Great Antpitta Grallaria excelsa

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Grallariidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Harold F. Greeney
  • © David Ascanio

Great Antpitta is thought to form a superspecies with Giant Antpitta (Grallaria gigantea), which replaces it farther south in the Andes. The two are so closely related that some authors believe them to be conspecific or, alternatively, that at least one subspecies of Giant Antpitta is actually better placed with Great Antpitta. Unlike its sister species, Great Antpitta is extremely poorly known, with the only detailed study of it in the field pertaining to its nesting habits. Currently, most aspects of its biology and distribution remain a mystery. Great Antpitta is ranked as globally Vulnerable under IUCN threat criteria. Until recently, in fact, this species was virtually unknown in life, and it is thought that many early records of this species probably involved misidentified Undulated Antpittas (Grallaria squamigera) or Plain-backed Antpittas (Grallaria haplonota). Great Antpitta is endemic to humid cloudforests at 1700–2300 m in the Andes and north coastal ranges of Venezuela, where the species has been observed at only a handful of localities. There is no definite evidence that the Great Antpitta occurs in immediately adjacent Colombia, although its presence there has been suggested.


© Paul A. Schwartz

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

Recommended Citation

Greeney, H. F. (2015). Great Antpitta (Grallaria excelsa), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.