Costa Rica: Rufous-naped Wren

Every morning we’d hear a Roufous-naped Wren outside our villa. He liked to sit on the power line and sing his heart out, I’m assuming he was hopeful for a mate, but maybe he just enjoyed hearing himself.

Every morning we’d hear a Roufous-naped Wren (Campylorhynchus rufinucha) outside our villa.

Easy to identify in that he was 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. He liked to sit on the power line and sing his heart out, I’m assuming he was hopeful of a mate, but maybe he was just enjoying hearing himself. In many ways, he reminded me of the Mocking Birds I grew up with, in that his song was long and varied.

Distribution / Habitat: It is a resident breeding species from central Mexico to Costa Rica. This large wren breeds in lowlands and foothills from sea level up to 2500’ in altitude, in forest or open woodland, scrub, second growth, and savanna. It mainly occurs on the Pacific side of the central mountain ranges.

Nesting / Breeding: Its spherical nest has a side entrance and is lined with seed down. It is constructed 5’ – 25’ high in a thorny tree or shrub, especially bull’s-horn acacia.

The female alone incubates the three to five brown- or black-spotted white eggs for about two weeks to hatching, and the young fledge in about the same length of time again. After breeding, families sleep together in dormitory nests like those used for breeding.

Description: The adult Rufous-naped Wren is 17 cm long and weighs 36 g. It has a black crown and eyestripe separated by a strong white supercilium (line above eye), a rufous nape, and cinnamon brown upperparts streaked with black and white, especially on the rump. The wings and tail are barred with black and greyish-white. The underparts are white. Young birds have duller upperparts and buff underparts.

This species is often tame and inquisitive.

Call / Song: This species has a short rasping call. The song is a mix of rich whistles, chatters, and gurgles that are often given as a duet.

Diet: The Rufous-naped Wren forages actively in low vegetation pairs or family groups. It eats mainly eats insects, spiders, and other invertebrates.

You can read more about the various animals we encountered here. Please your own personal observations or encounters in the comments.

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