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Revista Brasileira de Zoologia

Print version ISSN 0101-8175

Rev. Bras. Zool. vol.2 no.7 Curitiba  1984 

Myrmeciza and related antbirds (Aves, Formicariidae) as army ant followers



Edwin O. Willis

Department of Biology, University of Miami, Coral Gables, Florida 33124, U.S.A., and Departamento de Zoologia, Universidade Estadual Paulista "Júlio de Mesquita Filho" - UNESP, Caixa Postal 178, 13500 - Rio Claro, S. Paulo




Antbirds of the genera Myrmeciza (including Sipia and Myrmoborus), Gymnocichla, and Sclateria hop near or on the ground in fairly dense vegetation, "pounding" their tails downward. Where dense understory vegetation is widespread and ants move in it for long distances, certain of these antbirds become regular ant followers: M. immaculata and M. fortis in cluttered moist foothill forest from Costa Rica to upper Amazonia; Gymnocichla nudiceps in moist cluttered second growth of Central America to Colombia. Where the forest understory is more open, Myrmeciza species follow ants mainly in cluttered patches: M. exsul in lowland forest west of the Andes, M. myotherina east of the Andes. Myrmeciza or relatives that specialize on water-edge or very dense zones rarely follow ants.



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Studies were supported by the National Science Foundation and by the Chapman Memorial Fund of the American Museum of Natural History. I appreciate the help of curators of the American and European Museums visited. Yoshika Oniki helped in many ways.



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