A n t b i r d

Many different kinds of antbirds exist. They are usually dull-colored birds that feed on insects such as ants and termites.

The most famous antbirds are those that are associated with army ants. When the ants set out on a "raid", the birds follow them as they move. The birds stay near the front lines of the advancing ant army, and capture insects, spiders, scorpions, etc. that are trying to escape from the ants. Antbirds donít usually eat the army ants themselves, but they do seize and steal animals already caught by the ants, in addition to those trying to escape or outrun them.

Antbirds also sometimes move through the forest in a large mixed-species flock that may contain as many as ten different species of antbirds and many other kinds of forest birds (e.g. tanagers, antshrikes, and antwrens) in a kind of cooperative hunting party. These large groups of birds flying through the forest at several different levels like a "bird wave" scare up many different insects.

Antbirds are a specialized species, and are one of the first to disappear when the forest is damaged or disturbed.