Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Ochre-cheeked Spinetail (Synallaxis scutata)


French: Synallaxe à bavette German: Weißbrauen-Dickichtschlüpfer Spanish: Pijuí canela

Synallaxis scutata

P. L. Sclater

, 1859,

Bahia, Brazil


Often placed with S. kollari and S. candei in a separate genus Poecilurus, but no diagnosable differences from current genus. Genetic data#R show that present species is sister to S. cinerascens. Whether darker race whitii can be distinguished from extremes of adjacent populations of nominate, which varies clinally from NE to SW, or whether it is diagnosably distinct, merits investigation. Newly discovered population in SE Peru here included in whitii, as is nearby one in NW Bolivia, but these may represent an undescribed taxon#R. Proposed races neglecta (Ceará), supposedly paler rufous above and whiter below, and teretiala (Serra dos Carajás, in S Pará), described from three specimens as smaller and whiter below than nominate, both considered indistinguishable. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. s. scutata P. L. Sclater, 1859 – E & C Brazil (S Pará and Maranhão E to Ceará and Bahia, S to N Mato Grosso, S Minas Gerais and N São Paulo).
  • S. s. whitii P. L. Sclater, 1881 – S Brazil (S Mato Grosso), SE Bolivia (Santa Cruz, Chuquisaca, Tarija), extreme NW Paraguay#R and NW Argentina (Jujuy and Salta, possibly also W Formosa, S to Catamarca); perhaps this race in SE Peru (Puno)#R and NW Bolivia (La Paz)#R.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–14 cm; 12–19 g. Nominate race has broad, conspicuous whitish supercilia almost meeting across forehead, where more buffy, blackish loral region mixed with... read more


    Song a shrill “tweet, to-wéét”, often repeated for long periods.


    Undergrowth and edge of deciduous forest, locally also in semi-deciduous forest; to 1700m.

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods; recorded dietary items include Orthoptera and Hymenoptera. Usually forages in pairs, occasionally in mixed-species flocks.... read more


    Presumably breeds primarily during austral spring-summer or during wet season; eggs in Apr in E Brazil and nestlings in Nov in NW Argentina... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Uncommon to locally fairly common throughout range. Occurs in Pedra Talhada State Park, in Brazil, and Calilegua National Park, in Argentina.

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2019). Ochre-cheeked Spinetail (Synallaxis scutata). 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 13 November 2019).