Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Plain Thornbird (Phacellodomus inornatus)


French: Synallaxe blafard German: Blasskehl-Bündelnister Spanish: Espinero liso

Phacellodomus inornatus


, 1887,

Caracas, Venezuela


Usually considered conspecific with P. rufifrons, but differs in absence (inornatus) or vestigial presence as slight rufous tinge (castilloi) of bold rufous forehead to mid-crown (3); absence (or virtual absence) of whitish lores and supercilium (2); higher-pitched song, involving higher maximum frequency (2) and frequency range (2)#R. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • P. i. inornatus Ridgway, 1887 – NC Venezuela (SE Falcón, Yaracuy and Carabobo E to Miranda).
  • P. i. castilloi Phelps, Jr & Aveledo, 1987 – W & C Venezuela (Lara, Portuguesa, Barinas and Apure E to Sucre and Monagas) and NE Colombia (Boyacá, Arauca, Casanare, Vichada, NE Meta).
  • Descriptive notes

    16–17 cm; 21·5–31 g. Rather plain, nondescript, arboreal furnariid. Sexes alike. Juvenile has upperparts mottled. Adult lacks rufous on forecrown and whitish lores and... read more


    Song a bright, chippery and energetic series of loud “chit” or “chee” notes, often given in duet,... read more


    Arid lowland scrub, tropical deciduous forest, secondary forest, gallery woodland, llanos... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet not well known beyond arthropods of all stages (adults and larvae), and small numbers of spiders. Usually in pairs, or in groups of 3–... read more


    In Venezuela season mostly Jul–Nov, eggs in Apr–Jul and nestlings in May–Sept, at least two broods per year; in Colombia, in breeding... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Common to fairly common in most parts of range, and is tolerant of at least moderate anthropogenic habitat disturbance.

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Plain Thornbird (Phacellodomus inornatus). 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 27 January 2020).