Open Access Open Access  Restricted Access Subscription or Fee Access


Taxonomic revision of Myrmeciza (Aves: Passeriformes: Thamnophilidae) into 12 genera based on phylogenetic, morphological, behavioral, and ecological data 



A comprehensive molecular phylogeny of the family Thamnophilidae indicated that the genus Myrmeciza (Gray) is not monophyletic. Species currently assigned to the genus are found in three of the five tribes comprising the subfamily Thamnophilinae. Morphological, behavioral, and ecological character states of species within these tribes and their closest relatives were compared to establish generic limits. As a result of this analysis, species currently placed in Myrmeciza are assigned to Myrmeciza and eleven other genera, four of which (Myrmelastes Sclater, Myrmoderus Ridgway, Myrmophylax Todd, and Sipia Hellmayr) are resurrected, and seven of which (Ammonastes, Ampelornis, Aprositornis, Hafferia, Inundicola, Poliocrania, and Sciaphylax) are newly described.


antbirds, Myrmeciza, phylogeny, systematics, Thamnophilidae

Full Text:

PDF/A (746.88 KB)


Akaike, H. (1974) A new look at the statistical model identification. IEEE Transactions on Automatic Control, 19, 716–723.

American Ornithologists’ Union. (1998) Check-list of North American Birds. 7th Edition. American Ornithologists’ Union, Washington, D.C., 829 pp.

Baldwin, S.P., Oberholser, H.C. & Worley, L.G. (1931). Measurements of birds. Scientific Publication Cleveland Museum of Natural History II, 165 pp.

Bangs, O. & Penard T.E. (1918) Notes on a collection of Surinam birds. Bulletin Museum of Comparative Zoology, Harvard University, 62, 25–93.

Baptista, L.F. & Kroodsma, D.E. (2001) Avian bioacoustics. In Hoyo, J. del, Elliot, A. & Sargatal, J. (Eds.), Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. 6. Mousebirds to Hornbills. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain, pp. 11–52.

Barker, F.K., Barrowclough, G.F. & Groth, J.G. (2002) A phylogenetic hypothesis for passerine birds: taxonomic and biogeographic implications of an analysis of nuclear DNA sequence data. Proceedings of the Royal Society B-Biological Sciences, 269, 295–308.

Belcher, C.F. & Smooker, G.D. (1936) Birds of the colony of Trinidad and Tobago. 13th Ser. Ibis, 6, 792–813.

Borges, S.H. (2004) Species poor but distinct: bird assemblages in white sand vegetation in Jaú National Park, Brazilian Amazon. Ibis, 146, 114–124.

Belmonte-Lopes, R., Bravo, G.A., Bornschein, M.R., Maurício, G.N., Pie, M.R., & Brumfield, R.T. (2012) Genetic and morphological data support the placement of Myrmotherula gularis (Spix) in the monotypic genus Rhopias Cabanis and Heine (Aves: Passeriformes: Thamnophilidae). Zootaxa, 3451, 1–16.

Bravo, G.A. (2012) Phenotypic and niche evolution in the antbirds (Aves, Thamnophilidae). Ph.D dissertation. Louisiana State University. Baton Rouge, 169 pp.

Bravo, G.A., Chesser, R.T. & Brumfield, R.T. (2012) Isleria, a new genus of antwren (Aves: Passeriformes: Thamnophilidae). Zootaxa, 3195, 61–67.

Brumfield, R.T. & Edwards, S.V. (2007) Evolution into and out of the Andes: a Bayesian analysis of historical diversification in Thamnophilus antshrikes. Evolution, 61, 346–367.

Brumfield, R.T., Tello, J.G., Cheviron, Z.A., Carling, M.D., Crochet, N. & Rosenberg, K.V. (2007) Phylogenetic conservatism and antiquity of a tropical specialization: Army-ant-following in the typical antbirds (Thamnophilidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 45, 1–13.

Buzzetti, D.R.C. & Mazar Barnett, J. (2003) Description of the nest and eggs of two Myrmeciza antbirds endemic to the Atlantic Forest of Brazil. Cotinga. 20, 89–93.

Cabanis, J. (1847) Ornithologische Notizen. Archiv für Naturgeschichte, 13, 186–256.

