Thryothorus nigricapillus Sclater, 1860, Nanegal, Pichincha, Ecuador.
OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Troglodyte б tкte noir; German: Kastanienzaunkцnig; Spanish: Cucarachero Cabecinegro, (Panama) El Guerrero.
5.8 in (14.5 cm). 0.78 oz (21.9 g). Strikingly marked, with black head, white facial markings, chestnut back, and heavily barred wings and tail. Central American populations have a white throat and unbarred chestnut belly; the South American races are heavily barred with black from the upper chest to the lower flanks. Eyes are brown; bill is blackish with pale orangeyellow base; legs are blackish. Sexes are similar. Juveniles have less clear-cut facial markings, and colors are generally somewhat less rich.
Caribbean slope of Central America from central Nicaragua and Costa Rica to Panama; both drainages from central Panama to Colombia, western Colombia along Pacific slope to southern Ecuador.
Edges of humid forest, generally absent from forest interior; Heliconia thickets. Occurs from sea level to 3,600 ft (1,100 m).
Found in pairs, low in thick vegetation; rather secretive. It is territorial throughout year; both sexes sing and defend territory. Song is a series of varied, loud, ringing whistles. Males may sing on their own, but antiphonal song with female is frequent. The female always initiates a song duet.
FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET
Food is entirely invertebrate, including spiders, beetles, roaches, earwigs, etc.
Nest, built by both sexes, is an elbow-shaped construction made of grass and vine tendrils, placed in vines or crotches of shrubs at heights of 3–16 ft (1–5 m). Eggs number three and are white with cinnamon speckles. Incubation and fledging periods are not recorded. Breeding season protracted. In Panama it occurs from February to November, in Colombia from January to August.
Not threatened; substantial areas of habitat have been lost, however.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
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