Proposal (894) to South American Classification Committee


Change the English name of Lepidocolaptes fuscicapillus


Background: Several years ago, SACC recognized the recently described species Lepidocolaptes fatimalimae, and split Lepidocolaptes albolineatus into four species (AOS-SACC Proposal 620). Among these four species were two that came to be known as Rondonia Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes fuscicapillus) and Layard's Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes layardi) (AOS-SACC Proposal 660).

New information: SACC recently voted to reclassify layardi as a subspecies of Lepidocolaptes fuscicapillus, rather than maintaining it as a separate species (
AOS-SACC Proposal 868).


Analysis: The English name Rondonia Woodcreeper no longer is appropriate for the expanded concept of Lepidocolaptes fuscicapillus, which is widespread in Amazonia south of the Amazon, east of the Madeira River.


Recommendation: There are no end of English names that could be considered 'inappropriate' for one reason or another, and SACC usually is reluctant to change established names solely on that basis. The name Rondonia Woodcreeper is only a few years old, however, and so the usual reservations in favor of stability may not apply. We recommend that SACC change the English name for its polytypic Lepidocolaptes fuscicapillus from Rondonia Woodcreeper to Dusky-capped Woodcreeper. This is a straightforward translation of the species name, was proposed as an English name at least as long ago as Hellmayr 1925 (as Dusky-capped Wood-hewer), and currently is in use in del Hoyo and Collar (2016).


Literature Cited:


Hellmayr, C. E. 1925. Catalogue of birds of the Americas. Part IV. Field Museum of Natural History Zoological Series volume 13, part 4.


del Hoyo, J., and N. J. Collar. 2016. HBW and BirdLife International illustrated checklist of the birds of the world. Volume 2. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona.



David Donsker and Tom Schulenberg, December 2020






Comments from Remsen: “YES.  ‘Rondonia’ no longer appropriate, and we should change this name ASAP.  It has very little traction, so I agree that stability is of minimal importance in this case.”


Comments from Lane: “YES. Since it is still fairly early in the establishment of English names of these recently defined taxa, I think it is prudent to use names that are more all-encompassing, and if they reflect the scientific name, that's better still.”


Comments from Jaramillo: “YES to Dusky-capped Woodcreeper. Wood-hewer takes me back though.”


Comments from Zimmer: “YES to ditching “Rondonia” (no longer geographically appropriate with the decision to lump layardi with fuscicapillus) and replacing with “Dusky-capped”, which is accurate for both taxa (although not unique among the greater albolineatus-group), and a direct translation of the species epithet.”


Comments from Stiles: “YES; I defer to the arguments already presented.