Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Anabacerthia variegaticeps
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Clade: Inopinaves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Tyranni
Infraorder: Tyrannides
Parvorder: Furnariida
Superfamily: Furnarioidea
Family: Furnariidae
Gray, 1840

Ovenbirds or furnariids are a large family of small suboscine passerine birds found in Mexico, and Central and South America. They form the family Furnariidae. The Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus), which breeds in North America, is a distantly related bird, a wood warbler (family Parulidae).


The ovenbirds are a diverse group of insectivores which get their name from the elaborate, vaguely "oven-like" clay nests built by the horneros, although most other ovenbirds build stick nests or nest in tunnels or clefts in rock. The Spanish word for "oven" (horno) gives the horneros their name. Furnariid nests are always constructed with a cover, and up to six pale blue, greenish or white eggs are laid. The eggs hatch after between 15 and 22 days, and the young fledge after a further 13 to 20 days.[1]

They are small to medium-sized birds, ranging from 9 to 35 centimetres in length.[1] While individial species often are habitat specialists, species of this family can be found in virtually any Neotropical habitat, ranging from city parks inhabited by Rufous Horneros, to tropical Amazonian lowlands by many species of Foliage-gleaners, to temperate barren Andean highlands inhabited by several species of miners. There are even two species, the Seaside and the Surf Cinclodes, which are associated with rocky coasts.


File:Furnarius nest.png

Recently, the woodcreepers (formerly Dendrocolaptidae) were merged into this family, following analysis of mtDNA cytochrome b and several nDNA sequences (Irestedt et al. 2002). Moyle et al. (2009), while confirming the overall phylogenetic pattern, instead opted for maintaining the woodcreepers as a separate family, while splitting the ovenbirds (as traditionally defined) into two families, Furnariidae and Scleruridae.

The systematics of the Dendrocolaptinae were reviewed by Raikow (1994) based on morphology and by Irestedt et al. (2004) based on analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Using the latter approach, the suspected major lineages of the Furnariinae (foliage-gleaners, spinetails, and true ovenbirds) were confirmed, but some new lineages were discovered and the relationships of several genera had to be revised (Fjeldså et al., 2005).

The taxonomic arrangement presented below is based on recent studies of ovenbird relationships (Irestedt et al. 2006, Chesser et al. 2007, Moyle et al. 2009). However, because ovenbirds and woodcreepers are treated here as a single family some taxonomic ranks were modified.

Subfamily: Sclerurinae - Miners and leaftossers

Subfamily: Dendrocolaptinae - Woodcreepers

For a complete listing of species, see the subfamily article.

Basal position

Tribe: Sittasomini/Clade A

"Intermediate" woodcreepers [2]

Tribe: Dendrocolaptini (in part)/Clade B

"Strong-billed" woodcreepers[2]

Tribe: Dendrocolaptini (in part)/Clade C

"Strong-billed" woodcreepers[2]

Subfamily: Xenopinae - Xenops

  • Genus: Xenops - xenops (3 species)

Subfamily: Furnariinae - True ovenbirds

Tribe: Berlepschiini - Palmcreeper

Tribe: Pygarrhichini - Earthcreepers[2]

Tribe: Furnariini - Horneros and allies

Tribe: Philydorini - foliage-gleaners and allies

  • Genus Anabazenops - foliage-gleaners (2 species)
  • Genus Megaxenops - Great Xenops, foliage-gleaners (3 species)
  • Genus Cichlocolaptes - Pale-browed Treehunter
  • Genus Heliobletus - Sharp-billed Treehunter
  • Genus Philydor - foliage-gleaners (10 species)
  • Genus Anabacerthia - foliage-gleaners (3 species)
  • Genus Syndactyla - foliage-gleaners, recurvebills (8 species), recurvebills formerly in Simoxenops
  • Genus Ancistrops - Chestnut-winged Hookbill
  • Genus Clibanornis - Canebrake Groundcreeper, Chestnut-capped Foliage-gleaner (formerly in Hylocryptus) (2 species)
  • Genus Thripadectes - treehunters (7 species)
  • Genus Automolus - foliage-gleaners (9 species), Striped Woodhaunter formerly in Hyloctistes

Tribe: Margarornini: Barbtails and treerunners

Tribe Synallaxini - Spinetails and allies

  • Genus Aphrastura - rayaditos (2 species)
  • Genus Sylviorthorhynchus - wiretails (2 species)
  • Genus Leptasthenura - tit-spinetails (9 species)
  • Genus Phacellodomus - thornbirds (9 species)
  • Genus Hellmayrea - White-browed Spinetail
  • Genus Coryphistera - Lark-like Brushrunner
  • Genus Anumbius - Firewood-gatherer
  • Genus Asthenes - canasteros, thistletails (formerly in Schizoeaca), Itatiaia Spinetail (formerly in Oreophylax) (29 species)
  • Genus Acrobatornis - Pink-legged Graveteiro
  • Genus Metopothrix - Orange-fronted Plushcrown
  • Genus Xenerpestes - graytails (2 species)
  • Genus Siptornis - Spectacled Prickletail
  • Genus Roraimia - Roraiman Barbtail (formerly in the "Margarornis group")
  • Genus Thripophaga - softtails, Speckled Spinetail (formerly in Cranioleuca) (5 species)
  • Genus Limnoctites - Sulphur-throated Spinetail (formerly in Cranioleuca), Straight-billed Reedhaunter (sometimes included in Limnornis, but closer to, and possibly better merged with Cranioleuca)[7] (2 species)
  • Genus Cranioleuca - typical spinetails (19 species)
  • Genus Pseudasthenes - "false canasteros" (4 species, recently described)[9]
  • Genus Spartonoica - Bay-capped Wren-Spinetail
  • Genus Pseudoseisura - cacholotes (4 species)
  • Genus Mazaria - White-bellied Spinetail
  • Genus Schoeniophylax - Chotoy Spinetail
  • Genus Certhiaxis - spinetails (2 species)
  • Genus Synallaxis - spinetails (some formerly in Poecilurus), Great Spinetail (formerly in Siptornopsis), Red-shouldered Spinetail (formerly in Gyalophylax) (35 species)


