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Black-eared Hemispingus - BirdForum Opus

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Subspecies piurae
Photo by Stanley Jones
Utuana Reserve, Lojas Reserve, Ecuador, November 2014

Inludes: Piura Hemispingus, Western Hemispingus

Sphenopsis melanotis

Hemispingus melanotis


13–14 cm; Variable species.
The different subspecies vary in presence vs absence of white supercilium and black vs pale throat. Uppersides are generally blueish-gray to olive (sometimes with darker crown), undersides buff to rufous-cinnamon, and sides of head black.


South America: found in Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador, Peru, and Bolivia


In the past this species was placed in the genus Hemispingus.


Around six subspecies recognized[1]:

  • S. m. melanotis:
  • S. m. berlepschi:
  • East slope of the Andes of northern and central Peru (from south of the Marañón to the Urubamba Valley in Cuzco)
  • S. m. castaneicollis:
  • East slope of the Andes of southeastern Peru (southeastern Cuzco and Puno) and Bolivia (south to western Santa Cruz)
  • S. m. ochraceus:
  • Western slope of Andes of south-western Colombia (Nariño) and western Ecuador
  • S. m. piurae:
  • Locally in Andes of extreme south-western Ecuador and north-western Peru (Piura)
  • S. m. macrophrys:
  • Pacific slope of Andes of western Peru (La Libertad)

S. ochraceus is sometimes considered a monotypic full species, Western Hemispingus.
S. piurae together with macrophrys is sometimes considered a full species, Piura Hemispingus.


Undergrowth in a variety of wet to very wet forests at mid elevation. Observed at heights around 2,300 m.



Often with mixed species flocks while feeding for both insects and seeds. Occasionally fruit is eaten too.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Restall et al. 2006. Birds of Northern South America. Yale University Press. ISBN 9780300124156
  4. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved March 2015)
  5. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

GSearch checked for 2020 platform.