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Version 1.0

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Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii

Sarah Dzielski
Version: 1.0 — Published March 18, 2016



Streak-headed Woodcreepers climb trunks in an upright position similar to that of a woodpecker. Like other woodcreepers, Streak-headed Woodcreepers have stiff rectrices that provide support for the bird while scaling up trees. As they are relatively weak fliers, Streak-headed Woodcreepers often scale high up a tree, fly down to the base of a different tree, then scale up high in the new tree to repeat the process. Though they usually frequent higher positions in trees, Streak-headed Woodcreepers occasionally visit the base or roots of a tree while foraging (Skutch 1969, Hilty and Brown 1986). They typically probe with the bill underneath bark or moss in search of prey. After prey capture, these woodcreepers may bash prey against a branch to subdue it before swallowing (Skutch 1969).

Streak-headed Woodcreepers often roost overnight in tree cavities. They apparently prefer cavities that provide cover from nocturnal predators rather than shelter from the elements. Streak-headed Woodcreepers tend to arrive to their roost site later in the evening than other birds (Skutch 1969).

Some observations suggest that these birds exhibit anting behavior: "On the morning of May 13, 1962, a Streaked-headed Woodcreeper clung near the ground in a dracaena shrub in our dooryard. It plucked something small from the cut-off end of a branch, rubbed the object beneath the remiges of a partly extended wing, then appeared to swallow it. After repeating this performance once or twice, the bird flew away. The end of this branch was hollow and contained some small black ants" (Skutch 1969).


Streak-headed Woodpeckers are territorial year round, and defend well-defined, non-overlapping territories (Lefebvre et al. 1992). Associated pairs often move and feed together within their territory (Lefebvre et al. 1992).

Sexual Behavior

Streak-headed Woodcreepers breed from February through September and are socially monogamous (Wolfe et al. 2009). During the breeding season, they travel and forage together in pairs. Once the breeding season ends, Streak-headed Woodcreepers may travel solitarily. In one study, the only observed Streak-headed Woodcreeper pair that returned to the study site the following season chose a different mate that the previous breeding season, although that is not conclusive evidence that all individuals seek a new mate each breeding season (Lefebvre et al. 1992).

Courtship behavior is undescribed. Skutch (1969) reported that "as the nesting season approaches, the woodcreeper delivers a trill conspicuously shorter and higher than the ordinary trill ... uttered apparently by the male alone".

Social and interspecific behavior

Streak-headed Woodcreepers may occasionally join mixed-species foraging flocks, although they usually forage in as singles or pairs (Skutch 1969, Hilty and Brown 1986, Ridgely and Greenfield 2001a). The frequency with which Streak-headed Woodcreepers joins mixed-species foraging flocks is unknown.

Streak-headed Woodcreepers occasionally share nest cavities with other woodcreepers and even woodpeckers. In one instance, a heterospecific was spotted incubating and raising the young of a Streak-headed Woodcreeper pair:

"A pair of Thin-billed Wood-hewers [Streak-headed Woodcreepers] and a Dendrocincla anabatina saturata [Tawny-winged Woodcreeper] built in the same hollow palm trunk. Two eggs were laid, and incubated by the Dendrocincla, which hatched one and faithfully attended the nestling. As it grew older, its streaked head and soft trill clearly indicated that it was not her own offspring" (Skutch 1945).


No reports of predation on Streak-headed Woodcreeper?

Recommended Citation

Dzielski, S. (2016). Streak-headed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes souleyetii), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.sthwoo1.01