Bay Wren Cantorchilus nigricapillus

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Troglodytidae
  • Polytypic: 7 subspecies
  • Authors: Joseph Taylor

The Bay Wren is an attractive and highly vocal wren species, readily observed in forested areas, especially along watercourses, in the lowlands and foothills of parts of southern Central America and northwestern South America. Its distinctive vocalizations draw attention to this inquisitive species, which is nevertheless an expert skulker.

The species is here assigned to the relatively new genus Cantorchilus; however, many authorities still treat it as a species of the genus Thryothorus. Some aspects of its taxonomy and behavioral ecology have been well studied, confirming that its seven recognized subspecies can be grouped into two distinct clades and giving insights into the functions of the antiphonal duetting that pairs of this species, like those of many Neotropical wrens, take part in.

This adaptable species is not considered to be of global conservation concern, as it seems to tolerate and probably benefits from many forms of habitat modification caused by human activities, barring the complete destruction or conversion of suitable habitat. That said, further study is required, and research into aspects of the species' demography in different habitats would also be of value.

Song (Central American)

© Curtis Marantz

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Taylor, J. (2011). Bay Wren (Cantorchilus nigricapillus), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.