The Rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) is a species of bird in the Furnariidae family. It is also found in Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical high-altitude shrubland.
It has a reddish-brown body with black wings, tail and head. It has a long beak and yellow eyes. The male has a black crown while the female does not have this feature.
Scientific name: Furnarius rufus
Higher classification: Hornero
This is an attractive and beautiful bird, its head, neck, back and wings are dark brownish black with a white stripe at the base of its tail. The chest and belly are light brownish red to rusty-red in color with dark streaking. The bill is long and pointed and legs and feet are also dark brownish black in color.
The male Rufous Hornero is black with a red belly, throat and beak. The female has a greyish-brown back and breast with a buff belly and rust-colored wings. The average length of this bird is about 20 cm (8 inches) from beak to tail tip and weighs about 65 grams (2 ounces).
Facts about Rufous Hornero
- The Rufous is the official and native animal in Argentina.
- The Rufous Hornero is found in Australia and New Guinea. It is one of the most common species of birds found in the rainforests of northern Queensland.
- They feed on insects, spiders and fruit which it finds by probing into crevices with its bill.
- It has an unusual method of catching ants – it uses its tongue to flick them into its mouth!
- They are found in montane forests at altitudes of 1500 – 3000 metres above sea level.
- They fly very fast and have a loud call that can be heard from far distances.
- They eat insects and other small animals like worms, fruit and seeds.
- It has a lifespan of around 20 years, which is longer than most birds.
- The Rufous Hornero nests in tree hollows or cracks in cliffs, laying two to three eggs between September and November each year.
Why is Rufous Hornero the national animal of Argentina?
The Rufous Hornero is a national symbol of Argentina. It is found in all regions of Argentina and it’s a very common bird here. It has been used in several Argentinean logos, such as those of the Argentine Football Association and the National University of La Plata
The Rufous Hornero is also called ‘gavilán’ (hawk) by many people because of its hawk-like looks. The Rufous Hornero is known for their strong, territorial behavior and their loud calls that can be heard from miles away.
It was also chosen because it represents Argentina’s natural beauty as well as its diverse culture. The hornero symbolizes abundance and fertility for Argentina, as well as strength, courage and determination.