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South American Leaftosser - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 01:46, 12 June 2022 by Njlarsen (talk | contribs) (most, remove {{Incomplete}})
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Presumably subspecies bahiae
Photo © by Francisco Paludo
Ubatuba, SP, Brasil, July, 2018

Alternative name: Dusky Leaftosser

Sclerurus obscurior


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


Several features vary among the subspecies. For example, the rump is much less contrasting in obscurior than in andinus. Vocalizations distinguish at least three of the subspecies.

Similar species

Compared to Middle American Leaftosser, this species has a shorter bill, and less rufous on throat and breast. It also has a faster song.


South America: Colombia, Venezuela, Guyana, Suriname, French Guiana, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia and Brazil


Presumably subspecies andinus
Photo © by COLOMBIA Birding
Montezuma, Western Andes, Colombia, April, 2012

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


Five subspecies are recognized[1].

  • S. m. andinus - from tropical estern Panama to Colombia
  • S. m.s obscurior - in the foothills of western Andes of Colombia and western Ecuador as well as lowlands to the west of this.
  • S. m. peruvianus - in the tropical western Amazon basin
  • S. m. macconnelli - from southern Venezuela to the Guianas and eastern Amazonian Brazil
  • S. m. bahiae - in Atlantic eastern Brazil (Alagoas to north-eastern São Paulo)


Differs among subspecies with some in lowlands and others in montane areas, all in humid forest.


Hops on the ground and moves leaf litter around in search of invertebrates.


The maximum pitch reached is generally lower than in Middle American Leaftosser (especially the closest populations). Notes are shorter and more notes are delivered, with each note generally increasing in pitch rather than falling. Several of the subspecies differ in song characteristics[3].


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2021. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2021. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. SACC proposal detailing the arguments for splitting Tawny-throated Leaftosser into two or more species
  3. Paper by Cooper and Cuervo (2017) describing vocal differences in Rufous-throated and Tawny-throated Leaftossers
  4. Hilty, S.L. 2021. Birds of Colombia. Lynx and Birdlife International Field Guides, Lynx Editions, Barcelona. ISBN 978-84-16728-24-4
  5. Cooper, J. C., D. F. Barragán, R. C. Juárez-Jovel, and P. F. D. Boesman (2021). South American Leaftosser (Sclerurus obscurior), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.soalea1.01

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.