Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Plain-brown Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla fuliginosa)


French: Grimpar enfumé German: Grauwangen-Baumsteiger Spanish: Trepatroncos fuliginoso

Dendrocopus fuliginosus


, 1818,



Previously considered closest to D. turdina (which see) and often regarded as conspecific, but recent phylogenetic studies#R#R#R suggest that it may be closer to D. anabatina. Populations exhibit greater divergence across Amazonia than across Andes#R. Races appear to be separable into three groups, which may represent distinct species. Geographically isolated “taunayi group” contains a single race, with affinities uncertain because it is morphologically intermediate between present species and D. turdina, but vocally distinct from both. Within heterogeneous “meruloides group”, significant genetic differences found between ridgwayi and neglecta, the two being separated by Andes. Remaining races constitute the “fuliginosa group”, one member of which, atrirostris, is placed by some authors with D. turdina on basis of similar vocalizations and presence of crown streaking. Proposed race christiani (W Colombia) indistinguishable from ridgwayi; validity of several other currently accepted races requires revision, e.g. neglecta may prove to be better merged with phaeochroa, barinensis with meruloides, and rufoolivacea with nominate. Race taunayi may be better treated as a subspecies of D. turdina, to which it is closely related#R, the two having evolved following separate invasions by stock of present species respectively into N & S portions of Atlantic Forest. Twelve subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. f. ridgwayi Oberholser, 1904 – NE Honduras S, mostly on Caribbean slope (especially in N) to E Panama, also to W Colombia (Chocó lowlands E to upper Sinú and Atrato Valleys), W Ecuador and NW Peru (Tumbes).
  • D. f. lafresnayei Ridgway, 1888 – N & E Colombia (Santa Marta region, Magdalena and Cauca Valleys) and adjacent NW Venezuela (NW Zulia, Mérida, Táchira).
  • D. f. meruloides (Lafresnaye, 1851) – Plain-brown Woodcreeper – N Venezuela (L Maracaibo E to Paria Peninsula, S to Guárico and Monagas), also Trinidad and Tobago.
  • D. f. barinensis Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1949 – llanos of NC Colombia (Norte de Santander, Boyacá, Arauca) and WC Venezuela (Portuguesa S to Táchira and Apure).
  • D. f. deltana Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1950 – NE Venezuela (Orinoco Delta).
  • D. f. phaeochroa Berlepsch & E. J. O. Hartert, 1902 – NW Amazonia from SE Colombia E to S Venezuela (NW Bolívar, Amazonas) and S to NW Brazil (upper R Negro and R Branco).
  • D. f. neglecta Todd, 1948 – W Amazonia on both sides of R Solimões, from E Ecuador and E Peru E to W Brazil (E to R Negro and R Madeira).
  • D. f. fuliginosa (Vieillot, 1818) – Line-throated Woodcreeper – NE Amazonia N of Amazon, from SE Venezuela (E Bolívar) E to the Guianas and in N Brazil (lower R Negro E to Amapá); may cross R Amazon just E of R Madeira at Borba.
  • D. f. atrirostris (d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1838) – SW Amazonia, in SE Peru (Cuzco, Madre de Dios), N, NE & C Bolivia and adjacent SW Brazil (E to R Tapajós).
  • D. f. rufoolivacea Ridgway, 1888 – E Amazonian Brazil S of Amazon, from R Tapajós E to N Maranhão.
  • D. f. trumaii Sick, 1950 – locally in S Amazonian Brazil (upper R Xingu, in N Mato Grosso).
  • D. f. taunayi O. M. O. Pinto, 1939 – Pernambuco Woodcreeper – NE Brazil (E Pernambuco, E Alagoas).
  • Descriptive notes

    19–22·5 cm; male 30–50 g, female 25–46 g. Medium-sized woodcreeper with nondescript plumage pattern, often slightly crested appearance (raised crown... read more


    Apparent song of most populations (of “fuliginosa and meruloides groups... read more


    Humid forest in lowlands and foothills. Primarily evergreen forest, less frequently gallery,... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet largely arthropods and other invertebrates, but small vertebrates also regularly taken. Stomach contents from various South American... read more


    Nesting season May to early Oct in Costa Rica, Panama and Trinidad, apparently a little earlier in Guyana and somewhat later in N & C... read more


    Apparently resident in most of range; unusual fluctuations in abundance at sites in Costa Rica... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Most common and widespread member of genus; uncommon to fairly common or locally common over most of its range, from Costa Rica S to Venezuela,... read more

    Recommended citation

    Marantz, C.A., Aleixo, A., Bevier, L.R. & Patten, M.A. (2020). Plain-brown Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla fuliginosa). 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 25 February 2020).