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A photo of a Buff-breasted Wren (Cantorchilus leucotis)
Buff-breasted Wren

Buff-breasted Wren

Cantorchilus leucotis

The buff-breasted wren, known scientifically as Cantorchilus leucotis, is a charming bird with a robust build. Males typically weigh between 18.5 to 22.8 grams, while females are slightly lighter, ranging from 16.0 to 19.5 grams. Both sexes share a similar appearance, with a palette that includes rufescent to grayish brown on the head, nape, shoulders, tail, and back, with the tail exhibiting prominent barring. The face is adorned with a whitish to gray-brown supercilium and throat, while the chest boasts a buffy hue, transitioning to a more cinnamon belly. Juveniles present a duller version of the adults' plumage, with a notably paler buff on the chest.

Identification Tips

When attempting to identify the buff-breasted wren, look for its rufescent to grayish brown upperparts and heavily barred tail. The bird's face is characterized by a lighter supercilium and throat, and its underparts display a gradient from buffy chest to cinnamon belly. The sexes are similar, but the males are slightly heavier.

Habitat

This species thrives in a variety of environments, predominantly those with low to medium height vegetation. Habitats range from secondary forests and their edges to regenerating clearings, with mangrove forests and shade coffee plantations being of lesser significance. In Venezuela, they are exclusive to gallery forests along waterways amidst grasslands, while in Amazonia, they favor várzea forest borders and older river islands. They have also been spotted in primary forests in Bolivia and inhabit the dry scrub of Colombia's Serranía de Macuira.

Distribution

The buff-breasted wren's domain spans across northern and central South America, with a core presence in the Amazon Basin. Its territory encompasses most of Venezuela, northern Colombia, and extends into eastern Panama. The western range brushes the Andes and stretches through eastern Peru, barely touching the northwestern borders of Bolivia. The Guianas, Ilha de Marajo at the Amazon River's mouth, and Panama's Pearl Islands are also included. In Brazil, the range covers the central-southern and southeast Amazon Basin, reaching towards the southeastern Atlantic coast, predominantly within the southern Cerrado and potentially the northeastern Pantanal.

Behaviour

Buff-breasted wrens are sociable birds, often foraging in pairs or family groups and occasionally joining mixed-species flocks. They are active hunters from the forest floor to heights of up to 18 meters, adeptly hopping or making short flights through dense vegetation to glean and probe for their prey.

Song & calls

Both male and female buff-breasted wrens boast extensive song repertoires, with males typically initiating a song that the female completes. They also communicate with a variety of calls, adding to their vocal complexity.

Breeding

These wrens construct both breeding and dormitory nests, with the latter serving as roosting spots. The nests are globular, made from small sticks and coarse fibers, with breeding nests lined with finer materials. Both types feature a tunnel entrance, with the breeding nests having a longer and more downturned one. Nests are usually placed between 1 and 2 meters above ground but can be found as high as 10 meters. Trees, shrubs, vine tangles, and palms are common substrates. Clutch sizes are typically three, though some may have only two eggs. They face nest parasitism from shiny cowbirds and striped cuckoos.

Diet and Feeding

The diet of the buff-breasted wren consists of insects, spiders, and other small arthropods. Their foraging behavior is versatile, ranging from ground level to the forest canopy.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the buff-breasted wren as Least Concern. With a vast range and common presence throughout, the species does not currently face significant threats to its population.

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Buff-breasted Wrens on Birda

Sightings
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Profile picture for Enzo Marinoni
Enzo Marinoni
30 Mar 2024 - 9:10pm
Colombia

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