Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Azara's Spinetail (Synallaxis azarae)


French: Synallaxe de Azara German: Azaradickichtschlüpfer Spanish: Pijuí de Azara

Synallaxis Azaræ


, 1835,

Carcuata, Yungas, Cochabamba, Bolivia


See S. albescens. C Peruvian populations may be closer genetically to S. courseni than to geographically distant populations of present species. Races superciliosa and samaipatae formerly treated as representing a separate species, but voice and evidence of introgression suggest they are better included herein. Races elegantior and ochracea possibly indistinguishable from each other, but separated geographically by media; all three, together with fruticicola, sometimes treated as forming a separate species, originally on basis mainly of vocal differences (not confirmed subsequently) and difference in number of rectrices; plumage differences minor. Proposed race carabayae (SE Peru) purportedly darker than nominate, but individual specimens of the two forms found to be indistinguishable. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. a. elegantior P. L. Sclater, 1862 – Elegant Spinetail – E Andes of Colombia and W Venezuela (Trujillo and SE Lara S to Táchira).
  • S. a. media Chapman, 1914 – W & C Andes of Colombia S to Ecuador (S to Cotopaxi in W and to Zamora-Chinchipe in E), possibly also in N Peru (extreme NE Cajamarca).
  • S. a. ochracea J. T. Zimmer, 1936 – Andes of SW Ecuador (S from Guayas and S Chimborazo) and NW Peru (Tumbes S to Lambayeque).
  • S. a. fruticicola Taczanowski, 1880 – Marañón Valley in N Peru (Cajamarca S to La Libertad).
  • S. a. infumata J. T. Zimmer, 1925 – Andes of N & C Peru (Amazonas S to Junín).
  • S. a. urubambae J. T. Zimmer, 1935 – S Peru (Cuzco).
  • S. a. azarae d’Orbigny, 1835 – Azara's Spinetail – S Peru (Puno) S to C Bolivia (La Paz S to NW Santa Cruz).
  • S. a. samaipatae J. Bond & Meyer de Schauensee, 1941 – S Bolivian Andes (C Santa Cruz S to Tarija).
  • S. a. superciliosa Cabanis, 1883 – Buff-browed Spinetail – Andes of NW Argentina (Jujuy S to Catamarca).
  • Descriptive notes

    15–17 cm; 12–18 g. Nominate race has dark brownish-grey face, slightly paler supercilium; forehead and forecrown dark greyish-brown, hindcrown and hindneck dark... read more


    Most frequent vocalization a sharp “ket-kwééék” or “pip-... read more


    Montane evergreen forest edge, secondary forest; dense undergrowth at edge of humid cloudforest and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly arthropods, including moth larvae; some small seeds also recorded in diet. Usually in pairs, occasionally also in mixed-species... read more


    Breeds during both wet and dry months and possibly throughout year in W Colombia; eggs in Feb–Apr in Colombia and Ecuador and Oct... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common over most of its extensive range. Occurs in numerous protected areas. Tolerates moderate anthropogenic disturbance;... read more

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2020). Azara's Spinetail (Synallaxis azarae). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 6 April 2020).