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Melanopareiidae – Crescentchests

Collared Crescentchest in Brazil: Photo by Daniel Branch

Melanopareiidae is a small family of passerines native to South America. It consists of four species that are primarily found in the tropical forests of the Amazon Basin and adjacent regions.

Overview of Melanopareiidae

Crescentchests move swiftly and discreetly through the dense undergrowth of South American scrublands, their presence often announced by throaty, whistled staccato calls. A keen observer may catch sight of these elegant birds, distinguished by a cream-colored throat framed by a black mask above and a slender black crescent below—the defining feature of this avian family. With elongated tails compared to their counterparts and hints of rufous hues on their wings or underside, members of this recently identified family bear a closer resemblance to slender buntings or sparrows than to gnateaters or antpittas.