Family Wrens (Troglodytidae)

Least Concern

Musician Wren (Cyphorhinus arada)


French: Troglodyte arada German: Orpheuszaunkönig Spanish: Cucarachero musical

Myrm[ornis]. arada


, 1783,

Cayenne, French Guiana


Has been regarded as conspecific with C. phaeocephalus (which see). NE nominate race (Guianas centre of endemism) the most distinctive morphologically, but part-matched by E race griseolateralis S of Amazon (Tapajós centre); adjacent interpositus (Rondônia centre) has different head pattern but shares grey belly with previous two; races modulator (Inambari centre), salvini (Napo centre) and transfluvialis (Imeri centre) resemble interpositus but have tawny underparts, each differing rather subtly from the other; songs of all races show moderate degrees of divergence#R#R#R but variation considerable, hence exhaustive analysis needed if real distinctions to be demonstrated; nevertheless, each subspecies is genetically well marked#R#R, and further research may result in revised species limits. Races urbanoi and faroensis, recognized in HBW, have been proposed as synonyms as their diagnostic characters sit within the plumage variation of nominate#R; this view accepted here. Species name often emended to aradus but must remain invariable because from a local native language, not Latin. Six subspecies recognized.

Subspecies and Distribution
  • C. a. arada (Hermann, 1783) – Guianan Musician Wren – E & SE Venezuela, the Guianas and NE Brazil (E from lower R Negro, S to Amazon).
  • C. a. transfluvialis (Todd, 1932) – Imeri Musician Wren – base of E Andes in S Colombia (Caquetá) E to NW Brazil (E to R Negro).
  • C. a. salvini Sharpe, 1882 – Napo Musician Wren – S Colombia (Putumayo), E Ecuador and NE Peru (Loreto).
  • C. a. modulator (d’Orbigny, 1838) – Inambari Musician Wren – lowlands of E Peru, W Brazil (E, S of Amazon, to R Madeira) and N Bolivia.
  • C. a. interpositus (Todd, 1932) – Rondonia Musician Wren – NC Brazil from R Madeira E to R Tapajós, S to N Mato Grosso.
  • C. a. griseolateralis Ridgway, 1888 – Tapajos Musician Wren – S bank of lower Amazon E of R Tapajós, S to R Jamanxim (Brazil).
  • Descriptive notes

    12·5 cm; 18–24 g. Nominate race has forehead and forecrown rufous, becoming chestnut-brown on rear crown; postocular supercilium pale buff narrowly bordered... read more


    Song, produced antiphonally by both sexes, is a series of clear, haunting whistles, varying greatly... read more


    Lower levels of humid forest; in várzea in Brazil. Mostly sea-level to 500 m;... read more

    Food and feeding

    Mostly invertebrates; recorded prey items include caterpillars, beetles (Coleoptera), spiders (Araneae), millipedes (Diplopoda) and... read more


    Season quite protracted; eggs in Jul in Guyana, and fledged young in late Jul and nest with small young in Sept in Suriname. Nest roughly... read more


    Apparently sedentary.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened. Generally uncommon to fairly common over its sizeable range. Although much of its habitat has been destroyed or rendered unsuitable, large areas... read more

    Recommended citation

    Kroodsma, D. & Brewer, D. (2018). Musician Wren (Cyphorhinus arada). 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 December 2018).