Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Straight-billed Woodcreeper (Dendroplex picus)


French: Grimpar talapiot German: Spechtschnabel-Baumsteiger Spanish: Trepatroncos piquirrecto

Oriolus Picus

J. F. Gmelin

, 1788,

in Gujanae = “Cayenne”


Sister to D. kienerii. Assessment of geographical variation complicated by marked individual variation, at least in some populations. Races fall into two groups, “picirostris group” in Panama and N & NW South America and “picus group” in Amazonia and E South America; these groups are treated as separate species by some authors, but not by others because of apparent hybrids from lower R Orinoco region of Venezuela. Vocally the two groups are very similar, analysis of songs (both recordings and sonograms) having revealed no obvious differences between them: “picirostris group” may have a descending series with, on average, fewer notes than song of “picus group”, and latter seems to show more variation in number of notes, even within the same race, with examples which are hardly different from, if not identical to, those of “picirostris group”; only series with very high number of notes could perhaps be safely attributed to “picus group”. Race deltanus possibly merits elevation to species rank#R. Races similar within each group; choicus poorly differentiated from picirostris. Purported races bahiae (NE Brazil) and rufescens (NC Brazil) described on basis of average differences from nominate, but individual variation so marked that neither is reliably diagnosable. Proposed race borreroi from S Colombia (E base of Andes in Caquetá) apparently not distinguishable from peruvianus, which itself may be indistinguishable from saturatior. Thirteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • D. p. extimus Griscom, 1927 – C & E Panama (Pacific slope from E Azuero Peninsula E to Darién, also Caribbean slope locally in Canal Zone) and NW Colombia (valleys of lower R Atrato and upper R Sinú, in Córdoba).
  • D. p. dugandi Wetmore & Phelps, Sr, 1946 – NW Colombian lowlands from S Santa Marta region E to Sierra de Perijá, and S along Pacific coast to N Chocó and in Magdalena Valley to N Huila.
  • D. p. picirostris Lafresnaye, 1847 – Plain-throated Woodcreeper – coastal lowlands of N Colombia (NW Santa Marta region E to Guajira Peninsula) and extreme NW Venezuela (E to mouth of L Maracaibo).
  • D. p. paraguanae (Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1962) – NW Venezuela (Falcón, N Lara).
  • D. p. choicus Wetmore & Phelps, Sr, 1946 – coastal NC Venezuela (E Falcón E to Miranda).
  • D. p. longirostris Richmond, 1896 – Margarita I, off N Venezuela.
  • D. p. phalarus Wetmore, 1939 – N Venezuela (llanos of interior from Portuguesa, W Apure and NW Bolívar E to E Anzoátegui, and along NE coast E to Sucre).
  • D. p. saturatior Hellmayr, 1925 – E base of E Andes in Colombia (Norte de Santander S probably to Meta) and W Venezuela (C & S Maracaibo Basin in S Zulia, NW Táchira, W Mérida).
  • D. p. duidae J. T. Zimmer, 1934 – upper R Orinoco and upper R Negro in E Colombia (E Vichada), S Venezuela (NW Bolívar, N Amazonas) and adjacent NW Brazil.
  • D. p. altirostris (Léotaud, 1866) – Trinidad.
  • D. p. deltanus (Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1952) – NE Venezuela (Delta Amacuro).
  • D. p. picus (J. F. Gmelin, 1788) – Straight-billed Woodcreeper – S Venezuela (S Anzoátegui, S Monagas, E Bolívar), the Guianas and N & E Brazil (lower R Negro E to Amapá and, S of Amazon, from R Madeira E to Ceará and Pernambuco, S to Goiás and, on Atlantic coast, to N Rio de Janeiro); unclear whether birds in SW Brazil (Pantanal) and those in NW Brazil (N bank of R Solimões) and adjacent SE Colombia & NE Ecuador refer to nominate race or peruvianus.
  • D. p. peruvianus J. T. Zimmer, 1934 – SW Amazonia from E Peru and W Amazonian Brazil (E to R Juruá, possibly to R Madeira) S to N & E Bolivia (S to Cochabamba and Santa Cruz).
  • Descriptive notes

    18–22 cm; male 34–42 g, female 33–45 g (mainland), female 51 g (altirostris). Slim, medium-sized woodcreeper with a distinctive bill combining... read more


    Among the first birds to begin singing at dawn and one of the last to sing at dusk, but also sings... read more


    Occupies a variety of lowland habitats, with preference for open situations rather than forest:... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet chiefly arthropods, but occasionally takes small vertebrates. Stomach contents included primarily beetles, ants and insect larvae,... read more


    Breeds in Apr–Aug in N Venezuela; nest with eggs in early May-early Jun in Venezuela and in Aug in Surinam; nests with young in late... read more


    Apparently resident throughout range.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common throughout much of extensive range in Panama and N & NE South America; less common and more local in regions that are... read more

    Recommended citation

    Marantz, C.A., Aleixo, A., Bevier, L.R., Patten, M.A. & de Juana, E. (2020). Straight-billed Woodcreeper (Dendroplex picus). 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).