• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Middle American Leaftosser - BirdForum Opus

Subspecies pullus
Photo © by Ronald B Davis
Rancho Naturalista near Turrialba Costa Rica, December, 2015
Sclerurus mexicanus

Disambiguation: This species is a daughter species after split of the former species Tawny-throated Leaftosser; naming of this species is complicated by the fact that one checklist tentatively retained the name Tawny-throated Leaftosser for this daughter species.


15–17 cm (6-6¾ in)

  • Long thin bill
  • Dark brown overall plumage
  • Rufous on throat to breast and rump
  • Upperside of tail is dusky


Bill is longer and there is more rufous on the breast of the northern subspecies.

Similar species

Compared to South American Leaftosser, this species has a longer bill, and more rufous on throat and breast. It also has a slower song.


Central America: Mexico, Baja California, Guatemala, Belize, El Salvador, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama


This species was formerly considered a part of Tawny-throated Leaftosser together with South American Leaftosser


Two subspecies recognized[1]:

  • S. m. mexicanus from tropical southeast Mexico (Veracruz and Chiapas) to Honduras
  • S. m. pullus from Costa Rica to western Panama; eastern Panama (Mount Tacarcuna) (The identity of birds in eastern Panama is not certain).


Humid forests from tropical lowland to mainly subtropical montane humid forests at elevation up to around 2200m.



Hops on the ground, flipping over leave litter. If disturbed, it will fly to a nearby perch on a low branch.


Their diet consists mostly of invertebrates.


The song of these two subspecies are similar in most aspects such as containing about 4 notes within 3-3,5 s with the highest pitch on first note. Each note is generally "n" shaped with initial increase in pitch followed by a slow fall and then ending in an abrupt fall in pitch. A difference is that the maximum pitch reached is higher in S. m. pullus with peak pitch difference of more than 1000 hz[3].


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2018. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2018. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Birdforum thread discussing possible split of this species
  3. Paper by Cooper and Cuervo (2017) describing vocal differences in Rufous-throated and Tawny-throated Leaftossers
  4. Cooper, J. C., D. F. Barragán, R. C. Juárez-Jovel, and P. F. D. Boesman (2021). Middle American Leaftosser (Sclerurus mexicanus), version 1.1. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.tatlea1.01.1
  5. SACC proposal detailing the arguments for splitting Tawny-throated Leaftosser into two or more species

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.