Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-breasted Spinetail (Synallaxis erythrothorax)


French: Synallaxe à poitrine rousse German: Rotbrust-Dickichtschlüpfer Spanish: Pijuí centroamericano

Synallaxis erythrothorax

P. L. Sclater

, 1855,



Genetic data#R indicate that this species is closest to S. candei, the two being sister to S. kollari. Race pacifica has been treated as a separate evolutionary species#R. Some tendency for N birds of nominate race to have darker and more uniform central belly, but extensive overlap with others farther S; proposed race furtiva (Caribbean lowlands of Mexico) is not diagnosable. Two subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. e. erythrothorax P. L. Sclater, 1855 – Caribbean slope from SE Mexico (S Veracruz and Yucatán Peninsula S to N Oaxaca and Tabasco) S to Guatemala, Belize and NW Honduras.
  • S. e. pacifica Griscom, 1930 – Pacific lowlands of SW Mexico (S Chiapas), Guatemala and El Salvador.
  • Descriptive notes

    14–16 cm; 15–19 g. Mid-sized Synallaxis with unusual plumage. Nominate race has dark sooty brownish face, uniform dark brownish-grey crown to back, brown... read more


    Song a rapid, rough chatter with 1–3 introductory notes, “chree, ree, rreu-rreu-rreu-... read more


    Secondary forest, second-growth scrub, tropical lowland evergreen forest edge; to 750 m.

    Food and feeding

    Little known. Recorded dietary items are Lepidoptera larvae, spiders, and some fruit. Usually forages in pairs in understorey. Probably... read more


    Eggs in May–Jun in Guatemala, Jun and Aug in El Salvador and Aug–Sept in Honduras. Monogamous. Nest a bulky mass c. 40 × 70 cm... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. The only furnariid restricted to N Middle America. Fairly common to common in most of range. May benefit from moderate forest fragmentation, but... read more

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2019). Rufous-breasted Spinetail (Synallaxis erythrothorax). 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 8 December 2019).