We describe Scytalopus stilesi, an overlooked species of tapaculo endemic to Colombia, on the basis of a series of eight specimens taken in 2002 and comparative analyses of its vocalizations, mitochondrial DNA sequences, and distribution. The new species ranges in the northern half of the Cordillera Central of the Colombian Andes in the Departments of Antioquia, Caldas, and Risaralda, in cloud forests between 1,420 and 2,130 m above sea level. The song, calls, and female song of the new species differ distinctly from those of all other known Scytalopus taxa. Phylogenetic analyses based on sequences of the cytochrome-b gene strongly suggest affinities with S. robbinsi of southwestern Ecuador and with two as-yet-undescribed tapaculos from the Colombian Andes. Scytalopus stilesi coexists locally with, though it is ecologically segregated from, S. atratus, S. latrans, and S. spillmanni. The mid-elevation premontane wet forests to which the new species is restricted have been subject to severe deforestation and fragmentation. The species is, however, relatively common in continuous mature-forest remnants, large primary-forest fragments, riparian forests, and tall secondary-forest patches. We employed a geographic information system (GIS) approach to model the potential distribution of the new species and assess its conservation status under the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) criteria. Scytalopus stilesi does not qualify as threatened according to those criteria, but it should be regarded as near threatened. The new species coexists with numerous threatened bird species that are in need of more effective conservation.
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Vol. 122 • No. 2