Olivaceous woodcreeper

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Olivaceous woodcreeper
Sittasomus griseicapillus -on tree-5-2c.jpg
Nominate subspecies, São Paulo Botanical Garden (Brazil)
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Furnariidae
Subfamily: Dendrocolaptinae
Tribe: Dendrocolaptini
Genus: Sittasomus
Swainson, 1827
Species: S. griseicapillus
Binomial name
Sittasomus griseicapillus
(Vieillot, 1818)

The olivaceous woodcreeper (Sittasomus griseicapillus) is a passerine bird of the tropical Americas. It belongs to the true woodcreepers (tribe Dendrocolaptini) of the ovenbird family (Furnariidae).

It is the only member of the genus Sittasomus, but includes several vocally and morphologically distinct forms. Thus, the species might be split into several in the future.

Description and ecology[edit]

This small woodcreeper is a slender bird, typically 15 cm long, and weighing 13g. The head, upper back and underparts are lighter or darker greyish olive, and the wings, tail and lower back are light rufous. The bill is short and thin.

The normal call is a fast, high-pitched trill wu-wu-wu-we-we-we-we-ee-ee-ee-ee-we-we-we-we.

It breeds from southern Mexico through tropical Central and South America to northern Argentina and Uruguay, and also on Tobago. The species is found throughout the Amazon Basin, but is absent from its lowest reaches, including much of the adjacent Guyanas.

There, the subspecies of northeastern Amazonia (S. g. axillaris) ranges at least to the Pakaraima Mountains, where it is fairly common at 1,200-1,400 meters ASL, descending to about 850 meters ASL on occasion. The olivaceous woodcreeper has also been recorded from extreme southern Guyana and the Essequibo River (which may be its eastern limit in the region). It is apparently completely absent from eastern Guyana eastwards through Suriname and French Guyana.[2]

In Uruguay, it has yet been found only in some places of in Cerro Largo Department, but it is by no means rare in its limited range. The species has been recorded at the Yaguarón River near the Cuchilla de Mangrullo, as well as in the Sierra de los Ríos.[3]

The olivaceous woodcreeper is a common and widespread bird of forests and other woodlands. The olivaceous woodcreeper feeds on insects and spiders. It normally forages on tree trunks or large branches or on the ground, usually singly.[clarification needed]

These birds may associate with foraging groups of golden lion tamarins (Leontopithecus rosalia), to snatch prey startled by the monkeys. They can also be occasionally seen catching flying prey like termites in mid-air, and will sometimes join mixed-species feeding flocks. In some places (e.g. in the Serra de Paranapiacaba of Brazil) they may even form a core species of such flocks.[4]

It builds a nest lined with dead leaves in a tree hole, and lays three white eggs.

Due to its extremely wide range, the olivaceous woodcreeper is not considered a threatened species by the IUCN.[5]


  1. ^ BirdLife International (2012). "Sittasomus griseicapillus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 November 2013. 
  2. ^ O'Shea et al. (2007)
  3. ^ Azpiroz & Menéndez (2008)
  4. ^ Machado (1999), Olson & Alvarenga (2006), de Mello Beisiegel (2007)
  5. ^ BLI (2009)


  • Azpiroz, Adrián B. & Menéndez, José L. (2008): Three new species and novel distributional data for birds in Uruguay. Bull. B.O.C. 128(1): 38-56.
  • de Mello Beisiegel, Beatriz (2007): Foraging Association between Coatis (Nasua nasua) and Birds of the Atlantic Forest, Brazil. Biotropica 39(2): 283–285. doi:10.1111/j.1744-7429.2006.00255.x (HTML abstract)
  • Machado, C.G. (1999): A composição dos bandos mistos de aves na Mata Atlântica da Serra de Paranapiacaba, no sudeste brasileiro [Mixed flocks of birds in Atlantic Rain Forest in Serra de Paranapiacaba, southeastern Brazil]. Revista Brasileira de Biologia 59(1): 75-85 [Portuguese with English abstract]. doi:10.1590/S0034-71081999000100010 PDF fulltext
  • Olson, Storrs L. & Alvarenga, Herculano M. F. (2006): An extraordinary feeding assemblage of birds at a termite swarm in the Serra da Mantiqueira, São Paulo, Brazil. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 14(3): 297-299 [English with Portuguese abstract]. PDF fulltext
  • O'Shea, B.J.; Milensky, Christopher M.; Claramunt, Santiago; Schmidt, Brian K.; Gebhard, Christina A.; Schmitt, C. Gregory & Erskine, Kristine T. (2007): New records for Guyana, with description of the voice of Roraiman Nightjar Caprimulgus whitelyi. Bull. B.O.C. 127(2): 118-128. PDF fulltext

Further reading[edit]

  • ffrench, Richard; O'Neill, John Patton & Eckelberry, Don R. (1991): A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition). Comstock Publishing, Ithaca, N.Y.. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2
  • Hilty, Steven L. (2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5

External links[edit]