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Rufous hornero

Furnarius rufus
Photo by Dario Sanches (Flickr)

Common name:
rufous hornero (en); joão-de-barro (pt); fournier roux (fr); hornero cómun (es); rosttöpfer (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

This South American species is found in Bolivia, much of southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern and central Argentina.
The rufous hornero is 18-20 cm long and weighs around 50 g.
They are found in a wide variety of arid, open habitats, often near streams, rivers or lakes, and also near human settlements and roads. They can be found up to an altitude of 3.500 m.
The rufous hornero is a ground forager, mostly eating insects, worms and possibly molluscs. They ocasionally also take vegetable matter, such as seeds and fruit.
These birds breed in August-December. They build an elaborate oven-shaped mud nest, generally placed on a tree, fence posts or telephone pole. The internal nest cavity is accessed through a side-hole entrance. The nesting structure is used once and then abandoned, although disused nests may persist for several years and are often used by other species. The female lays 2-4 eggs which are incubated by both parents for 14-18 birds. The chicks are fed by both parents and fledge 23-26 days after hatching, but remain in the parental territory for around 6 months.
IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
The rufous hornero has a very large breeding range and is described as common and widespread. This population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat.
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