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Ocellated Antbird Phaenostictus mcleannani

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thamnophilidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Hope Batcheller


Distinguishing Characteristics

Ocellated Antbird is most distinctive for its facial patch of bright blue skin. The back has a scaled look, formed by black feathers edged with brown, and the belly is chestnut with black spotting. They also have a black throat patch. By antbird standards, Ocellated Antbird is fairly long-tailed and long-bodied, having a small head for its proportions. Males and females have identical plumage; juveniles also appear similar but lack the bright blue facial skin.

Similar Species

The bright blue facial skin and ornate plumage pattern render Ocellated Antbird unmistakable throughout its range.

Detailed Description

By antbird standards, Ocellated is large, fairly long-billed, and long-tailed. The bill is roughly the same length as the head, having a slightly hooked tip. The bright blue skin patch on the side of the head sharply contrasts the extensive black throat. The cap is a brown-gray color. There is a band of unmarked rufous-brown feathers on the breast, which stretches around to the bird’s nape. On the belly, the feathers are black with extensive rufous-brown edging, giving the bird a spotted appearance. The back and wing coverts are likewise patterned, though the feather edges are narrower and paler, giving a more scaly look. The flight feathers are plain dark brown, and the tail feathers are black. The rump is a plain greenish-brown, while the vent area is more reddish-brown. Both sexes share similar plumage. Young birds also have similar plumage, though the cap is dark and the overall patterns may appear less regular and "messier"(Ridgway 1911).


No information available.

Bare Parts

The most prominent bare part is the extensive blue skin around the eye. This skin is black in young birds, and gradually brightens with age, becoming indistinguishable from adults by 21 weeks (Willis 1973). The bill is black. The feet and legs are pale pink (Ridgway 1911).


Male: total length 174-202 mm (skins), wing 86-97 mm, tail 80-92.5 mm, culmen 21-23 mm, tarsus 30.5-33.5 mm (Ridgway 1911)

Female: total length 177-203 mm (skins), wing 86-91 mm, tail 76.5-88 mm, culmen 20.5-23 mm, tarsus 29-33 mm (Ridgway 1911)

Mass: mean 51.1 g, SD 2.7 (Dunning 2008)

Recommended Citation

Batcheller, H. (2012). Ocellated Antbird (Phaenostictus mcleannani), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.