Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Red-faced Spinetail (Cranioleuca erythrops)


French: Synallaxe à face rouge German: Rotgesicht-Baumschlüpfer Spanish: Curutié carirrojo

Synallaxis erythrops

P. L. Sclater

, 1860,

Pallatanga, Chimborazo, Ecuador


Recent genetic analysis#R reveals this to be sister to a group containing C. baroni, C. antisiensis and C. curtata, all being similar in plumage and having mostly lower montane distribution. Racial identity of birds in E Panama uncertain; tentatively placed with griseigularis. Specimens from S Colombia may be intermediate between latter and nominate race. Three subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. e. rufigenis (Lawrence, 1868) – mountains of Costa Rica and W Panama.
  • C. e. griseigularis (Ridgway, 1909) – extreme E Panama (Cerro Pirre, Cerro Tacarcuna, Cerro Mali) and W & C Andes of Colombia (W Andes S to Nariño and on W slope of C Andes from Antioquia S to Quindío, also Serranía de San Lucas).
  • C. e. erythrops (P. L. Sclater, 1860) – Andes of W Ecuador (S to NW Azuay, also in coastal Cordillera de Mache in SW Manabí and W Guayas).
  • Descriptive notes

    14–15 cm; 13–20 g. Dark Cranioleuca with distinctive head pattern. Nominate race has crown and face rufous; nape and back rich olive-brown, lower back... read more


    Song described as high-pitched, fast, scratchy chatter-trill, “seet-seet-seet-se-e-e-e-e-e-e-e” or... read more


    Humid lower montane forest and tall second growth; locally in lowland tropical forest and deciduous... read more

    Food and feeding

    Recorded dietary items are Coleoptera, Orthoptera, Blattodea, Lepidoptera larvae, spiders; also protein corpuscles produced by Cecropia... read more


    Season mainly Mar–Jun in Central America, eggs in Apr–May and nestlings in May–Jul in Costa Rica; in Andes, fledgling in... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common throughout range. Occurs in La Planada Nature Reserve and Rio Ñambí Natural Reserve, in Colombia.

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2019). Red-faced Spinetail (Cranioleuca erythrops). 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 11 December 2019).