IUCN threat status:

Least Concern (LC)

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Plain xenops (Xenops minutus)

The plain xenops is a passerine bird, which belongs to the ovenbird (Furnariidae). It is a resident breedeer in moist lowland forests in the tropical New World from southern Mexico south to western Ecuador, northeastern Argentina and central Brazil.

The plain xenops is typically 12 cm long, weighs 12 g, and has a stubby wedge-shaped bill. The head is light brown with a buff supercilium and whitish malar stripe. The upperparts are brown, becoming rufous on the tail and rump and there is a buff bar on the darker brown wings. The underparts are unstreaked pale olive brown. The sexes are similar, but young birds have dark brown throats. The lack of streaking and lowland habitat distinguishes it from other xenops.

The plain xenops is often hard to see as it forages for insects, including the larvae of wood-boring beetles, on bark, rotting stumps or bare twigs. It moves in all directions on the trunk like a treecreeper, but does not use its tail as a prop. It has a sharp cheet call and its song is a series of 5 or 6 trilled fit fit fit f’ f’f f’ notes. It regularly joins mixed-species feeding flocks.

It places shredded plant fibres in a hole 1.5-9 m high in a decaying tree trunk or branch. The normal clutch of two white eggs is incubated by both sexes.

The Red List Category is 'Least Concern' as the species has an extremely large range. The population trend seems to be decreasing, but the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable. The population size is extremely large. Partners in Flight estimate the total population to number 5-50 million individuals.


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