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Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner

Anabacerthia variegaticeps

The Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner, also known as the Spectacled Foliage-gleaner, is a medium-sized bird belonging to the Furnariidae family. It measures between 15 to 17 cm in length and weighs approximately 19 to 25 grams. Exhibiting a wedge-shaped bill, both sexes share similar plumage, characterized by a blend of brown, buff, and rufescent tones, with a distinctive scaly pattern on the throat and breast.

Identification Tips

Adults of the nominate subspecies are recognized by their wide ocraceous buff eyering and supercilium, accompanied by a dark brown line behind the eye. Their upperparts are a mix of dull brown shades, transitioning to rich rufescent brown towards the back and tail. The underparts display a pale whitish buff with scalloped patterns, leading to a medium brown belly and darker flanks. Juveniles exhibit a more pronounced scaly pattern and a more ochraceous breast and belly.


The Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner inhabits a variety of forest types, including semi-deciduous, rainforest, and cloudforest. Its preferred elevation ranges from 350 to 2,500 meters, with some local variations. In Colombia and Ecuador, it is found in montane evergreen forests within the foothills and subtropical zones.


This species is distributed across Mexico, Central America (excluding Nicaragua), Colombia, and Ecuador. It is found discontinuously from southern Mexico to western Panama and along the western slope of the Andes and coastal mountains in Colombia and Ecuador.


The Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner is primarily a resident bird, with some populations moving downslope post-breeding. It forages alone or in pairs, often joining mixed-species feeding flocks, and is known for its acrobatic gleaning of prey from various levels of the forest.

Song & Calls

The song of the Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner is a series of squeaky, sharp notes that may ascend and then descend. It also produces a trilling sound and a fast-paced series of piercing notes. Its calls include an explosive 'squeak' or 'squeer', a scratchy rattle, and a squeaky 'kweeeah'.


Monogamy is assumed for this species. The only known nest was located in an abandoned woodpecker hole, lined with moss. The clutch size is two eggs, but further details on its breeding biology remain elusive.

Conservation Status

The IUCN has classified the Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner as Least Concern. It boasts a large range and an estimated population of over 50,000 mature individuals. Although the population is believed to be decreasing, no immediate threats have been identified. The species is considered uncommon to common in its range and is found in several protected areas.

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Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaners on Birda

A map showing the sighting location
Doug Michael
21 Apr 2024 - 12:52pm

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