Redfronted flowerpecker weaverfinch

Parmoptila rubrifrons

SUBFAMILY

Estrildinae

TAXONOMY

Pholidornis rubrifrons Sharpe and Ussher, 1872 OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Jameson's antpecker, red-fronted antpecker; French: Parmoptile a front rouge; German: Ameisenpicker; Spanish: Pinzón Hormiguero de Jameson.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

3.9-4.3 in (10-11 cm). Similar to warblers, with which they were previously classified. Sexually dimorphic with males having a red forehead and cinnamon-brown underparts; females lack the red forehead and have spotted underparts. Juveniles are similar to adult males but lack the red forehead.

DISTRIBUTION

Two populations: one in Liberia and southwestern Cote d'Ivoire and one in northern Democratic Republic of Congo, eastern Congo, and western Uganda.

HABITAT

Inhabits forest edges and scrub, usually low to the ground.

BEHAVIOR

Found at mid-level or near the ground in pairs, small groups, or sometimes mixed-species groups. The voice of this secretive species has not been recorded.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

A longer more slender bill than that of most estrildids reflects this species' more insectivorous diet of mostly ants, including their larvae and pupae. This species, along with the closely-related flowerpecker weaver-finch (Parmoptila woodhousei), possesses a brush-like tongue which is believed to be an adaptation to a diet of ants. When searching for food, this species examines both live and dead leaves.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

As for negro-finches, the nesting behavior and the nestlings' mouth patterns of P. woodhousei are what convinced taxono-mists that the flower-peckers are indeed estrildids, albeit aberrant examples. However, the nest and nestlings of P. rubrifrons have not been found or described.

CONSERVATION STATUS

CITES: Appendix III. Not considered threatened by the IUCN.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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