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Grallaria urraoensis

Urrao Antpitta

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Grallariidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Greeney, Harold F



Urrao Antpita is a rather dull colored, medium sized antpitta. The head and upperparts, including the upperwing, are olive brown, darker and more brownish on the tail. The earcoverts are slightly brighter olive brown and tinged with cinnamon brown, while the lores and orbital area are pale gray.  The throat and an indistinct malar stripe are light gray, with brownish feather tips. The underparts, including the flanks, are pale gray with paler tips giving a slightly scaled appearance in the right lighting. The sides of the breast and thighs are tinged with olive gray, and the central belly is paler. The greater underwing-coverts are bright cinnamon, with the underwing area otherwise dull brownish. Juveniles (from Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos 2010) are darker overall with a mottled appearance dorsally. This mottling or scaling on the back is created by patches of black down with chestnut tips on most of the crown, nape, and flanks, and in small patches in the scapular area, the rump and the breast. Below, the gray areas are darker gray, the belly is buffy white, and the sides of the throat are blackish. In juveniles the maxilla is black proximally and orange distally, the mandible entirely orange, and the still visible rectal flanges are brighter red orange.

Similar Species

Urrao Antpitta is most similar to Brown-banded Antpitta (G. milleri), but has a more olivaceous dorsum and a brownish olive rather than whitish throat. Urrao Antpitta also lacks the brown pectoral band characteristic of Brown-banded Antpitta. Within its limited range, there are only four other Grallaria sympatric with Urrao Antpitta: Undulated Antpitta, G. squamigera; Rufous Antpitta, G. rufula; Chestnut-naped Antpitta, G. nuchalis; and Chestnut-crowned Antpitta, G. ruficapilla. All but Rufous Antpitta are strikingly patterned, and unlikely to be confused with the nearly uniformly colored Urrao Antpitta. Similarly, the dull, olive brown plumage of Urrao Antpitta makes it immediately separable from the bright rufescent coloration of Rufous Antpitta.


The following description of the vocalizations of Urrao Antpitta is based on Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos (2010). The song of Urrao Antpitta is composed of three notes, increasing slightly in pitch, and delivered in rapid succession, with an average (±SD) of 0.30 ± 0.03 sec between the first and second note and only 0.07 ± 0.02 sec between the second and third notes. The song’s total duration is 0.9 ± 0.06 sec. The first and second notes are 0.13 ± 0.02 sec and 0.14 ± 0.02 sec in duration, respectively, whereas the third is slightly longer (0.18 ± 0.04 sec). The pitch of the first note is 2.93 ± 0.11 kHz, the second is 3.08 ± 0.10 kHz, and the third note is delivered at 3.27 ± 0.10 kHz.


The call, apparently given after playback or in response to loud noises, is louder and higher in pitch than the song, consisting of a single abrupt note (duration, 0.31 ± 0.03 sec) that rises and falls.

Additional audio recordings of vocalizations of Urrao Antpitta can be heard at xeno-canto.

Nonvocal Sounds

None described.

Detailed Description (appearance)

Using the color nomenclature of Smithe (1975, 1981), the original description given by Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos (2010) is as follows:

Adult: "A fairly small, clearly bicolored Grallaria antpitta. Forehead, crown, nape, back, scapular area, and rump uniformly dull brown -olive (Raw Umber 123); rectrices darker (between Mars Brown 223A and Prout's Brown 121A). Lores close to Cream Color 54, inconspicuous buffy eyering with feathers tipped black, auriculars generally Mars Brown 223A, but middle section of feathers close to Ochraceous Tawny 123B and tips darker. Middle and upper secondary coverts and external margin of primary coverts Raw Umber, internal margin of primary coverts dark gray; primaries proximally close to Vandyke Brown 221 and distally dull brown-olive (123); secondaries 6 and 7, which were retained, somewhat darker (close to 223A); interior wing coverts between Cinnamon Rufous 40 and Tawny 38. Throat feathers light gray (between Neutral Gray 82 and Medium Neutral Gray 84) and tipped dull brown-olive (123), producing a mottled appearance; sides of throat 123. Breast and sides of breast pale gray (between Glaucus 78 and 80), with feathers narrowly tipped grayish white (close to Smoke Gray 44); center of abdomen dull White (between Cream Color 54 and Pale Horn Color 92), thighs olive brownish (Olive Brown 28). Iris dark brown, maxilla black and mandible horn, with tomia and tip lighter; tarsi and feet blue- gray".

