Chilean Mockingbird Mimus thenca Scientific name definitions

Natacha González, Vicente Pantoja, Maria Jesus S. Mallea, Matías Garrido, Antoine Touret, Angélica Almónacid, Heraldo V. Norambuena, and Fernando Medrano
Version: 2.0 — Published March 3, 2023


Systematics History

Turdus thenca Molina, 1782, Saggio sulla storia naturale del Chili.—Chile (17).

This species has gone through several generic changes, but is now considered Mimus by most modern checklists. Several junior synonyms have been identified, including Orpheus australis Lesson, Orpheus thenca d'Orbigny, and Mimus thenka Pelzeln (18).

Geographic Variation

Using museum skins, Hellmayr identified birds from Aconcagua and northwards as paler, less brownish above with hardly any cinnamon suffusion in the rump, less buffy underneath and with the chest washed with grayish. It is not clear if this variation is seasonal or due to molting (19). Upon examination of images available in Macaulay Library, similar trends can be found. For instance, individuals from their southernmost area of distribution have darker, more heavily marked colors compared to those from Central and Northern Chile. However, this does not apply for all individuals (see: ). Further studies are needed to provide a better understanding of geographic variation in plumage.



Related Species

Chilean Mockingbird belongs to the Mimidae family, a passerine family composed of 35 species and distributed in the new world from Canada to Patagonia. The species-level multilocus molecular phylogenies available of Mimidae (20, 21, 22) suggests that Chilean Mockingbird is part of the genus Mimus that includes 14 species. Within the genus Mimus, the Chilean Mockingbird is sister to the Patagonian Mockingbird (Mimus patagonicus) (22), and both species are sister to a clade that include the Brown-backed Mockingbird (Mimus dorsalis) , White-banded Mockingbird (Mimus triurus) and Chalk-browed Mockingbird (Mimus saturninus) all from the Andes or eastern and southern South America. This clade of five species corresponds to a recently radiated clade endemic to South America (22). Given the Mimus phylogenetic relationship with Oreoscoptes, this group's most likely colonization was from North America to South America (see 20, 22).


Not recorded (23).


Known as "Tenca" in Chile and Argentina, coming from “Trenca", "Chrengca" or "Petrenque" in the Mapuzungun indigenous language (24).

Fossil History

Information needed.

Recommended Citation

González, N., V. Pantoja, M. J. S. Mallea, M. Garrido, A. Touret, A. Almónacid, H. V. Norambuena, and F. Medrano (2023). Chilean Mockingbird (Mimus thenca), version 2.0. In Birds of the World (N. D. Sly, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/bow.chimoc1.02