SPECIES

Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus

Harold F. Greeney, Jonathan L. Atwood, Susannah B. Lerman, and Andrew J. Spencer
Version: 2.0 — Published July 16, 2020

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Adult (Long-billed)
Adult (rufiventris Group)
Adult (Long-billed)
Adult (rufiventris Group)
Adult (rufiventris Group)
Nestling of Long-billed Gnatwren (subspecies rufiventris).
Possible Juvenile Long-billed Gnatwren (subspecies rufiventris).

Juvenile Plumage thought to be similar to Adult Plumage, but duller and less contrasting.

Long-billed Gnatwren (subspecies rufiventris).

Head, breast, and flanks are tawny cinnamon. The crown and nape are a dull chocolate brown, becoming grayer brown on the scapulars, back, and rump. The face is uniformly cinnamon/tawny with an indistinct dusky eyestripe, and thin buffy eyering. The throat is white, with indistinct streaks. The center of the belly and undertail coverts are whitish. The tail is blackish with all but the central rectrices tipped white; the tips of the outermost rectrices being most extensive. The wings have a slightly more olive-brown cast than the upperparts; the coverts with darker centers.

Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies rufiventris).

Subspecies rufiventris is similar to the nominate form but is grayer above with a more contrasting crown and more prominent white tips on the tail feathers. Below it is more buffy than nominate melanurus.

Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies rufiventris).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies rufiventris).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies ardeleo).

This subspecies is very similar to rufiventris, but has a smaller bill and is paler overall (especially on the breast, sides of head, and upper parts).

Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies ardeleo).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies ardeleo).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies sanctaemarthae).

Subspecies sanctaemarthae is overall paler and browner than rufiventris and the nominate subspecies. Particularly when compared with rufiventris, sanctaemarthae is also larger and less rufescent, with the back in particular being browner, not as gray as in rufiventris.

Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies sanctaemarthae).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies sanctaemarthae).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies pallidus).

Palest of subspecies. It is most similar to trinitatis, but significantly paler below (almost pure white), with the sides and flanks only very lightly washed with buff. The upperparts are less rufescent, and the mantle is smoky gray.

Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies trinitatis).

Subspecies trinitatis is most similar to the nominate form, but differs in the smoky or earthy brown coloration of the back that contrasts with the decidedly rufescent crown, and also by the more richly ochraceous sides of the head and neck.

Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies trinitatis).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies albiventris).

Subspecies albiventris is similar to trinitatis, but differs from both trinitatis and nominate melanurus in having the whole undersurface pure white, with the innermost portions of the flanks pale gray. The sides of the head are whitish with a pale buff wash to the posterior portions of the ear coverts and an ochraceous buff tinge to the sides of the neck.

Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies albiventris).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies amazonum).

Subspecies amazonum is similar to albiventris, sharing with it the cheeks and ear-coverts pale brownish streaked with whitish. It is larger than albiventris and much darker brown on the upperparts, completely lacking rufous on the nape and sides of the neck, leaving the top of the head a dull sepia brown like the back. The sides of the neck are much paler than in albiventris, approaching creamy buff.

Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies amazonum).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies amazonum).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies austerus).

Closely resembling nominate melanurus, subspecies austerus is similar to that form in having bright ochraceous lateral under parts, but the upperparts are much duller, grayish instead of tawny. Similarly, the present subspecies differs from amazonum in being much grayer above. In addition, the bright flanks of austerus separate it from the duller amazonum.

Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies melanurus).

In the nominate subspecies, the top of the head and mantle are bright russet brown, the with the back scarcely, if any, paler than the crown. The cheeks and ear-coverts are rufescent-buff, while the sides of the neck are a much deeper ochraceous buff. The sides of the breast and belly are also deep ochraceous buff .

Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies melanurus).
Long-billed Gnatwren (presumed subspecies melanurus).
Long-billed Gnatwren on nest.
Long-billed Gnatwren on nest.

The nest is an open cup-shaped structure built of leaf strips, dried grasses, bark, and similar materials, twigs, flexible rootlets, dark fibers, and moss.

Long-billed Gnatwren with tick.

Recommended Citation

Greeney, H. F., J. L. Atwood, S. B. 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