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Little Thornbird - BirdForum Opus

Alternative name: Doering's Thornbird

Phacellodomus sibilatrix


13-14 cm, the smallest Phacellodomus Thornbird.

  • Dull buff-whitish supercilium, rest of face dull light brownish
  • Light rufous forehead with paler shaft streaking, blending to dull brown crown and back
  • Rufous lesser wing-coverts, dull brown median and great coverts, dark brown primary coverts, faintly rufescent-tinged remiges with darker tips
  • Graduated tail, brown and rufous
  • Dingy whitish thraot and belly, blending into slightly darker breast
  • Tawny-brown tinge on flanks and undertail-coverts

Sexes similar, juveniles with darker upperparts and greyer underparts.

Similar species

Rufous-fronted Thornbird is larger and darker.


Chaco of western Paraguay to southern Bolivia, western Uruguay and northern Argentina. Recorded in Brazil (Rio Grande do Sul).
Common to uncommon in its range.


This is a monotypic species.
May form a superspecies with Rufous-fronted Thornbird.


Forest and shrubland. From near sea-level up to 2000 m.



Seen feeding on spiders, ants, beetles and grasshoppers.
Forages in pairs or in small groups, sometimes in mixed-species flocks. Gleans prey from the ground or low vegetation, up to mid-storey.


Breeding season from September to February. Presumably a monogamous species. The nest is cone-shaped and made of thorny sticks. It consists of several chambers and is suspended 1-5 m above the ground from the end of a drooping branch, often in an isolated small tree or sometimes on top of an older nest. Lays 3, sometimes 4 eggs. The nest is often usurped by other bird species.


This is a resident species.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9., with updates to August 2014. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill, F and D Donsker (Eds). 2015. IOC World Bird Names (version 5.2). Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/.
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2015)

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