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L. 14.5cm (5.75 in)
Very long bill for probing in rock crevices.
It is most conclusively identified by habitat and song.
The only species in genus Catherpes.
Between 3 and 9 subspecies are recognised, depending on the authority:
Canyons, especially with year-round water. Also inhabits cliffs and rock formations.
Bobs when perched, cocks tail over back.
Nests in cracks in rock walls, flying rapidly and expertly into narrow crevices. Utilizes favorite temporary perches, often repeating the same sequence of flights and landings when returning to the nest.
Forages for food (insects and spiders) among rocks.
Song: Distinct: a descending series of notes that gradually slows in cadence as each note (Peuw) increases in length. The song can be repeated several times in a minute, and often echoes from the canyon walls, rendering it an integral part of the habitat in which it lives. Reminiscent of a wind-up toy that gradually runs down.
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