This species is endemic to the eastern Andes of Colombia. Its name Synallaxis comes from the Greek sunallaxis = change, which was assigned by Vieillot (1818) referring to characters that merited recognition as a different gender. The epithet subpudica comes from the Latin sub = something, somewhat and pudicus = modest.


It measures between 17 and 18 cm in length. The tail is long, reaches 10.9 cm long and is grayish brown in color. The reddish-brown or rufous crown and wings contrast with the brown back with greyish to olive hues, the forehead and cheeks gray, the underparts light-gray whitish, shiny on the throat, which has a small black spot.

Original description

The species S. subpudica was described for the first time by the British zoologist Philip Lutley Sclater in 1874 under the same scientific name; the type locality is: «Bogotá».

Similar species

The Azara’s Spinetail (Synallaxis azarae) has a slightly shorter and rufous tail. The Pale-breasted Spinetail (Synallaxis albescens) has a shorter tail and a whitish throat.


It is distributed throughout the eastern Andes of northern Colombia (departments of Cundinamarca and northern Boyacá).


This species is considered quite common in its natural habitats: the edges of the mountain forests, the clareras with growth of shrubs, bushes and hedges, between 2000 and 3200 m of altitude.


Individuals in reproductive condition have been recorded from July to September. Its nest is a large globular mass 50 to 60 cm high and 30 to 40 cm in diameter which it builds with twigs. It has a side entrance that leads through a cylindrical conduit to an incubation chamber covered with moss and twigs. It builds its nest on a bush approximately 2 m high. In the only nest that has been reported a single egg has been recorded.


It is usually found in pairs. It forages from the ground up to 2 m in height, where it is presumed that it captures its prey by gleaning on branches and on foliage.


It is the sister species of S. brachyura.

State of conservation

At the national and international level, it is classified as a species of least concern.

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