Black-tailed Leaftosser Sclerurus caudacutus

  • © Ciro Albano

The Black-tailed Leaftosser is a member of the genus Sclerurus distributed throughout much of Amazonia. An isolated population is found in the coastal forest of southeastern Brazil. The leaftossers are now considered closely aligned with the miners, genus Geositta, within the Furnariidae, but have sometimes been elevated to their own family. Many of the species are widespread with considerable overlap, and best identified in the field by vocalizations. Black-tailed overlaps with both Tawny-throated Leaftosser (Sclerurus mexicanus) and Short-billed Leaftosser (Sclerurus rufigularis), but is generally larger, longer billed (than Short-billed), and is darker with a somewhat contrasting white throat in comparison to the two. Despite its common name, the Black-tailed Leaftosser does not have an appreciable blacker tail than other leaftossers, a feature that would be almost impossible to see in the field for identification purposes. Leaftossers are quite secretive birds of the forest, found as singles or pairs. They forage on the forest floor, but often sing from a low branch or root, and are typically very vocal at dawn and dusk. As in other species of leaftosser, they emit a loud “squeak” when startled. Little is known about the natural history of leaftossers. Geographical variation of both song and plumage suggest that the taxonomy of this species, and leaftossers in general, is complicated and worth studying.

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© Paul A. Schwartz

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Black-tailed Leaftosser (Sclerurus caudacutus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: