Rufous-breasted spinetail

Rufous-breasted spinetail
Synallaxis erythrothorax

Photo by Michael Retter (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
rufous-breasted spinetail (en); joão-teneném-de-peito-ruivo (pt); synallaxe à poitrine rousse (fr); pijuí centroamericano (es); rotbrust-dickichtschlüpfer (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

This species is found in two disjunct populations, one along the Atlantic slopes of Central America from south-eastern Mexico to north-western Honduras, and another along the Pacific slopes of south-eastern Chiapas, in Mexico, southern Guatemala, and El Salvador.

These birds are 13-15,5 cm long and weigh 15-19 g.

The rufous-breasted spinetail is found in densely vegetated habitats, including secondary forests, scrublands, the edges of lowland rainforests and swamps. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 750 m.

They are mostly insectivorous, plucking adult insects, caterpillars and spiders from the foliage on taking them from the ground. They also eat small berries.

Rufous-breasted spinetails breed in April-September. The nest  is a large, domed structure with an entrance in the small end, attaching to a tunnel that leads to the nest chamber at the large end. It is made of sticks and placed on an horizontal branch of a small tree or scrub, usually 2-4 m above the ground and near a water source such as a stream. The female lays 2-4 white or pale blue eggs, which are incubated by both sexes for 17-18 days. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 14-16 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and a global population estimated at 50.000-500.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats and they seem to be able to adapt to secondary habitats, thus being less affected by deforestation than other species more associated with primary rainforests.

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