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 e.g. in Colombia, being otherwise limited to the NW of the northern Andes and its neighboring mountain ranges.
Adult rufous-breasted wrens are 5.5 in (14 cm) long and weigh 0.56 oz (16 g). 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, 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.
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.
- Mann et al. (2006)
- Salaman et al. (2002)
- BirdLife International (2004). Thryothorus rutilus. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Retrieved 12 May 2006.
- Brewer, David & Mackay, Barry Kent (2001): Wrens, Dippers and Thrashers. London, Christopher Helm. ISBN 1-873403-95-X
- ffrench, Richard; O'Neill, John Patton & Eckelberry, Don R. (1991): A guide to the birds of Trinidad and Tobago (2nd edition). Comstock Publishing, Ithaca, N.Y. ISBN 0-8014-9792-2
- Hilty, Steven L. (2003): Birds of Venezuela. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 0-7136-6418-5
- 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. Molecular Phylogenetics and Evolution 40 (3): 750–759. doi:10.1016/j.ympev.2006.04.014 PDF fulltext
- 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. Caldasia 24 (1): 157–189. PDF fulltext