Barred Antshrike Female (Thamnophilus doliatus)


June 22, 2012

Barred Antshrike Female

Nancy took this image on a 10-day trip led by Brian Rapoza for the Tropical Audubon Society to Trinidad and Tobago.

This bird can be found in wooded habitats from the southeast coast of Mexico, through Central America and Trinidad & Tobago, into much of South America east of the Andes as far south as northern Argentina. Where found, they are usually among the most common antbirds. There are eight other species of antbird in Trinidad & Tobago. There are twelve subspecies of the Barred Antshrike; this one being T. d. tobagensis.

Barred Antshrikes are about six inches long and weigh around an ounce. Males have black and white bars all over with a white-based black crest that he raises in display. We did see a male on this trip, but didn't get a decent picture. The female, as shown here, is rufous above with a chestnut-colored crest. Underparts are rich buff. Both sexes have gray legs and pale yellow eyes.

As you probably guessed, they eat insects, especially ants, but they will also take lizards and berries. They are thought to be monogamous for life. They are found in territorial pairs. They usually have two purple-marked creamy white eggs in a deeply cupped nest in a shrub. Both parents incubate the eggs for two weeks. The chicks fledge in 12 or 13 days.

Photographic details: Canon EOS 7D camera w/ EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM lens set at 400mm. Off-camera flash was used. Camera was on f/11 for 1/500 sec at ISO 200. Exposure was increased one½ stops in post-processing.

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