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Birds of North and Middle America, part V/Genus 24. Grallaricula Sclater



Grallaricula Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1858, 283. (Type, Grallaria flavirostris Sclater.)

Small Formicariidæ (length about 90-115 mm.) with very short, emarginate tail (only about one-third as long as wing), short and broad but rather thick bill, long and conspicuous rictal bristles, rather long, slender tarsi (about one-third as long as wing), the color plain brown or olive above, whitish or tawny below, usually more or less streaked or squamated with black or dusky — sometimes plain gray, with head and neck chestnut.

Bill much shorter than head, rather stout, broadly wedge-shaped in vertical profile, its width at loral antiæ decidedly greater than its depth at same point and equal to about three-fifths the distance from nostril to tip of maxilla; culmen distinctly ridged, gradually and rather strongly decurved from near base, the tip of maxilla distinctly but rather minutely uncinate ; maxillary tomium slightly concave, distinctly but minutely notched subterminally; mandibular tomium faintly convex (at least distally), faintly notched subterminally; gonys faintly or gently convex, not prominent basally. Nostril partly exposed, partly hidden by antrorse feathering of loral antiæ, small, longitudinal, narrowly oval or elliptical, overhung by a rather broad extension of the membraneous integument of the nasal fossæ. Rictal bristles conspicuously developed, nearly (sometimes quite) as long as bill, the feathers of chin, malar antiæ, and loral region with distinct terminal setæ. Wing rather long, with longest primaries much longer than secondaries; sixth and seventh primaries longest, the tenth (outermost) two-thirds as long as longest, or slightly more, the ninth decidedly longer than secondaries. Tail about one-third as long as wing, even, slightly double rounded, or slightly emarginate, the rectrices (10 ?) very narrow, rounded or minutely subacuminate terminally. Tarsus much longer than commissure, about one-third as long as wing, slender, distinctly scutellate, the plantar scutella in a single longitudinal series, bending around to the inner side, where separated from the inner edge of the acrotarsium by a rather broad shallow groove; middle toe, with claw, much shorter than tarsus, decidedly shorter than commissure; outer toe, without claw, reaching very nearly to middle of subterminal phalanx of middle toe, the inner toe very slightly shorter; hallux about as long as inner toe but much stouter; basal phalanx of middle toe united for more than half its length to outer toe, for about half its length to inner toe; claws moderate in size and curvature, that of the hallux shorter than the digit, acute, much compressed. Plumage full, soft, and (mostly) blended, that of rump and flanks more elongated and fluffy or lax; feathers of pileum slightly elongated, distinctly outlined.

Coloration. — (I) Above plain brown or olive; beneath white, or white and ochraceous, tawny, or rufescent, usually more or less streaked or squamated with black or dusky. (II) Head (all round) chestnut; rest of plumage plain brownish gray above, lighter and clearer gray beneath, with patch of white on lower abdomen and foreneck.

Range. — Costa Rica to mountains of British Guiana and Ecuadór. (Six species.[1])


a. Under parts without streaks or other markings (tawny or tawny-ochraceous, the throat and abdomen sometimes white or whitish). (Santa Marta district of Colombia to Venezuela.)

Grallaricula ferrugineipectus (extralimital).[2]

aa. Under parts more or less streaked or spotted with blackish or dusky.

b. Paler olive-brown above; under parts with less of ochraceous and with black streaks or squamations much heavier. (Colombia to eastern Ecuadór.)

Grallaricula flavirostris (extralimital).[3]

bb. Darker olive-brown above; under parts with more ochraceous or ochraceous-tawny (mostly so) with blackish streaks or squamations indistinct. (Costa Rica and western Panamá.)

Grallaricula costaricensis (p. 145).



Adults (sexes alike.) — Pileum and hindneck plain grayish olive, more brownish on forehead; rest of upper parts plain brownish olive, the general color of wings, together with tail, decidedly browner (sometimes nearly prouts brown); outer web of exterior feather of alula buff or ochraceous-buff; wing-coverts sometimes with an indistinct terminal spot or terminal margin of light tawny or rufescent brown; an indistinct orbital ring of tawny; lores buffy or ochraceous, suffused with black or dusky in middle portion; suborbital and auricular regions olive tinged with tawny, the latter with very indistinct narrow shaft-streaks of paler; malar region, chin, throat, chest, and sides ochraceous or tawny-ochraceous, usually somewhat paler on chin and throat, the chest usually more or less distinctly marked (irregularly) with black or dusky; abdomen and median lower part of breast white or buffy white, the latter, as well as sides of abdomen, usually flecked with black or dusky; under tail-coverts pale buff or buffy whitish; under wing-coverts clear ochraceous, those over carpo-metacarpal joint, more or less extensively, dusky; inner webs of remiges rather indistinctly edged with brownish buff or pale wood brown; maxilla horn brown (more or less dark), mandible pale dull yellowish (wax yellow in life);[4] iris brown[5] or red;[4] legs and feet pale yellowish brown (yellowish olive in life).[4]

Adult male. — Length (skin), 97; wing, 66; tail, 26; culmen, 13.5; tarsus, 21.5; middle toe, 13.5.

