Most beautiful small birds - Sykalo Eugen 2024

Barred Antshrike (Caatinga)


  • Species name: Barred Antshrike (Caatinga)
  • Scientific name: Thamnophilus doliatus capistratus
  • Family: Formicariidae (Antshrikes)
  • Order: Passeriformes (Songbirds)
  • Subclass: Neornithes (Modern birds)
  • Class: Aves (Birds)


  • Size: Medium-sized songbird, about 18-22 cm (7-8.7 in) long with a wingspan of 28-34 cm (11-13.4 in).
  • Body shape: Stocky and compact, with a large head, short neck, long legs, and a long, strong tail.
  • Plumage color:

Males: Strikingly black and white. Bold black cap, back, wings, and chest with crisp white bars across the wings and underparts. Short white line above the eye, contrasting with the black mask.

Females: Duller than males, with brownish-gray upperparts heavily streaked with buff. Light buff underparts, also streaked with brown. Less obvious white marks on face and wingbars.

  • Beak: Long, strong, and hooked, black in color, ideal for catching insects.
  • Legs: Slender and long, gray-brown in color.
  • Tail: Long, broad, and often fanned open during displays.


  • Method of feeding: Forages actively within dense vegetation, hopping and climbing branches to glean insects, spiders, and other invertebrates. May also sally out to catch flying insects.
  • Reproduction: Builds cup-shaped nests in low trees or shrubs. Lays 2-3 pale blue eggs with dark markings. Both parents care for the young.
  • Movement: Resident, inhabiting the same territory year-round.
  • Communication: Loud, clear whistle song and various harsh calls. Males sing to defend territory and attract mates.


  • Habitat: Dry thorn forests, scrublands, and caatinga woodlands in northeastern Brazil. Prefers dense undergrowth and thickets.
  • Diet: Primarily insects, spiders, and other invertebrates.
  • Hunting methods: Gleans insects from foliage, hops and creeps through tangled vegetation, and may sally out to catch aerial prey.

Distribution: Found in northeastern Brazil, from Piaui and Ceará to Paraiba and Alagoas. Restricted to the arid caatinga ecosystem.

Note: The Barred Antshrike (Caatinga) is a subspecies of the Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus), which has a wider distribution across South America.

Barred Antshrike

The Barred Antshrike, with its cryptic plumage and silent movements, may easily blend into the background of the arid Caatinga scrublands. But beneath its unassuming exterior lies a scientific secret agent packed with fascinating facts and hidden talents. Get ready to be surprised by this feathered enigma:

Master of Mimicry: The Barred Antshrike is a champion of avian disguise. Its brown, barred plumage perfectly mimics the dead branches and fallen leaves of its habitat, making it nearly invisible to predators and prey alike. Imagine a bird wearing a living camouflage suit!

Silent Stalker: Unlike many songbirds, the Barred Antshrike is a master of silence. It doesn't rely on calls to attract mates or defend territory, preferring to move with stealthy precision. Think of it as a feathered ninja of the Caatinga!

Ants on the Menu: As its name suggests, ants are the Barred Antshrike's primary prey. With its sharp beak and keen eyesight, it patiently scans the ground, picking off unsuspecting insects one by one. It's like a feathered vacuum cleaner for the ant world!

Unexpected Tool User: Don't underestimate the Barred Antshrike's intelligence. It has been observed using twigs and leaves as tools to pry open crevices and flush out hidden insects, showcasing its resourcefulness and problem-solving skills. Imagine a bird armed with a feathered crowbar!

Family Feud (with a Twist): Unlike many birds, Barred Antshrikes raise their young cooperatively. Both parents, along with previous offspring, help feed and care for the chicks. But here's the twist: older helpers sometimes sneakily try to mate with the chicks, creating a complex family drama within the nest. Talk about avian soap opera!

Solitary Singers: Despite their silent nature, Barred Antshrikes do sing, but only during the breeding season and at dawn. Their haunting, flute-like song echoes through the Caatinga, a brief musical interlude in their otherwise cryptic lives. Imagine a feathered serenade whispered on the morning breeze!

Climate Change Warriors: The Barred Antshrike plays a crucial role in the delicate ecosystem of the Caatinga. By controlling insect populations, they help maintain the balance of the scrublands, making them important indicators of the environment's health. Think of them as feathered barometers of climate change!