Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Tawny-throated Leaftosser (Sclerurus mexicanus)


French: Sclérure à gorge rousse German: Rostkehl-Laubwender Spanish: Tirahojas mexicano

Sclerurus mexicanus

P. L. Sclater

, 1857,

Córdoba, Veracruz, southern Mexico


Plumage similarities have suggested to most authors that this and S. rufigularis are sister-species. Apparent elevational parapatry of highland race andinus and lowland obscurior suggests that more than one species may be involved; recent molecular study#R indicates as many as five cryptic species present in group, namely S. mexicanus (with pullus) and S. macconnelli (with bahiae), the three remaining taxa (andinus, obscurior, peruvianus) being upgraded each to a full species. Vocal analysis currently under way to support the molecular work, but brief review of evidence suggests that only races mexicanus and pullus strongly different in voice (slower pace (2–3), longer notes (2), higher max. frequency and very different note shape, total score of 4–5)#R; to date, no plumage or morphometric characters appear to support this potential split. Racial identity of birds from W slope of E Andes in Colombia uncertain; tentatively included with peruvianus, but may belong with andinus. Proposed races certus (Guatemala) and anomalus (E Panama) are considered undiagnosable. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. m. mexicanus P. L. Sclater, 1857 – Northern Tawny-throated Leaftosser – SE Mexico (from Veracruz) S to N Nicaragua.
  • S. m. pullus Bangs, 1902 – foothills and highlands of Costa Rica and Panama (E to Darién and San Blas)#R; perhaps this race recorded in S Nicaragua#R.
  • S. m. andinus Chapman, 1914 – locally in highlands of N Colombia (E to Sierra de Perijá), extreme NW Venezuela and NW Ecuador#R.
  • S. m. obscurior E. J. O. Hartert, 1901 – Southern Tawny-throated Leaftosser – lowlands#R of W Colombia S to W Ecuador (S to Esmeraldas and locally in NW Guayas S to W Loja).
  • S. m. peruvianus C. Chubb, 1919 – W Amazonia locally from S Colombia (base of E Andes on W slope in Santander, on E slope S from W Meta) S to E Peru and N Bolivia (S to NW Santa Cruz); possibly this race in W Brazil (Amazonas, Acre, N Rondônia)#R.
  • S. m. macconnelli C. Chubb, 1919 – lowlands of E Venezuela, the Guianas and N Brazil (E from R Negro and, S of R Amazon, from R Tapajós E to Maranhão and S locally to N Mato Grosso).
  • S. m. bahiae C. Chubb, 1919 – coastal E Brazil (Alagoas S to NE São Paulo).
  • Descriptive notes

    15–17 cm; 24–30 g. A dark, rather plain furnariid with perhaps relatively the longest and thinnest bill in the family. Nominate race has dark brownish, faintly... read more


    Song a descending set of 4–9 high-pitched, wheezy notes, fading and accelerating, “peeeeee-... read more


    Tropical lowland and montane evergreen forest, usually in hilly areas. Mainly 700–2200m in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Invertebrates. Singly, occasionally in pairs. Terrestrial; hops on ground (does not walk); tail tips often pressed to substrate. Gleans,... read more


    Season Dec–Apr in Costa Rica; egg in oviduct in Apr in Mexico; eggs in Apr in French Guiana. Presumably monogamous. Nest a loose cup... read more



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Rare to uncommon throughout range; distribution seems patchy in many parts of range. Estimated density 1–6 birds/km2 at four sites in French... read more

    Recommended citation

    Remsen, J.V., Jr (2019). Tawny-throated Leaftosser (Sclerurus mexicanus). 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 5 December 2019).