Using the color nomenclature provided in Munsell Color (1977), Barrera et al. (2010) describe this species as follows:

Adult: "Face: Head overall uniform Olive Brown (5Y 5/6), with light gray lores and thin eye-ring (5Y 7/2) with black feather tips. Ear-coverts, malar, and nape warmer cinnamon-brown (10YR 3/6). Upperparts: Entire upperparts, from the forecrown to the uppertail-coverts and shoulders, uniform Olive Brown (5Y 5/6). Tail darker brown (7.5YR 4/2). Wings: upperwing coverts and flight feathers uniform Olive Brown (7.5YR 7/10) with underwing coverts warm cinnamon-brown (2.5Y 6/4). Underparts: Throat light gray (5Y 7/2) with darker olive brown tips to the feathers. Lower underparts and flanks to undertail-coverts pale gray (2.5Y 8/2) with paler gray feather tips and slight olive gray (5Y 6/2) tinge to feathers on the side of the chest and being paler whitish gray on the abdomen. Thighs pale grayish olive-brown (5Y 5/4)".

Bare Parts

Iris: dark brown

Bill: maxilla black, mandible dusky horn or bluish horn, both mandibles paler at the tip

Tarsi and toes: gray to blue gray


Total length: 16–17 cm (Fjeldså 2013)

Linear measurements:


wing length (chord) 95.4, 96.5 mm; tail length 63.0, 63.2 mm; bill length (exposed culmen) 20.4, 18.9 mm; bill length (total culmen) 23.5, 22.2 mm; commissure width 13.4, 13.0 mm; bill height 7.0, 6.9 mm; tarsus length 46.5, 44.6 mm (n = 2, Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos 2010)

sex unspecified:

flat wing chord 99 mm; tail length 57 mm; maxilla length 22.9 mm; tarsus length 49.9 mm (n = 1, Barrera et al. 2010)


males – 56.4, 57.4 g (n = 2, Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos 2010)

sex unspecified – 53.5 g (n = 1, Barrera et al. 2010)



Geographic Variation

Urrao Antpitta is monotypic.


Considerable controversy surrounds the description of Urrao Antpitta (Anonymous 2010, 2011, Cadena and Stiles 2010, Regalado 2011), initially due to largely ethical concerns, but more importantly due to the validity of type material (feather samples and photograph used by Barrera et al. 2010). Following the initial discovery of a new speciec, two publications, by separate authors, proposed two separate names:

Grallaria fenwickorum Barrera and Bartels, 2010, Colibrí del Sol Bird Reserve, Vereda El Chuscal, 3130 m, Páramo del Sol, Urrao, Antioquia, Colombia

Grallaria urraoensis Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos, 2010, Colibrí del Sol Bird Reserve, Vereda El Chuscal, 2850 m, Páramo del Sol, Urrao, Antioquia, Colombia

After careful consideration, Remsen et al. (2014) chose to accept the description of Carantón-Ayala and Certuche-Cubillos (2010), and I have followed that recommendation here. Based on plumage and vocal characters, as well as range, Urrao Antpitta is most likely closely related to Brown-banded Antpitta (G. milleri) and Cundinamarca Antpitta (G. kaestneri).

Recommended Citation

Greeney, Harold F. 2014. Urrao Antpitta (Grallaria urraoensis), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: