Backyard BirdsUncategorized

Ant tanagers

Ant tanagers are birds of the genus Habia. They are historically placed in the tanager family Thraupidae; however, they are more closely related to the Cardinals.

Description

These are long-tailed and strong-billed birds. The males have a red crest and plumage containing red, brown, or sooty hues.

Females may resemble the males or have yellowish or brownish plumage.

Diet / Feeding

They mostly feed on insects taken from low perches or picked from foliage or in flight, but will also take fruits. They also follow army ant swarms to catch insects that are fleeing from the ants.

Species in taxonomic order

Red-throated, Sooty, and Black-cheeked Ant-tanagers form superspecies; they inhabit second-growth and patchy woodland.

Red-crowned and Crested Ant-tanagers prefer denser undergrowth and watch from higher (4-5m) perches, often working upwards through the foliage. They are less likely to follow ant columns.

Breeding / Nesting

The female alone builds a cup nest and incubates the two or three eggs. The young leave the nest before they can fly and usually hide in dense vegetation.

Calls / Vocalizations

The vocalizations of the Ant-tanagers have been described as harsh call notes, as well as musical, whistled songs.

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Gordon Ramel

Gordon is an ecologist with two degrees from Exeter University. He's also a teacher, a poet and the owner of 1,152 books. Oh - and he wrote this website.

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