family equisetaceae

Ovenbird (family)

Ovenbirds or furnariids comprise a large family of small suboscine passerine bird species found in Central and South America. They form the family Furnariidae. The North American Ovenbird (Seiurus aurocapillus) is an unrelated bird, a wood warbler in the 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" 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.

They are small to medium sized birds, ranging from 9 to 35 centimetres in length. While individial species often are habitat specialists, species of this family can be found in virtually any Neotropical habitat, ranging from city parks inhabitted by Rufous Horneros, to tropical Amazonian lowlands by many species of Foliage-gleaners, to temperate barren Andean highlands inhabitted 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).

The systematics of the Dendrocolaptinae were reviewed by Rajkow (1994) based on morphology and by Irestedt et al. (2004) based on analysis of more 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 a synthesis of current data (e.g. Cheviron et al., 2005). Many species or entire genera have not been sampled to analyze DNA sequences, and as the recent studies have discovered that convergent evolution is commonplace in the family, it seems not advisable to place them in the taxonomic sequence without further research. Several genera are in need of revision too.

Subfamily: Sclerurinae - Miners and leaftossers

Subfamily: Dendrocolaptinae - Woodcreepers''' For a complete listing of species, see the subfamily article.

Subfamily: Furnariinae - Horneros and allies

Affiliations undetermined

  • Genus Lochmias - Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper (Sclerurinae or "Margaronini"?)
  • Genus Heliobletus - Sharp-billed Treehunter (probably Xenopini)
  • Genus Pseudocolaptes - tuftedcheeks (3 species; possibly "Berlepschiini")
  • Genus Premnornis - Rusty-winged Barbtail ("Berlepschiini" or "Margaronini"?)
  • Genus Anabacerthia (3 species; probably Philydorini)
  • Genus Syndactyla (4 species; probably Philydorini)
  • Genus Simoxenops - recurvebills (2 species; probably Philydorini)
  • Genus Ancistrops - Chestnut-winged Hookbill (probably Philydorini)
  • Genus Hyloctistes - Striped Woodhaunter (probably Philydorini)
  • Genus Anabazenops (2 species; probably Philydorini)
  • Genus Cichlocolaptes - Pale-browed Treehunter (probably Philydorini)
  • Genus Hylocryptus (2 species; possibly Philydorini)
  • Genus Ochetorhynchus (2 species; probably Furnarini)
  • Genus Eremobius - Band-tailed Earthcreeper (probably Furnarini)
  • Genus Chilia - Crag Chilia (probably Furnarini)
  • Genus Clibanornis - Canebrake Groundcreeper (possibly Furnarini)
  • Genus Limnornis - Curve-billed Reedhaunter (possibly Synallaxini)
  • Genus Limnoctites - Straight-billed Reedhaunter (sometimes included in Limnornis, but closer to, and possibly better merged with, Cranioleuca; probably Synallaxini)
  • Genus Phleocryptes - Wren-like Rushbird
  • Genus Aphrastura - rayaditos (2 species, includes Limnoctites; possibly Synallaxini)
  • Genus Spartonoica - Bay-capped Wren-spinetail (possibly Synallaxini)
  • Genus Sylviorthorhynchus - Des Murs's Wiretail (possibly Synallaxini)
  • Thistletails (probably Synallaxini)
  • Genus Siptornis - Spectacled Prickletail
  • Genus Metopothrix - Orange-fronted Plushcrown
  • Genus Xenerpestes - graytails (2 species)
  • Genus Acrobatornis - Pink-legged Graveteiro
  • Genus Pseudoseisura - cacholotes (4 species)
  • Genus Pygarrhichas - White-throated Treerunner


  • 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
  • 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] (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. (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. (HTML abstract)
  • Rajkow, Robert J. (1994): A phylogeny of the woodcreepers (Dendrocolaptinae). Auk 111(1): 104–114. PDF fulltext

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