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Hoary-throated Spinetail

Synallaxis kollari

Hoary-throated Spinetail

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Furnariidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Vale, Mariana M.



Figure 1. Hoary-throated Spinetail.The Hoary-throated Spinetail is bright rufous, with a characteristic entirely rufous tail and a black throat flecked with white, from which it gets its common name (Ridgely and Tudor 1994).

Similar Species

The Hoary-throated Spinetail resembles the White-whiskered Spinetail (Synallaxis candei), although there is no overlap in their geographic ranges. There is no similar species within its range (Ridgely and Tudor 1994).


The song consists of pairs of short notes at about one second intervals, where the second note has a higher pitch. Not much else is known about its vocalization. Recordings are available both at the Macaulay Library (e.g., an extended series of recordings from Guyana; ML 63927) and xeno-canto (e.g., this short recording from Roraima; XC 30122).

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported.

Detailed Description (appearance)

Crown gray-brown, contrasting most sharply with the back which is uniformly bright rufous, with a conspicuous post-ocular streak rufous as on the back. Lores grayish, ear coverts dark rufous cinnamon, and throat dull black with small narrow white tips to the feathers; remainder of the underparts dark rufous cinnamon on breast and upper flanks, buffy or pale cinnamomeous white on the center of the abdomen, and pale ochraceous on the lower flanks. Figure 2. Underparts of Hoary-throated Spinetail.Upper surface of the wing almost completely rufous, with only the dark dusky brown tips of the primaries evident. Tail strongly and uniformly rufous, English Red, composed of 10 rectrices, well stiffened only at the base, firmly integrated, and with well rounded, not acuminate tips (Vaurie 1980). There is no sexual dimorphism in plumage or description of plumage in immature or young individuals.

Bare Parts

Iris dark reddish brown. Maxilla blackish gray; mandible blue-gray with blackish tip. Tarsi and toes blue-gray (Remsen 2003).


The typical reported body length is 15.5 cm (Ridgely and Tudor 1994). The mean measurement for six specimens from on the upper Rio Branco and some of its small affluent in Brazil were: wing (male 58.7 mm, female 57 mm), tail (male 69.2 mm, female 66 mm), bill (male 16 mm, female 16 mm) (Vaurie 1980). An adult individual captured and released on 07 Aug 2003 in rio Uraricoera, Brazil (3o23.784’ N, 60o36.271' W), had the following measurements: overall length (14.5 cm), mass (16 g), wing (flattened 59 mm, unflattened 57 mm), tail (70 mm), tarsus (21.2 mm), bill length (4 mm), bill height (4 mm), head to bill length (34 mm) (MMV unpublished data).


No information.

Geographic Variation

There is no reported geographic variation within the species’ small geographic range.


The Hoary-throated Spinetail was described in 1856 from specimens collected by Johann Natterer in 1832 at Fortaleza de São João, just north of Boa Vista, in Roraima state, Brazil (Sick 1997). This species formerly was classifed in the genus Poecilurus, together with White-whiskered Spinetail (Poecilurus candei) and Ochre-cheeked Spinetail (Poecilurus scutatus). The genus Poecilurus later was merged into Synallaxis (Vaurie 1980), and this merge was followed by some (e.g. Sibley and Monroe 1990, Remsey 2003) but not others (e.g., Ridgely and Tudor 1994). Some agree that it is impossible to characterize Poecilurus as a genus other than as a composite of the plumage features of the component species, and therefore potential paraphyly of Synallaxis with respect to Poecilurus is avoided by merging these into a single genus (Remsen 2003). Since 2003, most publications have referred to the Hoary-throated Spinetail as Synallaxis kollari.
According to Zyskowski and Prum (1999) both Poecilurus and Synallaxis belong to a monophyletic clade that also includes the genera Certhiaxis, Schoeniophylax, and Gyalophylax; and according to Vaurie (1980) the Hoary-throated Spinetail is together with Rufous-breasted Spinetail (S. erythrothorax)Stripe-breasted Spinetail (S. cinnamomea), Necklaced Spinetail (S. stictothorax), S. candei, and S. scutata within a possibly monophyletic group inside Synallaxis.

Recommended Citation

Vale, Mariana M.. 2009. Hoary-throated Spinetail (Synallaxis kollari), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: