An isolated population of tapaculos attributed to Scytalopus speluncae has been known from the mountains of southeastern Bahia state, Brazil, since the early 1990s, and a second isolated population was discovered in 1999. Morphological and bioacoustic analyses of 11 specimens and several tape recordings indicated that these populations represent a new species, in agreement with a previous molecular phylogenetic study. This species is unambiguously distinguished from its closest relatives by 4 suites of characters: (1) morphometrics–body proportions, (2) plumage color, (3) vocalizations, and (4) genetics. Using each of these character sets, separately or in combination, one can distinguish with 100% confidence the new species from its sister lineages. The new species is known from only 5 localities distributed in 2 distinct mountain ranges, 1 on the eastern slopes of the Planalto da Conquista, between the municipalities of Boa Nova and Iguaí, and another in the Serra das Lontras, ∼100 km to the southeast and only 37 km from the coast. The new species primarily inhabits undisturbed montane forest, from 660 to 1,140 m a.s.l. We estimated an area of occupancy of the species of only 5,885 ha and a density of 0.49 individuals ha−1, resulting in a total estimated population of 2,883 individuals. Forest remnants are under severe pressure from clandestine timber extraction and outright deforestation. Under IUCN criteria, this new species should be classified as “Endangered.”
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Vol. 131 • No. 4