Magellanic Tapaculo Scytalopus magellanicus


The Magellanic Tapaculo is the southernmost member of the dark mouse-like Scytalopus genus of tapaculos. It is blackish-grey with darker lores and in some individuals they show a shiny white crown. Curiously the white crown is not present in all individuals, and it begins to show early in life while still in the brownish immature stages. Magellanic Tapaculos are birds of temperate rainforests of Chile and Argentina, in particular they like thickets of Chusquea bamboo adjacent to moist draws or creeks within or at the edge of the forest. They are common and can be located by their loud and repetitive “pe-tra pe-tra pe-tra pe-tra….” vocalization. Magellanic Tapaculos appear to be resident, and year-round territorial. They vocalize throughout the year. A curiosity is that there is a highland population found above 2000m elevation in the central Andes of Chile and Argentina. This population is found well above the treeline and lives in moist areas adjacent to big boulders. These birds are larger and lack white crowns, based on the very different ecological circumstances in which they live they parallel various other Scytalopus populations farther north which are considered separate species. Unlike in those situations, the bamboo and highland populations of the Magellanic Tapaculo appear to have the same or very similar songs. It is unclear what to do with this situation taxonomically.

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© Natxo Areta

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

Recommended Citation

Magellanic Tapaculo (Scytalopus magellanicus), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: