Ovenbird (family)

Ovenbird (family)
Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, Anabacerthia variegaticeps
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Subclass: Neornithes
Infraclass: Neognathae
Superorder: Neoaves
Order: Passeriformes
Suborder: Tyranni
Infraorder: Tyrannides
Superfamily: Furnarioidea
Family: Furnariidae
  • Sclerurinae
  • Dendrocolaptinae
  • Furnariinae

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 aurocapillus), which breeds in North America, is a distantly related bird, a 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 between 15 and 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 centimetres in length.[1] While individial 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. There are even two species, the Seaside and the Surf Cinclodes, which 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 (Irestedt et al. 2002). Moyle et al. (2009), while confirming the overall phylogenetic pattern, instead opted for maintaining the woodcreepers as a separate family, while splitting the ovenbirds (as traditionally defined) into two families, Furnariidae and Scleruridae.

The systematics of the Dendrocolaptinae were reviewed by Raikow (1994) based on morphology and by Irestedt et al. (2004) 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 (Fjeldså et al., 2005).

The taxonomic arrangement presented below is based on recent studies of ovenbird relationships (Irestedt et al. 2006, Chesser et al. 2007, Moyle et al. 2009). 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.

  • Tribe: Sittasomini - "intermediate" woodcreepers [2]
    • Genus Dendrocincla - woodcreepers (6 species)
    • Genus Deconychura - long-tailed woodcreeper
    • Genus Sittasomus - olivaceous woodcreeper
    • Genus Certhiasomus - spot-throated woodcreeper (recently described for Deconychura stictolaema)[3]
  • Tribe: Dendrocolaptini - "strong-billed" woodcreepers [2]
    • Genus Glyphorynchus - wedge-billed woodcreeper
    • Genus Nasica - long-billed woodcreeper
    • Genus Dendrexetastes - cinnamon-throated woodcreeper
    • Genus Dendrocolaptes - woodcreepers (5 species)
    • Genus Hylexetastes - woodcreepers (2-4 species)
    • Genus Xiphocolaptes - woodcreepers (4 species)
    • Genus Dendroplex - straight-billed woodcreepers (2 species, formerly in Xiphorhynchus)
    • Genus Xiphorhynchus - woodcreepers (some 15 species, possibly polyphyletic)
    • Genus Lepidocolaptes - narrow-billed woodcreepers (7 species)
    • Genus Drymornis - scimitar-billed woodcreeper
    • Genus Drymotoxeres - greater scythebill (new genus for Campylorhamphus pucherani)[4]
    • Genus Campylorhamphus - scythebills (4 species)

Subfamily: Furnariinae - Neotropical ovenbirds and allies

    • Genus: Xenops - xenops (3 species)
    • Genus Berlepschia - palmcreepers
  • Tribe Pygarrhichini[2]
    • Genus Pygarrhichas - treerunners
    • Genus Microxenops - "false xenops"[5]
    • Genus Ochetorhynchus - earthcreepers (2 species formerly included in Upucerthia)
    • Genus Eremobius - earthcreepers
    • Genus Chilia - chilias
  • Tribe Furnariini - Horneros and allies
    • Genus Pseudocolaptes - tuftedcheeks (3 species)
    • Genus Premnornis - false barbtails
    • Genus Tarphonomus - (new genus for 2 species formerly included in Upucerthia)[6]
    • Genus Geocerthia - earthcreepers (recently described for U. serrrana)[7]
    • Genus Upucerthia - earthcreepers (5 species)
    • Genus Cinclodes - cinclodes (some 12 species)
    • Genus Furnarius - horneros (6 species)
    • Genus Lochmias - streamcreeper
    • Genus Phleocryptes - rushbirds
    • Genus Limnornis - curve-billed reedhaunters[8]
Rufous Hornero (Furnarius rufus) nest, showing the entrance chamber and dividing wall to breeding chamber
  • Tribe Synallaxini - Spinetails and allies
    • Genus Margarornis - treerunners (4 species)
    • Genus Premnoplex - typical barbtails (2 species)
    • Genus Aphrastura - rayaditos (2 species)
    • Genus Leptasthenura - tit-spinetails (10 species)
    • Genus Pseudoseisura - cacholotes (4 species)
    • Genus Spartonoica - wren-spinetails
    • Genus Sylviorthorhynchus - wiretails
    • Genus Schizoeaca - thistletails (8 species)
    • Genus Oreophylax - thistletails
    • Genus Asthenes - canasteros (18-20 species)
    • Genus Pseudasthenes - "false canasteros" (4 species, recently described)[9]
    • Genus Certhiaxis - spinetails (2 species)
    • Genus Schoeniophylax - spinetails
    • Genus Synallaxis - spinetails (some 30-35 species)
    • Genus Poecilurus (3 species, usually included in Synallaxis)
    • Genus Siptornopsis - spinetails
    • Genus Gyalophylax - spinetails (1 species sometimes included in Synallaxis)
    • Genus Hellmayrea - spinetails
    • Genus Cranioleuca - typical spinetails (c.20 species)
    • Genus Limnoctites - straight-billed reedhaunters (sometimes included in Limnornis, but closer to, and possibly better merged with Cranioleuca)[8]
    • Genus Roraimia - Roraiman barbtails (formerly in the "Margarornis group")
    • Genus Thripophaga - softtails (4 species)
    • Genus Phacellodomus - thornbirds (9 species)
    • Genus Anumbius - firewood-gatherers
    • Genus Coryphistera - brushrunners
    • Genus Siptornis - prickletails
    • Genus Metopothrix - plushcrowns
    • Genus Xenerpestes - graytails (2 species)
    • Genus Acrobatornis - graveteiros
  • Tribe Philydorini - foliage-gleaners and allies
    • Genus Anabacerthia - foliage-gleaners (3 species)
    • Genus Syndactyla - foliage-gleaners (5 species)
    • Genus Simoxenops - recurvebills (2 species)
    • Genus Ancistrops - hookbills
    • Genus Hyloctistes - woodhaunters
    • Genus Philydor - foliage-gleaners (10 species)
    • Genus Anabazenops - foliage-gleaners (2 species)
    • Genus Cichlocolaptes - treehunter
    • Genus Thripadectes - treehunters (7 species)
    • Genus Automolus - foliage-gleaners (8-9 species)
    • Genus Hylocryptus - foliage-gleaners (2 species)
  • Incertae sedis
    • Genus Megaxenops - great xenops
    • Genus Heliobletus - lesser treehunters
    • Genus Clibanornis - groundcreepers


  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. ^ a b c ranked as a subfamily in Moyle et al. (2009)
  3. ^ 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). Zootaxa 2416:44-50.
  4. ^ 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: 430-439.
  5. ^ the correct genus for former Xenops milleri (Moyle et al. 2009)
  6. ^ 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, 337–339.
  7. ^ 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.
  8. ^ a b see Olson et al. (2005)
  9. ^ 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). Zootaxa 2416:61-68.
  • 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 HTML abstract
  • Chesser, R. T, F. K. Barker, and R. T. Brumfield. 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 44:1320–1332.
  • 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. Journal of Ornithology 146: 1–13. [English with German abstract] doi:10.1007/s10336-004-0054-5 (HTML abstract) PDF fulltext
  • 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 (HTML abstract)
  • 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 (HTML abstract)
  • 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. 37:260–272.
  • 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 25:386-405.
  • Olson, S. L., M. Irestedt, P. G. P. Ericson, & J. Fjeldså. 2005. Independent evolution of two Darwinian marsh-dwelling ovenbirds (Furnariidae: Limnornis, Limnoctites). Ornitologia Neotropical 16: 347-359.
  • Raikow, Robert J. (1994): A phylogeny of the woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae). Auk 111(1): 104–114. PDF fulltext

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  • ovenbird — noun 1》 a small, drab tropical American bird which makes a domed oven like nest of mud. [Family Furnariidae: numerous species.] 2》 a brown North American warbler that builds a domed nest of vegetation on the ground. [Seiurus aurocapillus.] …   English new terms dictionary

  • ovenbird — ov•en•bird [[t]ˈʌv ənˌbɜrd[/t]] n. 1) orn a North American wood warbler, Seiurus aurocapillus, that builds an oven shaped nest on the forest floor 2) orn any of numerous suboscine songbirds of the family Furnariidae, ranging from S Mexico through …   From formal English to slang

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