Birding Brazil Tours & Nature Photography

Brazilian tapaculos taxonomic update: a continuation

Serra do Mar Tapaculo (Scytalopus notorius)

Published: September 16, 2012

Text by Andrew Whittaker and Jaqueline Fortuna

A new important twist in the Mouse-colored Tapaculo (Scytalopus speluncae) taxonomic saga effecting the recently described Rock Tapaculo (Scytalopus petrophilus) description was just published. Raposo et al (2012) clarify beyond doubt the much debated interpretation of where the type specimen of Scytalopus speluncae (Ménétriés 1835) originated and to which southeastern Brazilian population of Scytalopus tapaculo in fact represents.

This has resulted in the taxonomy of these Scytalopus of eastern Brazil to change again! Summarizing and simplifying: the recently described Rock Tapaculo (Scytalopus petrophilus, Whitney et al 2010) is now lost and synonomized with and returns back to Mouse-colored Tapaculo. Thus the recently described taxon Scytalopus notorious (Raposo et al 2006) is reinstated and refers to the birds found in the Serra do Mar mountains, and its English name still to be confirmed (by SACC) probably will be Serra do Mar Tapaculo. The recent description of Planalto Tapaculo (Scytalopus pachecoi, Mauricio 2005) from the southern population in Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina (Southern Brazil and Northern Argentina) makes the Serra do Mar Tapaculo an endemic.

Tapaculos photographs can be seen in Endemic Brazilian tapaculos, with a brief résumé of their current taxonomy (Whittaker & Fortuna, 2012).


Mauricio, G. N. (2005). Taxonomy of southern populations in the Scytalopus speluncae group, with description of a new species and remarks on the systematics and biogeography of the complex (Passeriformes: Rhinocryptidae). Ararajuba 13: 7–28.

Ménétriés, E. (1835). Monographie de la famille des Myiotherinae où sont décrites les espèces quiornent le Musée d'Académie impériale des Sciences. Mémoires de L'Académie des Sciences de St. Pétersburg (6th serie) 3: 443–544.

Raposo, M.A., Stopiglia, R., Loskot, V. & Kirwan, G.M. (2006). The correct use of the name Scytalopus speluncae (Ménétriés, 1835), and the description of a new species of Brazilian tapaculo (Aves: Passeriformes: Rhinocryptidae). Zootaxa 1271: 37–56.

Raposo, M.A., Kirwan, G.M., R., Loskot, V & De Assis C.P. (2012). São João del Rei is the type locality of Scytalopus speluncae (Aves: Passeriformes: Rhinocryptidae)-a response to Maurício et al. (2010). Zootaxa 3439: 51–67.

Remsen, J. V., Jr., C. D. Cadena, A. Jaramillo, M. Nores, J. F. Pacheco, J. Pérez-Emán, M. B. Robbins, F. G. Stiles, D. F. Stotz, and K. J. Zimmer. Version: 14 September 2012. A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union.

Whitney, B.M., Vasconcelos, M.F., Silveira, L.F. & Pacheco, J.F. (2010). Scytalopus petrophilus (Rock Tapaculo): a new species from Minas Gerais, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 18 (2): 73–88.

Whittaker, A., Fortuna, J.R. (2012) Endemic Brazilian tapaculos, with a brief résumé of their current taxonomy. Neotropical Birding 11: 62-66.