Family Wrens (Troglodytidae)

Least Concern

Band-backed Wren (Campylorhynchus zonatus)


French: Troglodyte zoné German: Tigerzaunkönig Spanish: Cucarachero barrado

Picolaptes zonatus


, 1832,

“California”; error = Orizaba, Veracruz, Mexico


Sometimes considered conspecific with C. albobrunneus and may hybridize with it in S Colombia; proposed race aenigmaticus (from Nariño, in SW Colombia) is possibly a hybrid between them and a DNA sample from this population proved to be sister to C. albobrunneus#R. Close relationship to C. megalopterus also postulated, although their ranges overlap with no evidence of interbreeding, and recent molecular study recovered evidence that present species is paraphyletic in relation to C. megalopterus, thus taxonomy of present species might require revision#R. Proposed race panamensis (described from WC Panama) very similar to, and intergrading with, costaricensis, considered better merged with latter. Seven subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. z. zonatus (Lesson, 1832) – E Mexico (Puebla, Veracruz).
  • C. z. restrictus (Nelson, 1901) – S Mexico (S Veracruz, N Oaxaca) S to Guatemala and Belize.
  • C. z. vulcanius (Brodkorb, 1940) – S Mexico (Chiapas) S to NW El Salvador and C Nicaragua.
  • C. z. costaricensis Berlepsch, 1888 – Caribbean slope of Costa Rica S to WC Panama.
  • C. z. curvirostris Ridgway, 1888 – Santa Marta region of N Colombia.
  • C. z. brevirostris Lafresnaye, 1845 – N & NC Colombia (except Santa Marta) and NW Ecuador.
  • C. z. imparilis Borrero & Hernández, 1958 – NE Colombian lowlands.
  • Descriptive notes

    18–19 cm; 28·3–39·5 g. Distinctive wren with heavily spotted chest, bright cinnamon belly and prominently barred back. Nominate race has crown speckled blackish-... read more


    Song a jumbled series of harsh scratchy notes, usually in phrases of c. 2–3 seconds with... read more


    Very varied. Lowland humid forest, forest edge and disturbed areas; at higher altitudes, both in... read more

    Food and feeding

    Food appears to be mostly invertebrates. Forages at all levels; prises apart loose tree bark and lichens, sometimes while hanging head... read more


    Egg-laying Mar–Aug; double-brooded in lowlands, one brood at higher altitudes. Co-operative breeder. Nest, built by male or by both... read more


    Sedentary; no evidence of even altitudinal movement.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Common or abundant in much of its range. Occurs in rather broad range of habitats; seems able to tolerate substantial modification of habitat.

    Recommended citation

    Kroodsma, D. & Brewer, D. (2019). Band-backed Wren (Campylorhynchus zonatus). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from on 19 April 2019).