Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatcher at the nest

Rostzügel-TodityrannA trip during a scientific excursion in the northern Pantanal between the 20th of December 2012 and the 10th of January 2013 showed a lot of excitement. One day I perceived a movement right along the path I was walking. A small bird with a transversely lying blade of grass quickly disappeared in the thicket. I can then see the place where a Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus altirostris) diligently enters his nesting material. It appears to be an Cerrado islet that stand out slightly. The area is well closed with tight standing stems. Nevertheless, I get access to this only 3 meters in diameter measuring grove. After all, I’m standing right in front of his hanging nest. Only a short time later the first bird comes with further dry blades of grass. A little later a Tody-flycatcher arrives even with a dead spider in the beak, which also should be used in nest building. Later, on closer inspection, it turns out that it is a dry flowering tulip which looks like a spider. Then a bird’s feather is entered. The two birds – both partners are involved – are only slightly irritated when I flash in the half-dark, but it does not prevent them altogether, to drag in always new material for the nest. Some moments you find in the gallery of nestmaterial-transporting Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatchers. Sometimes, however, they disappear in the nest, practically without any attachment, and also disappear as quickly as the come.

Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus latirostris) aka (Todirostrum latirostre)  is distributed in upper Amazonia and central Brazil. Thus the Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher is of principally (wider) Amazonian distribution. It is found in dense undergrowth in woodland and forest borders. Its primary Habitat is river edge forest and its foraging strata is the understory.

The Smoky-fronted Tody-Flycatcher (Poecilotriccus fumifrons) might be its closest relative and similarly plumaged. Fortunately the distribution is different enough (they are largely allopatric). The Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher is a small bird with an olive mantle. It has an obvious rufous wash over the lores and face. Especially the pale buff forehead is obvious. The wings are dusky with the wingbars show some ochraceous color. The eyes are dark and look quite big for such a small bird. All this should facilitate its identification. As it is said, that nothing has been published to date concerning nesting ecology of the Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher the images of the gallery might be of some interest to science.

The Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatcher at the nest is said to be fairly common in dense thickets within some woodland. The birds normally stays low and seldom emerges from its almost impenetrable habitat. So maybe I was lucky with just the right time in the nesting season. The pair of birds photographed was observed in dense shrubs beside a small 4X4-track and above marshy ground. Most people rarely note the bird but for its call, which is given in intervals throughout the day.

The site was on the farm Pouso Alegre. This is a pousada (ex-fazenda) which is very well situated 7 km away from the Transpantaneira, with water on both sides much of the way in the rainy season. The location is 33 km south of Pocone in the northern Pantanal. The hole pousada is a great nature-area with original landscape and extensive cattle ranching. A paradise for the keen birdwatcher as well as for the beginner in birdwatching.

The owner is present much of the time, and is a dedicated naturalist. If you are birders you will be pleased with the birding opportunities, including Hyacinth Macaws in front of the porch. On the way you will see of Jabiru storks, herons and raptors a lot. You can go on other guided hikes or horseback rides. It’s all custom and small-scale. The scenery is beautiful.

To distinguish Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatcher and Smoky-fronted Tody-flycatcher the illustrations in Hilty & Brown, Plate 36, Ridgely & Greenfield (Ecuador), Plate 69, and Clements & Shany (Peru), Plate 90. Ridgely & Tudor, Plate 36, unfortunately shows Smoky-fronted Tody-flycatcher only and describes Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatcher in the text. The drawing shows a buff colouring of birds, which do not really fit the colors of the Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatcher I shot in the Pantanal.

Bird-lens is mainly a website to suit the growing demand for top shots of the species of the Western Palearctic. But of interest is the phenomenon of bird migration in general. Trips to tourist and non-tourist spots like Thailand or the Seychelles to capture images of rare migrating birds are part of the program and were already very successful. More nice images you find in the gallery or in the “Pictures Shop”. Just give me a message, if Bird-lens could serve you with images also outside the range of the Western Palearctic. Images of e.g. South America are well on stock, too. The nice images you find in in the gallery are only a first impression, what you might find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” too. Just give a message, if could serve you with an image needed before other pictures are online.

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