Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Xingu Scale-backed Antbird (Willisornis vidua)


French: Fourmilier du Xingu German: Graukopf-Ameisenwächter Spanish: Hormiguero dorsiescamado del Xingú

Hypocnemis vidua


, 1905,

Igarapé-Açú, 50 m, Pará, Brazil


Until recently treated as conspecific with W. poecilinotus, but split proposed on vocal evidence#R; present species differs in its grey vs warm buff to strong rufous head sides in female (3); white vs whitish-grey throat in female (1); and differences in voice, with a burry vs clear tone in loudsong (2) and a “twitter” vs a “psit” as a contact call (2). When first split it was considered conspecific with W. nigrigula (which see). Monotypic.

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

E Amazonian Brazil S of R Amazon (E from R Xingu to W Maranhão, S to N Tocantins).

Descriptive notes

12–13 cm; 14–19·5 g. Male of present species probably indistinguishable from that of previously conspecific W. poecilinotus, being basically grey, paler below; lower... read more


Like W. poecilinotus loudsong is a series of long upslurred notes, which are frequency-... 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. Seeds of Miconia ciliata (Melastomataceae) recorded... read more


Very little known, but one nest with well-incubated eggs found in mid Apr was described as a messy cup of fibres and dried leaves, placed... 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. (2020). Xingu Scale-backed Antbird (Willisornis vidua). 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).