Dull-mantled Antbird – La Marta

I know the name doesn’t sound very exciting but it really was high excitement for me to have the Dull-mantled Antbird (Myrmeciza laemosticta) right under my nose at La Marta Wildlife Refuge near Pejibaye this week. It was just one of 4 antbird species that our group found in a beautiful forest environment on the edge of the reserve.

Paul and Steven on a trail bridge at La Marta; photo by Larry Waddell

Thank goodness friend and top guide Steven Aguilar Montenegro was with us. His expertise regularly means that I’m able to find and identify species of this numerous but secretive family (Thamnophilidae). On this occasion I had brief but clear glimpses of the Dull-mantled Antbird, a supposedly fairly common species that I had ‘glimpsed’ rather less clearly twice before. At the same time I missed a rare antbird that Steven found, a Streak-crowned Antvireo (Dysithamnus striaticeps). This was definitely the bird of the day and would have been the headliner for this post if I had been able to spot it. Neither John nor Larry was able to photograph the antvireo, but Larry managed the following shot of the Dull-mantled Antbird under difficult lighting conditions:

Male Dull-mantled Antbird at La Marta; photo by Larry Waddell

Not such a dull bird after all! The spotted shoulder and red eye on the leaden grey head make for an eye-catching experience if this skulker decides to cooperate. The female did not appear; it has a checkered pattern on the throat reminiscent of the male Checker-throated Antwren (Epinecrophylla fulviventris), another Caribbean species that is doubtless present at La Marta.

You will find the day’s checklist at:
https://ebird.org/view/checklist/S52443476

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