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Black-tailed Antbird Myrmoborus melanurus
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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Based on a model of future deforestation in the Amazon basin, and its dependence on primary forest, it is suspected that the population of this species will decline rapidly over the next three generations, and it has therefore been uplisted to Vulnerable.

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

12.5 cm. A uniformly sooty, small antbird. Male all dark slaty grey; paler on belly. Face, throat, wings and tail blackish. Wing-coverts tipped white forming narrow wing-bars. Semi-concealed white dorsal patch. Bright red iris. The female has brown upperparts and tail; indistinct dusky mask. Underparts whitish with buff tinge on breast and some brown on sides. Wing-bars as in male. Similar spp. Male Black-faced Antbird M. myotherinus has a more contrasting black face and a silvery eyebrow; the female also has a black mask and mostly buffy underparts. Voice A loud, fast series of clear descending tew notes. Hints Best located by voice.

Distribution and population
Myrmoborus melanurus is known from a relatively small range along the ríos Aypena (at its confluence with the Marañón), Tigre, Samiria, Pacaya, Ucayali and upper Amazonas, in Loreto, north-east Peru (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Begazo and Valqui 1998, Alonso and B. M. Whitney in litt. 1999) and adjacent Brazil (right bank of río Javari, extreme W Amazonas). Appropriate habitat is extensive on these rivers, as well as the Pastaza and Napo, and the species will almost certainly be found at further locations in their drainages (Alonso and B. M. Whitney in litt. 1999). It is generally considered rare to uncommon, despite widespread knowledge of its voice and habits (Alonso and B. M. Whitney in litt. 1999, Schulenberg et al. 2007).

Population justification
The global population size has not been quantified, but this species is described as 'fairly common' (Stotz et al. (1996).

Trend justification
This species is suspected to lose 37.5-37.6% of suitable habitat within its distribution over three generations (14 years) based on a model of Amazonian deforestation (Soares-Filho et al. 2006, Bird et al. 2011). Given the susceptibility of the species to fragmentation and/or edge effects, it is therefore suspected to decline by ≥30% over three generations.

This species occurs in seasonally flooded humid lowland forest (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Alonso and B. M. Whitney in litt. 1999) at elevations up to c.200 m. At most sites, it has been recorded in low bushy forest with profuse vine tangles, on river islands, around oxbow lakes, along small rivers and creeks (Alonso and B. M. Whitney in litt. 1999). Along the río Tigre, it has been recorded on the margins of black water oxbow lakes with stunted forest, and in swampy forest dominated by Mauritia flexuosa palm trees (Alonso and B. M. Whitney in litt. 1999).

Large tracts of suitable habitat remain, but deforestation is occurring within its range, especially near Iquitos. The region is under threat from oil exploration and extraction, while associated road-building has facilitated further human colonisation (Dinerstein et al. 1995).

Conservation Actions Underway
It has been found during inventories of Pacaya Samiria Reserve, but this is a multiple-use area, with nature conservation primarily oriented to support economic activities (Begazo and Valqui 1998, Alonso and B. M. Whitney in litt. 1999). Conservation Actions Proposed
Conduct surveys of suitable habitats within and surrounding the known range to determine its true distribution and abundance. Ensure that remaining tracts of suitable habitat receive adequate protection. Conduct further studies to determine the precise habitat requirements of this species. Expand the protected area network to effectively protect IBAs. Effectively resource and manage existing and new protected areas, utilising emerging opportunities to finance protected area management with the joint aims of reducing carbon emissions and maximizing biodiversity conservation. Conservation on private lands, through expanding market pressures for sound land management and preventing forest clearance on lands unsuitable for agriculture, is also essential (Soares-Filho et al. 2006).

Begazo, A. J.; Valqui, T. H. 1998. Birds of Pacaya-Samiria National Reserve with a new population of Myrmotherula longicauda and new record for Peru of Hylophilus semicinereus. Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club 118: 159-166.

Bird, J. P.; Buchanan, J. M.; Lees, A. C.; Clay, R. P.; Develey, P. F.; Yépez, I.; Butchart, S. H. M. 2011. Integrating spatially explicit habitat projections into extinction risk assessments: a reassessment of Amazonian avifauna incorporating projected deforestation. Diversity and Distributions: doi: 10.1111/j.1472-4642.2011.00843.x.

Dinerstein, E.; Olson, D. M.; Graham, D. J.; Webster, A. L.; Primm, S. A.; Bookbinder, M. P.; Ledec, G. 1995. A conservation assesssment of the terrestrial ecoregions of Latin America and the Caribbean. World Bank, Washington, D.C.

Ridgely, R. S.; Tudor, G. 1994. The birds of South America. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.

Schulenberg, T. S.; Stotz, D. F. ; Lane, D. F.; O'Neill, J. P.; Parker III, T. A. 2007. Birds of Peru. Prnceton University Press, Prnceton, NJ, USA.

Soares-Filho, B.S.; Nepstad, D.C.; Curran, L.M.; Cerqueira, G.C.; Garcia, R. A.; Ramos, C. A.; Voll, E.; McDonald, A.; Lefebvre, P.; Schlesinger, P. 2006. Modelling conservation in the Amazon basin. Nature 440(7083): 520-523.

Stotz, D. F.; Fitzpatrick, J. W.; Parker, T. A.; Moskovits, D. K. 1996. Neotropical birds: ecology and conservation. University of Chicago Press, Chicago.

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
Butchart, S., Gilroy, J., Sharpe, C J

Whitney, B.

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

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Myrmoborus melanurus. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 23/10/2016.

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 Thamnophilidae (Antbirds)
Species name author (Sclater & Salvin, 1866)
Population size Unknown mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 18,000 km2
Country endemic? No
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species