Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Plain Softtail (Thripophaga fusciceps)


French: Synallaxe terne German: Rostflügelcanastero Spanish: Colasuave sencillo

Thripophaga fusciceps

P. L. Sclater

, 1889,

mouth of Río Chapare, 825 feet [c. 250 m], Cochabamba, Bolivia


Previously placed in genus Phacellodomus by some authors. Races vary markedly in size; this, and anomalous pattern of their distribution and unusual combination of habitats, could suggest that the three forms are separate species, although vocal differences seem to be rather subtle#R; further research needed. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • T. f. dimorpha J. Bond & Meyer de Schauensee, 1941 – Peruvian Plain Softtail – E Ecuador (Orellana, Pastaza) and NE & SE Peru (Loreto, Pasco, Junín, Cuzco, Madre de Dios, Puno).
  • T. f. obidensis Todd, 1925 – Brazilian Plain Softtail – C Brazil (lower R Madeira, and C R Amazon in E Amazonas and Pará).
  • T. f. fusciceps P. L. Sclater, 1889 – Bolivian Plain Softtail – N Bolivia (Beni, E La Paz, N Cochabamba).
  • Descriptive notes

    16–18 cm; 23–24 g. Male nominate race has pale brownish-grey face, thin dark eyeline, hint of thin pale supercilium; crown dull pale grey-brown, faintly flammu... read more


    Song of nominate race begins with widely spaced, dry ticking notes, accelerating and rising to... read more


    Flooded tropical evergreen forest and river-edge forest, mainly humid várzea and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods. Usually in pairs or small groups, often with mixed-species flocks. Forages from understorey up to subcanopy. Acrobatically... read more


    Nest a globular mass c. 20 cm in diameter, made from small twigs and soft plant material, with two short entrance tubes on lower side,... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare and local; absent from many areas where habitat superficially seems suitable. Present in Manu National Park and Biosphere Reserve.

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2020). Plain Softtail (Thripophaga fusciceps). 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 January 2020).