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Rufous-fronted thornbird

Phacellodomus rufifrons

Photo by Nick Athanas (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:
rufous-fronted thornbird (en); joão-de-pau (pt); synallaxe à front roux (fr); espinero común (es); rotstirn-bündelnister (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

This species occurs in four disjunct areas in South America, one in northern Venezuela and eastern Colombia, another in northern Peru and marginally into southern Ecuador, a third  in Bolivia, adjacent parts of Brazil and south to Paraguay and northern Argentina, and finally another in eastern Brazil, from Maranhão to Pernambuco and south to Minas Gerais.

These birds are 16-17 cm long and weigh 18-31 g.

The rufous-fronted thornbird is found in dry scrublands, savannas and tropical forests, also using second growth, from sea level up to an altitude of 2.000 m.

They forage on low vegetation and on the ground, taking various insects such as beetles, grasshoppers, bugs and ants.

Rufous-fronted thornbirds breed can possibly breed all year round, varying among different parts of their range. They can nest cooperatively, with helpers participating in nest defence and feeding the young. The nest is a huge structure made of twigs, placed in the outer branches of a tree, inside of which is the spherical nest chamber that is lined with feathers and other soft materials. The nest are so large that other bird species may also use parts of the structure as nest. The female lays 3 eggs, but there is no information regarding the incubation and fledging periods.

IUCN status – LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as common. The population is suspected to be stable in the absence of evidence for any declines or substantial threats.

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