Black-crowned Antshrike Thamnophilus atrinucha

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thamnophilidae
  • Polytypic: 2 subspecies
  • Authors: Corey E. Tarwater and J. Patrick Kelley

Diet and Foraging


Main food taken

Western Slaty-Antshrikes take a variety of prey. Oniki (1975) observed the following prey items captured by adults: scorpion, spider, millipede, roach, stick insect, mantid, cricket, katydid, grasshopper, cicada, true bug, moth, cocoon, and caterpillar. In addition to the ones listed above, adults prey on anolis lizards (CET and JPK, pers. obs.). Parents feed their offspring similar prey (Oniki 1975).

Quantitative analysis

No quantitative analyses of adult diet have been conducted. Parents feed nestlings a variety of arthropod prey, including katydids, caterpillars, spiders, and beetles, with all other prey items comprising less than 5% of total prey items brought to the nest (Tarwater et al. 2009). See 'Parental Care' for more information.

Microhabitat for foraging

Adults forage in a variety of locations throughout the forest.  Though adults will place nests (in shrubs) in the center of forest gaps (CET and JPK, unpubl. data), adults do not forage for long in these areas. That said, Western Slaty-Antshrikes clearly are not as photophobic as other understory rainforest birds such as the Spotted Antbird (Hylophylax naevioides), which actively avoid even small specks of sun on the forest floor except when engaged in "sunning" behavior (Willis 1972).  Individuals can commonly be seen foraging in dense liana tangles, with or without mixed-species foraging flocks.  Individuals may chase food to the ground (Figure 2), but active foraging on the ground is not common.  For more information, see General Foraging in the Behavior: Foraging section below.

Food capture and consumption

See Behavior: Foraging for more information.

Food selection and storage

See Behavior: Foraging for more information.  No instances of food caching have been reported.

Nutrition and energetics

See below for 'Metabolism.'  No other information available.

Metabolism and temperature regulation

One male in Panama had a nighttime resting metabolic rate of 0.34 Watts (at an ambient temperature of 30° C) (Vleck and Vleck 1979).   Body temperature (cloacal) for this individual was 37.3° C.   Mean cloacal body temperature of 11 birds measured during the day was 42.0° C (range=40.8-42.9° C) (Oniki 1972).

Drinking, pellet-casting, and defecation

No descriptions of drinking behavior for this species. No reports of pellet-casting.

Foraging Behavior

Information needed. Contribute

Recommended Citation

Tarwater, C. E. and J. P. Kelley (2010). Black-crowned Antshrike (Thamnophilus atrinucha), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.