Chucao tapaculo

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Chucao tapaculo
Scelorchilus rubecula.JPG
Chucao tapaculo (Scelorchilus rubecula) in Huerquehue National Park in Chile
Scientific classification edit
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Rhinocryptidae
Genus: Scelorchilus
S. rubecula
Binomial name
Scelorchilus rubecula
(Kittlitz, 1830)
Scelorchilus rubecula map.svg

The chucao tapaculo (Scelorchilus rubecula) is a species of bird in the family Rhinocryptidae. It is found in central Chile and adjacent Argentina; it has also been recorded in Chile's Magallanes Province.[2][3]

Taxonomy and systematics[edit]

The chucao tapaculo has two subspecies. The nominate Scelorchilus rubecula rubecula is primarily found in central Chile from the Biobío Region south to the Aysén Region and the adjoining parts of Argentina. It has occasionally been recorded further north and once in the far southern Magallanes Province. The other subspecies, S. r. mochae, is found only on Mocha Island off the Chilean coast.[4][3]


The chucao tapaculo is 18.5 to 19 cm (7.3 to 7.5 in) long. Three specimens of unknown sex weighed 42.6 to 45.4 g (1.50 to 1.60 oz) and a single male specimen weighed 53.7 g (1.89 oz). The adult is dusky brown above; much of the face and the throat and upper breast are rufous. The rest of the breast is dark gray with white bars and the flanks and vent are reddish brown to olive brown.[4]

Distribution and habitat[edit]

The chucao tapaculo occurs from sea level to 1,500 m (4,900 ft) elevation. Its habitat is temperate and humid forests. It is typically found in Chusquea bamboo thickets within Nothofagus forest but also inhabits secondary woodland.[4][5]



The chucao tapaculo's diet is dominated by arthropods and seeds. It forages on the ground alone or in pairs. It usually remains hidden in dense foliage but occasionally feeds in more open areas.[4][6]


In Chile the chucao tapaculo lays eggs in September to October and in Argentina, November. The open cup nest is made of soft grass and rootlets built at the end of a burrow up to 3 m (9.8 ft) deep. Two to three eggs are layed. Both the male and female tend nestlings.[4] This species showed a pattern of aggressiveness and territoriality towards the other species of tapaculos in the forest of southern Chile.[7]


The chucao tapaculo has a loud song beginning and ending with soft churrs surrounding four or five clearer, louder, and higher pitched notes [1].[4]


The IUCN has assessed the chucao tapaculo as of Least Concern, though the population is thought to be decreasing.[1] It seems vulnerable to fragmentation of its habitat.[8][9][10]


  1. ^ a b BirdLife International (2018). "Chucao Tapaculo Scelorchilus rubecula". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018. Retrieved 24 April 2021.
  2. ^ Gill, F.; Donsker, D.; Rasmussen, P. (January 2021). "IOC World Bird List (v 11.1)". Retrieved January 14, 2021.
  3. ^ a b Cárcamo, J. et al. (2008) First record of Scelorchilus rubecula (Kittlitz, 1830) (Rhinocryptidae) in Magallanes. Anales del Instituto de la Patagonia 36(2):79-81.
  4. ^ a b c d e f Krabbe, N. and T. S. Schulenberg (2020). Chucao Tapaculo (Scelorchilus rubecula), version 1.0. In Birds of the World (J. del Hoyo, A. Elliott, J. Sargatal, D. A. Christie, and E. de Juana, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.
  5. ^ Amico, G.C. et al. (2008) Spatial structure and scale-dependent microhabitat use of endemic “tapaculos” (Rhinocryptidae) in a temperate forest of southern South America. Ecología Austral 18:169-180.
  6. ^ Correa, A. et al. (1990) Diet of the Chucao (Scelorchilus rubecula), a terrestrial Passerine endemic to the temperate rain forest of austral South America. Revista Chilena de Historia Natural 63: 197-202.
  7. ^ Correa, A. & Figueroa, J.A. (2003) Observations of aggressiveness and territoriality among species of Rhinocryptidae in a rain forest fragment in Southern Chile. Ornitologia Neotropical 14: 121-125.
  8. ^ Willson, M.F. (2006) Loss of habitat connectivity hinders pair formation and juvenile dispersal of Chucao Tapaculos in Chilean rainforest. The Condor 106(1):166-171.
  9. ^ Wilson, M.F. & Pendleton, G.W. (2008) Survival of Chucaos (Scelorchilus rubecula) in rainforest fragments on Isla Chiloé, Chile. Boletín Chileno de Ornitología 14(1):2-7.
  10. ^ Wilson, M.F. (2006) Chucaos in Chiloé.Boletín Chileno de Ornitología 12:40-44.

External links[edit]