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The Horned Woodpecker, is a very common and very popular bird in different countries and regions, it is located in Venezuela, Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay and many others, in Argentina it was declared the national bird. In the following article we will learn more about this unique bird which is known for its Nests.

The Horned Woodpecker

The Horned Woodpecker is a member of the genus Furnarius in the family Furnariidae, which is native to South America. Hornbirds are brown birds with fairly short tails and long bills. They are known for building clay nests that resemble ancient wood-burning ovens. The Spanish word “hornero” comes from horno, which means “oven”.

These nests have a single chamber construction. While many of the Furnariids have different nests, the ovenbird nest is the reason for the common name applied to the entire family; although not related to the ovenbird, which is a parulidcurruca. The exact size and shape of the ovenbird nest varies by species. They usually lay 2 to 4 eggs, although the reproductive behavior of the ovenbird bay is virtually unknown. (see article: (tixagag_16) Hornbill ).

Adult Hornbirds can very often be seen perched on top of their nest. Disregarding the rare and relatively shy Bay Gullwing, Hornbills tend to be fairly common and very conspicuous birds. They are generally noisy birds. All hornbills are partially terrestrial, and are commonly seen walking on the ground with a certain posture that is relatively upright.

The Horned Woodpecker is a national emblem of Argentina and also of Uruguay, 2 of the several countries in which it inhabits.

The Horned Woodpecker is a resident of second growth scrub and grasslands from central Brazil to western Bolivia and from south to southern Argentina. They are more noted for their nests as mentioned above for their distinctive appearance, the Horned Woodpeckers are large ovens with dark brown dorsal parts, with a light rufous supercilia and reddish breast and underparts. The Horned Woodpecker feeds predominantly on insects such as

This diet is what they capture while feeding on the ground. The Horned Woodpecker is an incredible architect that elaborates vaulted nests with mud and straw; these nests are about 20 to 30 cm in diameter and 20 to 25 cm high. The nests of the Horned Woodpecker are almost never reused by the pair that built them, which makes these nests easily accessible to other types of birds and animals as nesting and sheltering sites.


Despite recognizing that the subspecies F. leucopus cinnamomeus and F. leucopus longirostris deserve to be elevated to the rank of full species as listed by the IOC, the South American Classification Committee (SACC) rejected Proposal No. 356 due to insufficient data. Both SACC7 and Clements Checklist 6.93 continue to consider the two taxa as a subspecies of F. leucopus.


The Horned Woodpecker is a bird endemic to South America. This bird is the national bird of Argentina.

It is part of the Furnariidae family, and this species builds a nest in the shape of an oven with clay and vegetation materials, giving it its different names. Its second name in English is Red Ovenbird.

The adult male has a reddish-brown upperparts, with some pale edges on the back and rump. On the upper wing, the coverts and secondaries are reddish brown, while the primaries are a little more opaque, somewhat brownish. It is very visible to see the pale curve of the wing. The tail is relatively short.Tail feathers are darker.

On the underside, the throat is whitish, which becomes paler on the chest and paler on the abdomen. The flanks are dark colored. The tail coverts are snow-white. On the head, the forehead is reddish brown, blending into a duller brownish crown and nape. We can see an indistinct pale rufous supercilium. The malar areas are reddish. The ear coverts are darker. The chin and throat are whitish.

The beak is slender, almost straight, has a grayish or dark brown upper mandible, while the lower mandible is a little paler with a dark tip. The eyes are reddish brown to cinnamon. The legs and feet are gray, brown or sometimes even blackish. Both sexes are very similar, the young have paler underparts.

National bird of Argentina

The most common species, the Hornero Rojo ( Furnarius rufus ), has been named the national bird of Argentina, a country where it is found in great abundance. He inhabits there both in the countryside and in the cities where he shows little fear.

This species is also the national bird of Uruguay, and its second name in English is the red ovenbird. The national bird of Argentina, the ovenbird, is a member of the Furnarius genus of the Furnariidae family, which is endemic to eastern South America.

