Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Aphrastura spinicauda (4)

photo: Flickr user José

Thorn-tailed Rayadito, Aphrastura spinicauda (3)

photo: Flickr user Diego Alberto Reyes Arellano

Habitat: central and southern Chile and the adjacent extreme western edge of Argentina
Status: Least Concern

A tiny but beautiful bird, the 5.5 in long  Thorn-tailed Rayadito (Aphrastura spinicauda) is a very common bird in the temperate forests of Chile. It’s known for its black and rust-colored “thorn-tail” which sports twelve feathers ending in sharp, pointy spikes. Instead of being used to aid in tree-climbing (as with other members of the family) the tail is relied on to attract a mate during courtship.

Now, the peculiar thing about these birds is that they have an extreme amount of energy. Like, all the time. If I was to come back as an animal in my next life, I most certainly would not be a Thorn-tailed Rayadito. I’d probably be something more along the lines of a slow loris, cute and sweet by all appearances but if you mess with me I’d whip out my poisonous armpit sacks so fast you’d have your head spinning. 🙂

Anyways, the Thorn-tailed Rayadito, as I said, appears to have had a major injection of caffeine at some point during its day. They’re exclusively insectivorous so I’m wondering if bugs might be the new EXTREME ENERGY (say that in a very gruff, manly voice) enhancement coming soon to a store near you. See what I mean in the video below:

See? They’re jumping around and that call is going tweet-tweet-tweet-tweet so fast I can’t even keep up. Apparently Thorn-tailed Rayaditos have a few types of calls they use:

  1. A loud trill
  2. An alarm call, described as a scolding “tsii…tsii…tsii”
  3. A softer repetitive trill “trrrrrreet”
  4. A chorus call used during the nonbreeding season

I just picture males during the mating season flashing that spikey tail and quickly trilling off pick-up lines. “Heyprettychickyyoulookinrealfineletsgograbsomegrasshoppersyadig?”