Magellanic Tapaculo Scytalopus magellanicus Scientific name definitions

Vicente Pantoja and César Muñoz
Version: 2.0 — Published January 13, 2023

Conservation and Management

The conservation status of Magellanic Tapaculo is assessed as Least Concern. The species has a very large range, and although the population trend is unknown, it is not believed to be decreasing sufficiently rapidly to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable criteria. The population size has also not been quantified, but it is also not believed to approach the Vulnerable thresholds.

Effects of Human Activity

Habitat Loss and Degradation

It seems that due to its small size, and being more likely to cross non-forested areas, Magellanic Tapaculo is less affected by forest fragmentation compared to other larger tapaculos like Chucao Tapaculo or Black-throated Huet-huet (17). However, patch size has effects on abundance, with lower densities reported in smaller forest patches in Chiloé (68). While lower elevation populations inhabiting forested habitats may not be experiencing drastic effects of habitat loss, populations in the Andes may be threatened by the severe droughts that affect central Chile, as the rivers and creeks that it inhabits may decline and disappear.

Collisions with Stationary/Moving Objects

There is a record of an individual of the closely related Dusky Tapaculo killed by car impact on a highway; it is likely that Magellanic Tapaculo is similarly threatened by highway traffic. Increased habitat fragmentation and urban expansion may result in even greater threat of collision with cars in the future.

Human/Research Impacts

Tourism and camping areas appear to have no effect on population density, as long as the understory vegetation remains similar (69).


Magellanic Tapaculo is a common species in the southern areas of its distribution. To maintain healthy populations, it is important to have native forests patches large enough to contain territories that are both sufficiently undisturbed to provide suitable nest sites and connected enough to permit movement among patches. (17). It currently occurs in 84 protected sites in Chile and 8 protected sites in Argentina (Table 1).

Recommended Citation

Pantoja, V. and C. Muñoz (2023). Magellanic Tapaculo (Scytalopus magellanicus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (S. M. Billerman, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.magtap1.02