Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Black-banded Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes picumnus)


French: Grimpar varié German: Dunkelschnabel-Baumsteiger Spanish: Trepatroncos variable

Dendrocolaptes Picumnus

M. H. C. Lichtenstein

, 1820,



Closely related to D. hoffmannsi (which see) and D. platyrostris, and work needed to justify their continued separation. Has apparently hybridized intergenerically with Hylexetastes stresemanni in W Brazil, one of few cases of possible hybridization in suboscines. Races form three groups, occurring in distinct biogeographical regions and differing in morphology, albeit not in voice: “picumnus group” (in which strikingly different transfasciatus sometimes treated as full species) is primarily Amazonian, but apparently with recent invasion into N Andes and mountains of S Central America (multistrigatus and costaricensis); montane “puncticollis group” occurs at fringes of species’ range; monotypic “pallescens group”, in Chaco region, regarded by some as constituting a separate species. Lone record from E Formosa (N Argentina) may be referable to race pallescens. Proposed race veraguensis (W Panama) indistinguishable from costaricensis; proposed race casaresi (NW Argentina) synonymized with pallescens, as claimed larger size of casaresi not supported by recent study#R; purported race extimus, known only from type locality (R Alto Paraná, in SE Paraguay), likewise inseparable from pallescens and described from a series of specimens that were probably mislabelled. Nine subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. p. puncticollis P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1868 – Mottle-throated Woodcreeper – highlands of S Mexico (Chiapas), C Guatemala, Honduras and NC Nicaragua#R.
  • D. p. seilerni E. J. O. Hartert & Goodson, 1917 – tropical and subtropical zones in foothills and highlands of N Colombia (Santa Marta region) and Coastal Range of N Venezuela (Falcón E to Sucre and N Monagas).
  • D. p. olivaceus J. T. Zimmer, 1934 – E foothills of C Bolivian Andes (La Paz, Cochabamba, Santa Cruz).
  • D. p. costaricensis Ridgway, 1909 – subtropical to lower temperate zones of highlands in C & SE Costa Rica and Pacific slope of W Panama.
  • D. p. multistrigatus Eyton, 1851 – subtropical to lower temperate zones in Sierra de Perijá and Andes of Colombia (S to Cauca) and NW & W Venezuela (Zulia, N Barinas S to Táchira).
  • D. p. validus Tschudi, 1844 – lowlands and foothills of W Amazonia, both N & S of Amazon, in SE Colombia, E Ecuador, E Peru, N Bolivia and W Brazil (E to R Negro and R Madeira, and S to Mato Grosso).
  • D. p. picumnus M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1820 – Black-banded Woodcreeper – lowlands of N Amazonia in S & E Venezuela, the Guianas and N Brazil (R Negro E to Amapá).
  • D. p. transfasciatus Todd, 1925 – Amazonian Brazil S of lower Amazon, from R Tapajós E to R Xingu and S to N Mato Grosso.
  • D. p. pallescens Pelzeln, 1868 – Pale-billed Woodcreeper – Chaco region of E Bolivia (Santa Cruz to Tarija), S Brazil (W Mato Grosso, W Mato Grosso do Sul) and W Paraguay, and E Andean foothills in NW Argentina (Jujuy, Salta, Tucumán).
  • Descriptive notes

    24–30·5 cm; male 67–89 g and female 72–98 g (Amazonia), male 61–62 g and female 59–64 g (Central America), male 47–73 g and female... read more


    Song, given primarily at dawn and dusk (rarely during day), in Amazonia a loud series 2–5... read more


    Occurs in a complex array of forested habitats, some races exclusively in tropical lowlands, others... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet mostly arthropods, but small vertebrates also taken. Over ants, preys largely on cockroaches (Blattodea), katydids (Tettigoniidae),... read more


    Breeds in May–Jun in N Venezuela and Mar–May in Guyana; nest-building in Apr in Costa Rica; fledged young in Nov–Dec in... read more


    Resident in most of range, but may move downslope after breeding at N sites.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to fairly common in most of Amazonian range, in N Central America and in parts of the Chaco; scarce to rare in most of montane range (Costa... read more

    Recommended citation

    Marantz, C.A., Aleixo, A., Bevier, L.R. & Patten, M.A. (2019). Black-banded Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes picumnus). 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 7 December 2019).