Scalloped Antbird Myrmoderus ruficauda


Justification of Red List Category
This species has a very small and severely fragmented range and population, which is continuing to decline rapidly (Collar et al. 1992). It is consequently listed as Endangered.

Population justification
The population is estimated to number 1,000-2,499 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 667-1,666 mature individuals, rounded here to 600-1,700 mature individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid and continuing population decline is suspected, owing to rates of habitat loss.

Distribution and population

Myrmeciza ruficauda has a disjunct range in north-east and east Brazil. The nominate race is known from Córrego do Veado (in 1986) and Sooretama (uncommon), Espírito Santo, and the rio Mucuri (first recorded in 1997), Bahia (E. O. Willis in litt. 1999). Other recent records from Bahia include the region of Vitória da Conquista and Boa Nova. It was discovered near Salto da Divisa, in extreme north-east Minas Gerais, in 2001 (Marini et al. 2003) but prior to this the only state record was from the rio Doce in 1930. The race soror is fairly common at Murici and there are recent records from Pedra Talhada, Usina Serra Grande (A. Whittaker in litt. 1999), Usina Utinga Leão and Engenho Coimbra (Roda et al. 2003), Alagoas, and Água Azul, Saltinho and Usina Frei Caneca, Pernambuco (Roda et al. 2003). There are other records from Usina Sinimbu, Fazenda Canoas, São Miguel dos Campos, Usina Serra Grande and Usina Utinga Leão in Alagoas; Tapacurá, Serra dos Cavalo, Usina São José, Fazenda São Bento and Brejo dos Cavalos in Pernambuco; and five birds were collected from Paraíba in 1957.


The nominate race frequents undergrowth close to the ground, often favouring the interior of tall drier forest near treefall gaps, where vegetation is characterised by an abundance of vines and small tree trunks. The race soror seems largely terrestrial, favouring light gaps and fairly open areas near dense cover in mature forest. It has been found in degraded second growth. A ground nest with two eggs has been found. Territories appear small (<1 ha) but well spaced. The race soror breeds following the heavy rains in midwinter, with nests having been found in September and October, although a nest has also been found in April, suggesting the species may lay two clutches within a single season (Buzzetti and Barnett 2003). The nominate race probably breeds in October-December (Zimmer et al. 2015).


In the north-east, logging and clearance for sugarcane and pasturelands has reduced remaining forests to isolated and fragmented patches. Murici is severely threatened by logging and fires spreading from adjacent plantations (A. Whittaker in litt. 1999). Further south, little forest remains because of conversion to plantation agriculture (Brown and Brown 1992, Fearnside 1996).

Conservation actions

Conservation Actions Underway
Considered Endangered at the national level in Brazil and protected under Brazilian law (Silveira & Straube 2008, MMA 2014). Occurs in Pedra Talhada and Sooretama Biological Reserves, Murici Ecological Reserve, and Frei Caneca Private Nature Reserve; may persist at Saltinho and Córrego do Veado Biological Reserves, and Tapacurá and Serra dos Cavalos UFPE Ecological Stations (Zimmer et al. 2015). There is a reforestation scheme and active protection at Pedra Talhada (A. Studer per A. Whittaker in litt. 1999).

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey remnant habitat patches in the north-east, and Córrego do Veado. Designate Murici as a biological reserve and ensure its de facto protection. Effectively protect other forest fragments, especially in north-east Brazil. Continue conservation measures at Pedra Talhada. Investigate protecting the newly discovered site on the rio Mucuri.


14.5 cm. Scaled antbird. Male is olive-brown above, greyer on crown. Feathers of mid-back tipped buff. Dark rufous rump and tail. Blackish wings with buffy wing-bars and rufous edging. Black cheeks, throat and breast. Grey fringing to rear of auriculars, sides of neck and chest. Broad grey tips to breast. Buffy belly. Female as male but white throat, whitish breast with black scalloping and spotting. Voice High-pitched and strident trill, slightly accelerating and falling in pitch. Also harsh chzíp call.


Text account compilers
Symes, A., Capper, D., Sharpe, C.J., Pople, R.

Willis, E., Whittaker, A., De Luca, A., Develey, P., Studer, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2022) Species factsheet: Myrmoderus ruficauda. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/08/2022. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2022) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 17/08/2022.