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Species Guide

Black-bellied Wren

Pheugopedius fasciatoventris

The Black-bellied Wren, known scientifically as Pheugopedius fasciatoventris, is a small, robust bird adorned with a rich chestnut back and tail, the latter elegantly barred with black. This species exhibits sexual dimorphism in size, with males typically weighing between 23.5 to 34.5 grams and females slightly lighter at 19.5 to 28.5 grams. A distinctive white supercilium arches above a grayish face, while the chin, throat, and breast are clothed in white. The bird's name is derived from its striking black belly, which in some subspecies is accentuated with thin white bars.

Identification Tips

To identify the Black-bellied Wren, look for its white supercilium and contrasting black belly. The subspecies P. f. melanogaster features an unmarked black belly, whereas the other two subspecies display white barring. The size difference between males and females may also aid in identification.


This wren favors the interior and edges of primary and secondary forests, often found in close association with streams. It thrives in dense vegetation, which provides both shelter and feeding opportunities.


The Black-bellied Wren is distributed across several regions, with P. f. melanogaster inhabiting areas from western Costa Rica through western Panama to the Canal Zone. P. f. albigularis is found from the Canal Zone into Colombia's Chocó Department, and the nominate subspecies, P. f. fasciatoventris, resides in northwestern and central Colombia, extending east to the Sierra Nevada de Santa Marta and south into the Cauca and Magdalena valleys.


This wren is primarily a canopy and sub-canopy forager, although it occasionally ventures into the understory and ground, always within dense cover. It is known for its agility and secretive nature, making it a delightful challenge for birdwatchers to observe.

Song & calls

Both sexes boast an impressive song repertoire, with males known to have up to 38 different songs and females up to 19. Their vocalizations are complex and melodious, adding a rich acoustic layer to their forest habitat.


The Black-bellied Wren constructs its nest predominantly at forest edges, preferring vine tangles near the ground. Both sexes collaborate in building the domed structure with a side entrance, using palm and sugar cane leaves and lining it with softer plant materials. Clutches typically consist of two eggs, with the female appearing to be the sole incubator. Predation of nests is, unfortunately, a common occurrence.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the Black-bellied Wren consists mainly of small arthropods. Its foraging habits are adapted to its dense forest environment, where it skillfully gleans prey from foliage.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Black-bellied Wren as Least Concern. Despite this, there is a suspicion that its population may be declining due to ongoing habitat destruction and fragmentation, which poses a threat to its long-term survival.

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Black-bellied Wrens on Birda

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Profile picture for Jaider Carrillo
Jaider Carrillo
18 May 2024 - 1:57pm

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