ventures into adjacent open areas,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on earthworms and other invertebrates, such as spiders, cockroaches (Blattodea), grasshoppers (Acrididae) and centipedes (Chilopoda... read more


    Laying recorded in late Dec in Surinam and French Guiana, and in Oct and Nov in Argentina (Misiones); nestlings in Jun in Brazil (Manaus).... read more


    Presumably sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to rare; locally fairly common, e.g. in São Paulo (SE Brazil). Occupies relatively large range. Nominate race occurs... read more

    Recommended citation

    Krabbe, N.K. & Schulenberg, T.S. (2019). Variegated Antpitta (Grallaria varia). 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 17 August 2019).