Giant antpitta

Grallaria gigantea

TAXONOMY

Grallaria gigantea Lawrence, 1866.

OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Grallaire géante; German: Riesenameisenpitta; Spanish: Chululu Gigante.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

One of the largest birds in family; 9.5 in (24 cm), with a black iris and tan eye-ring, heavy bill, and very short tail.

DISTRIBUTION

Sporadic, local distribution on the western slopes of the Andes Mountains in southwestern Colombia and western Ecuador.

HABITAT

Between 7,200 to 9,850 ft (2,200-3,000 m) in montane primary and mature secondary forest, and sometimes in rough pasture near forest.

BEHAVIOR

Nonmigratory pairs defend a breeding territory. Song of males is a series of quavering notes lasting about five seconds.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Forages for insects and other arthropods on or very close to the ground.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Monogamous pairs bond for life, typically lay two eggs, and share incubation and care of nestlings and fledglings.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Endangered. Very rare species surviving in only a few, isolated populations. Its surviving critical habitats must be protected against damages caused by economic development.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

No direct significance, except for the indirect economic benefits of bird-watching and ecotourism. ♦

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