Scale-backed Antbird (Hylophylax poecilinotus)

Scale-backed Antbird

Scale-backed Antbird (Hylophylax poecilinotus)

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Thamnophilidae | [latin] Hylophylax poecilinotus | [UK] Scale-backed Antbird | [FR] Fourmilier variable | [DE] Schuppen-Waldwachter | [ES] Hormiguero Dorsiescamado | [NL] Schubrugmiervogel


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Phlegopsis poecilinotus
Willisornis poecilinotus SA Amazonia
Willisornis poecilinotus duidae
Willisornis poecilinotus griseiventris
Willisornis poecilinotus gutturalis
Willisornis poecilinotus lepidonota
Willisornis poecilinotus nigrigula
Willisornis poecilinotus poecilinotus
Willisornis poecilinotus vidua

Physical charateristics

The male is Grey; the female has a rust-brown head and upper body and a lighter-colored lower body.

Listen to the sound of Scale-backed Antbird

[audio: Antbird.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 12 cm size max.: 13 cm
incubation min.: 0 days incubation max.: 0 days
fledging min.: 0 days fledging max.: 0 days
broods: 1   eggs min.: 1  
      eggs max.: 3  


South America : Amazonia


Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests where it is found regularly in mature terra firme forests, rarely in open degraded forest or flooded forest.


The nest is built low above ground or even on the ground in a cavity or dead stump. It is a messy collection of dead leaves and fibres. Clutch size is 2 eggs, incubated by both parents, only at night by the female. While incubating the female is fed by the male.
The male cares for one young and the female for the other whenever there are two young. Young follow adults for at least 1 month and probably longer.

Feeding habits

Living typically in pairs, it employs upright perches near the ground to quickly catch its prey, small insects and spiders fleeing approaching army ants. Scale-backs usually cling quietly and horizontally to slender or thick saplings low in the understory of forest or second growth, dart quickly for any small prey that appears on the ground or on low foliage, and flee rapidly with prey unless it is swallowed immediately. Scale-backs occasionally forage in open undergrowth. Scale-backs sometimes arrive at dawn at army ant colonies, chipping occasionally as they dart to perches nearby and then circle ahead of the ants. They regularly visit statary colonies of ants, which are poorly attended by large antbirds because statary colonies do not swarm every day. Pecking an arthropod off the ground is fairly common, as is standing on the ground with tail up to toss leaves and peck any prey uncovered. Both grasping a leaf in the bill to toss it and nudging leaves aside with swipes of the bill occur.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). The population trend appears to be stable, and hence the species does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size has not been quantified, but it is not believed to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Scale-backed Antbird status Least Concern


Sedentary throughout range.

Distribution map

Scale-backed Antbird distribution range map

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