Physical characteristics: Barred antshrikes, sometimes called Chapman's antshrikes, are small, noisy birds about 6 inches (15 centimeters) long. Males are black with white bars and a black crest of feathers on their head. Females have black stripes, but are cinnamon or reddish brown colored, instead of white, and have a brown crest. Both males and females have yellow eyes, long tails, and strong black bills.
Geographic range: The barred antshrike is one of the most common antbirds. It can be found living year-round from southern Mexico to northern Argentina east of the Andes Mountains. Although it is widespread in Brazil, it is not found in the center of the Amazon rainforest.
Habitat: Barred antshrikes live on the edges of the tropical rainforest, but not deep in the center of the forest. These birds can be found in scrubland, along roads, in open woodland and clearings, and in gardens or abandoned lots. They live in both humid and dry areas at elevations between 330 and 6,600 feet (100 and 2,000 meters).
Diet: Like all antbirds, barred antshrikes eat insects and insect-like bugs. They normally hunt for food with mixed groups of other birds in an area between the lowest bushes and the treetops.
Behavior and reproduction: Barred antshrikes mate for life with a single partner and tend to stay together throughout the year. They usually lay two eggs in a nest made of grasses. Nests are often built in low bushes. Both parents incubate the eggs and care for the young.
Barred antshrikes and people: Barred antshrikes have no special significance and little economic impact on people. They are of interest mainly to birdwatchers and ecotourists.
Conservation status: Barred antshrikes are not threatened. They are common birds found across a wide area of Central and South America. ■
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