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Grallaricula cucullata

Hooded Antpitta

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Grallariidae
  • Polytypic 2 Subspecies

Authors: Greeney, Harold F.



Grallaricula antpittas are small versions of Grallaria; similar to Grallaria, they are plump-bodied, with short tails and notably long tarsi. The sexes of Hooded Antpitta are similar. The plumage is simple but striking, with an orange rufous hood that extends to the lower nape and throat. Below they are pale gray and unmarked while above they are olive brown.

Similar Species

The bright rufous orange head and unmarked lower parts of Hooded Antpitta separate it immediately from all other Grallaricula antpittas. As noted by Ridgely and Tudor (2009), Hooded Antpitta is, in some parts of its range, sympatric with the similarly sized and similarly patterned Rufous-headed Pygmy-Tyrant (Pseudotriccus ruficeps). This small tyrant flycatcher, however, has shorter, yellow legs, and darker plumage below.


The vocalizations of Hooded Antpitta are almost unknown, and have not been formally described (Krabbe and Schulenberg 2003, Restall et al. 2006). Downing and Hickman (2004) report an unsexed adult "giving a di- or trisyllabic, high-pitched but quite liquid call, repeated 2-3 times".

Nonvocal Sounds

None documented.

Detailed Description (appearance)

The sexes of Hooded Antpitta both have an entirely bright orange rufous "hood", including the face, throat, nape, and sides of the neck. The back and tail are olive brown; the wings are similar but less olive. Below the "hood" the upper breast bears an indistinct, narrow white crescent that separates the rufous head from the pale gray breast and flanks. The center of the belly and lower breast are white.

Bare Parts

Iris: dark brown

Bill: pale yellowish to pale orange-pinkish

Tarsi and toes: gray to bluish slate


Total length: 10 cm (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Krabbe and Schulenberg 2003, McMullan et al. 2010), 10.5 cm (Restall et al. 2006), 11 cm (Dunning 1987, Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990), 11.4 cm (Hilty and Brown 1986), 11.5 cm (de Schauensee and Phelps 1978), 11.9 (Meyer de Schauensee 1970), 12.1 cm (Meyer de Schauensee 1964).

Linear measurements:
subspecies venezuelana: wing 66 mm; tail 31 mm; exposed culmen 13 mm; culmen from base 17 mm; tarsus 25 mm (male holotype); wing 66.5 mm; tail 30 mm; culmen from base 16 mm (n = 1, unsexed) (Phelps and Phelps 1956).

subspecies cucullata: wing 67-69 mm; tail 23-27 mm, culmen from base 16.0-16.5 mm (n = 2 males): wing 67 mm; tail 29 mm; culmen from base 15 mm (n = 1 female): wing 69 mm; tail 28 mm; culmen from base 15.5 mm (n = 1 unsexed) (Phelps and Phelps 1956).

Mass: no data.


No specific information.

Geographic Variation

Two subspecies currently recognized (Krabbe and Schulenberg 2003): venezuelana and nominate cucullata.

Grallaricula cucullata venezuelana: Originally described as Grallaricula cucullata venezuelana Phelps and Phelps 1956; type locality Río Chiquito, Hacienda La Providencia, Táchira, Venezuela, 1800 m.

Subspecies venezuelana is rather similar to nominate cucullata but differs in having a strong olivaceous wash across the breast. Additionally, the lower abdomen and undertail coverts are pale cream colored or yellowish instead of whitish.

The following detailed description of the type specimen (male) is from Phelps and Phelps (1956): "Top of head and lores Amber Brown with olivaceous tint towards nape; sides of head Sudan Brown; nape narrowly olivaceous; back and rump yellower than Saccardo's Olive; upper tail-coverts tinted with Dresden Brown. Throat Ochraceous-Tawny; a white patch between throat and breast; breast Buffy Citrine merging into the grayish olive of sides and flanks; abdomen whitish, slightly creamish posteriorly; thighs Ochraceous-Tawny; under tailcoverts pale buffy. Wings Bone Brown; outermost primaries margined with grayish; other remiges margined with brownish olive, more rufous on tertials; inner vanes of remiges margined internally with pale
Ochraceous-Salmon; wing-coverts lightly margined with browTiish olive; bend of wing, under wing-coverts and axillaries mixed Ochraceous-Tawny and dusky. Tail dusky olivaceous, the under surface paler; outer vanes of rectrices Madal Bronze."

Grallaricula cucullata cucullata: Originally described as Conopophaga cucullata (Sclater 1856); type locality "Bogotá", central Colombia. See Detailed Description for a description of the plumage of nominate cucullata.

Sclater (1856) describes the type specimen in Latin as follows: "C[onopophaga] supra brunnescenti-olivacea, alis caudaque nigricantibus brunnescente marginatis: capite toto et cervice postica cum gula et tectricum alarum marginibus clare rufo-castaneis: plaga pectoral alba: abdomine dilute cinereo, ventre medio et hypochondriis roseo aut rufescente tinctis: tectricibus subalaribus flavicanti-brunneis: rostro flavo: pedibus pallidis".


The taxonomic affinities of Hooded Antpitta are not clear, though in linear classifications it usually is placed close to other species of Grallaricula with proinent orange rufous markings on the head, such as Peruvian Antpitta (Grallaricula peruviana) and Ochre-fronted Antpitta (Grallaricula ochraceifrons) (Cory and Hellmayr 1924, Peters 1951, Sibley and Monroe 1990, Remsen et al. 2013).

Recommended Citation

Greeney, Harold F.. 2013. Hooded Antpitta (Grallaricula cucullata), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: