Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Black-tailed Leaftosser (Sclerurus caudacutus)


French: Sclérure des ombres German: Weißkehl-Laubwender Spanish: Tirahojas colinegro

Thamnophilus caudacutus


, 1816,

French Guiana


Sister-species to S. guatemalensis, based on plumage similarities and parapatric ranges, recently corroborated by phylogenetic analysis#R. Validity of race insignis, described from a single locality, seems questionable. Dark race caligineus overlooked in HBW. Geographical distribution of races, particularly N of R Amazon, not well understood, and individual variation in many of the characters used to describe most of them may lead to substantial revision of boundaries; specimens from R Purus (W Brazil) intermediate between pallidus and brunneus; proposed race olivascens (SC Peru) apparently not diagnosable, and probably represents clinal variation within brunneus (specimens from SW Amazonia less reddish on average than those farther N). Critical revision of races and their boundaries badly needed. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. c. brunneus P. L. Sclater, 1857 – W Amazonia from SE Colombia (S from W Meta and Vaupés) and S Venezuela S to E Ecuador, E Peru, W Brazil (W Amazonas, Acre, Rondônia) and N Bolivia (Pando, NW La Paz).
  • S. c. caudacutus (Vieillot, 1816) – the Guianas and NC Brazil (Amapá)#R.
  • S. c. insignis J. T. Zimmer, 1934 – NW Pará and perhaps more widespread in N Brazil N of R Amazon.
  • S. c. pallidus J. T. Zimmer, 1934 – C Brazil S of R Amazon (E from at least R Madeira to W Maranhão).
  • S. c. caligineus O. M. O. Pinto, 1954 – coastal NE Brazil (Alagoas).
  • S. c. umbretta (M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1823) – coastal E Brazil (Bahia S to Espírito Santo).
  • Descriptive notes

    16–18 cm; 34–42 g. The darkest and dullest Sclerurus. Nominate race has face dark rufescent brownish, faint scalloping in malar area; crown dark brown,... read more


    Song a series of 10–12 loud, ringing, descending “kweet” or “whee”... read more


    Tropical lowland evergreen forest; terra firme. From near sea-level to 500 m; locally to... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates; cockroach (Blattodea) oothecae, also Coleoptera, annelid worms and ants reported. One record of a fallen fruit eaten.... read more


    Nestlings in Jun in S Peru. Monogamous. Nest a shallow cup c. 13 cm in diameter, made of leaf petioles, placed in enlarged chamber at end... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally common. Estimated densities of 6 birds/km2 in transitional forest in SE Peru and 5–10/km2 at four terra firme... read more

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2019). Black-tailed Leaftosser (Sclerurus caudacutus). 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 10 December 2019).