  1. ^ a b Willis, Edwin O. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph, ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 162–163. ISBN 1-85391-186-0. 
  2. ^ a b c d ranked as a subfamily in Moyle et al. (2009)
  3. ^ Derryberry, E., S. Claramunt, R. T. Chesser, A. Aleixo, J. Cracraft, R. G. Moyle & R. T. Brumfield. 2010. Certhiasomus, a new genus of woodcreeper (Aves: Passeriformes: Dendrocolaptidae). Zootaxa 2416:44-50.
  4. ^ Claramunt, S., E. P. Derryberry, R. T. Chesser, A. Aleixo & R. T. Brumfield. 2010. Polyphyly of Campylorhamphus with the description of a new genus for C. pucherani. Auk 127: 430-439.
  5. ^ the correct genus for former Xenops milleri (Moyle et al. 2009)
  6. ^ Chesser, R. T. & R. T. Brumfield. 2007. Tarphonomus, a new genus of ovenbird (Aves: Passeriformes: Furnariidae) from South America. Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington, 120, 337–339.
  7. ^ a b see Olson et al. (2005)
  8. ^ Chesser, R. T., S. Claramunt, E. P. Derryberry, & R. T. Brumfield. 2009. Geocerthia, a new genus of terrestrial ovenbird (Aves: Passeriformes: Furnariidae). Zootaxa 2213: 64–68.
  9. ^ Derryberry, E., S. Claramunt, K. E. O’Quin, A. Aleixo, R. T. Chesser, J. V. Remsen, Jr., and R. T. Brumfield. 2010. Pseudasthenes, a new genus of ovenbird (Aves: Passeriformes: Furnariidae). Zootaxa 2416:61-68.
  • Cheviron, Z. A.; Capparella, Angelo P.; Vuilleumier, François (2005): Molecular phylogenetic relationships among the Geositta miners (Furnariidae) and biogeographic implications for avian speciation in Fuego-Patagonia. Auk 122(1): 158–174. DOI: 10.1642/0004-8038(2005)122[0158:MPRATG]2.0.CO;2 HTML abstract
  • Chesser, R. T, F. K. Barker, and R. T. Brumfield. 2007. Fourfold polyphyly of the genus formerly known as Upucerthia, with notes on the systematics and evolution of the avian subfamily Furnariinae. Mol. Phylogenet. Evol 44:1320–1332.
  • Fjeldså, Jon; Irestedt, Martin & Ericson, Per G. P. (2005): Molecular data reveal some major adaptational shifts in the early evolution of the most diverse avian family, the Furnariidae. Journal of Ornithology 146: 1–13. [English with German abstract] doi:10.1007/s10336-004-0054-5 (HTML abstract) PDF fulltext
  • Irestedt, Martin; Fjeldså, Jon; Johansson, Ulf S. & Ericson, Per G.P. (2002): Systematic relationships and biogeography of the tracheophone suboscines (Aves: Passeriformes). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 23(3): 499–512. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00034-9 (HTML abstract)
  • Irestedt, Martin; Fjeldså, Jon & Ericson, Per G. P. (2004): Phylogenetic relationships of woodcreepers (Aves: Dendrocolaptinae) - incongruence between molecular and morphological data. Journal of Avian Biology 35(3): 280-288. doi:10.1111/j.0908-8857.2004.03234.x (HTML abstract)
  • Irestedt, M., J. Fjeldså, and P. G. P. Ericson. 2006. Evolution of the ovenbird-woodcreeper assemblage (Aves: Furnariidae): major shifts in nest architecture and adaptive radiation. J. Avian Biol. 37:260–272.
  • Moyle, R. G., R. T. Chesser, R. T. Brumfield, J. G. Tello, D. J. Marchese, & J. Cracraft. 2009. Phylogeny and phylogenetic classification of the antbirds, ovenbirds, woodcreepers, and allies (Aves: Passeriformes: infraorder Furnariides). Cladistics 25:386-405.
  • Olson, S. L., M. Irestedt, P. G. P. Ericson, & J. Fjeldså. 2005. Independent evolution of two Darwinian marsh-dwelling ovenbirds (Furnariidae: Limnornis, Limnoctites). Ornitologia Neotropical 16: 347-359.
  • Raikow, Robert J. (1994): A phylogeny of the woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae). Auk 111(1): 104–114. PDF fulltext

External links

Sterna diversity This article is part of Project Bird Families, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on each bird family, including made-up families.
Hemipus picatus This article is part of Project Bird Taxonomy, a All Birds project that aims to write comprehensive articles on every order, family and other taxonomic rank related to birds.
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