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Spotted Woodcreeper

Xiphorhynchus erythropygius

The Spotted Woodcreeper, known scientifically as Xiphorhynchus erythropygius, is a medium-sized bird within the Dendrocolaptinae subfamily of the Furnariidae, or ovenbird family. It boasts a longish, slightly decurved bill that tapers gracefully. Both male and female exhibit similar plumage, characterized by a blend of olive and rufous tones, with distinctive buff spots and streaks adorning their upperparts.

Identification Tips

Adults of the nominate subspecies display a buff supercilium and eyering, with their crown and nape being dark olive to brownish olive, adorned with small buff spots. The back and wing coverts are a brownish olive to tawny brown with buff spots and wide buff streaks. The rump is a dark cinnamon-rufous, and the tail and flight feathers are a rich rufous-chestnut. The throat is buffy with dark olive barring, and the underparts are a pale greenish olive with large buff teardrops.

Habitat

This species thrives in humid forests, ranging from tropical evergreen forests at lower elevations to evergreen montane forests and cloudforests at higher altitudes. It has a particular affinity for forests with dense moss and epiphyte cover.

Distribution

The Spotted Woodcreeper is found across a range of countries, including Belize, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Mexico, Nicaragua, and Panama. Its range is discontinuous, with various subspecies occupying specific regions within these countries.

Behaviour

The Spotted Woodcreeper is a permanent resident in its range, known for its solitary foraging habits, although it may occasionally forage in pairs or family groups. It is a regular participant in mixed-species feeding flocks and adeptly navigates the forest by hitching up trunks and spiraling along branches.

Song & Calls

This bird is quite vocal, especially at dawn and dusk. Its song consists of a series of long descending whistles, each at a progressively lower pitch. Calls include a whistled 'wheeeoo' or 'hee-e-e-e-ew', a descending 'jeeu' or 'djeer', and a low 'cut-uck'.

Breeding

Details on the breeding habits of the "spotted" group of subspecies are not well documented. However, nesting occurs in tree cavities, with a clutch size typically comprising two eggs.

Similar Species

The Spotted Woodcreeper can be confused with the Olive-backed Woodcreeper, but they have been treated as separate species since the mid-20th century.

Diet and Feeding

Its diet is primarily composed of arthropods, supplemented by small vertebrates and some vegetable matter. The bird forages by gleaning bark, probing vine tangles, and following army ant swarms.

Conservation Status

The IUCN has classified both the "northern" and "southern" Spotted Woodcreepers as Least Concern, with populations believed to be decreasing. The species requires continuous or somewhat patchy forest and is moderately sensitive to forest fragmentation and human disturbance.

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