Family Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Least Concern

Western Woodhaunter (Automolus virgatus)


French: Anabate de Lawrence German: Olivbauch-Baumspäher Spanish: Ticotico listado occidental

Philydor virgatus


, 1867,

Angostura, Costa Rica


Until recently considered conspecific with A. subulatus, but differs in its duskier underparts, with pale flammulations more confined to upper breast (1); slightly darker chestnut tail (1); and highly divergent song#R, a series of evenly spaced identical short staccato notes, “keek..keek..keek..keek”, vs a series of just a few (usually 2–3) downslurred notes, often (perhaps when excited) followed by a low-pitched rattle, hence fewer (ns[1]) and much shorter notes (3) with a double peak frequency (at least 2). Four subspecies recognized.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • A. v. nicaraguae (A. H. Miller & Griscom, 1925) – SE Nicaragua (rarely farther N#R); recorded in E Honduras#R.
  • A. v. virgatus (Lawrence, 1867) – Costa Rica and W Panama (E to Veraguas).
  • A. v. assimilis Berlepsch & Taczanowski, 1884 – E Panama (W from E Colón) and W Colombia S to W Ecuador (S to NW Azuay and El Oro).
  • A. v. cordobae (Meyer de Schauensee, 1960) – NW Colombia in S Córdoba, Antioquia, Bolívar (Serranía de San Lucas), and S in Magdalena Valley to Boyacá.
  • Descriptive notes

    16·5–18 cm; 29·9–35 g. Distinctive furnariid, with plumage pattern and bill shape reminiscent of Xiphorhynchus woodcreepers. Similar to formerly conspecific A.... read more


    Song described as a series (often 8–10) of variable duration of loud, sharp nasal notes, “kip, yip-... read more


    Lower growth (understorey to lower canopy) of humid primary forest or tall second growth, in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Diet not well known, but includes insects, spiders, small frogs and lizards. Generally forages singly, regularly to usually in mixed-... read more


    Virtually nothing known, but male and female collected in W Colombia in Feb.



    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Uncommon to locally common. Range recently extended in N Colombia to Serranía de San Lucas, and in far N of range is now known to... read more

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2020). Western Woodhaunter (Automolus virgatus). 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 21 February 2020).