The reason for declaring this bird as the national bird is that this bird species is very common in the regions of Argentina. Besides that, in the morning, the beautiful voice of these birds encourages a person from inside.

The national symbol of Argentina, the Horned Woodpecker inhabits northern and eastern Bolivia, southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay and northern and central Argentina. The Horned Woodpecker is still common and widespread, with a population that faces no major threats and appears to be increasing and is also classified as Least Concern (LC) on the Red List of the famous IUCN organization.


There are at least 6 species of Horned Woodpeckers which are the following:


  • Pale-footed Hornbill ( Furnarius leucopus )
  • Bay Hornero (or Pale-billed Hornbill) ( Furnarius torridus )
  • Ring-tailed Hornbill ( Furnarius figulus )
  • Least Horned Hornbill ( Furnarius minor )
  • Rufous Horned Hornbill ( Furnarius rufus )
  • Crested Hornbill ( Furnarius cristatus )


Pale-legged Hornbill ( Furnarius leucopus )

The Pale-legged Hornero ( Furnarius leucopus ) is one of the bird species of the Furnariidae family. It includes al:

Which are very often considered as separate species. It is located in the regions of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Peru and also in Venezuela. It occurs in a wide range of wooded habitats, especially those near water (see article): Exotic Birds ).


Its range includes countries such as Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia in the departments of La Paz, Cochabamba, Beni and Santa Cruz, Colombia, Guyana and Brazil especially in Mato Grosso. They are common in some places.


They inhabit places where grass or shrubs predominate; in the so-called semi-arid areas that are more common along watercourses. Their habits are terrestrial and they tend to feed on insects and larvae or worms. They are found up to an altitude of 800 meters. They live alone or in pairs. These pairs never separate.

Like all birds of the genus Furnarius, they build a mud nest. The brood consists of 2 eggs.


In the Spanish language, it is often simply called Albañil. In Portuguese, it is called Casaca de Couro Amarelo. In the English language it is known as the Pale-legged Hornero.

The Pale-legged Hornero ( Furnarius Torridus )

The Bahia Hornero or Pale-billed Hornero ( Furnarius torridus ) is a species of bird also in the Furnariidae family. It is found in forested habitats along rivers, mainly in northeastern Peru and western Amazonas.

The Ring-tailed Hornero ( Furnarius Figulus )

The ring-tailed hornero, also known as the wing-banded hornero or the narrow-tailed hornero ( Furnarius figulus ), is one of the bird species of the Furnariidae family of horneroes. It is endemic to Brazil.

Its natural habitats are those that include a wide range of wooded habitats, especially those near water and around marshes. It feeds mainly on insects, other arthropods and shellfish, in short, any prey found by picking up stones and debris, and makes a cup-sized nest in places protected with grass and plant fibers.


The wing-banded hornbill exists in 2 ranges, which are separated by 1,000 km, each population representing 1 subspecies. The largest range occurs in the Northeast Atlantic and Eastern Brazil, the Northeast Region, Brazil and Caatinga, as well as in the continental regions inland part of the Cerrado.

In recent years, this population has expanded southward at least as far as Sao Paulo. The population extends upstream in a strip along the Amazon River for approximately 1,700 km, as well as southward to the upstream reaches of the Araguaia River in the adjacent Tocantins – Araguaiadrenaje River.

This strip to the south extends between 2 river systems in 1 strip that is approximately 2,400 km long; the western portion is half downstream of the Xingu River.

The Lesser Hornbill ( Furnarius Minor )

The Lesser Hornero ( Furnarius Minor ) is another species of bird of the Furnariidae family. It is closely related to the Pale-legged Hornero, and its global distribution overlaps somewhat. This species is monotypic, which means that there is only 1 subspecies.


