Tuesday, 22 October 2013

Pink-legged graveteiro

Acrobatornis fonsecai

(Photo from Flickr)

Common name:
pink-legged graveteiro (en); acrobata (pt); anabasitte à pattes roses (fr); graveteiro (es); plantagenschlüpfer (de)

Order Passeriformes
Family Furnariidae

This species in endemic to Brasil, only being found in south-east Bahia and north -east Minas Gerais, mostly between the rivers Jequitinhonha and das Contas.

These birds are 13-14 cm long and weigh about 14 g.

The pink-legged graveteiro is found in the canopy and sub-canopy of extensive shade cocoa plantations, within moist tropical forests, from sea level up to an altitude of 550 m.

They feed on insects and other arthropods, namely beetles, termites, moths, ants, insect larvae, insect eggs and spiders.

Pink-legged graveteiros breed in September-October. They are monogamous and both sexes help build the nest. Both sexes help build the nests, each woven with sticks, consisting of an entrance corridor leading to a single incubation chamber that is heavily lined with leaves and moss. Each pair builds up to 5 nests within a single tree, but only one is active. The others are thought to be dummy nests, used to confuse predators and parasites, but they may also serve as places to store nest construction materials. The female lays 2-3 eggs, which are incubated by both sexes. The chicks are raised by both parents, but the is no information regarding the length of the incubation and fledgling periods.

IUCN status - VU (Vulnerable)
This species has a relatively small breeding range and a global population estimated at 2.500-10.000 individuals. The population is suspected to be declining rapidly due to habitat loss. Virtually all forest below 400 m has been converted to cocoa plantations or completely cleared. The system of shaded cocoa plantations has secured the survival of a continuous canopy cover in places, but there is no forest regeneration owing to weeding of the understorey. During the 1990s, falls in the price of cocoa and the introduction of a fungal disease resulted in a downturn in cocoa production. Landowners have started to sell timber from the shading forests, and to shift production from cocoa to other crop-types or livestock-grazing, increasing the pressure on the pink-legged graveteiro.

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