Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Streak-headed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii)


French: Grimpar de Souleyet German: Lanzettstrichel-Baumsteiger Spanish: Trepatroncos cabecirrayado

Dendrocolaptes Souleyetii

Des Murs

, 1849,

Paita, Piura, north-west Peru


Appears to be closely related to L. albolineatus. Recent reconstructed DNA-based phylogeny#R indicates existence of genetic structuring among populations of this woodcreeper, suggesting that Mesoamerican and South American forms represent two distinct species and that further splits may be valid; however, samples are generally too small for positive conclusions to be drawn, and further work needed. Otherwise, races lineaticeps, littoralis and uaireni poorly differentiated from one another, whereas nominate and esmeraldae appear to represent extremes in a cline. Assessment of geographical variation complicated by marked individual and age-related variation in size, in width and extent of streaking above and below, in shade of upperparts, and in intensity of buff coloration on throat and underparts. Birds from SE Mexico to N Honduras often recognized as race insignis, said to differ from compressus in deeper buff throat and broader streaking both above and below, but neither character seems geographically related; variation in Middle America most evident as cline of decreasing size from N to S. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • L. s. guerrerensis van Rossem, 1939 – SW Mexico (Sierra Madre del Sur in Guerrero and SW Oaxaca).
  • L. s. compressus (Cabanis, 1861) – lowlands on both slopes from S Mexico (S Veracruz, SW Campeche, SW Chiapas) S to W Panama (E Chiriquí, W Bocas del Toro).
  • L. s. lineaticeps (Lafresnaye, 1850) – C & E Panama (E from Canal Zone), N & E Colombia (except Santa Marta region) and W Venezuela (Táchira, W Mérida, extreme W Barinas).
  • L. s. littoralis (E. J. O. Hartert & Goodson, 1917) – NW Colombia (Santa Marta region, Atlántico), N & C Venezuela (NW Zulia E to Sucre, S to Orinoco region), Guyana and extreme N Brazil (upper R Branco); also Trinidad.
  • L. s. uaireni Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1950 – known only from type locality on R Uairén, in extreme SE Venezuela (SE Bolívar).
  • L. s. esmeraldae Chapman, 1923 – SW Colombia (Nariño) and W Ecuador (S through most of El Oro).
  • L. s. souleyetii (Des Murs, 1849) – SW Ecuador (S El Oro, Loja) and NW Peru (S to Lambayeque).
  • Descriptive notes

    17–22 cm; 22–34 g. Slim, medium-sized woodcreeper with relatively long tail and slim, moderately long, slightly decurved bill. Nominate race has face finely... read more


    Song, given by both members of pair, a rapid musical trill of 1·5–3 seconds,... read more


    Occupies a variety of lowland habitats, preferring more open situations than those inhabited by... read more

    Food and feeding

    Feeds largely on insects, spiders and other invertebrates. Stomach contents primarily termites (Isoptera), ants and beetles, but also a... read more


    Birds in breeding condition from mid-Mar to mid-Aug throughout range, also in Oct in Colombia; inspecting nesting cavities from late Feb,... read more


    Resident throughout range. Territories apparently settled immediately following breeding season at... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common throughout most of range; in Central America more common on drier Pacific slope than on humid Caribbean slope, and quite scarce at... read more

    Recommended citation

    Marantz, C.A., Aleixo, A., Bevier, L.R. & Patten, M.A. (2020). Streak-headed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii). 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 29 January 2020).