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Musician wren: the mysterious singer of the forest

Are you ready to be entranced by a bird that is no bigger than 5 inches? In the Brazilian Rainforest there are a specie of a stunning bird called Musician wren which sings a song so beautiful and elaborate that the native tribes claim that all the other birds stop mid-song to listen. It’s a bird of luck, they also claim.  Called Uirapuru in the Tupi-guarani language (language spoken by the native Tupi people of Brazil), Heitor Villa-Lobos composed the song Uirapuru in homage to the bird’s magical song. Furthermore, according to composer and musicologist Emily Doolittle, research has discovered passages of the Musician wren’s song strikingly similar to excerpts of compositions by Bach and Haydn. Click here to read this article  Coincidence?  Probably, but the similarities are fascinating.

Besides being incredible singers, the Musician wren is striking in appearance and makes a worthwhile target for birders visiting this region of the world. There are over 30 species of Uirapurus and the species range extends from Brazil, Venezuela and Colombia all the way south to Ecuador and Bolivia. But beware, this is a rainforest habitant which brings certain challenges to the casual birder. These birds live in the lower part of the forest and despite being quite numerous, birders find the Musician wren challenging to observe and photograph. Even listening for its famous song proves a difficult task because they only sing for a short period of the year. This occurs predictably during mating season and birders and wild-life photographers alike know that it only lasts between 15 or 20 days in mid-September to October (which puts it right in the range of our all-female Amazon Adventure!). They only sing in the early morning for a period of a little more than 10 minutes and for the rest of the day they simply make tiny chirps. Due to all this mystery surrounding the song of the Uirapuru, birders, photographers and ornithologists have become quite obsessed with documenting this incredible bird. Maybe the legend is true. Maybe we all become enchanted by this beautiful bird’s sweet song.

Video: Claudio Timm

Video: Alexandre Bianco

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Apr 03

I can't wait, counting down for September!!

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