Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Narrow-billed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes angustirostris)


French: Grimpar à bec étroit German: Hellbauch-Baumsteiger Spanish: Trepatroncos chico

Dendrocopus angustirostris


, 1818,



Races previously split into two groups (N and S) on basis largely of coloration above and presence/strength of streaking below. However, recent study of morphometric and plumage characters#R found all populations of this species highly polymorphic, with plumage patterns variable and geographical boundaries of taxa very difficult to define, all races intergrading; despite colour polymorphism in plumage patterns, it was thought that high level of intergradation and poor resolution of geographical boundaries did not support recognition of subspecies. Treatment of species as monotypic may be valid, but further investigation recommended. Otherwise, description of griseiceps possibly based on a variant with extremely pale plumage, but matched in all respects by birds in a series from N Amazonian Brazil (Amapá). Proposed races dabbenei (SW Paraguay, N Argentina) and chacoensis (NE Argentina) included in praedatus (which intergrades widely with nominate), and immaculatus (N Bolivia) merged with bivittatus. Eight subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. a. griseiceps Mees, 1974 – known definitely only from type locality in S Suriname (Sipaliwini Savanna), but populations on N side of lower R Amazon in N Brazil (E Pará, Amapá) appear to represent this subspecies.
  • L. a. coronatus (Lesson, 1830) – NE Brazil from S & E Maranhão E to N Piauí, S to Tocantins and NW Bahia.
  • L. a. bahiae (Hellmayr, 1903) – NE Brazil in interior Bahia (E of R São Francisco); populations N of R São Francisco from Ceará E to Paraíba, S to E Piauí and Alagoas, probably represent this race.
  • L. a. bivittatus (M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1822) – C & SE Brazil (Mato Grosso E to Goiás and Minas Gerais, and S to Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo; also in Pará along S bank of lower Amazon from R Tapajós E to Marajó I) and N & E Bolivia (La Paz, Beni, Santa Cruz).
  • L. a. hellmayri Naumburg, 1925 – Andean foothills of C Bolivia (Cochabamba, Santa Cruz, Tarija).
  • L. a. certhiolus (Todd, 1913) – lowlands at E base of Andes in C & S Bolivia (SW Santa Cruz S to Tarija), W Paraguay (Alto Chaco) and NW Argentina (SE Jujuy, N Salta).
  • L. a. angustirostris (Vieillot, 1818) – SW Brazil (W Mato Grosso do Sul) and E Paraguay in drainages of R Paraguay and R Paraná; intergrades with praedatus in N & NE Argentina (W Salta, Formosa, W Chaco, N Corrientes, N Santa Fe).
  • L. a. praedatus (Cherrie, 1916) – N & C Argentina (S Salta, Santiago del Estero, S Santa Fe, S Corrientes and SW Misiones, S to Mendoza, N La Pampa and NE & SW Buenos Aires), W & C Uruguay and extreme S Brazil (W & SW Rio Grande do Sul).
  • Descriptive notes

    18–22 cm; male 23–37·5 g, female 21·5–33·5 (once 39·5) g. Slim, medium-sized woodcreeper with long, slim, somewhat decurved bill... read more


    Song a loud series 3–5 seconds long of 4–8 sharp descending notes that may be either... read more


    Occurs in a variety of open woodland and savanna habitats. A characteristic species of deciduous... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds largely on insects, spiders, and other invertebrates, but has been seen to take a small frog. Stomach contents comprised ants, bees,... read more


    Nests with eggs from mid-Oct to early Dec in N & C Argentina and Uruguay, nestlings in mid-Oct to late Nov in NE Argentina, S Brazil... read more


    Resident throughout range. One-third of individuals ringed at one site in Brazilian cerrado... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to locally common throughout most of range, but uncommon at some sites. As it avoids dense forest, it is often uncommon in areas that... read more

    Recommended citation

    Marantz, C.A., Aleixo, A., Bevier, L.R. & Patten, M.A. (2019). Narrow-billed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes angustirostris). 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 16 December 2019).