Scarlet-thighed Dacnis Dacnis venusta

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Allan Obando, Casey H. Richart, and Kevin J. Burns

Diet and Foraging


Scarlet-thighed Dacnis is an arboreal omnivore, primarily eating small fruits and arthropods (Sclater and Salvin 1879, WIllis 1980, Hilty 1997, Robinson et al. 2000). It visits flowers for both nectar and insects (Carman and Martínez 2004). Stomach contents from two individuals contained fruit pulp and figs (Isler and Isler 1987). Of five stomachs examined from Panama, none contained more than 30% animal matter (Wetmore et al. 1984). It consumes fruit of Cecropia (Daily and Ehrlich 1994), Clusia and Zanthoxylum (Stiles and Skutch 1989), and Trema micrantha (Peralta 2007), as well as Miconia and Alchornea costaricensis (Greenberg 1981). It appears to prefer ripe black or blue Miconia argentea berries (Skutch 1962). It eats the fruits of Hampea appendiculata, Sapium oligoneuron, Dendropanax sp., and Acnistus arborescens (Wheelwright et al. 1984). It eats and perhaps disperses Xanthoxylum (Skutch 1962). It is a rare visitor to fruiting Ficus pertusa (Bronstein and Hoffmann 1987). It also eats the flower stems of Pourouma aspera (Wetmore et al. 1984). It regularly forages on fruits and at flowers of canopy epiphytes (Nadkarni and Matelson 1989).

Foraging Behavior

Scarlet-thighed Dacnis forages very actively, warbler-like or more like a branch-peering tanager than a flower-probing honeycreeper (Slud 1964). For example, it inspects epiphytes such as bromeliads and mosses for arthropods from branch perches (Nadkarni 1988, Nadkarni and Matelson 1989). It can be seen at all levels of the forest, but usually from the mid-canopy to the upper canopy, lower at edges or for low fruit (Slud 1960, Slud 1964, Willis 1980, Ridgely and Tudor 1989). It takes fruit from a perch and mashes it (Moermond and Denslow 1985). It typically gleans small arthropods or take fruit from live foliage in the canopy (Stiles and Skutch 1989, Karr et al. 1990).

Recommended Citation

Obando, A., C. H. Richart, and K. J. Burns (2018). Scarlet-thighed Dacnis (Dacnis venusta), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.