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Synallaxis erythrothorax

Rufous-breasted Spinetail

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Furnariidae
  • Polytypic 2 Subspecies

Authors: Gulson, Eric R

Synallaxis erythrothorax

Chiapas, Mexico; 21 July 2009 © Peter Bono

The Rufous-breasted Spinetail (Synallaxis erythrothorax) is endemic to Middle America. The greater part of its distribution extends along the Caribbean slope from southeastern Mexico to northwestern Honduras, but it also occurs on the Pacific coast from southwestern Mexico to El Salvador. This spinetail is a skulking bird found low in dense second growth and overgrown edge habitats, and is much more often heard than seen. Adults have a black bill and red eyes, surrounded by a grayish brown head and mantle. The rump and tail are a somewhat paler brown, and the wings are bright rufous. Its white throat has black streaks that form a color between the throat and bright rufous breast and flanks. The gray belly gives way to brown undertail coverts. Juveniles have a dusky breast and less defined or absent black collar, and have brown eyes and a dull yellow bill with a black culmen. The Pacific population (S. e. pacifica) is generally paler, sometimes lacking a strong collar or throat markings.  The Rufous-breasted Spinetail constructs a globular nest of sticks with a tunnel entrance, suspended low in dense bushes.

Recommended Citation

Gulson, Eric R. 2012. Rufous-breasted Spinetail (Synallaxis erythrothorax), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online:

This map is based on the maps available from the NatureServe InfoNatura website. The data for these maps are provided by NatureServe in collaboration with Robert Ridgely, James Zook, The Nature Conservancy - Migratory Bird Program, Conservation International - CABS, World Wildlife Fund - US, and Environment Canada - WILDSPACE.

  • Migration/Movement:Resident (nonmigratory)
  • Primary Habitat:Secondary forest
  • Foraging Strata:Terrestrial/Understory
  • Foraging Behavior:Glean
  • Diet:Terrestrial invertebrates
  • Sociality:Solitary/Pairs
  • Mating System:---
  • Nest Form:Spherical
  • Clutch: 3 - 4
  • IUCN Status:Least Concern