Adult female. — Length (skins), 86.5-100.5 (92); wing, 61.5-64 (62.8); tail, 18-24.5 (21.7); culmen, 13.5-14.5 (14); tarsus, 20.5-21 (20.7); middle toe, 13.5-14 (13.7).[6]

Costa Rica (Navarro; Barranca; Buena Vista; Rio Súcio; Cariblanco de Sarapiquí; base of Volcán de Turrialba, 2,000 ft.) and western Panamá (Chitra; Calovévora; Calobre; Cordillera de Tolé; Caribbean slope, Chiriquí).

Grallaricula costaricensis Lawrence, Ann. Lyc. Nat. Hist. N. Y., viii, 1867, 346 (Barranca, Costa Rica; coll. U. S. Nat. Mus.); ix, 1868, 110 (Barranca). — Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lend., 1867, 146 (Cordillera de Tolé, Panamá); 1870, 196 (Chitra and Calovévora, Panamá). — Frantzius, Journ. für Orn., 1869, 306 (Costa Rica). — Ridgway, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., vi, 1883, 415 (Navarro, Costa Rica).
Grallaricula flavirostris costaricensis Carriker, Ann. Carnegie Mus., vi, 1910, 630 (Cariblanco de Sarapiquí and base of Volcán de Turrialba, 2,000 ft., Costa Rica).
[Grallaricula] flavirostris (not Grallaria flavirostris Sclater, 1858) Sclater and Salvin, Nom. Av. Neotr., 1873, 76, part (Costa Rica; Verágua). — Sharpe, Hand-list, iii, 1901, 44, part (Costa Rica; Panamá).
Grallaricula flavirostris Sclater, Cat. Birds Brit. Mus., xv, 1890, 326, part (Buena Vista, Costa Rica; Calovévora and Cordillera de Tolé, Panamá). — Salvin and Godman, Biol. Centr.-Am., Aves, ii, 1892, 245, part (Barranca, Buena Vista, and Rio Súcio, Costa Rica; Chitra, Cordillera de Tolé, Calovévora, and Calobre, Panamá).
(?) Grallaricula vegeta Bangs,[7] Proc. New Engl. Zool. Club, iii, Jan. 30, 1902, 42 (Caribbean slope of Volcán de Chiriquí, 4,000 ft., Panamá; coll. E. A. and 0. Bangs).

  1. Of these I have seen only G. flavirostris (Sclater), G. ferrugineipectus (Sclater), and G. costaricensis Lawrence.
  2. Grallaria ferrugineipectus Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1857 (pub. Oct. 21), 129 (near Carácas, Venezuela; coll. Paris Mus.); Ann. and Mag. N. H. (2), xx, 1857, 462 (reprint). — Grallaricula ferrugineipectus Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1858, 284 (monogr.); Cat. Birds Brit. Mus., xv, 1890, 326. — Conopophaga browni Bangs, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., xiii, Nov. 11, 1899, 100 (Chirua, Santa Marta, Colombia, 7,000 ft.; coll. E. A. and O. Bangs).
  3. Grallaria flavirostris Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1858 (pub. Apr. 26), 68 (Rio Napo, e. Ecuadór; coll. Verreaux). — Grallaricula flavirostris Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc, Lond., 1858, 283 (monogr.); Cat. Birds Brit. Mus., xv, 1890, 326.
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 J. C. Zeledón, on label.
  5. F. Carmiol, on label.
  6. Three specimens.
    Locality. Wing. Tall. Culmen. Tarsus. Middle
    Two adult females from Costa Rica 62.3 20.3 14 20.7 13.7
    One adult female from, western Panamá (Chiriquí) 64 24.5 14 - -
  7. I am not satisfied as to the distinctness of G. vegeta. The individual variation among Costa Rican specimens (of which, however, I have seen but few) is considerable, and I strongly suspect that a larger series of specimens would show the birds from western Panamá to be inseparable.