Journal of the Graduate Research Center


The Orange-fronted Softtail, Metopotlzrix aurantiacus, now known to occur in the upper Amazon in southeastern Colombia, eastern Equador, eastern Peru, western Brazil, and northeastern Bolivia (Peters, 1951: 115) was described by Sclater and Salvin (1866: 190-191), who placed it in the Pipridae. Sclater (1888: 292) retained Metopothrix in the Pipridae without comment, placing it between Masius and Pipra. Berlepsch (1903: 108), in reviewing the systemic position of the genus stated that "this bird is not a Piprine [sic] form, as was believed by its describers, but a Dendrocolaptine [sic], closely allied to Xenerpestes, and agreeing with it in general characters of structure . . . ." According to Berlepsch (op. cit.), Metopothrix, in having a curved bill, as in Xenerpestes, with prominent swollen tomiae at the base of the upper mandible, and short stiff frontal feathers, belonged in the Furnariidae, not the Pipridae. Hellmayr, in Cory and Hellmayr (1925: 167), following Berlepsch (1903: 108 ), included both Metopothrix and Xenerpestes in the Furnariidae, but stated: '"While I admit that certain structural details point to affinities to the Synallaxinae, the aberrant style of coloration suggests the desirability of further investigation of their systemic position". Peters (1951: 115) retained both Metopothrix and Xenerpestes in the Furnariidae with misgivings. He pointed out that "nothing is known of their anatomy or life history, and their colors and color pattern are not consistent with those exhibited by other Furnariidae". Meyer de Schauensee (1966: 256) also retained Metopothrix in the Furnariidae, but stated of the genus: "Probably not a Furnariid at all. Its style of coloration and yellow legs are reminiscent of certain Pipridae."

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