Saturday, January 25, 2014

Red-billed Scythebill

Scythebills are woodcreepers. They look a bit like woodpeckers or creepers, but are not closely allied to either. Instead they are closely related to another South American family, the ovenbirds.

Red-billed Scythebills inhabit the Amazon Basin, where they can be fairly common but are patchily distributed.  The species forages for arthropods in bamboo. Most of its prey (about 75%) is extracted from holes made by other birds in the bamboo. The species is intolerant of human activities in the forest, and is considered to be an indicator species of forest health (Birds of the World—Alive).

Erika and I worked very hard on our dissertations while we were in eastern Ecuador. We had little time for recreational birding or photography. One exception was a project to take photographs of a few birds we netted. To get closeup portraits, yet retain an illusion natural background, we released the birds in a parachute-covered box.

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