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Birds of North and Middle America, part V/Family Furnariidæ

 

Family FURNARIIDÆ.

THE OVEN BIRDS.

Tracheoplione Mesomyodian Passeres, with the metasternum 2-notched, interorbital septum perforate, maxillo-palatines very long and slender (and continued backward to or beyond the level of the free end of the median descending plate of the palatine), tensor patagii brevis tendon normally passerine, nares schizorhinal, syrinx tracheal (with two pairs of short tracheo-bronchial muscles), palate schizognathous, mesorhinium normal, tarsal envelope endaspidean, outer toe much shorter than middle toe, hallux (without claw) not shorter than inner toe (without claw), and middle toe united to outer toe by less than the whole of its second phalanx (usually for more or less of first phalanx only).

> Anabatidæ Cabanis, Wiegmann's Archiv für Naturg., 1847, pt. i, 230, 338 (includes Dendrocolaptidæ). — Cabanis and Heine, Mus. Hein., ii, 1860, 22. — Carus, Handb. ZooL, 1868, 266.
= Anabatidæ Bonaparte, Consp. Av., i, 1850, 210. — Huxley, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1867, 471, in text.
= Anabatinæ Cabanis, Wiegmann's Archiv für Naturg., 1847, pt. i, 338.
< Furnariinæ Cabanis, Wiegmann's Archiv für Naturg., 1847, pt. i, 339. — Sundevall, Met. Nat. Av. Disp. Tent., ii, 1872, 55 (English translation, 1889, 121).— Garrod, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1877, 452.
X Furnariinæ Cabanis and Heine, Mus. Hein., ii, 1860, 22 (includes Rhodinocichla!). — Sclater, Cat. Am. Birds, 1862, 146.
=Fumariidæ Stejneger, Stand. Nat. Hist., iv, 1885, 479, in text.
< Synallaxinx Cabanis and Heine, Mus. Hein., ii, 1860, 26. — Sclater, Cat. Am. Birds, 1862, 149. — Sundevall, Met. Nat. Av. Disp. Tent., ii, 1872, 55 (English translation, 1889, 122).

The Furnariidæ are closely related to the Dendrocolaptidæ and have usually been included in the same family, as Subfamilies Furnariinæ, Synallaxinæ, Philydorinæ, and Sclerurinæ,[1] three Furnariine genera being even referred to the "Subfamily Dendrocolaptinæ.[2] Prof. Garrod and Dr. Stejneger, however, have shown[3] that in their schizorhinal, instead of holorhinal, skull and dissimilar feet they differ sufficiently to warrant their recognition as a distinct family.

Although distributed throughout the continental portions of the Neotropical Region, the Furnariidæ are most developed in the Patagonian and South-Brazilian Subregions, to which many of the genera, among them the most typical ones, are peculiar, comparatively few of them passing to the northward of the Isthmus of Panama, only 25 of the more than 278 species and 10 of the 37 genera[4] belonging to the Central American district.

While some of the genera resemble Dendrocolaptine forms in external appearance, and presumably in habits also, the majority of the Furnariidæ are more terrestrial; some of them eminently so, and strongly recalling in their appearance and general habits the Larks (Alaudidæ) and Stone-chats. Many of them inhabit reedy marshes, and bear a superficial likeness to the marsh-wrens (genera Telmatodytes and Cistothorus), while certain small long-tailed short-billed forms, as Leptasthenura, recall the Parine genus Psaltriparus, others again resembling Creepers (Certhiidæ).

Many of the species, particularly those belonging to the so-called Subfamily Furnariinæ, are remarkable for the unusual character of their nests, which, in some cases, consist of massive oven-like structures built of mud or clay, in others immense heaps of twigs, whence the builders have received the name of "fagot-gatherers" from the human inhabitants of the country.

What has been said concerning the unsatisfactory classification of the Formicariidæ[5] and my efforts to devise a better one applies as well to the present group.

KEY TO THE CENTRAL AMERICAN GENERA OF FURNARIIDÆ.[6]

a. Maxillary tomium with a distinct (though small) subterminal notch; outer toe united to middle toe by the whole of its first and second phalanges and at least half of its third phalanx; tarsus indistinctly scutellate (smooth on inner side); tail less than three times as long as tarsus, the rectrices with very rigid shafts, whose denuded tips are not protruded. (Sclerurinæ.)

