- 6 subspecies are currently recognized, as follows.
- M. f. leucopygius – North coast of Honduras through Caribbean slope of Western Panamá. Crown browner than nominate, along with underparts. Distinct olive spotting across breast, with darker cheeks and legs. Rump paler straw-buff.
- M. f. veraguensis – Pacific slope of Costa Rica to Central Panamá. Similar to leucopygius, but with pale areas on rump and tail slightly darker and more extensive (over two-thirds of basal area of tail), with less distinct spotting on breast.
- M. f. semicervinus– Eastern Panamá and Colombia through Northwest Peru, including Western Ecuador. More extensive male coloration on rump and tail, with only the distal quarter being dark. Buff-color richer than nominate, and underparts shower more extensive buff-color.
- M. f. motacilla – Magdalena Valley, Colombia. Similar to semicervinus, but tail patch paler, with straw/yellow coloration. Upperparts greener and paler, and underparts whiter/lighter.
- M. f. fulvicauda – Western Amazonian Basin in Southeastern Colombia, Eastern Ecuador, Northeast Peru, Western Brazil, and Northern Bolivia. Nominate race, see detailed description for account.
- M. f. significans – Amazonian Basin in Southeastern Peru. Palest rump of all races, with only basal quarter of tail having pale buff. Upperparts more greenish than nominate, making this race most similar to M. rivularis.
Originally placed in Phaeothlypis by Todd (1929), excluding sister species M. rivularis. Lowery & Monroe (1968) revised this to include M. rivularis in Phaeothlypis, most classifications had Phaeothlypis in Basileuterus (From Hellmayr (1935), supported by Pinto 1944, Phelps & Phelps 1950, Meyer de Schauensee 1966, 1970, Ridgely & Tudor 19896, Sibley & Monroe 1990, Ridgely & Greenfield 2011a). In 2002, Lovette & Bermingham (2002) found that Phaeothlypis is nested with Basileuterus. Taxon-sampling in 2010 finally revealed that Basileuterus is not monophyletic, and Myiothlypis was resurrected (Lovette et. al. 2010). Currently the species is listed in Myiothlypis, although some authors still consider it conspecific with M. rivularis (e.g. Meyer de Schauensee 1966, 1970).