Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Slaty Spinetail (Synallaxis brachyura)


French: Synallaxe ardoisé German: Graurücken-Dickichtschlüpfer Spanish: Pijuí pizarroso

Synnallaxis [sic] brachyurus


, 1843,

Colombia = “Bogotá”


Phylogenetic study#R found this species to be sister to S. subpudica. Proposed race chapmani (Colombia) described as like nigrifumosa but with rump slightly browner and crown, wings and underparts slightly paler, but variation apparently clinal, and individual specimens not diagnosable. Named taxon jaraguana (Goiás, in E Brazil), described as race of present species, was based on misidentified specimens of S. hypospodia. Race nigrifumosa often (as in HBW) misspelt nigrofumosa#R. Four subspecies tentatively recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. b. nigrifumosa Lawrence, 1865 – NC Honduras S to Panama and NW Colombia S to NW Ecuador (S to N Guayas).
  • S. b. brachyura Lafresnaye, 1843 – N Colombia (Antioquia E to Magdalena Valley).
  • S. b. caucae Chapman, 1914 – C Colombia (Cauca Valley).
  • S. b. griseonucha Chapman, 1923 – SW Ecuador (S from Guayas and Azuay) S to extreme NW Peru (Tumbes).
  • Descriptive notes

    14–16 cm; 16–21 g. One of the darkest species in genus. Nominate race has deep rufous-chestnut crown and nape, greyish supercilium, darker grey rest of head, dark... read more


    Song a low “ch-ch-ch-churrr-r-r-r”, “je-ch-ch-chrrrrr” or “chut-chut-... read more


    Second-growth scrub, riparian thickets, and undergrowth at edges of montane evergreen forest and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Dietary items recorded are Coleoptera, Hemiptera, larval Diptera and Lepidoptera, spiders, spider eggs, and seeds. Usually in pairs,... read more


    Eggs in Jan–Feb and Apr–Oct in Costa Rica. Monogamous; paired throughout year. Nest a bulky mass c. 20–40 cm high and 40... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common in most of range. Occurs in La Planada Nature Reserve and Río Ñambí Natural Reserve, in Colombia. Tolerant of moderate... read more

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2019). Slaty Spinetail (Synallaxis brachyura). 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 7 December 2019).