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Nature Reserve & Biological Station

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Army Ants bring in two new bird species

This morning Wilo was cleaning around our outhouses when he noticed an army ants swarm outside. While actually observing the Crimson-Rumped Toucanets and a pair of Immaculate Antbirds following the ants, he noticed another big bird on the ground he had never seen before. I was measuring a mistnetted bird when he suddenly ran into the lab and said that there’s a big bird following the army ants. Given his description I showed him the Banded Ground-Cuckoo in the book and he said that was it. OMG, a Banded Ground-Cuckoo, that’s a very rare bird species….and just next to our outhouses. I couldn’t believe it. After releasing the birds we were measuring, we also went out to watch the army ants swarm. First I saw a woodcreeper which didn’t look familiar to me, but in the same moment I spotted the big one on the forest floor, a Banded Ground-Cuckoo (Neomorphus radiolosus). That species is a pretty rare Chocó-endemic, only known to occur in some spots in Ecuador.

After observing the bird for a while we noticed that the ants were crossing our path. So we positioned ourselves to get a good look at the birds crossing the trail as well. And we were lucky, the cuckoo showed itself on the trail catching insects and running back and forth on the trail. And then I saw the woodcreeper again, I had almost forgotten already. A new species, too. A Northern Barred Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes sanctithomae), normally occurring at lower altitudes, but well known to follow army ants swarms as well.

And here some pics of our exciting morning, thanks to our volunteer Barbara and her camera!!

Banded Ground Cuckoo picking insects

Banded Ground Cuckoo next to Biological Station

Banded Ground Cuckoo eating grasshopper

Banded Ground Cuckoo hiding

Northern Barred Woodcreeper

Happy Nicole and happy students

This blog post was written by Nicole

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