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The Nava’s Wren has a restricted range in easternmost Veracruz, with additional records from one site in western Chiapas and two in eastern Oaxaca, and is thus endemic to southern Mexico. Like the formerly conspecific Sumichrast’s Wren (Hylorchilus sumichrasti), this is long-billed, principally brown wren, which is barred lightly with black on wings, and has a whitish throat and upper breast, and white scalloping on the belly. Also like the latter species, it is principally restricted to limestone outcrops within primary lowland evergreen forest, which habitat is naturally patchy in occurrence, although the species seems fortunately able to survive in small patches of forest. Its tiny range has led to the species being listed as Vulnerable by BirdLife International.
16 cm; female 29·3 g. Has tawny-brown face , greyish lores; crown and upperparts dark, rich brown, remiges faintly barred blackish; throat and upper chest whitish , becoming pale grey on lower chest, with faint scalloping; flanks dark sooty brown, vent dusky grey-brown; eye brown; bill blackish, pale orange-yellow base of lower mandible; legs dark grey. Sexes similar. Juvenile undescribed.
S Mexico: confined to very limited area in SE Veracruz and W Chiapas and, very marginally, NE Oaxaca.
Forest on outcrops of karst limestone; c. 75–800 m. In contrast to H. sumichrasti, seems to require undisturbed forest; no evidence of colonization of secondary habitat.
Diet and Foraging
No data on food; probably largely or wholly invertebrates. Forages on rocky ground and in crevices on rock faces.
Sounds and Vocal Behavior
Song described as a varied, often stuttering warble of mellow whistles, sometimes introduced by few slightly accelerating soft notes and terminating in strongly upslurred note; quite different from song of H. sumichrasti, and neither responds to tape recordings of the other’s song. Female’s song only recently described, an introductory note followed by rapid series of 8 or more loud whistles, appears to be used agonistically; not highly co-ordinated with that of male (in contrast to many tropical troglodytids), usually overlaps with male’s song, but may start nearbeginning, middle or end of it, somewhat at random.Call a metallic “tink”, quite distinct from calls of its congener.
VULNERABLE. Restricted-range species: present in Los Tuxtlas and Uxpanapa EBA. Total range only c. 4800–4900 km², within which suitable habitat covers much smaller area; intervening areas between isolated forested outcrops of karst limestone now largely deforested for agriculture, leaving remaining habitat highly fragmented. Currently known from six sites in E Veracruz, one in W Chiapas and two in NE Oaxaca. Some of its range is protected by the Selva El Ocote Biosphere Reserve, although this contains very little suitable habitat and the species is not present at many sites there; a more important reserve would be the proposed Chimalapas-Uxpanapa Biosphere Reserve. Although the outcrops themselves are unsuitable for agriculture, firewood-gathering at unprotected sites is a significant threat. It has been suggested that the species should more properly be categorized as Endangered.