Cabanis, J. & Heine F. (1859) Museum Heineanum. Verzeichniss der ornithologischen Sammlung des Oberamtmann Ferdinand Heine auf Gut St. Burchard vor Halberstadt. Mit kritischen Anmerkungen und Beschreibung der neuen Arten systematisch bearbeitet. R. Frantz, Halberstadt, 2, 1–175.

Chapman, F.M. (1917) The distribution of bird life in Colombia: A contribution to a biological survey of South America. Bulletin American Museum of Natural History, 36, 1–729.

Chapman, F.M. (1923) Descriptions of proposed new Formicariidae and Dendrocolaptidae. American Museum Novitates, 86, 1–20.

Chaves, J.C., Cuervo, A.M., Miller, M.J. & Cadena, C.D. (2010) Revising species limits in a group of Myrmeciza antbirds reveals a cryptic species within M. laemosticta (Thamnophilidae). Condor, 112, 718–730.

Cory, C.B. & Hellmayr, C.E. (1924) Catalogue of birds of the Americas and the adjacent islands. Pteroptochidae - Conopophagidae - Formicariidae. Field Museum of Natural History (Zoological Series), 13, Pt. 3, 1–369.

David, S. & Londoño, G.A. (2011) First description of the nest of the Silvered Antbird (Sclateria naevia) with notes on eggs and nestlings. Ornitologia Neotropical, 22, 307–311.

Derryberry, E.P., Claramunt, S., Derryberry, G., Chesser, R.T., Cracraft, J., Aleixo, A., Pérez-Emán, J., Remsen, J.V. Jr. &Brumfield, R.T. (2011) Lineage diversification and morphological evolution in a large-scale continental radiation: The Neotropical ovenbirds and woodcreepers (Aves: Furnariidae). Evolution, 65, 2973–2986.

Fitzpatrick, J.W. & Willard, D.E. (1990) Cercomacra manu, a new species of antbird from southwestern Amazonia. Auk, 107, 239–245.

Friedmann, H. (1945) A new ant-thrush from Venezuela. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 58, 83–84.

Gómez, J.P., Bravo, G.A., Brumfield, R.T., Tello, J.G. & Cadena, C.D. (2010) A phylogenetic approach to disentangling the role of competition and habitat filtering in community assembly of Neotropical forest birds. Journal of Animal Ecology, 79, 1181–1192.

Gray, G.R. (1841) A List of the Genera of Birds, 2nd ed. R. and J. E. Taylor, London, 115 pp.

Greeney, H.F. (2007) Observations on the nesting of Spot-backed Antbird (Hylophylax naevia) in eastern Ecuador. Ornitologia Neotropical, 18, 301–303.

Greeney, H.F., Gelis, R.A. & White, R. (2004) Notes on breeding birds from an Ecuadorian lowland forest. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 124, 28–37.

Greeney, H.F., Sánchez, C.E., Sánchez, J.E. & Carman, E. (2013) A review of nest and egg descriptions for the genus Myrmeciza, with the first description of nests and eggs of Dull-mantled Antbird (M. laemosticta). Journal of Ornithology, 154, 1049–1056.

Groth, J.G. & Barrowclough, G.F. (1999) Basal divergence in birds and phylogenetic utility of the nuclear RAG-1 gene. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution, 12, 115–123.

Hellmayr, C. E. (1906) Critical notes on the types of little known species of Neotropical birds. Novitates Zoologicae, 13, 305–352.

Huelsenbeck, J.P. & Ronquist, F. (2001) MRBAYES: Bayesian inference of phylogeny. Bioinformatics, 17, 754–755.

Irestedt, M., Fjeldså, J., Nylander, J.A.A. &. Ericson, P.G.P. (2004) Phylogenetic relationships of typical antbirds (Thamnophilidae) and test of incongruence based on Bayes factors. BMC Evolutionary, Biology, 4, 23.

Isler, M.L., Alvarez, A.J., Isler, P.R., Valqui, T., Begazo, A. & Whitney, B.M. (2002) Rediscovery of a cryptic species and description of a new subspecies in the Myrmeciza hemimelaena complex (Thamnophilidae) of the Neotropics. Auk 119, 362–378.[0362:roacsa];2

Isler, M.L., Isler, P.R., Whitney, B.M. & Zimmer, K.J. (2007) Species limits in the “Schistocichla” complex of Percnostola antbirds (Passeriformes: Thamnophilidae). Wilson Journal of Ornithology, 119, 53–70.

