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Chestnut-backed antbird

Myrmeciza exsul

Photo by Ned Haight (Neotropical Birds)

Common name:
chestnut-backed antbird (en); formigueiro-de-corso-castanho (pt); alapi à dos roux (fr); hormiguero dorsicastaño (es); braunrücken-ameisenvogel (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Thamnophilidae

This species is found from Guatemala south to western Colombia and Ecuador.

These birds are 14 cm long and weigh 24-32 g.

The chestnut-backed antbird is mostly found on the understorey of mature evergreen rainforests, but can also occur in second growths, abandoned plantations and drier forests. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.200 m.

They feed on a variety of invertebrates, including beetles such as Cerambycidae, Curculionidae, Carabidae, Chrysomelidae, cockroaches and their eggs, grasshoppers, crickets, earwigs, bugs, caterpillars, spiders, centipedes and mantids. They occasionally also take small frogs and lizards, phasmids and a few seeds. Sometimes they follow army ant swarms to hunt.

Chestnut-backed antbirds are monogamous. The nest is an untidy open cup made of dead leaves, rootlets, dead ferns and moss, and lined with rhizomorphs. There the female lays 1-2 whitish eggs with brown or purplish blotches, which are incubated by both parents for about 16 days. The are fed by both parents and fledge 11 days after hatching.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be in decline owing to ongoing habitat destruction, but it is not considered threatened at present.

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