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Rufous-naped Wren Campylorhynchus rufinucha

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Troglodytidae
  • Polytypic: 7 subspecies
  • Authors: D. W. Bradley and Daniel J. Mennill

A large and conspicuous member of the Troglodytidae, the Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) is a resident breeding species occurring in a nearly continuous distribution along the Pacific coast of Mexico and Central America (Mesoamerica). It is boldly marked, with various amounts of rufous and black on the head and nape, a conspicuous black stripe through the red eye contrasting with white above and below, and a patterned back and white tail and wings. Birds often breed cooperatively. This wren is a highly vocal species that is well known to produce richly melodious song, sometimes combined into synchronized simultaneous or antiphonal duets and choruses. Its calls are usually short and rasping.

There are seven subspecies of C. rufinucha, with distinct morphological and vocal differences between them. Based on phylogenetic analyses of mitochondrial DNA sequence data, it recently has been suggested that three distinct species be recognized. All subspecies occur in relatively dry habitats ranging from open forest and woodlands to scrub and secondary growth. Both sexes build multiple nests, but the female alone incubates the eggs in a roughly spherical shaped nest placed 1.5-8 m high in thorny trees such as acacias. Following breeding, family groups sleep together in dormitory nests like those used for breeding. Rufous-naped Wrens forage actively for invertebrates such as spiders and other insects in low vegetation, epiphytes, and along branches.

Song (Rufous-backed)

© David L. Ross, Jr.

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

Recommended Citation

Bradley, D. W. and D. J. Mennill (2011). Rufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.