The positioning of the Rhinocryptidae, (more commonly known as the tapaculos) still needs to be clarified. It has been suggested that it should remain in its traditional placement as a distinct family within the Passeriformes. However, recent research suggests that on the basis of affinity to the Formicariidae, or anthrushes, that they should be placed within this family as the tribe Rhinocryptini. Further phylogenetic analysis is needed to untangle the relationships between and within these groups of birds. Until 2008, the Bahia Tapaculo belonged to the genus Scytalopus. The species limits within this group are among the most confusing within the avian class. Members of Scytalopus show a high degree of similarity in morphology, so researchers are turning to vocal differences and altitudinal ranges to determine phylogenetic relationships between species. The Bahia Tapaculo and the White-breasted Tapaculo were moved into their own genus Eleoscytalopus on the basis of their closer relationship to the bristlefronts, genus Merulaxis.
The tree below shows the evolutionary relationships between this species and all other birds. The colours of the tree indicate EDGE scores with the red shades indicating the higher priority species; the bright red leaves correspond to the top 100 EDGE bird species. Further information on every species can be found by zooming in to its leaf on the tree.
Almost nothing is known about the ecology of this species.
The Bahia Tapaculo inhabits areas of dense vegetation in wet lowland forest between 15–200m in altitude. It is thought to prefer flooded areas of forest or swamp.
The Atlantic Forest of Brazil has been devastated by deforestation and habitat degradation. Forest has been cleared to make way for agriculture, primarily sugarcane plantations and now only small fragments remain.
BirdLife International (2013) Species factsheet: Eleoscytalopus psychopompus. Downloaded from www.birdlife.org on 24/04/2013.
Krabbe, N. K. and Schulenberg, T. S. (2003). Family Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos). In: del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A. and Christie, D.A. (ed.), Handbook of birds of the world, pp. 748-787. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona, Spain.
Maurício, N. M, Mata, H., Bornschein, M. R., Cadena, C. D., Alvarenga, H., and Bonatto, S. L. (2008). Hidden generic diversity in Neotropical birds: Molecular and anatomical data support a new genus for the “Scytalopus” indigoticus species-group (Aves: Rhinocryptidae). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 49(1): 125-135.
Rice, Nathan H. (2005a): Phylogenetic relationships of antpitta genera (Passeriformes: Formicariidae). Auk 122(2): 673-683.
Rice, Nathan H. (2005b): Further Evidence for Paraphyly of the Formicariidae (Passeriformes). Condor 107(4): 910-915
Tobias, J. A., Butchart S. H. M. and Collar, N. (2006) Lost and found: a gap analysis for the
Neotropical avifauna. Neotropical Birding 1:3–22.
Text compiled by Michelle Harrison.