The Rufous Hornero: The National Bird of Argentina

The rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus)
© Rob Jansen/

Written by Cindy Rasmussen

Published: December 12, 2022

Share on:


Argentina has more than 1,000 species of birds. This South American country has a diverse landscape of habitats from the ocean coast to the Andes Mountains. There is a mix of forests, marshlands, grasslands and deserts. Birds like toucans and Tucuman-Mountain Finch are found in northern Argentina, southern screamers and Olog’s gulls can be found near the capitol of Buenos Aires and in southern Argentina there are Patagonian Tinamou and Magellanic penguins. With so many amazing and unique birds how do you choose just one to represent your country? Let’s find out all about the national bird of Argentina.

What is the National Bird of Argentina?

The national bird of Argentina is the rufous hornero. The rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) is also called the red ovenbird because of the unique oven-like nests that they make. Their name is the Spanish word “hornero” which means baker. Rufous horneros can adapt to living in a variety of habitats including urban settings making them a common bird in Argentina.

The rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) is the national bird of Argentina.

The national bird of Argentina is the rufous hornero (

Furnarius rufus


©Claudio Xavier/

What does the National Bird of Argentina Symbolize?

The national bird of Argentina symbolizes unity, strength and freedom. The rufous hornero is hardworking and has a beautiful easy to recognize song. They also mate for life and are dedicated to seeing that their offspring carry on the species. The rufous hornero is a regal bird that represents its country well.

What does a Rufous Hornero Look Like?

Rufous horneros are a medium-sized bird that has reddish brown feathers with a slightly lighter chest. Their tail feathers have a square end and they have prominent black eyes. While sometimes male and female birds of the same species look very different, like the bright red male cardinal and the light brown female cardinal, both male and female rufous horneros look the same. Males are a little larger than the females but they look quite similar. They get to be 7-8 inches tall and weigh around 1-2 ounces.

Rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) is Argentina's national bird

Rufous hornero (

Furnarius rufus

) are a medium-sized bird that has reddish brown feathers with a slightly lighter chest.

©Joab Souza/

Where do Rufous Hornero Live?

The rufous hornero can be found from the southern area of Brazil down to the northern areas of Argentina. They don’t mind urban areas but can also be found in rural pastures and fields. Horneros are often called ovenbirds because of the way they make their nests. They do not just pile up a bunch of twigs but pull together mud and vegetation to make a nest that forms an oven-like nest. That is how they get their name “horneros” meaning “baker” since they create a nest that is like an oven.

Why are Rufous Hernero Called “Ovenbirds”?

Rufous hernero’s make their nest out of twigs and mud. They work hard to collect mud and branches and put it all together to form a clay-like nest. The nest bakes in the sun and creates a safe place for the birds to nest. These warm nests also make an ideal place for eggs to incubate. Typically a pair of horneros will live in a nest for about a year before making a new one or moving into an unoccupied nest of a previous couple.

Rufous hornero, ovenbird, creates a nest like an oven

Rufous horneros are often called ovenbirds because they create a nest using mud and branches that is like an oven.


Is the Rufous Hornero Endangered?

No. The rufous hornero is not an endangered animal. According to the IUCN Red List the hornero is considered an animal of “Least Concern”. Due to its large range and adaptability they have a healthy population and continue to be increasing in population size.

What Animals Live in Argentina?

Some of the most common animals in Argentina are deer, squirrels, bats and armadillos, similar to North America. But there are also guanaco (llama-like animal), caimens, tapirs, ocelots, jaguars and cascabel (South American rattlesnake). Along the coast you will find areas where there are sea lions, and the hefty-sized elephant seals.

Magellanic penguins also make their home in Argentina along the Patagonia coast. There are around 60 colonies of these penguins that come ashore for breeding. Rockhopper penguins also nest in Patagonia and can be found in the Falkland Islands. Both Magellanic and rockhopper populations are being monitored due to the effects of climate change. Southern rockhoppers are considered “Vulnerable” by the IUCN and decreasing in numbers. Temperature changes affect the availability of food for the penguins and rockhoppers seem to be sensitive to changes in the ocean water temps. Researchers monitor the penguins at Staten Island, Falklands, Marion and Campbell Islands.

Magellanic Penguins are common in Argentina

Magellanic penguins also make their home in Argentina along the Patagonia coast.

©David / Creative Commons – Original

What Animals are Featured on the Argentine Currency?

There are six animals featured on the Argentine currency. The new banknote series was released over several years from 2016-2018. The first two releases were the southern right whale on the ARS200 banknote and the jaguar on the ARS500 banknote. The southern right whale can be found in the Argentine Sea, Antarctica and South Atlantic Islands and jaguars are found in the northeaster area of the country.

In 2107 the next two currencies featured the national bird, the rufous hornero on the ARS1000 banknote. The head of the hornero is in the middle of the bill with ornamental flowers below it. The second release in 2017 was the guanaco, which looks much like a llama. In 2018 the Andean Condor, a larger black condor that can soar for miles on air currents and the Taruca, or north Andean deer is a deer-like animal that is found along the Andean mountains were featured.

What is the National Animal of Argentina?

The national animal of Argentina is the rufous hornero. So not only is it the national bird but it also holds the place of respect as being the national animal.

The rufous hornero (Furnarius rufus) is also the national animal of Argentina.

The rufous hornero is not only the national bird, but it is also the national animal of Argentina.

©Fernando Calmon/

Is the Rufous Hornero Featured on the Argentina World Cup (Soccer) Jersey?

No. Unfortunately the national bird is not displayed on the World Cup Jersey. The Sol de Mayo, golden sun and national emblem of Argentina is on the jerseys, on the back just below the neckline. The Sol de Mayo is also the center of the Argentina flag. The emblem on the front of the jersey is the AFA symbol that represents the Argentine Football Association.

Up Next

Share this post on:
About the Author

I'm a Wildlife Conservation Author and Journalist, raising awareness about conservation by teaching others about the amazing animals we share the planet with. I graduated from the University of Minnesota-Morris with a degree in Elementary Education and I am a former teacher. When I am not writing I love going to my kids' soccer games, watching movies, taking on DIY projects and running with our giant Labradoodle "Tango".

Thank you for reading! Have some feedback for us? Contact the AZ Animals editorial team.