Ovenbird (family)

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Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner.jpg
Scaly-throated foliage-gleaner (Anabacerthia variegaticeps)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Infraorder: Tyrannides
Family: Furnariidae
Gray, 1840

Ovenbirds or furnariids are a large family of small suboscine passerine birds found from Mexico and Central to southern South America. They form the family Furnariidae. This is a large family containing around 315 species and 70 genera. The ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapilla), which breeds in North America, is not a furnariid – rather it is a distantly related bird of the wood warbler family, Parulidae.


The ovenbirds are a diverse group of insectivores which get their name from the elaborate, vaguely "oven-like" clay nests built by the horneros, although most other ovenbirds build stick nests or nest in tunnels or clefts in rock. [1] The Spanish word for "oven" (horno) gives the horneros their name. Furnariid nests are always constructed with a cover, and up to six pale blue, greenish or white eggs are laid. The eggs hatch after 15 to 22 days, and the young fledge after a further 13 to 20 days. [2]

They are small to medium-sized birds, ranging from 9 to 35 cm in length. [2] While individual species often are habitat specialists, species of this family can be found in virtually any Neotropical habitat, ranging from city parks inhabited by rufous horneros, to tropical Amazonian lowlands by many species of foliage-gleaners, to temperate barren Andean highlands inhabited by several species of miners. Two species, the seaside and the surf cinclodes, are associated with rocky coasts.

Taxonomy and systematics

The woodcreepers (formerly Dendrocolaptidae) were merged into this family, following analysis of sequences. [3] While confirming the overall phylogenetic pattern, other scientists instead opted for maintaining the woodcreepers as a separate family, while splitting the ovenbirds (as traditionally defined) into two families, Furnariidae and Scleruridae. [4]

The systematics of the Dendrocolaptinae were reviewed by Raikow (1994) [5] based on morphology and by Irestedt et al. (2004) [6] based on analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA. Using the latter approach, the suspected major lineages of the Furnariinae (foliage-gleaners, spinetails, and true ovenbirds) were confirmed, but some new lineages were discovered and the relationships of several genera had to be revised. [7] [8]

The taxonomic arrangement presented below is based on recent studies of ovenbird relationships. [4] [9] [10] [8] However, because ovenbirds and woodcreepers are treated here as a single family some taxonomic ranks were modified. For more detail see "List of ovenbird species".

Subfamily: Sclerurinae – miners and leaftossers

Subfamily: Dendrocolaptinaewoodcreepers

Subfamily: Furnariinae – Neotropical ovenbirds and allies

Rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) nest, showing the entrance chamber and dividing wall to breeding chamber Furnarius nest.jpg
Rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) nest, showing the entrance chamber and dividing wall to breeding chamber

Related Research Articles

Woodcreeper Subfamily of birds

The woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae) comprise a subfamily of suboscine passerine birds endemic to the Neotropics. They have traditionally been considered a distinct family Dendrocolaptidae, but most authorities now place them as a subfamily of the ovenbirds (Furnariidae). They superficially resemble the Old World treecreepers, but they are unrelated and the similarities are due to convergent evolution. The subfamily contains around 57 species in 15 to 20 genera.

Tyranni Suborder of birds

The Tyranni (suboscines) are a clade of passerine birds that includes more than 1,000 species, the large majority of which are South American. It is named after the type genus Tyrannus.

<i>Xenops</i> Genus of birds

Xenops is a genus in the bird family Furnariidae, the ovenbirds. The genus comprises three species of xenops, all of which are found in Mexico, Central America and South America, particularly in tropical rain forests.

<i>Synallaxis</i> Genus of birds

Synallaxis is a genus of birds in the ovenbird family, Furnariidae. It is one of the most diverse genera in the family and is composed of small birds that inhabit dense undergrowth across tropical and subtropical habitats in the Neotropical region. Some species show contrasting plumage patterns involving rufous crown and wing patches and black throat patches but they are difficult to see as they keep ensconced in vegetation most of the time. Most species show the long graduated tail with pointy feathers that is typical of spinetails. They are also characterized by constructing large domed nests with stick, including a long entrance tube. Some species can be difficult to distinguish from one another on the basis of their plumage, but can be tell apart by their vocalizations, which can be quite distinctive.

<i>Automolus</i> Genus of birds

Automolus is a genus of bird in the ovenbird family Furnariidae.

