Reclusive, dark brown bird of mature rainforest understory. Forages singly or in pairs on the ground, scraping dead leaves aside to look for prey underneath; unlikely to be found with mixed-species flocks. Small pale throat patch and cold brown coloration help distinguish it from other leaftossers; similar to Gray-throated Leaftosser, but Black-tailed has a smaller throat patch and darker grayish-brown undersides (Gray-throated has a warmer reddish-brown breast). Found both in upland and seasonally flooded areas. Its song is a decelerating series of piping whistles; also listen for its sharp “PEEK!” call note, for some recalling Hairy Woodpecker.