Ovenbird (family)

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Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner.jpg
Scaly-throated foliage-gleaner, Anabacerthia variegaticeps
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Tyranni
Infraorder: Tyrannides
Superfamily: Furnarioidea
Family: Furnariidae
Gray, 1840

Ovenbirds or furnariids are a large family of small suboscine passerine birds found in Mexico, and Central and South America. They form the family Furnariidae. 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. 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.[1]

They are small to medium-sized birds, ranging from 9 to 35 cm in length.[1] 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.


Recently, the woodcreepers (formerly Dendrocolaptidae) were merged into this family, following analysis of mtDNA cytochrome b and several nDNA sequences.[2] 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.[3]

The systematics of the Dendrocolaptinae were reviewed by Raikow (1994)[4] based on morphology and by Irestedt et al. (2004)[5] 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.[6]

The taxonomic arrangement presented below is based on recent studies of ovenbird relationships.[3][7][8] However, because ovenbirds and woodcreepers are treated here as a single family some taxonomic ranks were modified.

Subfamily: Sclerurinae – miners and leaftossers

Subfamily: Dendrocolaptinae – woodcreepers For a complete listing of species, see the subfamily article.

Subfamily: Furnariinae – Neotropical ovenbirds and allies

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


  1. ^ a b Willis, Edwin O. (1991). Forshaw, Joseph, ed. Encyclopaedia of Animals: Birds. London: Merehurst Press. pp. 162–163. ISBN 1-85391-186-0. 
  2. ^ Irestedt, Martin; Fjeldså, Jon; Johansson, Ulf S. & Ericson, Per G.P. (2002). "Systematic relationships and biogeography of the tracheophone suboscines (Aves: Passeriformes)". Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution. 23 (3): 499–512. doi:10.1016/S1055-7903(02)00034-9. PMID 12099801. 
  3. ^ a b c d e f Moyle, R. G., R. T. Chesser, R. T. Brumfield, J. G. Tello, D. J. Marchese, & J. Cracraft (2009). "Phylogeny and phylogenetic classification of the antbirds, ovenbirds, woodcreepers, and allies (Aves: Passeriformes: infraorder Furnariides)". Cladistics. 25 (4): 386–405. doi:10.1111/j.1096-0031.2009.00259.x. 
  4. ^ Raikow, Robert J. (1994). "A phylogeny of the woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae)" (PDF). Auk. 111 (1): 104–114. doi:10.2307/4088509. 
  5. ^ Irestedt, Martin; Fjeldså, Jon & Ericson, Per G. P. (2004). "Phylogenetic relationships of woodcreepers (Aves: Dendrocolaptinae) – incongruence between molecular and morphological data". Journal of Avian Biology. 35 (3): 280–288. doi:10.1111/j.0908-8857.2004.03234.x. 
  6. ^ Fjeldså, Jon; Irestedt, Martin & Ericson, Per G. P. (2005). "Molecular data reveal some major adaptational shifts in the early evolution of the most diverse avian family, the Furnariidae" (PDF). Journal of Ornithology. 146: 1–13. doi:10.1007/s10336-004-0054-5. 
  7. ^ Irestedt, M., J. Fjeldså, and P. G. P. Ericson (2006). "Evolution of the ovenbird-woodcreeper assemblage (Aves: Furnariidae): major shifts in nest architecture and adaptive radiation". J. Avian Biol. 37 (3): 260–272. doi:10.1111/j.2006.0908-8857.03612.x. 
  8. ^ Chesser, R. T.; Barker, F. K. & Brumfield, R. T. (2007). "Fourfold polyphyly of the genus formerly known as Upucerthia, with notes on the systematics and evolution of the avian subfamily Furnariinae". Mol. Phylogenet. Evol. 44 (3): 1320–1332. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2007.04.014. PMID 17632018. 
  9. ^ Derryberry, E., S. Claramunt, R. T. Chesser, A. Aleixo, J. Cracraft, R. G. Moyle & R. T. Brumfield (2010). "Certhiasomus, a new genus of woodcreeper (Aves: Passeriformes: Dendrocolaptidae)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2416: 44–50. 
  10. ^ Claramunt, S., E. P. Derryberry, R. T. Chesser, A. Aleixo & R. T. Brumfield (2010). "Polyphyly of Campylorhamphus with the description of a new genus for C. pucherani". Auk. 127 (2): 430–439. doi:10.1525/auk.2009.09022. 
  11. ^ The correct genus for former Xenops milleri
  12. ^ Chesser, R. T. & R. T. Brumfield (2007). "Tarphonomus, a new genus of ovenbird (Aves: Passeriformes: Furnariidae) from South America". Proceedings of the Biological Society of Washington. 120 (3): 337–339. doi:10.2988/0006-324X(2007)120[337:TANGOO]2.0.CO;2. 
  13. ^ Chesser, R. T., S. Claramunt, E. P. Derryberry, & R. T. Brumfield (2009). "Geocerthia, a new genus of terrestrial ovenbird (Aves: Passeriformes: Furnariidae)". Zootaxa. 2213: 64–68. 
  14. ^ a b Olson, S. L., Irestedt, M., Ericson, P. G. P. and Fjeldså, J. (2005). "Independent evolution of two Darwinian marsh-dwelling ovenbirds (Furnariidae: Limnornis, Limnoctites)" (PDF). Ornitologia Neotropical 16: 347–359. hdl:10088/1568. 
  15. ^ Derryberry, E., S. Claramunt, K. E. O'Quin, A. Aleixo, R. T. Chesser, J. V. Remsen, Jr., and R. T. Brumfield (2010). "Pseudasthenes, a new genus of ovenbird (Aves: Passeriformes: Furnariidae)" (PDF). Zootaxa. 2416: 61–68. 

Further reading[edit]

  • Cheviron, Z. A.; Capparella, Angelo P.; Vuilleumier, François (2005). "Molecular phylogenetic relationships among the Geositta miners (Furnariidae) and biogeographic implications for avian speciation in Fuego-Patagonia". Auk. 122 (1): 158–174. doi:10.1642/0004-8038(2005)122[0158:MPRATG]2.0.CO;2. 

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