Katoh, K., Misawa, K., Kuma, K.I. & Miyata, T. (2002) MAFFT: a novel method for rapid multiple sequence alignment based on fast Fourier transform. Nucleic Acids Research, 30, 3059–3066.

Kumar, S., Skjæveland, Å., Orr, R.J.S., Enger, P., Ruden, T., Mevik, B-H., Burki, F., Botnen, A. & Shalchian-Tabrizi, K. (2009) AIR: A batch-oriented web program package for construction of supermatrices ready for phylogenomic analyses. BMC Bioinformatics 2009, 10, 357.

Lafresnaye, F. (1845) Description de quelques oiseaux nouveaux. Revue zoologique, 8, 337–340.

Lebbin, D.J., Hosner, P.A., Andersen, M.J., Valdez, U. & Tori, W.P. (2007) First description of nest and eggs of the White-lined antbird (Percnostola lophotes), and breeding observations of poorly known birds inhabiting Guadua bamboo in southeastern Peru. Boletín SAO, 16, 119–132.

Lima, P.C., Lima-Neto, T.N. de C. & Silva, L.E.S. (2008) Primeiro registro documentado da reprodução do tem-farinha-aí? (Myrmorchilus strigilatus strigilatus Wied, 1831) na patría da Anodorhynchus leari. Atualidades Ornitológicas, 143, 24.

Londoño, G.A. (2003) First description of nests and eggs of the Plumbeous (Myrmeciza hyperythra) and Black-faced (Myrmoborus myotherinus) antbirds. Ornitologia Neotropical, 14, 405–410.

Maldonado-Coelho, M. (2012) Climatic oscillations shape the phylogeographical structure of Atlantic Forest fire-eye antbirds (Aves: Thamnophilidae). Biological Journal of the Linnean Society, 105, 900–924.

Meyer de Schauensee, R. (1970) A guide to the birds of South America. Livingston Publishing Company, Wynnewood, Pennsylvania, USA, 470 pp.

Miller, M.A., Pfeiffer, W. & Schwartz, T. (2010) Creating the CIPRES Science Gateway for Inference of Large Phylogenetic Trees. In: Proceedings of the Gateway Computer Environments Workshop, New Orleans, LA, pp. 1–8.

Moyle, R.G., Chesser, R.T., Brumfield, R.T., Tello J.G., Marchese, D.J. & Cracraft, J. (2009) Phylogeny and phylogenetic classification of the antbirds, ovenbirds, woodcreepers, and allies (Aves: Passeriformes; infraorder Furnariides). Cladistics, 25, 1–20.

Naka, L.N., Cohn-Haft, M., Mallet-Rodrigues, F., Santos, M.P.D. & Torres, M. de F. (2006) The avifauna of the Brazilian state of Roraima: bird distribution and biogeography of the Rio Branco basin. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 14, 197–238.

Nylander, J.A.A. (2004) MrModeltest version 2. Evolutionary Biology Center, Uppsala University, Uppsala, Sweden. Available from: (Accessed 1 Nov. 2011)

Nylander, J.A.A., Wilgenbusch, J.C., Warren, D.L. & Swofford, D.L. (2008) AWTY (are we there yet?): a system for graphical exploration of mcmc convergence in Bayesian phylogenetics. Bioinformatics, 24, 581–583.

Oberholser, H.C. (1899) Some untenable names in ornithology. Proceedings of Academy of Natural Sciences of Philadelphia, 1899, 201–216.

Peters, J.L. (1951) Check-list of birds of the world, Vol. 7. Museum of Comparative Zoology, Cambridge, Massachusetts, 318 pp.

Remsen, J.V. Jr. (2005) Pattern, process, and rigor meet classification. Auk, 122, 403-413.[0403:pparmc];2

Remsen, J.V. Jr., Cadena, C.D., Jaramillo, A., Nores, M., Pacheco, J.F., Pérez-Emán, J., Robbins, M.B., Stiles, F.G., Stotz, D.F. & Zimmer, K.J. (2013) A classification of the bird species of South America. American Ornithologists' Union. [Online.] Available from: (Accessed 30 Aug. 2013).