Tepui foliage-gleaner Species of bird

The tepui foliage-gleaner, also known as the white-throated foliage-gleaner, is a species of bird in the family Furnariidae. It is found in forest and woodland in the tepuis of Brazil, Guyana and Venezuela.

Sulphur-bearded reedhaunter Species of bird

The sulphur-bearded reedhaunter is a species of non-migratory bird in the family Furnariidae. It is found in the Pampas and adjacent areas of eastern Argentina, southern Uruguay, and Rio Grande do Sul, Brazil. Its natural habitats are marshes with dense reed beds. Previously included in the genus Cranioleuca, but genetic evidence revealed that L. sulphuriferus is the sister species of Limnoctites rectirostris.

Long-tailed woodcreeper Species of bird

The long-tailed woodcreeper is a species of bird in the Dendrocolaptinae subfamily. It is monotypic within Deconychura, but formerly this genus also included the spot-throated woodcreeper.

Red-shouldered spinetail Species of bird

The red-shouldered spinetail is a species of bird in the ovenbird family Furnariidae. It is endemic to the Caatinga region of north-eastern Brazil. It is threatened by habitat loss.

Eastern woodhaunter Species of bird

The eastern woodhaunter, also known as the Amazonian woodhaunter, is a species of bird in the family Furnariidae. It was formerly treated as conspecific with the western woodhaunter and when lumped had the name "striped woodhaunter". It is found in the western part of the Amazon rainforest: west Brazil, southeast Colombia, east Ecuador, northeast Peru, south Venezuela and north Bolivia. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical moist montane forests. The species nests in earth tunnels.

Tawny tit-spinetail Species of bird

The tawny tit-spinetail is a species of bird in the family Furnariidae. It is found in Peru, Bolivia and far northwestern Argentina.

Straight-billed reedhaunter Species of bird

The straight-billed reedhaunter is a South American bird species in the family Furnariidae.

Chestnut-winged foliage-gleaner Species of bird

The chestnut-winged foliage-gleaner is a species of bird in the family Furnariidae. It is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forest.

Buff-fronted foliage-gleaner Species of bird

The buff-fronted foliage-gleaner is a species of bird in the family Furnariidae, the ovenbirds. It is found in southeastern regions of South America in the cerrado and pantanal of Brazil and Paraguay as well as areas of southeast coastal Brazil; also extreme northeast Argentina. In western Andean and northwest South America, it is found in Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia; and in the northwest, it is also found in Panama and Costa Rica.

White-throated treerunner Species of bird

The white-throated treerunner is a species of bird in the family Furnariidae. It is the only species in the genus Pygarrhichas. The white-throated treerunner is about 15 cm (5.9 in) long, with a stiff and rounded tail. The upperparts are dark brown, turning red on the lower back and tail and contrasting sharply with the throat and chest of a bright white. The rest of the underparts are coarsely mottled with white. The bill is long, slightly curved upwards. The general appearance is reminiscent of a nuthatch, although they are not directly related. Like the Sittidae, Furnariidae tirelessly scours the trunks and branches of old trees for the small arthropods that make up its food, spiraling up the trunks, or sometimes moving head down. The white-throated treerunner consumes small invertebrates found on bark and nests in tree cavities. Outside of the breeding season, it may form mixed-species foraging flocks with other bird species.

Great spinetail Species of bird

The great spinetail is a species of bird in the family Furnariidae. It is endemic to Peru where its natural habitat is Mediterranean-type shrubby vegetation. It is threatened by habitat loss.

<i>Thripophaga</i> Genus of birds

Thripophaga is the genus of birds that popularly are known as softtails. They are members of the ovenbird family, Furnariidae. They are found in wooded and shrubby habitats, sometimes near water, in South America.

Striated earthcreeper Species of bird

The striated earthcreeper is a species of bird in the family Furnariidae. It is monotypic within Geocerthia, but has traditionally been included in Upucerthia. The two genera are not particularly close. The striated earthcreeper is found in woodland and shrub in the Andean highlands of western Peru.

Poecilurus is an obsolete genus of birds formerly classified in the Furnariidae (ovenbird) family from South America. It contained three species:

<i>Pseudasthenes</i> Genus of birds

Pseudasthenes is a genus of small suboscine passerine birds, commonly known as canasteros or false canasteros, in the ovenbird family. It was described in 2010 to accommodate four species split from the related genus Asthenes. The genus is endemic to South America.


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  13. The correct genus for former Xenops milleri
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Further reading