NATURAL HISTORY

BROWN-BANDED ANTPITTA } Grallaria milleri
FAMILY: Formicariidae

DESCRIPTION: The brown-banded antpitta is approximately 7 inches long from bill to tail. The bird is a uniform dark brown with a dingy white throat and underbelly, forming a broad brown breast-band.

HABITAT: This species’ habitat consists of humid understory and forest-floor habitats of mid-montane and cloud forests with high densities of herbaceous plants and shrubs. The bird has been observed in older secondary-growth forest habitats and alder plantations.

RANGE: The brown-banded antpitta is endemic to the west slope of the central Andes of Colombia. The species is known today from only three areas in the upper Rio Magdalena valley, including the humid forests in the Central Andes of Colombia’s Ucumari Regional Park, the southeast slope of Volcan Tolima in the Rio Toche valley on private land, and the Rio Blanco river basin. Its current range is estimated to be 116 square miles.

MIGRATION: Due to its rarity, little is known about this species’ migration habits.

BREEDING: Little is known about the brown-banded antpitta’s reproductive ecology, except that its peak reproductive period is between March and May and that both parents feed the young. Drawing from studies on similar species, antpittas may nest on fallen logs, on the forks of tree trunks, or atop the crowns of low-growing palms. The typical clutch size for antpittas is considered to be two eggs.

LIFE CYCLE: Little is known about this bird’s life cycle or life span.

FEEDING: The brown-banded antpitta can be seen running along the forest floor picking up prey, which consists of beetles and earthworms.

THREATS: The primary threat to this species is deforestation as a result of habitat conversion for human settlements, road building, agriculture, illegal drug cultivation, and timber extraction.

POPULATION TREND: The population estimate for the brown-banded antpitta is 250 to 999 birds, with a decreasing trend. It is estimated that the species has lost up to 9 percent of its population in the past 10 years, and that this rate of decline will continue over the next 10 years.

Blue-billed curassow photo © Sergey Pisarevskiy