Journal of Ornithology

, Volume 151, Issue 2, pp 337–345

Circumscription of a monophyletic family for the tapaculos (Aves: Rhinocryptidae): Psiloramphus in and Melanopareia out

  • Per G. P. Ericson
  • Storrs L. Olson
  • Martin Irestedt
  • Herculano Alvarenga
  • Jon Fjeldså
Original Article

DOI: 10.1007/s10336-009-0460-9

Cite this article as:
Ericson, P.G.P., Olson, S.L., Irestedt, M. et al. J Ornithol (2010) 151: 337. doi:10.1007/s10336-009-0460-9


The tapaculos (Rhinocryptidae) are tracheophone, suboscine birds restricted to South and Central America. Most tapaculos share a number of internal and external characteristics that have been used to define the family taxonomically. The genera Melanopareia and Psiloramphus do not fully fit this pattern and have caused considerable dispute among taxonomists since they were first described. In this paper we delimit the systematic boundaries of the tapaculos and assess their generic relationships by analysis of molecular sequence data. The results show that whereas Psiloramphus is nested well within the Rhinocryptidae, Melanopareia falls far outside that clade. A new family is erected for Melanopareia.


MelanopareiaPsiloramphusRhinocryptidaeTapaculosMolecular systematicsTaxonomySouth America

Copyright information

© Dt. Ornithologen-Gesellschaft e.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Per G. P. Ericson
    • 1
  • Storrs L. Olson
    • 2
  • Martin Irestedt
    • 3
  • Herculano Alvarenga
    • 4
  • Jon Fjeldså
    • 5
  1. 1.Department of Vertebrate ZoologySwedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden
  2. 2.Division of Birds, Department of Vertebrate ZoologySmithsonian Institution, National Museum of Natural HistoryWashington, DCUSA
  3. 3.Molecular Systematics LaboratoriumSwedish Museum of Natural HistoryStockholmSweden
  4. 4.Museu de História Natural de TaubatéTaubatéBrazil
  5. 5.Zoological MuseumUniversity of CopenhagenCopenhagenDenmark