Family Typical Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Least Concern

Zeledon's Antbird (Hafferia zeledoni)

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Taxonomy

French: Alapi de Zeledon German: Panamáameisenvogel Spanish: Hormiguero de Zeledón
Taxonomy:

Myrmeciza zeledoni

Ridgway

, 1909,

Guayabo, Costa Rica

.

Until recently considered conspecific with H. immaculata, but treatment as separate species supported by analysis of morphology, biometrics and vocalizations#R; differs in its larger (usually concealed) white shoulder patch (2); darker and duller crown in female (1); slightly longer bill (effect size 1; score 1); faster-paced song (at least 2) with more, shorter notes (at least 2). Both races originally described in same publication, on same page; zeledoni awarded priority by First Reviser#R. Race berlepschi previously listed as macrorhyncha, when species was treated in Myrmeciza with Sipia berlepschi, which has priority. Two subspecies recognized.

What do the figures in brackets mean? Learn more about the scoring system.
Subspecies and Distribution
  • H. z. zeledoni (Ridgway, 1909) – extreme S Nicaragua (San Juan) S to W Panama (Bocas del Toro, Chiriquí, Coclé, Veraguas).
  • H. z. berlepschi (Ridgway, 1909) – E Panama (E Darién), Pacific slope in Colombia and W Ecuador (S to W Loja).
  • Descriptive notes

    17–19 cm; 39·9–55·5 g. Bare periorbital area wide, pale blue. Male basically all black, with variable white anterior lesser wing-coverts (concealed), wing-bend and edges to alula. Female largely dark brown, with sides of head, lores and malar black and paler brown underparts. Race berlepschi has more extensive white on wings in male than nominate, while female is paler and brighter brown overall, and both sexes have shorter bill. Young male has female-like plumage. Compared to formerly conspecific H. immaculata, but differs in its larger white shoulder patch, darker and duller crown in female, and slightly longer bill, as well as vocalizations.

    Drawing by Hilary Burn
    Descriptive notes:

    17–19 cm; 39·9–55·5 g. Bare periorbital area wide, pale blue. Male basically all black, with variable white anterior lesser wing-coverts (concealed), wing-bend and edges to alula. Female largely dark brown, with sides of head, lores and malar black and paler brown underparts. Race berlepschi has more extensive white on wings in male than nominate, while female is paler and brighter brown overall, and both sexes have shorter bill. Young male has female-like plumage. Compared to formerly conspecific H. immaculata, but differs in its larger white shoulder patch, darker and duller crown in female, and slightly longer bill, as well as vocalizations.

    Drawing by Hilary Burn
    Descriptive notes:

    17–19 cm; 39·9–55·5 g. Bare periorbital area wide, pale blue. Male basically all black, with variable white anterior lesser wing-coverts (concealed), wing-bend and edges to alula. Female largely dark brown, with sides of head, lores and malar black and paler brown underparts. Race berlepschi has more extensive white on wings in male than nominate, while female is paler and brighter brown overall, and both sexes have shorter bill. Young male has female-like plumage. Compared to formerly conspecific H. immaculata, but differs in its larger white shoulder patch, darker and duller crown in female, and slightly longer bill, as well as vocalizations.

    Voice

    Loudsong a series of rather evenly paced, slightly downslurred whistles (e.g. nine notes, 2·9 seconds). Differs in male loudsong from H. immaculata (which see) in number of notes, speed and note shape, and in female loudsong in number of notes and speed; while there are also differences in note shape of single-note calls. No differences in rattle call is known between present species and H. immaculata.

    Habitat

    Understorey of humid evergreen forest, forest borders and older second growth, primarily in wet forested foothills, occupying steep hillsides and ravines where landslides have created light-gaps and resulting lush second growth. In Costa Rica, found at c. 300–1700 m on Caribbean slope but mostly above 900 m on Pacific slope; mainly 550–1300 m in Panama (exceptionally to 1900 m); 100–1500 m on Pacific slope in Colombia and generally below 1400 m in W Ecuador, but occurs locally to 2000 m.

    Food and feeding

    Feeds on variety of arthropods; also on small lizards and frogs. Recorded prey in Costa Rica and Panama include grasshoppers (Acrididae), katydids (Tettigoniidae), crickets (Gryllidae), cockroaches (Blattidae), beetles (Coleoptera), earwigs (Dermaptera), true bugs (Heteroptera), cicada nymphs (Cicadidae), spiders (Araneae), scorpions (Scorpiones), millipedes (Diplopoda), small lizards, and frogs. Pair-members, individuals, or family groups forage mostly 0–1 m above ground, apart from mixed-species flocks. Leapfrogs through undergrowth, progressing by wing-assisted hops; while foraging, habitually pounds tail downwards rapidly to c. 60 degrees below horizontal, then raises it slowly to just above plane of body. Perch-gleans arthropods from leaf, stem and branch surfaces, by reaching up, out or down with quick stabs of the bill or by short horizontal lunges; also routinely rummages in leaf litter on ground or in arboreal litter lodged in vine tangles and other vegetation. Regularly follows army ants (mostly Eciton burchelli, occasionally Labidus praedator), using slender, horizontal perches less than 1 m above the swarm and pouncing on fleeing arthropods below (in recent Costa Rican study, this species attended 86% of swarms located on Atlantic slope, but just 5% of those on Pacific slope); most attack manoeuvres at swarms are short sallies or sally-pounces to the ground, or direct gleans from ground while hopping between columns of ants. Ten or more individuals may congregate at such swarms; at upper end of elevational range is often numerically dominant species in attendance, and usually the only thamnophilid; noted as displacing Gymnopithys leucaspis at swarms, but supplanted or displaced by both Phaenostictus mcleannani and Rufous-crowned Pittasoma (Pittasoma rufipileatum).

    Breeding

    Very little known. Fledglings reported in Jun–Jul in Costa Rica (Braulio Carrillo), and dependent juveniles noted in Feb and Apr in Colombia (Valle), with a male specimen collected in breeding condition in Mar (Chocó).

    Movements

    Presumed resident.

    Status and conservation

    Not globally threatened (Least Concern). Status not well known; seemingly uncommon throughout most of its rather extensive range. Regions occupied by this species include a number of protected parks and reserves, e.g. Río Negro Jaguar Preserve, Braulio Carrillo and Tapantí National Parks, La Amistad International Park, and La Selva Biological Reserve, in Costa Rica, Cerro Hoya and Darién National Parks, La Fortuna Water Production Reserve and Fortuna Forest Reserve, in Panama, and Loma Alta Ecological Reserve, in Ecuador; also extensive intact habitat that is not formally protected. Has undoubtedly declined in many areas as a result of rampant deforestation of the foothill zone (especially in Ecuador) that it occupies. Most suitable habitat in Costa Rica and Panama has already been destroyed; more unprotected habitat exists in Colombia and Ecuador, but much of this has no long-term security, although the species appears to be able to persist in patchy habitat.

    Recommended citation

    del Hoyo, J., Collar, N. & Kirwan, G.M. (2017). Zeledon's Antbird (Hafferia zeledoni). In: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., Sargatal, J., Christie, D.A. & de Juana, E. (eds.). Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. (retrieved from https://www.hbw.com/node/1343610 on 18 December 2017).