Sclerurus (p. 163).

aa. Maxillary tomium without trace of notch; outer toe united to middle toe by not more than whole of its first and second phalanges (usually by less than whole of its first phalanx); tarsus distinctly scutellate; tail more than three times as long as tarsus,[7] the rectrices without rigid shafts or else with the attenuated or acuminate tips not denuded but protruded. (Furnariinæ.)

b. Maxilla with tip not at all decurved, but with tomia ascending (more or less strongly) terminally; mandible strongly recurved (falcate) terminally.
c. Outer toe not conspicuously (though distinctly) longer than inner toe, reaching (without claw) only to middle of subterminal phalanx of middle toe; outer toe with first and second phalanges united to middle toe; bill relatively shorter and stouter, the exposed culmen decidedly shorter than tarsus; tip of rectrices normal

Xenops (p. 170).

cc. Outer toe conspicuously longer than inner toe, reaching (without claw) much beyond middle of subterminal phalanx of middle toe; outer toe with only its first phalanx united to middle toe; bill relatively longer and more slender, the exposed culmen as long as tarsus; tips of rectrices (except lateral ones) attenuated, stiffened, and decurved.

Pygarrhicus (extralimital).[8]

bb. Maxilla with tip more or less distinctly decurved, the tomia more or less decurved or descending terminally; mandible not recurved terminally (or else tip of maxilla decurved).
c. Nostril narrow, longitudinal, distinctly operculate.
d. Tarsus shorter than middle toe with claw; outer toe with first phalanx and at least part of second phalanx united to middle toe. (Margarornithes.)
e. Wing longer (nearly four times to more than four times as long as tarsus) and more pointed, the primaries exceeding secondaries by at least length of exposed culmen, sometimes by length of tarsus; bill relatively shorter, the exposed culmen much shorter than middle toe without claw; inner webs of remiges crossed by a broad band or with an extensive basal area of buff or ochraceous.
f. Tail graduated for only about one-third its length, with tip of rectrices (except outer ones) excessively acuminate, the slender points conspicuously protruded; wing more than four times as long as tarsus; inner webs of remiges crossed by a broad sub-basal band of buff or ochraceous

Margarornis (p. 177).

ff. Tail excessively graduated (for much more than half its length), with tips of rectrices not distinctly acuminate, the minute slender points very slightly protruded; wing less than four times as long as tarsus; inner webs of remiges with an extensive basal area of ochraceous or pale tawny.

Premnornis (extralimital).[9]

ee. Wing shorter (less than three and a half times as long as tarsus) and more rounded, the primaries exceeding secondaries by less than length of exposed culmen; bill relatively longer, the exposed culmen as long as middle toe without claw; inner webs of, remiges without buff or ochraceous cross-band or basal area.

Premnoplex (p. 180).

dd. Tarsus longer than middle toe with claw; outer toe with second phalanx entirely free from middle toe, the first phalanx also often partly free.
e. Basal phalanx of middle toe partly free from outer toe; bill more subulate or terete, with culmen more or less distinctly curved (at least terminally), the mesorhinium more or less rounded or else much compressed; wing relatively shorter and more rounded, the longer primaries exceeding secondaries by less than length of exposed culmen; no tuft on sides of neck; smaller forms (wing less than 80 mm.) (Synallaxeæ.)
f. Rectrices 12.
g. Tail much shorter than wing; hallux (without claw) longer than outer toe (without claw); wing four times as long as tarsus.

Siptornis (extralimital).[10]

gg. Tail longer (sometimes very much longer) than wing; hallux (without claw) not longer than outer toe (without claw); wing not more than three and a half times as long as tarsus (usually much less).
h. Tarsus at least one-third as long as wing; frontal feathers extending farther forward, covering most of nasal operculum and concealing greater part of nostril.
i. Bill much stouter, with culmen much more strongly curved, more compressed, and sharply ridged; rictus abruptly and strongly deflected.
j. Tarsus decidedly more than one-third as long as wing; wing about two-thirds as long as tail; mesorhinium elevated, extremely compressed.