The Least Hornbill is found in Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, along the banks of the Amazon River and some of its main tributaries. It is a river specialist, feeding and breeding mainly in river island thickets and early successional thickets along the edge of whitewater rivers and young river islands and, in Peru, the understory of Cecropia forest.

This type of successional habitat is dependent on seasonal flooding and is irregularly distributed throughout its range. It is found between 50 and 200 meters above sea level.


The Least Hornbill is a very small ovenbird, which tends to measure 12 to 13 cm in length and weighs 23 to 29 grams. The head is gray with a prominent white stripe over the eye, a white throat, a rufous rump and wings, cream-colored breast and flanks that become paler underneath. The bill is long in size and is also straight. Both sexes are very similar, and the plumage of juvenile birds has not been described.


The lesser hornero feeds on arthropods and other invertebrates. It usually hunts singly or in pairs, searching the ground, riverbank mud or low branches for prey, often feeding in dense cover.


Like the other species of its genus, it builds a mud “oven” nest in the branches of trees, and tends to cover the nest with grasses and also with hair. The clutch size is 4 eggs. Little else is known about its nesting habits, other than that it has been recorded building its nests in November and incubating in January. (see article: Diamond-backed Woodpecker ).

Rufous Horned Hornbill ( Furnarius Rufus )

The Rufous Hornero ( Furnarius Rufus ) is a medium-sized bird also of the Furnariidae family. Its location is in eastern South America, and it is the national bird in Argentina. Also known as the red ovenbird, or Hornero Rojo, it is also very common in savannas, second-growth thickets, pastures and agricultural lands and is synanthropic.

Its range includes southeastern and southern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay, and northern and central Argentina, extending as far south as northern Patagonia. The species is most closely related to the crested hornero of Paraguay and Argentina. There are 4 accepted subspecies.


The Horned Rufous is of medium size with a square tail and a very slightly curved bill. The plumage is generally reddish brown with a dull brown crown and whitish throat. The sexes are very similar and the juvenile birds are a little paler then possibly this is because they are cleaner. Rufous Hornbills feed on insects and other arthropods obtained by feeding on the ground as they walk along.

On certain occasions they feed on debris such as bread crumbs. Songs in the rufous hornbill are sexually distinct. The fast trill usually heard as part of the duet is faster in the male, slower in the female, and both beat their wings to the sides as they sing and the wings beat at the same rate as their trill. Therefore, while watching an observer can identify the sex by the speed at which they beat their wings while singing.


Rufous Hornbills have benefited from human changes in the environment and many of them inhabit highly modified habitats, such as city suburbs. In turn, abandoned Hornero nests can be beneficial to several other bird species that tend to nest in their unused “ovens”.

The Saffron Finch is a species that commonly nests in the nests of older birds. The Rufous Hornero is a familiar sight throughout much of its range and has been adopted as the national bird of Argentina and Uruguay. It is not threatened by human activities and is listed as Least Concern by the IUCN.

The Crested Hornbill ( Furnarius Cristatus )

The Crested Hornbill ( Furnarius Cristatus ) is a species of bird of the Furnariidae family. It is found in the regions of Argentina, Bolivia and Paraguay. Its natural habitat is dry subtropical or tropical scrubland.


Predators of the adult and juvenile Horned Woodpecker include raptors such as the black-chested Buteo melanoleucus, small mammals, domestic cats, and a number of snake species and possibly some lizards. However, their covered nest probably reduces the risk of predation.


The song of the Horned Woodpecker is a long series of shrill bursts of ” kweep “, which very often ends with notes that are slower and more plaintive, and are usually uttered in duet by the pair. The call includes a high-pitched ” jeet ” or ” krip “, pronounced in series. Both partners communicate with loud metallic notes.


The Horned Woodpecker is resident in its range.It frequents pastures and cultivated areas, open habitats with bare ground, second-growth scrub, parks and gardens, and can be found near dwellings. Often seen near water, such as rivers, lakes and ponds. It is seen mainly in lowlands, but also frequents dry, cultivated valleys, and locally can be seen up to 3,500 meters elevation.


