The antbirds

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The antbirds

Bài gửi  kosovohp01 on Tue Jan 04, 2011 5:26 pm

The antbirds are a large family of passerine birds found in forests across subtropical and tropical Central and South America, from Mexico to Argentina. There are more than 200 species, known variously as antshrikes, antwrens, antvireos, fire-eyes, bare-eyes and bushbirds. They are related to the antthrushes and antpittas (family Formicariidae), the tapaculos, the gnateaters and the ovenbirds. Antbirds are generally small birds with rounded wings and strong legs. They have mostly sombre grey, white, brown and rufous plumage, which is sexually dimorphic in pattern and colouring. Some species communicate warnings to rivals by exposing white feather patches on their backs or shoulders. Most have heavy bills, which in many species are hooked at the tip. Insects and other arthropods form the most important part of their diet, although small vertebrates are occasionally taken. Most species feed in the forest understory and midstory, although a few feed in the canopy and a few on the ground. To various degrees, around eighteen species specialise in following columns of army ants to eat the small invertebrates flushed by the ants, and many others may feed in this way opportunistically. Thirty-eight species are threatened with extinction due to human activities. The principal threat is habitat loss, which causes habitat fragmentation and increased nest predation in habitat fragments.

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