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Red-throated Ant-Tanager Habia fuscicauda

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Cardinalidae
  • Polytypic: 6 subspecies
  • Authors: Chiver, Ioana and Eugene S. Morton
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  • © Raúl Vega

Red-throated Ant-Tanagers are one of the few tropical understory species showing a splash of color: males are dusky red above with a bright red throat and females are olive brown above with a bright yellow throat. In spite of their colorful appearance, most often they are heard first, the main call being a distinctive raspy rrrrah rrrrah rrrrah, similar to paper being torn. During the breeding season, which lasts from March to August, males spend much of their time singing, and unlike the harsh call notes, male breeding song is melodious.

Red-throated Ant-Tanagers are distributed from southeastern Mexico through Central America and northern Colombia, mainly along the Atlantic coast. Red-throats inhabit undergrowth of humid to semiarid, evergreen to semideciduous forest as well as second growth forest, woodlands and thickets. Pairs or groups of 3 and up to 8 individuals defend territories year-round. Red-throats move slowly through the understory foraging on insects and fruit. Nesting starts in late March, although males may start singing a month before. Interactions with neighbors and territorial intrusions are common during the breeding period and genetic analysis indicates that extra-pair matings are common. Only females build nests and incubate the eggs, but males and group members help with feeding the young. Nest success is often low and pairs make many nesting attempts during the 5 month breeding season.

Dawn song (Salvin's)

© L. Irby Davis

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  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-breeding

Recommended Citation

Chiver, Ioana and Eugene S. Morton. 2010. Red-throated Ant-Tanager (Habia fuscicauda), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, New York, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.rtatan1.01