Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Brown-billed Scythebill (Campylorhamphus pusillus)


French: Grimpar à bec brun German: Braunsensenschnabel Spanish: Picoguadaña andino

Xiphorhynchus pusillus

P. L. Sclater

, 1860,

i. Nova Grenada int. = “Bogotá”


See C. falcularius. Central American races sometimes considered a separate species, “C. borealis”. Assessment of patterns of geographical variation complicated by individual variation in general coloration and in extent of streaking. Races borealis and olivaceus poorly differentiated from one another; variation upon which tachirensis and guapiensis are based may be individual rather than geographical, and both perhaps better synonymized with nominate. Five subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. p. borealis Carriker, 1910 – Costa Rica (Caribbean slope, also in SW on Pacific slope and adjacent lowlands) and W Panama (W Chiriquí, W Bocas del Toro); recorded in extreme S Nicaragua#R.
  • C. p. olivaceus Griscom, 1927 – C & E Panama (Veraguas E to E Darién).
  • C. p. tachirensis Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1956 – Sierra de Perijá and extreme E Andes in NE Colombia and NW Venezuela (W Zulia, SW Táchira).
  • C. p. pusillus (P. L. Sclater, 1860) – N & C Andes on both slopes in Colombia (except extreme NE) and Ecuador, and on E slope in N Peru (S to Cajamarca and San Martín).
  • C. p. guapiensis Romero-Zambrano, 1980 – coastal lowlands of SW Colombia (Cauca).
  • Descriptive notes

    20–25 cm; 32–48 g. Slim, medium-sized woodcreeper with long, slim, strongly decurved bill. Nominate race has side of head and neck streaked blackish-brown and... read more


    Song, given primarily at dawn and dusk, a rapid, complex and highly variable series of notes... read more


    Humid evergreen forest, primarily in hilly regions, locally in lowlands. Prefers interior and edge... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, including variety of beetles, earwigs (Dermaptera), ants, insect eggs and larvae, and spiders. Stomach contents included mainly... read more


    Recently fledged juveniles in May–Jul in Costa Rica, and birds in breeding condition in May–Jun and late Dec in Colombia.... read more


    Apparently resident throughout most of range; possibly an altitudinal migrant at some sites in N.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally rare to uncommon and local throughout its montane distribution; rarer and possibly even more local at edges of range in N Costa Rica and N... read more

    Recommended citation

    Marantz, C.A., Aleixo, A., Bevier, L.R. & Patten, M.A. (2019). Brown-billed Scythebill (Campylorhamphus pusillus). 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 14 November 2019).