Family Wrens (Troglodytidae)

Least Concern

Canebrake Wren (Cantorchilus zeledoni)


French: Troglodyte de Zeledon German: Zeledonzaunkönig Spanish: Cucarachero de Zeledón

Thryophilus zeledoni


, 1878,

Talamanca, Costa Rica


Frequently treated as a race of C. modestus, and assertion in HBW that “the two differ substantially in plumage and song” is exaggerated; in fact present species maintains species rank on account of its generally greyer crown and back (1); paler, less fulvous flanks (1); slightly larger size (effect size for tarsus based on published evidence#R 2.1, score 2); and a fairly different duetting song, the female covering a wide frequency range and the male a very narrow one, with clearly more curly, not dagger-shaped notes as in both races of C. modestus (3)#R. Monotypic.

What do (1) and (2) mean? Learn more about the scoring system.

Caribbean drainage from E & SE Nicaragua (Greytown, Los Sábalos) S to W Panama (Bocas del Toro).

Descriptive notes

14 cm. Has white supercilium contrasting sharply with grey crown and with grey-brown eyestripe; ear-coverts mottled grey and off-white; upperparts brownish-grey, becoming... read more


Sexes sing in complex duet, with three main components, each distinctive in structure: rapid and... read more


Second growth, regenerating farmland and wild canebrakes; absent from virgin forest. Sea-level to... read more

Food and feeding

No data on food items. Forages in lower levels of dense undergrowth.


Following details mostly from study of ringed population (21 pairs, 11 nests located) in Costa Rica, Mar–Aug. Nest ovoid, dimensions... read more


Apparently sedentary.

Status and conservation

Not globally threatened. Quite common in parts of its range. Seems to adapt well to moderately disturbed habitat.

Recommended citation

Kroodsma, D. & Brewer, D. (2019). Canebrake Wren (Cantorchilus zeledoni). 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 17 February 2019).