Saturday, 3 December 2011

Variegated antpitta

Grallaria varia

Photo by Dario Sanches (Wikipedia)

Common name:
variegated antpitta (en); tovacuçu-malhado (pt); grallaire roi (fr); tororoí pintado (es); große bartameisenpitta (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Formicariidae

This South American species is found in Argentina, Brazil, the Guyanas, Paraguay, Suriname, eastern Venezuela and Peru.

These birds are 21 cm long and weigh 110-120 g.

Variegated antpittas are found in tropical and sub-tropical moist forests, from sea level up to an altitude of 1.550 m.

They search for food among the leaf litter of the forest ground, eating spiders, scorpions, centipedes and various insects. They often follow army ants, hunting animals that are flushed by the swarm. They also eat seeds and berries, namely those from Phytolacea decandra.

Variegated antpittas nest on or near the ground, in a cup-shaped nest made of dry leaves and twigs. The nest may be placed in a tree stump or in low vegetation. There the female lays 2 greenish-blue eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 17 days. The chicks are cared for by both parents and fledge 15-19 days after hatching.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has a very large breeding range and is described as uncommon. This species is thought to be experiencing habitat loss and is suspected to be in decline.

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