views updated May 23 2018

Furnariidae (ovenbirds, spinetails; class Aves, order Passeriformes) A very diverse family of small to medium-sized, brown and rufous birds, some streaked, that have a short to long, and straight to curved bill, wings that are short and rounded to long and pointed, a tail that is short and rounded to long and forked, and short to medium legs. Spinetails (about 30 species of Synallaxis) have medium to long, graduated tails with projecting shafts. Ovenbirds inhabit forests, open country, deserts, sea-shores, and cliffs (spinetails inhabit forests, bush, and scrub), and feed mainly on insects but also on some seeds and crustaceans. They vary from arboreal tree-climbers to terrestrial running species. Some build the domed mud nests which give the family its name, some nest in holes in trees or banks, others nest on the ground. There are some 34–53 genera, with about 218 species, found in Central and S. America.