Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Western Olivaceous Woodcreeper (Sittasomus griseus)


French: Grimpar de Jardine German: Grauschulter-Baumsteiger Spanish: Trepatroncos oliváceo occidental

Sittasomus griseus


, 1847,



Hitherto treated as conspecific with S. griseicapillus, but differs in the pace (score 3) and note length (3) of its song, being a trill or rattle rather than a deliberate series of notes#R, and in smaller size and shorter bill (all taxa except aequatorialis; score at least 1) or in its slightly more olive underparts (1) and much paler wings and tail (aequatorialis; 2). On basis of size and gross plumage coloration, races form two major groups, “griseus group” in Central America and N South America, and monotypic “aequatorialis group” on Pacific coast of South America. Geographical variation largely clinal across much of Mexico through Central America to NW South America, birds becoming smaller and paler to S; birds from N of Isthmus of Tehuantepec (S Mexico) named as race harrisoni are indistinguishable from jaliscensis (both generally larger and greyer than birds farther S), although intermediates between harrisoni and sylvioides reported from Puebla; forms synonymized with sylvioides, which also intergrades with gracileus in S Belize, have been described from W Panama S to N Colombia (levis), E Panama (veraguensis) and Colombia (enochrus), where numerous intermediates occur and marked individual variation apparent. Revision of taxonomy and distributional and elevational ranges of lineages in this polytypic species is required, including larger samples of vocalizations and greater series of recent specimens#R. Seven subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • S. g. jaliscensis Nelson, 1900 – Mexico (in W from S Nayarit, and in E from E San Luis Potosí and SW Tamaulipas, S to Isthmus of Tehuantepec).
  • S. g. sylvioides Lafresnaye, 1850 – from S Mexico (Veracruz, C Tabasco, Oaxaca and Chiapas) S on both slopes through Central America to NW Colombia (N Córdoba, N Bolívar).
  • S. g. gracileus Bangs & J. L. Peters, 1928 – SE Mexico (Yucatán Peninsula S to E Tabasco, S Campeche and S Quintana Roo) and adjacent N Guatemala (Petén) and N Belize.
  • S. g. perijanus Phelps, Sr & Gilliard, 1940 – NE Colombia (NW Magdalena, W Guajira) and extreme NW Venezuela (Sierra de Perijá).
  • S. g. tachirensis Phelps, Sr & Phelps, Jr, 1956 – N Colombia (S Bolívar, Santander) and W Venezuela (SW Táchira).
  • S. g. griseus Jardine, 1847 – Greyish Woodcreeper – E Andes and Coastal Range in N Venezuela (S & W Lara S to Mérida and SW Barinas, and C & SE Falcón E to Sucre and N Monagas); also Tobago.
  • S. g. aequatorialis Ridgway, 1891 – Pacific Woodcreeper – Pacific coast of South America, from W Ecuador (S from W Esmeraldas) S to extreme NW Peru (Tumbes).
  • Descriptive notes

    13–17 cm; 9–16 g. Small but distinctive woodcreeper with slim body and straight bill that is relatively wide basally. Female is slightly smaller than male. Juvenile similar... read more


    Song given at infrequent intervals, most often in morning but also throughout day. Song of Middle... read more


    Variety of wooded habitats, mostly lowland evergreen forest, but populations in mountains range... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet comprises chiefly invertebrates (mostly arthropods), but vegetable matter occasionally taken. Detailed analysis of stomach contents in... read more


    Birds in breeding condition in mid Mar to late May in Middle America (Mexico, Belize, N Guatemala), Mar–Jun in N Colombia and NE Venezuela... read more


    Apparently resident throughout range. In S Mexico, three of four individuals translocated to nearby... read more

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Fairly common to common from C Mexico locally through Costa Rica and Panama, as well as in N South America; locally fairly common on... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2019). Western Olivaceous Woodcreeper (Sittasomus griseus). 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 22 November 2019).