Tawny Antpitta Grallaria quitensis Scientific name definitions

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



On the whole, the Tawny Antpitta is most commonly considered a species of Andean páramo and humid montane forests with adjacent grass (23). It appears, however, to be fairly tolerant of habitat disturbance and prone to use almost any type of open area at appropriate elevations (59). Across its range, natural habitats include barren cushion-plant and bunch-grass páramo, bunch-grass páramo with scattered trees and shrubs or frailejones (Espeletia), and the interior and edge of elfin and Polylepis forests (154, 212). Much of the species’ range has been heavily impacted by human civilizations since the Incas ruled the Andean highlands. Nevertheless, in some areas it is now apparently flourishing in hedgerows and small patches of second growth largely surrounded by agriculture, pine plantations, and cattle pastures (23). Tawny Antpittas, however, appear to be absent from fully urban situations, but this may be a result of the devastating effects of cats, rather than its inability to occupy such areas (8). Adults often appear to favor lakeshores and swampy areas (6).

Across its range, the Tawny Antpitta is found at 2,200–4,500 m, but is most commonly confined to elevations above 2,800 m (154, 234, 6, 8). In Ecuador, it is reported mostly at 3,000–4,500 m (212, 219). In Peru, Schulenberg et al. (21) gave its preferred range as 2,850–3,400 m. Chapman (124) reported a lower altitudinal limit of 1,220 m based on specimens from Huigra on the slopes of Volcán Pichincha. As noted by Paynter (235), however, Huigra is actually in Chimborazo Province, and the specimens to which Chapman (124) was referring are almost certainly mislabelled as to their provenance (8).

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.