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Tacarcuna Tapaculo Scytalopus panamensis
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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This species is listed as Vulnerable because it is known only from a very small area on a single mountain range.

Taxonomic source(s)
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

11.4 cm. Dark tapaculo. Sooty black above. Conspicuous greyish-white supercilium. Grey below, with paler throat and mottling on breast. Cinnamon-brown barred black lower back, flanks, belly and crissum. Female similar, but browner back. Similar spp. Whitish supercilium unique in Scytalopus. Voice Song piping series tseety-seety seety seety... or strident tuh tu-tu-tu-t lasting 1.5 seconds. Repeated at several second intervals.

Distribution and population
Scytalopus panamensis is known from Cerros Tacarcuna and Mali, adjacent mountains on the Serranía de Tacarcuna in east Darién, Panama, and north Chocó, Colombia (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989). It has a very small range, but is common in suitable habitat (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Wege 1996).

Population justification
The population size is preliminarily estimated to fall into the band 10,000-19,999 individuals. This equates to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Trend justification
Given that the species is not currently subject to any direct threats, it is suspected to be stable.

It inhabits the undergrowth of humid, mossy forest, between 1,020 and 1,460 m altitude (Ridgely and Gwynne 1989, Wege 1996).

Its small range puts it at inherent risk from any habitat loss or degradation. Habitat in this region is being cleared and degraded for mining, agriculture and cultivation of coca (Wege 1996), but probably not yet within the altitudinal range of this species. Completion of the Pan-American highway link through Darién could lead to severe, long-term damage to the forests in Darién and adjacent Chocó (Alvarez-Cordero et al. 1994, Wege 1996).

Conservation Actions Underway
Darién National Park, Panama, protects all but the small Colombian part of its range (Wege 1996). However, legal protection has not halted habitat loss at lower altitudes (Wege 1996). Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey for the species throughout the Serranía de Tacarcuna where feasible. Develop active conservation management schemes to control activities that threaten birds in Darién (Wege 1996). Extend Los Katíos National Park to include the high-altitude part of the Tacarcuna ridge in Colombia (P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999).

Alvarez-Cordero, E.; de Samudio, J.; Marquez Reyes, C.; Ellis, S. 1994. Conservation assessment and management plan workshop for bird and mammal species endemic to Panama. International Union for Nature Conservation and Natural Resources, Apple Valley, MN.

Ridgely, R. S.; Gwynne, J. A. 1989. A guide to the birds of Panama with Costa Rica, Nicaragua, and Honduras. Princeton University Press, Princeton.

Wege, D. C. 1996. Threatened birds of the Darién Highland, Panama: a reassessment. Bird Conservation International 6: 191-195.

Further web sources of information
Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Isherwood, I., Pilgrim, J., Pople, R., Sharpe, C J, Stuart, T., Symes, A.

Salaman, P.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Scytalopus panamensis. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 24/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
Species name author Chapman, 1915
Population size 6000-15000 mature individuals
Population trend Stable
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 230 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species