Neotropical Birds has been integrated into the new Birds of the World , a powerful research database offering species accounts for every species on earth.
While Birds of the World is a subscription service, we remain committed to offering this content to Neotropical Birds contributors and to those unable to pay for it through our scholarship program. Learn more at
This website will no longer be available after March 30, 2020.

Collared Crescentchest Melanopareia torquata

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Melanopareiidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Jacob Drucker


Geographic Variation

Three subspecies recognized:

torquata (Wied 1831); type locality Campo Geral of inner Brazil = campos on the Baía-Minas Gerais border (Peters 1951)

Occurs in the interior of northeastern Brazil (southern Piauí and western Bahia).

See Detailed Description.

rufescens (Hellmayr 1924; type locality Irisanga, São Paulo, Brazil

Occurs in central Brazil and in northeastern Paraguay.

Very similar to nominate torquata; reportedly differs by having the crown rufous brown, rather than grayish brown.

bitorquata (d’Orbigny and Lafresnaye 1837): type locality Chiquitos, Bolivia (Peters 1951)

Occurs in eastern Bolivia.

"Differs very decidedly" from the two other subspecies (Cory and Hellmayr 1924). The upper parts are olive brown, and the rectrices are brown (less rufescent). The fore edge of the rufous nuchal is bordered with a narrow black collar, streaked with white, and the rufous of the nuchal collar is deeper in color. The color of the underparts also is deeper, ochraceous rather than buff (Cory and Hellmayr 1924, Krabbe and Schulenberg 2003). In some respects this taxon is more similar to Melanopareia maximiliani (Olive-crowned Crescentchest) than to the other subspecies of torquata, but shares the rufous nuchal color of torquata and rufescens (Cory and Hellmayr 1924).

Related Species

Melanopareia traditionally has been classified in the Formicariidae (= Thamnophilidae, e.g., Cory and Hellmayr 1924) or in Rhinocryptidae (Peters 1951, Meyer de Schauensee 1966). Phylogenetic analysis of DNA sequence data, from both mitochondrial and nuclear genes, shows instead that Melanopareia forms a separate clade, and so now is recognized as a separate family (Irestedt et al. 2002, Chesser 2004). The relationships of Melanopareiidae are not completely resolved, but this family is at the base of a clade that also includes Conopophagidae, Grallariidae, and Rhinocryptidae (Moyle et al. 2009).

Recommended Citation

Drucker, J. (2013). Collared Crescentchest (Melanopareia torquata), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.