Listen to New Bird Species Discovered in Brazil: Cryptic Treehunter

Listen to New Bird Species Discovered in Brazil: Cryptic Treehunter

Brazilian ornithologists Dr Juan Mazar Barnett and Dr Dante Buzzetti of the Center for Ornithological Studies in São Paulo have discovered a new species of bird that lives in the dense, humid forests of northeastern Brazil.

The new species, named the Cryptic treehunter (Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti), is a member of the South American bird family Furnariidae (ovenbirds). This bird is about 22 cm long, with the tail accounting for more than one-third of the length, and weighs about 48 g.

The Cryptic treehunter (Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti). Image credit: © Rolf Grantsau.
The Cryptic treehunter (Cichlocolaptes mazarbarnetti). Image credit: © Rolf Grantsau.

Its crown and forehead are jet-black. Back of the neck, the back, and the rump are cinnamon-brown. The tail is pale orange-rufous, with the central rectrices darker dorsally. The throat, sides of the head, supercilium and supraloral-stripe are pinkish-buff. Lower throat and the sides of neck are cinnamon-brown. The breast, belly, and underwing coverts are cinnamon.

The Cryptic treehunter is described from a specimen that for many years had been confused with another species, the Alagoas foliage-gleaner (Philydor novaesi).

“The new species differs from the Alagoas foliage-gleaner by its considerably larger size, heavier body-mass, darker and more uniform forehead and crown, absence of buffy periocular-feathers, and a pale orange-rufous tail that contrasts with the rump and the rest of the dorsal plumage. It also has a flat-crowned appearance and a larger, deeper-based, and generally stouter bill,” the scientists wrote in a paper published in the Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia (Brazilian Journal of Ornithology).

“Behavioral specialization on bromeliads and vocal repertoire also suggest that the new species belongs in the genus Cichlocolaptes.”

According to the team, the Cryptic treehunter is one of the rarest birds in the world.

It is known from only two sites in northeastern Brazil – the type locality at Murici in the state of Alagoas, and Frei Caneca in the state of Pernambuco.

“Based on intensive fieldwork at Murici as part of the conservation project of BirdLife International Brazil Programme, we estimated that a maximum of 5-10 pairs may have existed in the entire reserve in 2004; however, the number of birds remaining is likely lower. At Frei Caneca, we estimate that no more than one or two pairs survive.”

“We propose that this species should be categorized as Critically Endangered at a national and global level, and we consider the situation of its conservation to be critical in that it will require urgent action to avoid its global extinction.”


Juan Mazar Barnett & Dante Renato Corrêa Buzzetti. 2014. A new species of Cichlocolaptes Reichenbach 1853 (Furnariidae), the ‘gritador-do-nordeste’, an undescribed trace of the fading bird life of northeastern Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 22 , 75-94

This article was first published by on 30 Nov 2014. Lead Image: Listen to New Bird Species Discovered in Brazil: Cryptic Treehunter.

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