Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis Scientific name definitions

Harold F. Greeney and Andrew J. Spencer
Version: 2.0 — Published September 1, 2023

Diet and Foraging


While in open areas, the Tawny Antpitta forages by hopping on the ground, often pausing with its head tilted sideways, apparently searching the ground for prey. It favors the ground, whether in the open or in forested or shrubby areas, hopping rapidly and pausing to flick aside leaves with its bill, to probe soft mossy areas or damp ground, or to glean prey from low vegetation such as leaves, stems, or cushion plants (8). Fjeldså and Krabbe (23) noted that foraging adults will also sometimes "flap [their] wings while clinging to a vertical stem and probing moss."


Like most of its congeners, the diet of the Tawny Antpitta is poorly documented, but the bird is generally assumed to be a generalist on small to medium-sized invertebrates such as earthworms and insects. Several authors mention spiders, cockroaches (Blattodea), grasshoppers (Acrididae) and centipedes (Chilopoda) as known prey (27, 6). Parker et al. (19) documented caterpillars (Lepidoptera), beetles (Coleoptera), dipteran larvae, leeches, and the bones of small vertebrates in the stomachs of adults from northern Peru (subspecies quitensis). Calderón-Leytón (158) stated that frogs form part of the diet of the Tawny Antpitta, and the bones examined by Parker et al. (19) were also thought to belong to a frog. Apparently, one stomach contained 2 mm-long seeds and another contained "fruit" (6), but the extent to which vegetal matter is intentionally consumed is unknown. The regurgitated pellets examined by Freile (154) and Greeney (8) contained beetle legs and elytra (including Carabidae, Scarabaeidae, and Passalidae) and fragments of lepidopteran wings.

Food Selection and Storage

No information.

Nutrition and Energetics

No information.

Metabolism and Temperature Regulation

Nothing reported.

Drinking, Pellet-Casting, and Defecation

No information.

Recommended Citation

Greeney, H. F. and A. J. Spencer (2023). Tawny Antpitta (Grallaria quitensis), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (N. D. Sly, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.