The hidden treasures of a gray avian companion

The dull-mantled antbird, scientifically known as Sipia laemosticta, is a small bird measuring 13 to 14 cm long and weighing approximately 24 g. In terms of appearance, the male Dull-mantled Anteater has blackish-gray plumage with reddish eyebrows. Its upper parts, lower parts, head, neck and upper mantle are predominantly reddish in color. The flight feathers of its tail, called rectrices, have dark reddish-brown edges and are relatively darker in shade. The neck is dark and extends to the chest with irregular black spots. The main coverts have cymerodonal tips, while the secondary, tertiary and tipperwig coverts are black with white tips. The undercoverts, on the other hand, are completely gray. Additionally, there is a white spot between the scissors, surrounded by black specks, as mentioned above in relation to bird species.


The feet are a lead-like gray hue, while the beak displays a deep black hue and the iris glows a vibrant crimson. Despite slight variations in appearance, the female and male share notable similarities. The female shows a darker neck adorned with multiple white spots, which do not extend to her breasts. Additionally, it flaunts secondary coverts, adding to its distinctive appeal. Sometimes these impressive birds even flaunt crow-like feathers adorned with flags.


There are two different species that have some differences in appearance. Although the variation in appearance may be minimal, the variations in behavior are quite significant compared to molecular species. One of these species is called “Myrmeciza” laemosticta laemosticta Salviÿ, 1865, which can be found on the eastern slope of Costa Rica to Panama on both sides. This species usually has darker plumage. The other species is called Palliata “Myrmeciza” laemosticta Todd, 1917, and can be found in northeastern Venezuela and Colombia, extending east to the Department of Córdoba and west to the states of Mérida and Zalña. If you were to look at illustrations of bolivari and veezellae, you would notice their generally bland personality.


The dull-mantled anthill is most commonly found in lowland humid tropical forests, generally situated between 300 and 750 meters above sea level. However, there have been sightings of this species at altitudes of up to 1,500 meters. Its preferred habitat includes the forest floor and understory, with a particular affinity for moist, isolated areas, such as deep ravines along foothills, slopes near streams, and places with a dense understory of herbaceous plants.


The diet of the dull-mantled antbird consists mainly of insects and other types of arthropods. Similarly, the dwarf antbird also feeds on insects and various arthropods. There is limited information available on the reproductive behavior of this particular species. However, a well-documented observation occurred in Colombia during March. The breeding site was found to be a simple, delicate nest located beneath a pepper plant (Piper sp.), which thrived in a steep valley. The nest contained two white eggs with black dots at the base.


According to the IUCN red list, there is no cause for concern regarding the population of this particular bird species.

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