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Ecuador’s Pale Legged Horneros (and their Tree-Top Mud Homes)

Posted in: Ecuador Animals, Ecuador Travel

Birds are so interesting! There is something so captivating about them, their beautiful colors, songs, and not to mention their ability to fly. I mean who has never wished they could spread their arms out and just take off?


Something I don’t often think about is what wonderful builders they are. They make their nests out so many interesting things, twigs, grass, bits of hair and fluff gathered from all over the place. And the skill it takes to put it all together and attach it to a tree, amazing!

Since moving to Ecuador I’ve seen a new (new to me) method and style of construction – mud.


Bird Nests Made Out Of Mud

Part of the joy of moving abroad is all of the new animals we see.

The first time I saw a nest made of mud high up in a tree I was delighted. I wondered what kind of bird made it. Not long after, on a rainy day I saw one. He was near a puddle gathering mud.

Pale-legged-hornero-mud-nest-in-tree-Ecuador Mud-pale-legged-hornero-nest-in-branches-Ecuador

It was especially nice to see one working on his nest! In the picture below you can see his darker, fresh layer of mud.


The Pale Legged Hornero

I looked up some information about this type of bird, and I believe they are Pale Legged Horneros (furnarius leucopus).

The word Hornero comes from the Spanish word for oven “el horno.” The birds got this name because their homes look like the mud ovens used in South America.


The Pale Legged Horneros can be found in Ecuador, Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Guyana, Bolivia and Peru.  


What new kinds of birds have you seen on your travels? Please share by commenting on this post.

We love seeing the mud nests of the Pale Legged Hornero.

It was a real treat to see this one building his nest! In this shot you can see the mud on his beak, it’s near the tip and down near the base where he has been picking it up and building with it.

The Pale Legged Hornero


Interested to photograph some of these areas on your trip? Here’s how to choose Best Camera for Travel

Have you seen these before? What about their distinct mud nests?

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Meet the Author

Dena Haines is co-editor of GringosAbroad - Ecuador's largest blog for expats and travelers. She is a travel blogger and content marketer. She is also co-founder of ClickLikeThis (GoPro tutorial blog) and Storyteller Media (content marketing for travel brands). Work with GringosAbroad.

1 comment… add one
  • John Aug 23, 2014, 9:42 am

    Thank you for the article and great photos. Holly and I are birders, and we have seen this bird and his nest in the Yungia Valley.

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