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Species Guide

Eastern Woodhaunter

Automolus subulatus

The Eastern Woodhaunter, known scientifically as Automolus subulatus, is a bird of considerable intrigue within the Furnariidae family. This species, also referred to as the Amazonian Woodhaunter, is a fairly large member of its genus, boasting a robust stature with a short, heavy bill. It is adorned with a plumage that is a harmonious blend of brownish hues with golden-buff streaks, and a chestnut rump that adds a splash of color to its otherwise earthy tones.

Identification Tips

Adult Eastern Woodhaunters have a dark brownish face with golden-buff streaks, a pale eyering, and a stripe behind the eye. Their crown extends into golden-buff streaks that widen towards the upper back. The wings are rufescent brown, and the tail is chestnut. The underparts transition from a light buff brown with faint streaks on the chin to a rich tawny brown belly. Juveniles are similar but have less distinct streaking and slightly paler underparts.


The Eastern Woodhaunter is a denizen of tropical evergreen forests, including both várzea and terra firme, and can also be found in older secondary forests. It thrives primarily in the understory to middle levels of these lush habitats.


This species is distributed across a range of South American countries, including Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and Venezuela. It is typically found at elevations below 1,100 meters but can be found up to 1,700 meters in certain regions like Ecuador.


The Eastern Woodhaunter is a year-round resident within its range, known for its solitary foraging habits, often joining mixed-species feeding flocks. It is an adept forager, gleaning and probing among dead leaves and other vegetation for its prey.

Song & Calls

The vocal repertoire of the Eastern Woodhaunter is most prominent at dawn and dusk. Its song consists of loud downslurred whistles followed by a softer rattle. Calls are strident and emphatic, often repeated many times, serving as a distinctive auditory marker of its presence.


The breeding season of the Eastern Woodhaunter is not fully defined but includes at least from August to November. It constructs a tunnel nest in earthen banks, where it lays clutches of two eggs. Both parents are involved in incubation and provisioning for the nestlings.

Similar Species

The Eastern Woodhaunter can be confused with other Automolus species, but its distinctive vocalizations and plumage patterns can aid in differentiation.

Diet and Feeding

While the specifics of its diet are not well-documented, it is known to consume arthropods and small vertebrates. Its foraging technique involves searching along large branches and vines, where it actively probes for prey.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Eastern Woodhaunter as Least Concern. Despite its extensive range, the population size is unknown and suspected to be decreasing. Deforestation poses a potential threat to its habitat, although it is found in several protected areas.

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Ben Gloag
27 Mar 2024 - 12:03am

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