Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus)


French: Grimpar bec-en-coin German: Keilschnabel-Baumsteiger Spanish: Trepatroncos picocuña

Neops spirurus


, 1819,

South America = “Cayenne”


Several markedly different song types and well-differentiated plumages suggest more than one species may be involved, but molecular data show gene flow between some neighbouring, morphologically distinctive races. Recent analysis of samples from 63 localities in eight Amazonian areas of endemism separated by major rivers indicates allopatric lineages with high degree of genetic differentiation across opposite banks of major rivers, with high levels of both paraphyly and genetic differentiation evident within currently recognized races#R. Analysis of vocalizations indicates four distinct subspecies groups#R: “pectoralis group” (Middle America/Chocó), song a series of 8–20 notes, increasing in amplitude and pitch; “spirurus group” (W & N Amazonia/Guiana), 5–12 wheezy notes increasing in amplitude and pitch (burry tonal quality in most of range), delivered at slower speed than song of previous group; monotypic “albigularis group” (SW Amazonia), 2–5 wheezy notes (more when excited) increasing in amplitude and pitch; and “cuneatus group” (SE Amazonia E of R Madeira), song of 2 overslurred notes, emphasis on first (which is slightly longer and higher-pitched; sometimes only this note given). Birds in C Brazil E from R Tapajós tentatively placed with paraensis, but those from E bank of R Xingu said to be intermediate between that and inornatus; more work needed to clarify limits of races. Characters of rufigularis possibly lie within range of variation of castelnaudii; proposed race sublestus (S Central America) included in pectoralis (birds from Nicaragua and Costa Rica intermediate between the two), which intergrades with pallidulus in E Panama (Caribbean slope in SE Colón). Original description of race castelnaudii in issue dated 1855, but not published till Jun 1856#R#R. Thirteen subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • G. s. pectoralis P. L. Sclater & Salvin, 1860 – Northern Wedge-billed Woodcreeper – from S Mexico (S Veracruz, N Oaxaca, Chiapas, mostly Caribbean slope), C Guatemala (Caribbean slope, rarely Petén) and Belize S to Costa Rica (both slopes) and C & W Panama (on Caribbean slope E to E Colón, on Pacific slope to W Chiriquí).
  • G. s. pallidulus Wetmore, 1970 – E Panama (Caribbean slope from SE Colón E through San Blas, Pacific slope from E Panamá Province E to N Darién) and adjacent NW Colombia (N Chocó).
  • G. s. subrufescens Todd, 1948 – Pacific coast of SE Panama (R Jaqué Valley, in SW Darién), W Colombia (N Chocó and Antioquia S to Nariño, also upper valleys of R Atrato and R San Juan) and W Ecuador (to NW Guayas and SE El Oro).
  • G. s. integratus J. T. Zimmer, 1946 – N Colombia (upper R Sinú E to middle Magdalena Valley and S to W Boyacá, also E of Andes from Norte de Santander S to NW Arauca) and W Venezuela (Zulia, S Táchira, W Mérida, NW Barinas, SE Lara).
  • G. s. rufigularis J. T. Zimmer, 1934 – NW Amazonia N of Amazon, from C Colombia (S from Meta and Vichada) and S Venezuela (S Bolívar, Amazonas) S to NE Ecuador (upper R Napo) and NW Brazil (E to E bank on upper and W bank on lower R Negro).
  • G. s. amacurensis Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1952 – NE Venezuela (Sucre, Delta Amacuro).
  • G. s. spirurus (Vieillot, 1819) – Central Wedge-billed Woodcreeper – NE Amazonia N of Amazon, in E Venezuela (NE Bolívar), the Guianas and N Brazil (lower R Negro E to Amapá).
  • G. s. coronobscurus Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1955 – Cerro de la Neblina (above 1400 m), in S Venezuela (SW Amazonas).
  • G. s. castelnaudii Des Murs, 1856 – W Amazonia S of Amazon and R Napo, in E & NE Peru (S to Junín) and W Brazil (E to R Madeira).
  • G. s. albigularis Chapman, 1923 – Southern Wedge-billed Woodcreeper – SW Amazonia in SE Peru (Puno) and N Bolivia (S to La Paz, Cochabamba).
  • G. s. inornatus J. T. Zimmer, 1934 – S Amazonian Brazil (S of Amazon, from R Madeira E to R Tapajós and S to SW Mato Grosso) and NE Bolivia (NE Santa Cruz).
  • G. s. paraensis O. M. O. Pinto, 1974 – SE Amazonian Brazil S of Amazon, from R Tapajós E to N Maranhão (including Marajó I).
  • G. s. cuneatus (M. H. C. Lichtenstein, 1820) – Eastern Wedge-billed Woodcreeper – coastal E Brazil (N Bahia S to N Espírito Santo); erroneously reported from Argentina.
  • Descriptive notes

    13–16 cm; 10·5–21 g. The smallest woodcreeper; short, upturned bill distinctly wedge-shaped, much like that of a xenops (Xenops). Nominate race... read more


    Sings relatively infrequently, primarily at dusk and dawn, occasionally during day. Song... read more


    Primarily tropical evergreen forest in lowlands and foothills, less frequently lower montane... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet chiefly arthropods, but occasionally takes vegetable matter. Diversity of prey significantly lower than that of larger woodcreepers,... read more


    Breeds mostly Mar–Jun in Costa Rica, May–Oct in Panama, but during both dry seasons Jan–Apr and Jun–Nov in the... read more


    Largely resident throughout range; may show limited altitudinal migration in Costa Rica.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Fairly common to common over most of range; uncommon in N at some sites in Mexico, Belize and Honduras. Geographically isolated race cuneatus... read more

    Recommended citation

    Marantz, C.A., Aleixo, A., Bevier, L.R., Patten, M.A. & Christie, D.A. (2019). Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus). 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 13 December 2019).