Longbilled gnatwren

Ramphocaenus melanurus

SUBFAMILY

Polioptilinae

TAXONOMY

Ramphocaenus melanurus Vieillot, 1819. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Microbate a long bec; German: Schwarzschwanz-Degenschnabler; Spanish: Chirito Picón.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

4.75 in (12 cm); .3-.4 oz (8.5-10 g). A small, distinctive bird with a long, cocked tail and long, pale slender bill. Tawny brown above, whitish below, with buffy wash on face, sides of breast and flanks. Tail dusky black, with white-tipped outer feathers.

DISTRIBUTION

Neotropical. Lowlands (to 4,900 ft [1500 m]) from Yucatan south through Central America and northern South America to central Brazil, also east coast of Brazil, west of Andes to coastal Ecuador.

HABITAT

Undergrowth and thickets in deciduous forest and forest edges, and humid forest interior; vine tangle.

BEHAVIOR

Very active. Solitary or in pairs. Song is a clear musical trill. Male tail fanning and lateral tail movements probably function as territorial or mate-attraction displays.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages for insects in low undergrowth, sometimes joins mixed foraging flocks.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Nest is loose, deep cup of leaves, grasses and other plant materials located near the ground. Both parents incubate the two eggs (17 days), and feed the young. Fledging occurs after 12-15 days.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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