• Welcome to BirdForum, the internet's largest birding community with thousands of members from all over the world. The forums are dedicated to wild birds, birding, binoculars and equipment and all that goes with it.

    Please register for an account to take part in the discussions in the forum, post your pictures in the gallery and more.
ZEISS DTI thermal imaging cameras. For more discoveries at night, and during the day.

Oleaginous Hemispingus - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Thibaud
Pasco, central Peru, 23 January 2020

Alternative names: Oleaginous Tanager; Ochraceous Hemispingus; Merida Hemispingus

Sphenopsis frontalis

Hemispingus frontalis


14cm (5½ in). A dull hemispingus with a relatively slender bill.

  • Long, narrow and weakly indicated yellowish supercilium, more pronounced in northern subspecies
  • Dull dirty olive crown, upperparts and tail
  • Dingy olive-yellow underparts, more olive on sides
  • Dusky grey, relatively slender bill

Sexes similar. Juveniles lack supercilium.


South America: found in the Andes of Colombia, Venezuela, Ecuador and Peru.
Fairly common in its range.


The closest relative seems to be Black-eared Hemispingus. Both species used to be placed in the genus hemispingus.


Five subspecies are recognized[1]:

  • S. f. frontalis:
  • S. f. ignobilis (Ochraceous or Merida Hemispingus - suggested that it might merit elevation to species rank):
  • Andes of western Venezuela (southern Lara, Trujillo, Mérida and Táchira)
  • S. f. flavidorsalis:
  • S. f. hanieli:
  • Coastal mountains of northern Venezuela (Aragua to Miranda)
  • S. f. iteratus:
  • Coastal mountains of north-eastern Venezuela (Monagas to Sucre)


Moist montanes.
Occurs at 1,400 to 2,900m.



Feeds on arthropods.
Usually seen in pairs, family parties or small groups in understorey mixed-species flocks. A dead-leaf specialist, works trough undergrowth, flying a few metres and hopping up branches while flicking its tail.


Birds in breeding condition from June to November in Venezuela, juvenile in April in Peru. Eggs white. No other information about breeding.


A resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Del Hoyo, J, A Elliott, and D Christie, eds. 2011. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 16: Tanagers to New World Blackbirds. Barcelona: Lynx Edicions. ISBN 978-8496553781
  3. Avibase
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links