Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Rufous-capped Spinetail (Synallaxis ruficapilla)


French: Synallaxe à calotte rousse German: Rotkappen-Dickichtschlüpfer Spanish: Pijuí coronirrojo

Synallaxis ruficapilla


, 1819,

near Rio de Janeiro, Brazil


Thought to form a group with S. cinerea and S. infuscata; previously considered conspecific with latter, but vocal differences indicate that infuscata merits full species rank. Recent analysis, using morphology and vocalizations#R, suggests that, within the group, only present species and S. infuscata should be regarded as valid taxa, and S. cinerea/”S. whitneyi” (see below) synonymized with present species. Alternative view, based on a molecular phylogeny#R, recommends continued recognition of all three species, despite evidence of gene flow between ruficapilla and “whitneyi”; this study also found evidence suggesting that present species comprises two groups (in N and in S), that an undescribed spinetail from E Amazonian Brazil is sister to present species and “S. whitneyi”, and that the group’s closest relative is S. moesta of E Andean foothills. Further in-depth analyses will perhaps help to clarify the true taxonomic situation. Monotypic.


SE Brazil (S Goiás, S Minas Gerais and Espírito Santo S to N Rio Grande do Sul), E Paraguay (Canindeyú, Alto Paraná, Itapúa) and NE Argentina (Misiones, Corrientes).

Descriptive notes

13–17 cm; 12–16 g. Typical Synallaxis with contrasting crown and wings. Has broad buff supercilium contrasting strongly with dark brownish-grey lores and... read more


Song a fast nasal “di-di-di-réét”, number of “di” notes... read more


Montane evergreen forest, tropical lowland evergreen forest, secondary forest; inhabits forest... read more

Food and feeding

Little known; food presumably arthropods. Usually seen in pairs, often in mixed-species flocks. Forages mainly in understorey, occasionally... read more


Season during austral spring-summer. Presumably monogamous. Nest 25–40 cm long, a mass of sticks (some up to 15 cm long), usually... read more



Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Uncommon to common. Relatively poorly known species. Occurs in Itatiaia and Serra dos Órgãos National Parks, Serra do Mar State Park,... read more

Recommended citation

Remsen, J.V., Jr (2020). Rufous-capped Spinetail (Synallaxis ruficapilla). 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 28 January 2020).