Spiny-faced Antshrike Xenornis setifrons

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thamnophilidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Thomas S. Schulenberg



The following summary is based on Whitney and Rosenberg (1993). Spiny-faced Antshrike forages in forest understory, from just above the ground up to 5 m, but usually within 0.5-2 m of the ground. These antshrikes perch on horizontal branches, but also frequently cling to slender vertical brances and vines; perches selected while foraging often are at sites where the surrounding vegetation is relatively open. Spiny-faced Antshrikes assume a vertical posture when perched on horizontal branches, in the manner of Thamnomanes antshrikes. Spiny-faced Antshrikes move regularly while foraging, remaining on a perch for ca 2-60 s, before either capturing prey or moving to a new perch. Prey is captured with sallies to the tips and upper surfaces of leaves, especially palm leaves. Prey capture sallies usually are lateral or upward, and usually short (less than 1 m), although some sallies may be 2 m or more (Whitney and Rosenberg 1993).


Spiny-faced Antshrike presumably is territorial, but there are no published data on territoriality, or on territory or home range size, for this species.

Sexual Behavior

Little information. Spiny-faced Antshrike usually is in pairs, and both sexes attend the nest, and so presumbably it is at least socially monogamous.

Social and interspecific behavior

Spiny-faced Antshrike usually is solitary or in pairs, which almost always are associated with mixed species flocks (Whitney and Rosenberg 1993, Adsett and Wege 1998). The most frequent flock associates of Spiny-faced Antshrike are Checker-throated Antwren (Epinecrophylla fulviventris), White-flanked Antwren (Myrmotherula axillaris), and Tawny-faced Gnatwren (Microbates cinereiventris). Other regularly occuring species in these flocks were Plain Xenops (Xenops minutus), Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner (Automolus ochrolaemus), Wedge-billed Woodcreeper (Glyphorynchus spirurus), Black-crowned Antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha), Spot-crowned Antvireo (Dysithamnus punticeps), and Olivaceous Flatbill (Rhynchocyclus olivaceus).

Members of a pair of Spiny-faced Antshrikes usually are within two to seven meters of one another while foraging (Whitney and Rosenberg 1993).


No reports of predation on Spiny-faced Antshrike?

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, T. S. (2015). Spiny-faced Antshrike (Xenornis setifrons), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. https://doi.org/10.2173/nb.spfant1.01