Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Straight-billed Earthcreeper (Ochetorhynchus ruficaudus)


French: Chilia de Meyen German: Geradschnabel-Erdhacker Spanish: Bandurrita piquirrecta

Ochetorhynchus ruficaudus


, 1834,

base of Volcán de Maipú, 10,000 feet [c. 3050 m], Santiago, Chile


Previously placed in Upucerthia. Analysis#R shows present species and O. phoenicurus are together sister to O. melanurus. Differences in coloration of nominate race between N and S extremes (darker and less reddish upperparts in S) indicate either strong clinal variation or perhaps an undescribed race. Three subspecies currently recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • O. r. montanus (d’Orbigny & Lafresnaye, 1838) – Andes of S Peru (Arequipa to Tacna), Bolivia (La Paz S to Potosí), N Chile (Tarapacá, and probably E Antofagasta) and N Argentina (Jujuy S to Catamarca).
  • O. r. famatinae (Nores, 1986) – NW Argentina (Sierra de Famatina, in La Rioja).
  • O. r. ruficaudus Meyen, 1834 – Andes of W Argentina (San Juan S to SW Chubut and recently found in NW Santa Cruz#R) and adjacent Chile (S to Santiago).
  • Descriptive notes

    16–19 cm; 28–41 g. Medium-sized earthcreeper with long, very slightly decurved bill. Nominate race has narrow whitish supercilium, black eyestripe, rest of face... read more


    Song a fast series of strained, complaining, chattering “pu” notes, rising into 2... read more


    Arid montane scrub at 1800–4300 m, locally down to 1300 m; inhabits rocky arid slopes and... read more

    Food and feeding

    Arthropods, gleaned and extracted from ground. Usually forages solitarily.


    Season evidently during austral summer; eggs in Nov–Dec, fledglings in Nov–Jan and nestlings in Feb in Argentina; eggs in Nov... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common throughout range. Habitat reasonably safe from anthropogenic disturbances, except overgrazing. Recently reported from Santa Cruz... read more

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2019). Straight-billed Earthcreeper (Ochetorhynchus ruficaudus). 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 14 November 2019).