Remsen, J.V. Jr. & Robinson, S.K. (1990) A classification scheme for foraging behavior of birds in terrestrial habitats. Studies in Avian Biology, 13, 144–160.

Ridgely, R.S. & Tudor, G. (1994) The birds of South America, Vol. 2. the suboscine passerines. University of Texas Press, Austin, USA, 814 pp.

Ridgway, R. (1909) New genera, species and subspecies of Formicariidae, Furnariidae, and Dendrocolaptidae. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 22, 69–74.

Ridgway, R. (1911) The birds of North and Middle America; part 5. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, 50, 1–859.

Robbins, M.B. & Ridgely, R.S. (1991) Sipia rosenbergi (Formicariidae) is a synonym of Myrmeciza [laemosticta] nigricauda, with comments on the validity of the genus Sipia. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 111, 11–18.

Robbins, M.B. & Ridgely, R.S. (1993) A new name for Myrmeciza immaculata berlepschi (Formicariidae). Bulletin of the British Ornithologists’ Club, 113, 190.

Sclater, P.L. (1857) Characters of some apparently new species of American ant-thrushes. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1857, 46–48.

Sclater, P.L. (1858a) Synopsis of the American ant-birds (Formicariidae). Part II. containing the Formicivorinae or ant-wrens. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1858, 232–254.

Sclater, P.L. (1858b) On two species of ant-birds in the collection of the Derby Museum at Liverpool. Proceedings of the Zoological Society of London, 1858, 540–541.

Sclater, P.L. (1890) Catalogue of the birds in the British Museum. Vol. 15. British Museum, London, 371 pp.

Sheldon, F.H. & Winkler, D.W. (1999) Nest architecture and avian systematics. Auk, 116, 875–877.

Sibley, C.G. & Monroe, B.L. Jr. (1990) Distribution and taxonomy of the birds of the world. Yale University Press, New Haven, 111 pp.

Spix, J.B. (1825) Avium species novae, quas in itinere per Braziliam annis 1817-20 collegit et descripsit. Vol. 2. Monachii, 85 pp.

Stamatakis, A. (2006) RAxML-VI-HPC: maximum likelihood-based phylogenetic analyses with thousands of taxa and mixed models. Bioinformatics, 22, 2688–2690.

Swofford, D.L. (2003) PAUP*. Phylogenetic analysis using parsimony (*and other methods). v4. Sinauer Associates. Sunderland. Available from: (Accessed 25 Sept. 2013)

Todd, W.E.C. (1927) New gnateaters and antbirds from tropical America, with a revision of the genus Myrmeciza and its allies. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 40, 149–178.

Wetmore, A. (1926) Observations on the birds of Argentina, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Chile. Bulletin of the United States National Museum, 133, 1–448.

Wilgenbusch, J.C., Warren, D.L. & Swofford, D.L. (2004) AWTY: A system for graphical exploration of MCMC convergence in Bayesian phylogenetic inference. Available from: (Accessed 1 Nov. 2011)

Willis, E.O. (1985) Cercomacra and related antbirds (Aves, Formicariidae) as army ant followers. Revista Brasileira Zoologia, 2, 427–432.

Winkler, H. (2011) In Memoriam: Jürgen Haffer, 1932–2010. Auk, 128, 431–432.

Zimmer, J.T. (1932) Studies of Peruvian birds. VI. The formicarian genera Myrmoborus and Myrmeciza in Peru. American Museum Novitates, 545, 1–24.

Zimmer, K.J. & Isler, M.L. (2003) Family Thamnophilidae (typical antbirds). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliot, A. & Christie, D.A. (Eds.), Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 8. Broadbills to Tapaculos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain, pp. 448–681.

Zyskowski, K. & Prum, R.O. (1999) Phylogenetic analysis of the nest architecture of Neotropical ovenbirds (Furnariidae). Auk, 116, 891–911.


  • There are currently no refbacks.

ISSN 1175-5326 (Print Edition) & ISSN 1175-5334 (Online Edition)
Published by Magnolia Press, Auckland, New Zealand
A founding journal of Biotaxa