It is the species of the genus with the most distinctive color pattern. Its name Synallaxis comes from the Greek sunallaxis = to change, which was assigned by Vieillot (1818) referring to characters that merited recognition as a different gender. His epithet candei was established in honor of the French explorer in South America, Antoine Marie Ferdinand Maussion de Candé.


It is 15-17 cm of length, and weighs 14-16 g. Both sexes similar. It has dark brown irises, grayish legs, and a black bill. The nominal breed has a blackish face, dark gray crown with feathers with a blackish center, which gives it a mottled appearance. The rest of the upperparts are bright rufous with the tips of the remiges dark and the distal half of the dark tail. The sides of his head are black, as is his throat and in the middle of these a broad white mustache that extends back and down to the chin. Its chest and sides are bright rufous in color, it has slightly paler flanks, a white belly, and dull pale rufous undertail-coverts.

Regional Differences

Three subspecies are recognized: S. c. venezuelensis, S. c. candei and S. c. atrigularis. The venezuelensis race is found in the Guajira peninsula south to Cesar and is distinguished by a white throat with black restricted to a band in its lower part. The nominal breed is found in the north of the department of Sucre east to west of Magdalena. The subspecies atrigularis is found in the middle Magdalena and is distinguished by the malar region and the chin with grayish-white fringes, brown back, duller chest and olive flanks.


It is found in northern Colombia and Venezuela. In Colombia it is found below 300 m above sea level from the north of the department of Sucre east to the Guajira peninsula, the Cesar river valley and south through the middle valley of the Magdalena river to the south of the department of Bolívar.


It inhabits arid scrub with abundant cactus cover, mangrove edges, salt flats with scattered shrubs and grasslands.


Their diet is mainly made up of arthropods, but it is unknown which groups in particular are part of it.


In Colombia, individuals in reproductive condition have been registered from March to August. Its nest is a bulky mass 70 cm long, 30 to 50 cm wide and 30 cm deep, which has an internal tunnel that leads to a chamber 10 to 13 cm in diameter whose walls are made with thorny twigs and covered with green pubescent leaves. All parts of the nest are covered with pieces of branches and bark. It is usually built at heights ranging between 1.3 and 2.5 m on a thorny bush. Their lay size is 3 to 4 eggs.


 It commonly stays in pairs. Forages on the ground or in low vegetation, generally below 2 m in height where it actively jumps, frequently raising and lowering its tail. It captures its prey by gleaning on branches or on the ground near bushes.


It is phylogenetically close to S. erythrothorax. The limits in the distribution of their races need to be confirmed.

Conservation status

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

Vocalization/ song



Avibase (2018). Species factsheet: Synallaxis candei Downloaded from https://avibase.bsc-eoc.org/species.jsp?avibaseid=CF9F617D5C954F55

BirdLife International (2018) Species factsheet: Synallaxis candei. Downloaded from http://www.birdlife.org on 10/22/2018

Hilty, S. L. and W. L. Brown. 2001. Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princetn. Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ.

The IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2017-3. <www.iucnredlist.org>. Downloaded on 13 February 2018

Jobling, C. 2010. The Helm dictionary of scientific birds names. Christopher Helm and A & C Black Publishers Ltda. London. 433p.