Drioctistes (extralimital).[11]

jj. Tarsus not more than one-third as long as wing; wing more than three-fourths as long as tail; mesorhinium not elevated nor unusually compressed.
k. Wing only four-fifths as long as tail, the latter graduated for nearly two- thirds its length; tarsus not longer than middle toe with claw; bill relatively longer and narrower; feathers of chest with thickened or widened shafts.

Phaceloscenus (extralimital).[12]

kk. Wing very nearly as long as tail (more than eight-ninths as long), the latter graduated for only half its length; tarsus longer than middle toe with claw; bill relatively shorter and deeper; feathers of chest without thickened or widened shafts.

Phacellodomus (extralimital).[13]

ii. Bill much more slender, with culmen much less strongly curved (usually nearly straight), less compressed, less sharply ridged; rictus not deflected.

Asthenes (extralimital).[14]

hh. Tarsus much less than one-third as long as wing; frontal feathers not extending so far forward, the nostrils and nasal operculum being uncovered for much the greater part.
i. Larger (wing more than 70 mm., exposed culmen more than 15 mm.); conspicuously streaked both above and below.

'Thripophaga (extralimital).[15]

ii. Smaller (wing less than 70 mm., exposed culmen less than 15 mm.); without streaks (except sometimes, on pileum.)

Acrorchilus (p. 183).

ff. Rectrices 10.
g. Tail not more than one and a half times as long as wing (usually much less, sometimes shorter than wing); upper parts not streaked.

Synallaxis (p. 186).

gg. Tail nearly twice as long as wing; upper parts streaked.

Schœniophylax (extralimital).[16]

ee. Basal phalanx of middle toe wholly united to outer toe; bill more wedge-shaped, with culmen nearly straight (if curved more so toward base than terminally), the mesorhinium flattened; wing relatively longer and more pointed, the longest primaries exceeding secondaries by more than length, of exposed culmen; a tuft of elongated soft feathers on each side of neck; larger (wing 95 mm. or more). (Pseudocolapteæ.)

Pseudocolaptes (p. 196).

cc. Nostril oval or roundish, not distinctly operculate. (Automoleæ.)
d. Basal phalanx of middle toe wholly united to both outer and inner toes.
e. Bill much longer, the exposed culmen longer than tarsus, its length from nostril equal to two and a half times its depth at loral antiæ.

Hyloctistes (p. 199).

ee. Bill much shorter, the exposed culmen shorter than tarsus, its length from nostril equal to but little more than twice its depth at loral antiæ.
f. Bill relatively broader basally and more compressed terminally, the tip of maxilla abruptly and strongly uncinate; upper parts conspicuously streaked.

Ancistrops (extralimital).[17]

ff. Bill relatively narrower basally and less compressed terminally, the tip of maxilla not abruptly nor strongly, if at all, uncinate; upper parts not streaked.
g. Bill excessively compressed, its width at loral antiæ equal to only about two-thirds its depth at same point and less than one-third the distance from nostril to tip of maxilla; claw of hallux very large, as long as the digit.

Anabazenops (extralimital).[18]

gg. Bill only moderately compressed, its width at loral antiæ equal to more than two-thirds its depth at same point and more than one-third the distance from nostril to tip of maxilla; claw of hallux smaller, decidedly shorter than the digit.

Philydor (p. 201).

dd. Basal phalanx of middle toe not wholly united to lateral toes.
e. Bill relatively smaller, more slender, more compressed, its width at loral antiæ much less than its depth at same point, not distinctly if at all uncinate; shafts of rectrices softer at tip.
f. Bill smaller, the culmen (from base) shorter than tarsus; anterior toes more extensively united basally.
g. Bill smaller and more slender, more decurved terminally, with gonys not ascending terminally.

Heliobletus (extralimital).[19]

gg. Bill larger and stronger, less deciurved terminally (except at extreme tip), with gonys strongly ascending terminally.

Xenicopsis (p. 205).

ff. Bill larger, the culmen (from base) longer than tarsus; anterior toes less extensively limited basally.

