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Long-billed Gnatwren - BirdForum Opus

Revision as of 19:15, 25 September 2022 by Njlarsen (talk | contribs) (t)
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Subspecies trinitatis
Photo by Steve G
Nariva rivermouth, eastern Trinidad

Alternative name: Trilling Gnatwren

Ramphocaenus melanurus


Subspecies rufiventris
Photo by Richard Broadwell
Gamboa, Panama

10.9cm long and weigh 10.3g.
Long thin bill, short cocked tail, upperparts grey-brown, with rufous on the sides of the head. The throat is white, shading to buff on the rest of the underparts. The tail is black with white tips.[3]


Central and South America: From Mexico through Central America to Panama, and from Colombia east to Venezuela, Trinidad, The Guianas, and Brazil, as well as south to Peru.


It is one of two members of the genus Ramphocaenus (Vieillot, 1819), the other being R. sticturus.


14 subspecies are recognized:

  • R. m. rufiventris: Tropical south-eastern Mexico to Panama, western Colombia, western Ecuador, and north-western Peru (Tumbes)
  • R. m. ardeleo: South East Mexico (Yucatán Peninsula) and Petén of northern Guatemala
  • R. m. sanctaemarthae: Caribbean coast of northern Colombia to north-western Venezuela (Zulia)
  • R. m. griseodorsalis: West-central Colombia (Antioquia south to Valle)
  • R. m. pallidus: North East Colombia east of Andes to northern Venezuela (east Falcón to Miranda)
  • R. m. trinitatis: Tropical eastern Colombia (Meta) to north-eastern Venezuela; Trinidad
  • R. m. albiventris: South Venezuela (east Bolívar) to the Guianas and north-eastern Brazil
  • R. m. duidae: Tropical eastern Colombia, eastern Ecuador, and southern Venezuela; probably also in extreme northern Peru and in northwestern Brazil
  • R. m. badius: South East Ecuador to north-eastern Peru (north of Río Marañón)
  • R. m. amazonum: East Peru (right bank of upper Río Ucayali) and adjacent north-western Brazil
  • R. m. austerus: East Brazil (east Pará and north Maranhão)
  • R. m. melanurus: Coastal north-east Brazil (Pernambuco to São Paulo)

Chattering Gnatwren has been split from Long-billed Gnatwren (and IOC thereafter calls the present species for Trilling Gnatwren).


A variety of forest and woodland types and present in lowland to foothill elevations.



It builds a deep cup nest very low in a small plant or sapling. Two white eggs are laid and incubated by both parents for 16-17 days to hatching, with a further 11-12 days to fledging.[3]


The diet includes mainly insects, insect eggs and spiders. [3]


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, S. M. Billerman, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2019. The eBird/Clements Checklist of Birds of the World: v2019. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Gill F, D Donsker & P Rasmussen (Eds). 2020. IOC World Bird List (v10.1). doi : 10.14344/IOC.ML.10.1. Available at http://www.worldbirdnames.org/
  3. Birdforum thread discussing taxonomy of this species
  4. Greeney, H. F., J. L. Atwood, S. Lerman, and A. J. Spencer (2020). Long-billed Gnatwren (Ramphocaenus melanurus), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (T. S. Schulenberg, B. K. Keeney, and S. M. Billerman, Editors). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.lobgna5.02
  5. Schulenberg, T. S. & Stotz, D. F. & Lane, D. F. & O'Neill, J. P. & Parker III, T. A. & Egg, A. B. (2010). Birds of Peru: Revised and Updated Edition. Princeton: Princeton University Press. ISBN 978-0691130231

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