The Horned Woodpecker inhabits Bolivia, southern Brazil, Paraguay, Uruguay, northern and central Argentina.


The Horned Woodpecker feeds mainly on various species of invertebrates, spiders and some seeds. The bird forages alone or in pairs. It walks while foraging, searching for invertebrates and seeds on the bare ground or among dead leaves, and often forages in the mud with its bill.

If many Furnariidae sleep at night in their nests, the Horned Woodpecker prefers to sleep among dense vegetation, but close to its nest. During the breeding season, and particularly during nest building, the pair’s mates perform some displays. To build such a nest, they need two to three months but sometimes only 2 weeks, and these displays play an important role and strengthen the pair bonds.

One of the birds is perched on top of the nest with mud in its beak. The bird is standing with wings down and bead pointing up, while its mate calls loudly from the nest entrance. These displays, both vocal and visual, and the large, conspicuous nest, are also used as advertising displays in territorial behavior.

Intruders are chased away by chasing and fighting, accompanied by loud calls. The Horned Woodpecker is often seen collecting nest materials on the ground. It is resident in its range, and pair bonds probably last longer than the breeding season.


The pair remains stable throughout life. As soon as spring arrives, the nesting chamber will house an average of four small eggs, which will be incubated by both parents alternately for 15 days. When one member of the pair returns to the nest, he announces himself by his familiar song for his wife to leave.

The Horned Woodpecker breeds in the austral summer seasons, and lays eggs between August and December, raising chicks soon after, and the young may remain in their natal territory until the next breeding season. The species is monogamous and the pair bond is long-term, sometimes lifelong.

The nest of the species is typical of the genus, a large “oven” of coarse clay placed in a tree, or man-made structures such as fence posts, telephone poles or buildings. Pairs remain together throughout the year and will work on the nest during that time; nests can be built in as little as 5 days, but usually take longer, occasionally months, to complete.

A clutch usually contains two to four eggs. Eggs are laid every other day and incubated for 14 to 18 days. Chicks are fed for 23 to 26 days before fledging; young birds remain in the parental territory for about 6 months after fledging and sometimes until the next breeding season.

Both parents incubate eggs and feed the young. Hornbills may or may not reuse nests, so it is quite common to see several nests near each other or even on top of older nests at the same nest site. However, a previously unused nest may be repaired for a new breeding season.

The nest

The nest is built by the pair, on average in 1 week. It is built from several elements that are:

Using their beaks also to form the “mortar” and deposit or in the appropriate place. The regular shape of the nests for a given species suggests that it is genetically innate. The final weight of the nest is, on average, 5 kg. It acquires considerable hardness once it is dry.

It has a rounded exterior shape with a round entrance opening located on the right side of the entrance, giving access to an access corridor that is separated, by an internal wall, from the bed or chamber in which the eggs will be incubated Each nest is used only once, as a new one will be built the following year. The nest is abandoned to whoever wishes to use it, be it another species of bird or man who often retrieves it to make an ornament, which happens frequently.

They prefer to place their nest on poles or branches, protected from the wind. And in the cities there are buildings under the cornices. They are also used to build their nests in tall palms such as palo borracho. These palms can reach up to 15 meters and their thorny trunks are an effective additional protection against predators.


The Horned Woodpecker has relatively short and rounded wings, showing its sedentary behavior and lack of aerial feeding. It only flies to move between 2 places, and only short distances at a time.


The Horned Woodpecker feeds mainly on insects and spiders, and some seeds. Invertebrates, including earthworms, snails and larvae, are taken from the ground, such as seeds. Chickens feed mainly on insects such as crickets and insect larvae. (see article: Blue Jay ).

Conservation Status

The Horned Woodpecker is common, even abundant throughout most of its range in suitable habitat. This species is not threatened at this time.

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