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Mouse-colored Tapaculo - BirdForum Opus

"Serra do Mar Tapaculo". Photo by Luiz
Itatiaia National Park, Itamonte, MG, Brazil, September 2009
Scytalopus speluncae

(for Scytalopus notorius, see Taxonomy section)


Male dark slaty grey. Female with brown on wings and back and brown-barred flanks, but with equally dark underside.


Mountains of south-eastern Brazil (southwestern Espírito Santo to northern Rio Grande do Sul)


The taxonomy of this and related species is rather complex.

Planalto Tapaculo Scytalopus pachecoi and Rock Tapaculo Scytalopus petrophilus have been split from this species.[1][2][3]

Further, the remaining Mouse-colored Tapaculo may contain more than one species:

  • Scytalopus speluncae belongs to a lighter colored form from Serra do Espinhaço mountains in Brazil which currently does not have a name, however Espinhaço Tapaculo is proposed.
  • The dark mouse-colored form from the coastal Serra do Mar mountain range has been called Scytalopus notorius and would possibly be named Serra do Mar Tapaculo but this is the form that for a long time has been known as Mouse-colored Tapaculo and it may inherit that name.

However, notorius is no longer recognised by many authorities, and S. speluncae is regarded as monotypic.[1][4]


Moist forest at elevations corresponding to foothills to lower mountain. In the forest limited to dense undergrowth, often with bamboo.


Vocal. This and similar species are often very difficult to see.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2011. IOC World Bird Names (version 2.9). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  3. Van Remsen, August 2010. Proposal (463) to South American Classification Committee: Recognize newly described Scytalopus petrophilus. http://www.museum.lsu.edu/~Remsen/SACCprop463.html
  4. Birdforum thread discussing the taxonomy of eastern Tapaculos including Mouse-colored, Rock, and other likely splits of this species

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