The rufous-breasted wren (Pheugopedius rutilus) is a small songbird of the wren family (Troglodytidae). It was formerly placed in the genus Thryothorus which in the old, broad sense was a motley assemblage of similar-looking wrens.
It is found in the tropical New World from Costa Rica and Panama east to Colombia, Venezuela, Trinidad and Tobago. It barely reaches into Amazonia in Colombia, being otherwise limited to the northwest part of the northern Andes and neighboring mountain ranges.
Adult rufous-breasted wrens are 14 cm (5.5 in) long and weigh 16 g (0.56 oz). They have grey-brown upperparts and black bars on the tail. The throat and face sides are speckled black and white. The breast is rufous while the belly is brownish white and the flanks brown. They have a faint line over the eye and a short thin bill. The face pattern and rufous breast are the best distinctions from the similarly-sized house wren.
The rufous-breasted wren's song is a musical whistle of six to ten notes, too-see-HEEear-too-see, too-see-HEEear-too-see . The contact call is a sharp cheep, given as these skulking birds forage in vegetation for insects and centipedes.
The subspecies Pheugopedius rutilus tobagensis, found on Tobago, is larger and has darker underparts than the nominate subspecies P. r. rutilus of Trinidad and northern Venezuela. There are five other mainland forms to the west of these.
The breeding habitat is forest undergrowth and thickets, also utilizing fragmented forest and secondary growth. The nest is a large sphere of leaves and grass with a side entrance, concealed in tangled vegetation. The female incubates the clutch of two to four brown-blotched white eggs, and the naked young take 16 days to fledge.
- BirdLife International (2012). "Thryothorus rutilus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2014.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature. Retrieved 26 September 2014.
- Mann, Nigel I.; Barker, F. Keith; Graves, Jeff A.; Dingess-Mann, Kimberly A.; Slater, Peter J.B. (2006). "Molecular data delineate four genera of "Thryothorus" wrens" (PDF). Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40 (3): 750–759. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.04.014. PMID 16750640.
- Salaman, Paul G.W.; Stiles, F. Gary; Bohórquez, Clara Isabel; Álvarez-R., Mauricio; Umaña, Ana María; Donegan, Thomas M.; Cuervo, Andrés M. (2002). "New and noteworthy bird records from the east slope of the Andes of Colombia" (PDF). Caldasia 24 (1): 157–189.
- Brewer, David; Mackay, Barry Kent (2001). Wrens, Dippers and Thrashers. Helm Identification Guides. London: Christopher Helm. ISBN 1-873403-95-X.
- Hilty, Steven L. (2003). Birds of Venezuela. Princeton University Press. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5.
- ffrench, Richard; O'Neill, John Patton; Eckelberry, Don R. (1991). A Guide to the Birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd ed.). Ithaca, N.Y.: Comstock Publishing. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2.
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- BirdLife species factsheet for Thryothorus rutilus
- Rufous-breasted wren videos, photos, and sounds at the Internet Bird Collection
- Rufous-breasted wren photo gallery at VIREO (Drexel University)
- Rufous-breasted wren species account at NeotropicalBirds (Cornell University)