For faster navigation, this Iframe is preloading the Wikiwand page for Formicariidae.


Ground antbirds
Striated antthrush
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Parvorder: Furnariida
Family: Formicariidae
Gray,[1] 1840

Formicariidae is a family of smallish suboscine passerine birds of subtropical and tropical Central and South America known as antthrushes. They are between 10 and 20 cm (4 and 8 in) in length, and are most closely related to the ovenbirds in the family Furnariidae, and the tapaculos in the family Rhinocryptidae. The family Formicariidae contains 12 species in two genera.

These are forest birds that tend to feed on insects at or near the ground. Most are drab in appearance with shades of (rusty) brown, black, and white being their dominant tones. Compared to other birds that specialize in following ants, this family is the most tied to the ground. The long, powerful legs (which lend the birds a distinctive upright posture) and an essentially vestigial tail aid this lifestyle.

They lay two or three eggs in a nest in a tree, both sexes incubating.


The antthrushes are similar in appearance to small rails. Their sexes are alike in plumage, and they walk like starlings. The thrush part of the name refers only to the similarity in size (and in Chamaeza also coloration) to true thrushes, not to an evolutionary relationship.

Molecular phylogenetic studies indicated that the Formicariidae as previously delimited were highly paraphyletic, judging from comparison of several mt and nDNA sequences.[2][3][4] The aberrant bar-bellied "antpittas" of the genus Pittasoma, which were formerly placed here, belong to the gnateater family (which initially was also considered part of the Formicariidae); as the gnateaters proper, they are sexually dichromatic. In addition, the true antpittas formerly placed in this family are now found in their own family, the Grallariidae. On the other hand, at least a large proportion of the Rhinocryptidae (tapaculos), including the type genus Rhinocrypta, seem to be closer to the antthrushes, but are still considered a distinct family.

The following cladogram shows the phylogeny of the antthrush family. It is based on a large molecular phylogenetic study of the suboscines by Michael Harvey and collaborators that was published in 2020.[5] The species are those recognised by the International Ornithologists' Union (IOC).[6]


Rufous-fronted antthrush (Formicarius rufifrons)

Rufous-capped antthrush (Formicarius colma)

Rufous-breasted antthrush (Formicarius rufipectus)

Mayan antthrush (Formicarius moniliger)

Black-headed antthrush (Formicarius nigricapillus)

Black-faced antthrush (Formicarius analis)


Rufous-tailed antthrush (Chamaeza ruficauda)

Cryptic antthrush (Chamaeza meruloides)

Barred antthrush (Chamaeza mollissima)

Schwartz's antthrush (Chamaeza turdina)

Short-tailed antthrush (Chamaeza campanisona) (Paraguay race - type)

Striated antthrush (Chamaeza nobilis)

Short-tailed antthrush (Chamaeza campanisona) (Guyana, Venezuela, Colombia)

The short-tailed antthrush was found to be paraphyletic.[5] Eleven subspecies are recognised in several disjunct areas and ornithologists had suspected that more than a single species was involved.[6][7]

Image Genus Living species
Formicarius Boddaert, 1783
Chamaeza Vigors, 1825


  1. ^ "Zoonomen Avtax Frames Layout Page".
  2. ^ Irestedt, M.; Fjeldså, J.; Johansson, U.S.; Ericson, P.G.P. (2002). "Systematic relationships and biogeography of the tracheophone suboscines (Aves: Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 23 (3): 499–512. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00034-9.
  3. ^ Rice, Nathan H. (2005). "Phylogenetic relationships of antpitta genera (Passeriformes: Formicariidae)". The Auk. 122 (2): 673–683. doi:10.1093/auk/122.2.673.
  4. ^ Rice, Nathan H. (2005). "Further evidence for paraphyly of the Formicariidae (Passeriformes)". The Condor. 107 (4): 910–915. doi:10.1093/condor/107.4.910.
  5. ^ a b Harvey, M.G.; et al. (2020). "The evolution of a tropical biodiversity hotspot". Science. 370 (6522): 1343–1348. doi:10.1126/science.aaz6970. hdl:10138/329703. A high resolution version of the phylogenetic tree in Figure 1 is available from the first author's website here.
  6. ^ a b Gill, Frank; Donsker, David; Rasmussen, Pamela, eds. (January 2023). "Antthrushes, antpittas, gnateaters, tapaculos, crescentchests". IOC World Bird List Version 13.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 5 March 2023.
  7. ^ Ridgely, Robert S.; Tudor, Guy (2009). Birds of South America: Passerines. Helm Field Guides. London: Christopher Helm. p. 374. ISBN 978-1-408-11342-4.
{{bottomLinkPreText}} {{bottomLinkText}}
Listen to this article

This browser is not supported by Wikiwand :(
Wikiwand requires a browser with modern capabilities in order to provide you with the best reading experience.
Please download and use one of the following browsers:

This article was just edited, click to reload
This article has been deleted on Wikipedia (Why?)

Back to homepage

Please click Add in the dialog above
Please click Allow in the top-left corner,
then click Install Now in the dialog
Please click Open in the download dialog,
then click Install
Please click the "Downloads" icon in the Safari toolbar, open the first download in the list,
then click Install

Install Wikiwand

Install on Chrome Install on Firefox
Don't forget to rate us

Tell your friends about Wikiwand!

Gmail Facebook Twitter Link

Enjoying Wikiwand?

Tell your friends and spread the love:
Share on Gmail Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Buffer

Our magic isn't perfect

You can help our automatic cover photo selection by reporting an unsuitable photo.

This photo is visually disturbing This photo is not a good choice

Thank you for helping!

Your input will affect cover photo selection, along with input from other users.


Get ready for Wikiwand 2.0 🎉! the new version arrives on September 1st! Don't want to wait?