Scaled Antpitta Grallaria guatimalensis

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Grallariidae
  • Polytypic: 9 subspecies
  • Authors: Harold F. Greeney, A. Rivera-Ortíz, Claudia I. Rodríguez-Flores, Carlos A. Soberanes-González, and Marîa del Coro Arizmendi



Scaled Antpittas forage by tossing or flicking leaves aside with bill while hopping or running along the ground. They may stop frequently to probe into the leaf litter or soft mud. When alarmed, adults fly low and straight for short distances, usually into the nearest area of thick vegetation. Though it has not been reported, it seems likely that Scaled Antpittas follow army ant swarms, especially in the lower portions of their range. Jose Maria Loaiza B. (in Greeney 2012) reported being followed by an adult Scaled Antpitta in western Ecuador (regulus), which foraged repeatedly in areas of the leaf litter that had been disturbed by his passage. Greeney (2012) suggests that foraging associations with large mammals may be a regular strategy employed by this, and other antpittas. Woods et al. (2011) report that Scaled Antpittas are amongst the growing number of Grallaria antpittas that are attracted to the "worm-feeding stations" employed by the tourist industry. This suggests, as do the observations on nestling diet given above, that earthworms may form an important part of the diet of Scaled Antpitta.


There are no data available on territorial behavior or territory defense for Scaled Antpitta. Kikuchi (2009) reports a density of 0.56 pairs per hectare, with a mean territory size of 0.83 ± 0.13 hectares in Peru (regulus).

Sexual Behavior

No aspects of courtship or sexual interactions have been described.

Social and interspecific behavior

Usually solitary.


There are no observations of predation events on adult Scaled Antpittas. Dobbs et al. (2001), however, reported the direct observation of a nest being depredated by a tyra (Eira barbara; Mustelidae) in southwestern Ecuador. The adult, which was brooding the two nestlings as the tyra approached, flushed from the nest only when the tyra was less than a meter away. The adults did not return to the nest during 45 minutes of observation following the consumption of the nestlings by the tyra.

Recommended Citation

Greeney, H. F., A. Rivera-Ortíz, C. I. Rodríguez-Flores, C. A. Soberanes-González, and M. d. C. Arizmendi (2013). Scaled Antpitta (Grallaria guatimalensis), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.