Automolus (p. 211).

ee. Bill larger and stouter, less compressed, its width at loral antiæ nearly equal to its depth at same point, distinctly uncinate; shafts of rectrices more rigid at tip.

Rhopoctites (p. 222).

Genus SCLERURUS Swainson.

Sclerurus Swainson, Zool. Journ., iii, 1827, 356. (Type, Myiothera umbretta Lichtenstein.)
Scelurus (typographical error?) Burmeister, Syst. Ueb. Th. Bras., iii, 1856, 45.
Tinactor Maximilian, Beitr. Naturg. Bras., iii, pt. ii, 1831, 1106. (Type, T. fuscus Maximilian.)
Oxypyga[20] Ménétriés, Mem. de I'Acad. St. Pétersb., sér. vi, Sci. Nat., i, 1835. 519. (Type, 0. scansor Ménétriés = Myiothera umbretta Lichtenstein.)
Oxypiga Lesson, 1839.
Geoœcia Bertoni, Aves Nuevas del Paraguay, 1901, 79. (Type, G. orryctera Bertoni = Myiothera umbretta Lichtenstein.)

Medium sized Furnariidæ (length about 150-160 mm.) with long slender bill (as long as or longer than head), tail much shorter than wing, with rectrices broad and rounded terminally and with very rigid but not protruded shafts; hallux much longer than inner toe, the latter conspicuously shorter than outer toe, middle toe united to outer toe for whole of first and part of second phalanx, and plain brownish coloration.

Bill about as long as head, or longer, slender, straight or slightly decurved, its width at loral antiæ equal to or greater than its depth at same point and equal to a little less than one-fourth to nearly one-third the distance from nostril to tip of maxilla; culmen distinctly ridged, straight, basally, gradually decurved terminally, or straight for most of its length and terminal portion rather abruptly decurved; maxillary tomium nearly straight to decidedly concave, minutely but distinctly notched subterminally; mandibular tomium more or less convex, at least terminally, without trace of notch; gonys faintly convex basally, faintly concave terminally (the tip of mandible slightly but distinctly decurved in S. mexicanus). Nostril exposed, posteriorly in contact with loral feathering, broadly oval, horizontal, margined above by narrow membrane, a conspicuous internal tubercle or septum occupying nearly the posterior half. Rictal bristles absent, and feathers of chin, etc., without distinct (if any) terminal setæ. Wing rather large and pointed, the longest primaries considerably longer than secondaries; eighth, or sixth, seventh, and eighth, primaries longest, the tenth (outermost) two- thirds to three-fourths as long as the longest, the ninth equal to or longer (sometimes much longer) than secondaries. Tail between two-thirds and three-fourths as long as wing, strongly rounded, the rectrices (12) broad, rounded terminally, with very rigid shafts, which are denuded but not protruded terminally. Tarsus shorter than culmen, about one-fourth as long as wing, scutellate anteriorly (sometimes indistinctly so), the planta fused (nonscutellate); middle toe, with claw, a little longer than tarsus; outer toe, without claw,


