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Giant antshrike

Batara cinerea

Photo by Bruno Rennó (Flickr)

Common name:
giant antshrike (en); matracão (pt); batara géant (fr); batará gigante (es); riesen-ameisenwürger (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Thamnophilidae

This species has 3 subspecies with disjunct distributions. B.c. cinerea is found in south-eastern Brazil, from Espírito Santo to Rio Grande do Sul, and marginally across the border into Argentina. B. c. argentina is found in eastern Bolivia, western Paraguay and north-eastern Argentina. B.c. excubitor is found along the eastern slopes of the Andes, from central Bolivia to northern Argentina.

The largest of all antshrikes, these birds are 27-35 cm long and weigh 100-155 g.

The giant antshrike is mostly found in the understorey and mid-storey of moist tropical forests, both in lowland and mountainous areas, but also use moist savannas, dry scrublands, and rivers and streams. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 2.600 m.

They feed on large insects, such as beetles, and spiders, as well as snails and slugs, and small vertebrate such as frogs, small rodents, small lizards and snakes, and young birds.

Giant antshrikes are monogamous and mate for life. They breed in October-December and nest in a large cup placed in a fork in a small tree or scrub, 1-3 m above the ground. The female lays 2 eggs, which she incubates alone, but the chicks are fed by both parents. there is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledgling periods.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a large breeding range but is described as uncommon. This population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats, and there are several seemingly healthy populations in several large parks and reserves in Brazil, among them Itatiaia, Serra dos Órgãos, Aparados da Serra and Iguaçu.

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