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Spot-crowned Woodcreeper

Lepidocolaptes affinis

The Spot-crowned Woodcreeper, Lepidocolaptes affinis, is a passerine bird belonging to the Dendrocolaptinae subfamily within the Furnariidae, or ovenbird family. This slim, medium-sized woodcreeper is adorned with a moderately decurved bill and exhibits a plumage that is consistent across both sexes.

Identification Tips

Adults of the nominate subspecies, L. a. affinis, are characterized by a dusky face and neck with a black malar stripe. Their crown and nape are dark brown, punctuated with buffy spots or diamonds, extending occasionally as streaks onto the upper back. The back and wing coverts are a plain brown, while the rump is rufous-cinnamon, and the wings and tail are rufous-chestnut. The underparts are olive-brown with buffy streaks, and the underwing coverts are ochraceous buff. The iris is dark brown, and the legs and feet range from lead-gray to dull green. The bill varies in color but typically has a darker base and a pale silvery horn tip.


This species thrives in both humid and dry forests, predominantly in highland regions. Habitats include evergreen montane forests, cloud forests, and drier deciduous, oak, pine, and pine-oak woodlands. It is often found at the edges of primary forests and in mature secondary forests, as well as in plantations and pastures with trees.


The Spot-crowned Woodcreeper's range extends from Mexico to Panama, with three recognized subspecies: L. a. lignicida in northeastern Mexico, L. a. affinis from southern Mexico through Central America, and L. a. neglectus in Costa Rica and western Panama.


Mostly sedentary, some individuals may descend to lower elevations post-breeding. The woodcreeper forages alone or in pairs, frequently joining mixed-species flocks and occasionally following army ant swarms. It forages from the forest's midlevel to the subcanopy, often spiraling up trunks and branches.

Song & Calls

The northern subspecies' song is a high-pitched rising phrase of typically three notes, while calls include "tseeuee" and "tseeu." The southern subspecies, L. a. neglectus, has a distinctive song comprising a long nasal note followed by a fast trill, and its call is a "teeeu." Songs are primarily heard at dawn and dusk.


Breeding occurs from March to June, with nests located in tree cavities, often within 9 meters of the ground. Both parents contribute to lining the cavity with bark flakes and incubating the clutch, typically of two to three eggs. Incubation lasts about 17 days, with fledging occurring around 19 days later.

Similar Species

The Spot-crowned Woodcreeper can be confused with the Streak-headed Woodcreeper (L. souleyetii), but it can be distinguished by its spotted crown and minimal range overlap.

Diet and Feeding

The diet consists almost entirely of arthropods, with beetles and their egg cases being significant components. The woodcreeper captures prey from epiphytes, gleans from surfaces, probes bark crevices and moss, and occasionally flakes off bark to expose hidden prey.

Conservation Status

Both the northern and southern populations of the Spot-crowned Woodcreeper are classified as Least Concern by the IUCN. The northern population has a large range but is believed to be decreasing, while the southern population is stable. The species is moderately sensitive to human disturbance but can adapt to some habitat changes.

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Spot-crowned Woodcreepers on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
James M
03 Mar 2024 - 6:50pm
Costa Rica

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