Rufous-fronted Antthrush Formicarius rufifrons


Justification of Red List category
This species is considered Near Threatened as it is known from only a small range, and is apparently rare and patchily distributed. However, the range is not yet severely fragmented or restricted to few locations (Collar et al. 1992). For these reasons, the species is classified as Near Threatened.

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'rare' (Stotz et al. 1996).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 0.1-8.6% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (10 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). Given the susceptibility of the species to fragmentation and/or edge effects, it is therefore suspected to decline by <25% over three generations.

Distribution and population

Formicarius rufifrons was formerly known only from the río Madre de Dios and its tributaries, Peru, but during the 1990s it was found on the upper rio Juruá in Acre, Brazil (Whittaker and Oren 1999), río Tahuamanu in Pando, Bolivia (L. Jammes in litt. 1999, T. S. Schulenberg in litt. 1999) and río Urubamba in Cuzco, Peru (H. Lloyd in litt. 1999, N. Gerhart in litt. 2000), greatly extending its known range. It is generally rare and localised within this range.


This species is a rare and rather unpredictably distributed inhabitant of riverine floodplain thickets, where tall forest with shaded understorey lies adjacent to second-growth vegetation with a dense understorey (Kratter 1995) of, for example, Guadua bamboo or Heliconia (Schulenberg et al. 2007).


In some areas, it is threatened by actual and impending human settlement and agricultural development, but most parts of the range are remote and as yet undisturbed.

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Significant populations are protected within Manu National Park and Tambopata-Candamo Reserved Zone in Peru (H. Lloyd in litt. 1999).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys of suitable habitats within and surrounding the known range to determine its true distribution and abundance. Conduct ecological studies to determine this species's precise habitat requirements. Increase the area of suitable habitat that has protected status.


18 cm. A dark brown hen-like terrestrial bird. Upperparts rich brown with orange-rufous forecrown. More rufescent on uppertail-coverts. Underparts sooty grey, browner on lower belly. Dark cocked tail. Similar spp. Black-faced Antthrush F. analis has a black area around throat, lacks the rufous front and has black, instead of cinnamon-rufous underwing-coverts. Voice The song is a rising and then falling series of clear, monotonic whistles of c.5 seconds. Hints Very hard to see, best located by voice.


Text account compilers
Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., Sharpe, C J

Schulenberg, T., Gerhart, N., Jammes, L., Lloyd, H.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2023) Species factsheet: Formicarius rufifrons. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org/species/factsheet/rufous-fronted-antthrush-formicarius-rufifrons on 26/09/2023. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2023) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://datazone.birdlife.org on 26/09/2023.