  1. See Catalogue of the Birds in the British Museum, vol. xv., pp. xi-xiii, 2-126. (By Philip Lutley Sclater.)
  2. Genera Margarornis, Premnoplex, and Pygarrhicus.
  3. See Garrod, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1877, pp. 449-452, and Stejneger, Standard Natural History, vol. iv. Birds, 1885, pp. 478, 481.
  4. As enumerated in Sharpe's Hand-list of the Genera and Species of Birds, vol. iii, 1901, pp. 45-74, under Dendrocolaptidæ.
  5. See p. 9.
  6. Including, for comparison, a few related extralimital genera.
  7. The proportionate length of tail and tarsus, as a subfamily character, will probably not apply to some of the exclusively South American genera.
  8. Pygarrhicus Burmeister, Handb. der Naturg., 1837, 769. Type, Dendrocolaptes albigularis King. — Dendrodramus Gould, Zool. Voy. "Beagle," iii, 1841, 82. Type, Dendrocolaptes albigularis King. — Dromodendron Gray, List Gen. Birds, 1842, App., p. 6. Type, Dendrocolaptes albigularis King. (Southern Chile and southwestern Argentina; monotypic.)
  9. Premnornis Ridgway, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., xxii, April 17, 1909, 71. Type, Margarornis guttata Lawrence. (Colombia and Ecuadór; monotypic.)
    This genus presents a very close superficial resemblance to the automoline genus Heliobletus Reichenbach (see p. 162) but may easily be distinguished by the very different nostrils and other structural characters.
  10. Siptornis Reichenbach, Handb. der Spec. Orn., 1853, 171. Type, Synxillaxis striaticollis Lafresnaye. (Colombia and Ecuadór; monotypic.)
  11. Drioctistes Ridgway, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., xxii, April 17, 1909, 71. Type, Thripophaga sclateri Berlepsch. (Southeastern Brazil; Bolivia?; three species?.)
    I have not seen Anabates erythrocephalus Maximilian nor Thripophaga fusciceps Sclater, one or both of which may be congeneric with Drioctistes sclateri. The genus is exceedingly distinct from Thripophaga.
  12. Phaceloscenus Ridgway, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., xxii, April 17, 1909, 71. Type, Anumbius striaticollis D'Orbigny and Lafresnaye. (Argentina and Uruguay; monotypic?.)
  13. Phacellodomus Reichenbach, Handb. der Spec. Orn., 1853, 169. Type, Anahates rufifrons Maximilian. — Phacelodomus (emendation) Sclater, Cat. Birds. Brit. Mus., XV, 1890, 79. — Placellodomus (emendation) Sclater and Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., May, 1868, 141. — Phacellodromus (emendation) Bonaparte, Ann. Sci. Nat. (Zool.), 4 ser., i, 1854, 132.
  14. Asthenes Reichenbach, Handb. der Spec. Orn., 1853, 168. Type, Synallaxis sordida Lesson. (Andes of Colombia to Chile, Argentina, etc.; at least eight species.)
    This group unquestionably requires subdivision, but I have not a sufficient representation of the species to justify an attempt to do so. Besides the type-species I have examined the following: A. humicola (Kittlitz), A. modesta (Eyton), A. anthoides (King), A. wyatti (Sclater and Salvin), A. sulphurifera (Burmeister), A. striaticeps (D'Orbigny and Lafresnaye), and A. maluroides (D'Orbigny and Lafresnaye). The three last are almost certainly distinct generically. Probably nearly related to Asthenes, if not actually belonging to it, are the following species, referred, like the others, to Siptornis by recent authorities: S. orbignii (Reichenbach), S. arequipæ (Sclater and Salvin), S. humilis (Cabanis), and S. pudibunda (Sclater). How nearly related may be S. albiceps (Lafresnaye and D'Orbigny) and S. albicapilla (Cabanis) — the former being the type of Cranioleuca Reichenbach (Handb. der Spec. Orn., 1853, 167) — I am unable to say, not having seen either.
  15. Thripophaga Cabanis, Wiegmann's Archiv für Naturg., xiii, pt. i, 1847, 338. Type, Sphenura striolata Lichtenstein. (Southeastern Brazil; Colombia?; two species?.)
    I have not seen T. guttuligera Sclater, from Colombia, which may or may not be congeneric with T. striolata.
  16. Schoeniophylax Ridgway, Proc. Biol. Soc. Wash., xxii, April 17, 1909, 71. Type, Sylvia phryganophila Vieillot. (Southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and Argentina; monotypic?.)
  17. Ancistrops Sclater, Cat. Am. Birds, 1862, 157. Type, Anahates lineaticeps Sclater = Thamnophilus strigilatus Spix. (Upper Amazon Valley; monotypic.)
  18. Anabazenops Lafresnaye, Diet. Univ. d'Hist. Nat., i, 1841, 411. Type, Sitta fusca Vieillot. — Anabatoides Burmeister, Syst. Ueb. Th. Bras., iii, 1856, 23. Type, Sitta fusca Vieillot. (Southeastern Brazil; monotypic.)
  19. Heliobletus Reichenbach, Handb. der Spec. Orn., 1853, 201. Type, Dendrocolaptes superciliosus Lichtenstein. (Southeastern Brazil; monotypic.)
  20. ? acutus, ? cauda. (Ménétriés.)