Species names in all available languages
|English (United States)||Magellanic Tapaculo|
|French||Mérulaxe des Andes|
|French (French Guiana)||Mérulaxe des Andes|
|Spanish (Argentina)||Churrín Andino|
|Spanish (Chile)||Churrín del sur|
|Spanish (Spain)||Churrín magallánico|
Vicente Pantoja and César Muñoz revised the account as part of a partnership with Red de Observadores de Aves y Vida Silvestre de Chile (ROC). Andrew J. Spencer contributed to the Sounds and Vocal Behaviors page. JoAnn Hackos, Miriam Kowarski, Robin K. Murie, and Daphne R. Walmer copy edited the account. Arnau Bonan Barfull curated the media. Huy C. Truong updated the distribution map.
Scytalopus magellanicus ("Gmelin, JF", 1789)
- magellani / magellanica / magellanicus
The Key to Scientific Names
Magellanic Tapaculo Scytalopus magellanicus Scientific name definitions
Version: 2.0 — Published January 13, 2023
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Plumages, Molts, and Structure
Varies from cinnamon-brown with gray touches to brown plumage with dark spots. Many feathers on the body have darker gray or blackish bases with broad cinnamon-brown to buffy-brown tips, creating an intricate and fine barring pattern on the head, breast, and flanks; on the mantle, the dark feather centers and paler tips create a scalloped pattern. The upperwing coverts similarly darker gray to gray-brown with paler buffy tips, forming an indistinct wing bar. Its plumage becomes darker as it molts.
Based on recent studies, the Juvenile plumage of individuals from Navarino Island have a slightly different phenotype, including a light gray crown, head, and throat, a mottled grayish-brown chest, and a cinnamon-coffee colored body, different from the barred plumage with dark brown of the juveniles from other localities (7). This needs further studies to gain more certainty about the alleged differences.
Not described. Based on images from Macaulay Library, appears rather variable, but usually includes retained Juvenile remiges, and retention of at least some Juvenile wing coverts, as in Dusky Tapaculo (Scytalopus fuscus) (see Molts).
Definitive Basic Plumage
The adult has primarily dark gray plumage, including the rectrices and remiges, which are sometimes lighter than the plumage on the rest of the body. The flanks, abdomen, and tarsi can maintain a barred-browned plumage, similar to the juvenile, but is darker. Some individuals from southern populations have a silvery-white forecrown, which can vary from a single whitish feather to a completely white forehead (2) Individuals from northern populations of the high Andes are larger and darker, with less barred plumage, and without the white crown of the southern populations (8), some authors claim there is a sexual dichromatism, being the females in high Andes brownish (9).
Nothing is described, but it is likely similar to Dusky Tapaculo, its sister species. Magellanic Tapaculo likely has a Complex Basic Molt strategy, although there is some evidence that Dusky Tapaculo may also have a Prealternate Molt (see below), suggesting they might instead have a Complex Alternate Molt strategy; more study is needed.
The following information pertains to Dusky Tapaculo studied in Fray Jorge National Park, and is based on Pyle et al. (10) unless otherwise noted.
Occurs from November–December.
The Preformative Molt is partial, probably occurring between November and March; the limits appear to be subtle. Few (if any) wing coverts or tertials are replaced, although one specimen appeared to maintain the outer three greater coverts. Most remiges appear to be retained from Juvenile plumage.
Definitive Prebasic Molt
Occurs between December and February, after breeding. One male seems to have replaced tertials on both wings, suggesting there may be a Prealternative Molt; more study is needed (10).
Blackish. The bill in juveniles starts off pale pinkish or pinkish gray, but slowly darkens to blackish. In juveniles from Navarino Island, the bill is yellowish-orange.
Brown to dark brown.
Tarsi and Toes
Yellowish or pinkish, to blackish. In juveniles from Navarino Island, the tarsi are yellowish-orange.
All the measurements from Correa and Mpodozis (11) are from museum specimens.
100–120 mm (2, 12, 8, 5, 13, 14); mean 112 ± 1.5 mm (n = 38; 15).
Entire Distribution. Mean 49.1 ± 0.44 mm (16); mean 48.5 ± 1.8 mm (n = 38; 15); 47–52 mm; n = 11 (12).
Southern Chile and Argentina. Male 49.7 ± 1.42 mm (n = 10); female 48.1 ± 1.02 mm (n = 6; 2).
Magallanes and Tierra del Fuego. Male: 52.7 ± 1.15 mm (n = 3; 2).
There is a record of 58 mm of an individual in Horcones Valley, Mendoza, Argentina, formerly identified as a Dusky Tapaculo (Scytalopus fuscus), but considering distribution, it is highly probable that it is in fact a Magellanic Tapaculo (2).
Entire Distribution. Mean 31 ± 0.74 mm (16); mean 39.6 ± 1.2 mm, n = 38 (15); 28–36 mm, n = 11 (12).
Southern Chile and Argentina. Male 31.3 ± 0.82 mm (n = 10); female 29.3 ± 1.03 mm (n = 6; 2).
Magallanes and Tierra del Fuego. Male: 34.3 ± 2.08 mm (n = 3; 2).
Entire Distribution. Mean 10.5 ± 0.22 mm (16); mean 11 ± 0.13 mm (n = 2; 11); mean 10.6 ± 0.2 mm (n = 38; 15); 9.5–12 mm (n = 11; 12).
Southern Chile and Argentina. Male 10.9 ± 0.5 mm (n = 8); female 10.1 ± 0.55 mm (n = 5; 2).
Magallanes and Tierra del Fuego. Male 10.8 ± 0.3 mm (n = 3; 2).
There is a record of a 12.5 mm individual in Horcones Valley, Mendoza, Argentina, formerly identified as Dusky Tapaculo, but considering distribution, it is highly probable that it is in fact aMagellanic Tapaculo (2).
Mean: 3.6 ± 0.14 mm (n = 2; 11); 3.3 ± 0.2 mm (n = 38; 15).
Mean: 2.12 ± 0.021 cm (n = 2; 11).
Mean: 1.73 ± 0.26 mm (n = 2; 11).
Mean: 1.45 ± 0.11 cm (n = 2; 11).
Entire Distribution. Mean: 21.1 ± 0.2 mm (n = 2; 11); 18.9 ± 0.7 mm (n = 38; 15).
Southern Chile and Argentina. Male 18.5 ± 0.89 mm (n = 8); female 17.6 ± 0.66 mm (n = 6; 2).
Magallanes and Tierra del Fuego. Male 18.5 ± 0.7 mm (n = 2; 2).
There is a record of 19 mm of an individual in Horcones Valley, Mendoza, Argentina, formerly identified as Dusky Tapaculo, but considering distribution it is highly probable that it is in fact a Magellanic Tapaculo (2).
Central front tarsi
Mean 19.3 ± 0.13 mm, n = 2 (11).
All reported values are from Chiloé Island; range reported as 11–12 g (17). There is a record from Chiloé of an individual that weighed 9.5 g (18), but its other morphological measurements were also below the mean for the species (total length 98 mm, wing length 45 mm, tarsi length 23 mm, bill length 8 mm, bill width 3.1 mm, and bill height 3.1 mm).