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Scaly-throated Foliage-gleaner - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by megan perkins
Milpe Bird Sanctuary, Ecuador, 28 November 2012
Anabacerthia variegaticeps


15–16 cm (6-6¼ in). Fairly typical brown foliage-gleaner with characteristic black and orangy face pattern.

  • crown, most of face and malar streak dark, blackish
  • eye ring and distal supercilium "spectacles" long (to neck) strongly orangey
  • auricular area may include vague pale patch
  • throat area paler, yellowish, more or less lightly streaked. May extend rearwards as a half collar.
  • chest with coarse pale streaking (subspecies dependent)
  • mantle and wings mid-brown
  • primary coverts and distal part of primaries darker
  • underparts often paler, light brown but may be quite dark orange (subspecies dependent)
  • tail rufous
  • bill wedge-shaped, greyish to cream
  • eye dark
  • legs dull greyish to yellowish


Three well separated populations:
Central America: Mexico, Belize, Guatemala, El Salvador, Honduras, and northern Nicaragua; secondly from Costa Rica to western Panama
South America: west of the Andes in Colombia and Ecuador


More than one species may be involved.


Clements recognises the following subspecies [1]:

  • A. v. variegaticeps: South Mexico (Guerrero and Veracruz) to western Panama. [often pale beneath with chest streaking muted or absent. Greater tendency to have a "collar"]
  • A. v. temporalis: West slope of Western Andes of Colombia and Ecuador. [dark underneath, more strongly orange with strong chest streaking]

Other authors recognise subspecies schaldachi of south-west Mexico (e.g. refs [2], [3])


Montane and lowland evergreen forests. Also tall second growth forests.



They eat a variety of insects, including moths and spiders.


They are thought to be monogamous. Their clutch contains 2 eggs, which are laid at the bottom of an old woodpecker nest hole.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, T. A. Fredericks, J. A. Gerbracht, D. Lepage, S. M. Billerman, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2022. The eBird/Clements checklist of Birds of the World: v2022. Downloaded from https://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Angehr and Dean 2010: The Birds of Panama, a field guide
  3. Fagan and Komar, Peterson field guide to birds of northern Central America
  4. Gill, F, D Donsker, and P Rasmussen (Eds). 2023. IOC World Bird List (v 13.2). Doi 10.14344/IOC.ML.13.2. http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  5. HBW and BirdLife International (2022) Handbook of the Birds of the World and BirdLife International digital checklist of the birds of the world. Version 7. Available at: http://datazone.birdlife.org/userfiles/file/Species/Taxonomy/HBW-BirdLife_Checklist_v7_Dec22.zip

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