Black-crowned Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thamnophilidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Corey E. Tarwater and J. Patrick Kelley


Geographic Variation

Until 1997, atrinucha was grouped into the larger "Slaty Antshrike" Thamnophilus punctatus sensu lato complex, a suite of more than 11 taxa distributed from Belize to south to southeastern Brazil. Following an analysis of geographic variation in plumage and vocalizations by Isler et al. (1997), the punctatus complex was broken into no fewer than six separate species. Of these, the Western Slaty-Antshrike T. atrinucha is the northernmost member of the complex, and is the only member of the group that is distributed west of the Andes.

Thayer and Bangs (1905) described the population from Gorgona Island, off the west coast of South America, as a separate subspecies, gorgonae. This subspecies is similar to nominate atrinucha, but in the male the forecrown is more extensively gray, and the underparts are lighter gray. Female gorgonae by a darker color on the underparts (with the throat only slightly paler than the breast), a more rufous back, and a much darker crown (Cory and Hellmayr 1924, Zimmer and Isler 2003). Recordings of the vocalizations of gorgonae are not known, and so this taxon was not included in the analysis of geographic variation by Isler et al. (1997).

Related Species

Described as Thamnophilus atrinucha by Salvin and Godman in 1892, with a type locality of "Central America"; the type locality later was restricted to Panama by Hellmayr in 1911.

The genus Thamnophilus is composed of 27 species, all of which are insectivorous, socially monogamous, sexually dichromatic, and exist in the under- to midstory of forest interiors, edges, or scrub (Remsen et al. 2006, Brumfield and Edwards 2007). The genus appears to be monophyletic (Zimmer and Isler 2003, Moyle et al. 2009). Atrinucha is not particularly closely related to other taxa with which it formerly was included in the same species as "Slaty Antshrike" Thamnophilus punctatus sensu lato (see Geographic Variation). Rather, the sister species to atrinucha is Black-hooded Antshrike Thamnophilus bridgesi (Brumfield and Edwards 2007).

Thamnophilidae (typical antbirds) consists of 209 species, and is within the infraorder, Furnariides, a large Neotropical clade of 600 species.

Recommended Citation

Tarwater, C. E. and J. P. Kelley (2010). Black-crowned Antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.