Recently described new species for the family Typical Antbirds

By some, the name Yasuní Antwren is preferred over the name Brown-backed Antwren, as proposed by the authors.  The reason is that there exist several antwrens with brown backs.  Yasuní National Park near the Río Napo, Ecuador is where the type specimen was obtained.

Yasuní / Brown-backed Antwren     Myrmotherula fjeldsaai
e Ecuador; adjacent Peru.  Lower tropical zone
insert after: Myrmotherula leucophthalma
Niels Krabbe, Morton L. Isler, Phyllis R. Isler, Bret M. Whitney, Jose Alvarez & Paul J. Greenfield,
A new species in the Myrmotherula haematonota superspecies (Aves: Tamnophilidae) from the western Amazonian lowlands of Ecuador and Peru
Wilson Bulletin 111, 2 (1999): 157-165

CaatingaAntwren.jpg (188316 bytes)
Caatinga Antwren, taken from the cover of The Auk 117, 4 (2000). Cover plate, watercolor painting,
© Daniel F. Lane.
This species is an inhabitant of the caatinga, especially mid-humid patches of semideciduous woodland and scrub.  It forages predominantly in the middle and upper tree levels, especially where papilionaceous shrubs are present.

Individuals of Caatinga Antwren have been known for a long time, but differences were not recognized so they belonged to H. pileatus, the Bahia Antwren.

(That species is now considered to be a coastal Bahia endemic. It has atricapillus as closest relative species.)
Sellowi has a shorter and narrower bill, pale loral area, short postocular streak, and undertail coverts variably buffy.  The female lacks distinct white marks in the crown, but may have buffy feather tips there.
Another distinction can be found in the (loud)song: a 2.3 seconds series of notes like that of pileatus, but with twice as many notes, at an even, double pace and slightly higher in pitch.

Song of Caatinga Antwren

Caatinga Antwren, song, © Juan Mazar Barnett. Recorded July 18, 1998, Boa Nova, Bahia, Brazil.

Caatinga Antwren     Herpsilochmus sellowi
ne Brazil: s Rio Grande do Norte, s Ceará and c Maranhão s through interior Bahia to nw Minas Gerais; isolated population in Serra do Cachimbo, Pará
insert after: Herpsilochmus pileatus
Bret M. Whitney, José Fernando Pacheco, Dante R. C. Buzzetti & Ricardo Parrini,
Systematic revision and biogeography of the Herpsilochmus pileatus complex, with description of a new species from northeastern Brazil
The Auk 117, 4 (2000): 869-891

For comparison we include two short song phrases of similar antwrens:

Song of Black-capped Antwren, PN da Serra do Cipó, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Black-capped Antwren, song, © Rolf de By. Recorded December 26, 1998, Parque Nacional da Serra do Cipó, Minas Gerais, Brazil

Song of Bahia Antwren, Una Biological Reserve, Bahia, Brazil

Bahia Antwren, song,
© Juan Mazar Barnett. Recorded July 23, 1998, Una Biological Reserve, Bahia, Brazil.


The Ancient Antwren was discovered through its calls.  It occurs in tropical lowland evergreen forest, and was first found in the province of Loreto, Peru.  One record stems from se Venezuela.  Its occurrence seems primarily determined by soil type, and its habitat is naturally rare.  Within it, however, it is a fairly common species.

There are several reasons (voice, morphology) to assume its closest living relative is Todd's Antwren, H. stictocephalus, which occurs in e Venezuela and the Guianas.
AncientAntwren.jpg (18930 bytes)
Ancient Antwren, taken with permission from the cover of The Auk 115, 3 (1998). Cover plate, acrylic painting,
© John P. O´Neill.

Ancient Antwren     Herpsilochmus gentryi
n Peru: esp. n Loreto; se Ecuador: se Pastaza province
insert after: Herpsilochmus stictocephalus
Bret M. Whitney & José Alvarez Alonso,
A new Herpsilochmus Antwren (Aves: Thamnophilidae) from northern Amazonian Peru and adjacent Ecuador: The role of edaphic heterogeneity of terra firme forest
The Auk 115, 3 (1998): 559-576


Paraná Antwren     Stymphalornis acutirostris
s Brazil: Paraná state
insert after: Formicivora rufa
Marcos R. Bornschein, Bianca L. Reinert & D. M. Teixera,
Um nova Formicariidae do sul do Brasil (Aves, Passeriformes)
Publicação Técnico-Científica do Instituto Iguaçu, No. 1, 18 pp.

Parker's Antbird     Cercomacra parkeri
Colombia: c and e Andes above 1000 m
insert after: Cercomacra tyrannina
Gary R. Graves,
Colorimetric and morphometric gradients in Colombian populations of Dusky Antbirds (Cercomacra tyrannina), with a description of a new species, Cercomacra parkeri
Ornithological Monographs No. 48, Studies in Neotropical Ornithology honoring Ted Parker, 1997, p. 111-128

Allpahuayo Antbird     Percnostola arenarum
ne Peru: dept. Loreto, near Iquitos
insert after: Sclateria naevia
Morton L. Isler, José Alvarez Alonso, Phyllis R. Isler, Thomas Valqui, A. Begazo & Brett M. Whitney,
A new species of Pernostola antbird (Passeriformes: Thamnophilidae) from Amazonian Peru, and an analysis of species limits within Percnostola rufifrons
Wilson Bulletin 113, 2 (2001): 164-176
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