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Brown Trembler - BirdForum Opus

Photo by njlarsen
Dominica, December 2003
Cinclocerthia ruficauda



  • Dark olive brown upperparts
  • Grey-brown underparts
  • Black-brown crown
  • Rufous rump
  • Orange-brown belly
  • Light yellow iris
  • Long, slender, decurved black bill
  • Brown legs

Juvenile: spotted breasts.


Endemic to the islands of Saba, Barbuda, St Kitts and Nevis, Montserrat, Guadeloupe, Dominica, St. Vincent & Grenada in the Lesser Antilles.

Does not occur in St. Lucia and Martinique contrary to the claims in some books. Several recent reports indicate presence on Antigua.


Hunt et al. 2001 present results that indicate that the Brown Tremblers from Guadeloupe/Montserrat (and probably from islands north of there) and the ones from Dominica/St. Vincent probably represent two different species, both separate from the already widely accepted Gray Trembler.


Four subspecies are recognized:

  • C. r. pavida:
  • C. r. tremula:
  • Guadeloupe (Lesser Antilles)
  • C. r. ruficauda:
  • C. r. tenebrosa:
  • St. Vincent (Lesser Antilles)


Main habitat is wet forest, sometimes found in second growth, edges, and drier habitat.


Famous for its trembling, which looks similar to the behavior young birds of some other species (e.g. House Sparrow) make when they beg for food or which females make at initiation of mating. However, the Brown Trembler trembles a lot more and in other situations as well.


  1. Clements, JF. 2009. The Clements Checklist of Birds of the World. 6th ed., with updates to December 2009. Ithaca: Cornell Univ. Press. ISBN 978-0801445019.

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