Wednesday, July 12, 2023

Crested Ant-Tanager

One of my favorite sightings was a crested ant-tanager. We'd left Montezuma Rainforest Lodge in a 4x4 and were taking a very difficult road about 8 miles to get to a paved road toward the city of Pueblo Rico. Our driver was not a bird guide but had a very good eye for seeing birds. We'd just seen the fasciated tiger-heron which I posted on yesterday and were crossing a smaller stream without a bridge when the driver got excited about a bird he was seeing in front of us. It was red and as we got out of the 4x4, I kept asking him what kind of a bird it was? He didn't know. I took lots of photos, most of them no good, as this bird stayed on the move. It was not until I got home and working on my photos that I realized this was a real prized find. It is endemic to only a small portion of Colombia and Birds of the World has only 4,714 observations (fewer than the 5,126 of the purplish mantled tanager) and 467 photos (fewer than the 672 for the purplish mantled tanager and 690 for the gold-ringed tanager). 
I love this photo. Its curved bill looks wicked and its open mouth and cry look angry. 
It is only found in western Colombia, on both slopes of the Western Andes from Antioquia south to south Cauca and both slopes of the Central Andes, from Antioquia to Tolima. It likes humid forests along dense and bushy streams, around landslides and in ravines. That last description of the terrain fits where we saw it perfectly. 
Crested ant-tanager range from Wikipedia. 
Per Wikipedia, "The male's head is dusky red with a prominent scarlet crest. The rest of the upper parts fade from red on the shoulders through dark crimson to brownish red at the rump. The throat and chest are bright red and the rest of the underparts gray, some with a red tinge. The female is similar though duller and with less gray, and its crest is smaller." Although it is called a tanager, DNA tests reveal that it is more closely related to cardinals. 

It eats insects and fruits and has been known to follow swarms of army ants, but it is not strictly or even mainly an ant-eater. 

1 comment:

  1. What a cool bird! It seems you have these serendipitous finds fairly often.