The history of Cryptic Treehunter is, if not cryptic, certainly one of confusion. Cryptic Treehunter is very similar to a sympatric species, Alagoas Foliage-gleaner (Philydor novaesi), but the treehunter is larger, with a heavier bill, and forages higher above the ground (primarily in the subcanopy or canopy, rather than in the understory, where the foliage-gleaner is more common). Both species are (or were) restricted to tiny remnant patches of humid forest in northeastern Brazil, a region that has suffered one of the highest rates of deforestation in the Neotropics. The foliage-gleaner was discovered in the 1970s, but almost 25 years past before it was recognized that a second species of ovenbird occurred at the same sites. Sadly, Alagoas Foliage-gleaner now is suspected to be extinct, and Cryptic Treehunter is critically endangered, unless it too already has disappeared.