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Great Antshrike - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by Rogerio Araújo Dias
Niquelândia, Brazil
Taraba major


19–20 cm (7½-7¾ in)
They have a heavy hooked bill, a crest and a bright red iris.
The male is black above with two white wing-bars and underparts are white.
Female is rufous where the male is black.


Photo © by bievreJJ
Itapira, SP, Brazil, August 2018

Several of the subspecies are distinct both in plumage and voice (Restall 2006)


Central and South America: found from Mexico through Central America, and South America to northern Argentina.


Differences in plumage and voice indicate there could be more than one species involved; Restall indicates that such distinctions should be drawn between birds east and west of the Andes, but also between subspecies granadensis and semifasciatus.


There are 10 subspecies[1]:

  • T. m. melanocrissus: Caribbean slope of south-eastern Mexico (San Luis Potosí) to western Panama
  • T. m. obscurus: Western Costa Rica to Panama and northern Colombia
  • T. m. transandeanus: Coastal south-western Colombia to western Ecuador and north-western Peru (Tumbes)
  • T. m. granadensis: Caribbean slope of northern Colombia to north-western Venezuela
  • T. m. semifasciatus: Extreme eastern Colombia to southern Venezuela, the Guianas, northern and eastern Brazil
  • T. m. duidae: Tepuis of south-eastern Venezuela (Mount Duida)
  • T. m. melanurus: South-eastern Colombia to eastern Ecuador, eastern Peru and south-western Amazonian Brazil)
  • T. m. borbae: South-central Amazonian Brazil (Rio Purús to Rio Madeira)
  • T. m. stagurus: North-eastern Brazil (eastern Maranhão to Pernambuco and Espiríto Santo)
  • T. m. major: Eastern Bolivia to south-central Brazil, western Paraguay and northern Argentina


Dense undergrowth and tangly thickets in clearings and forest borders.


Makes sudden tail movements while singing.


A varied diet of insects, invertebrates, lizards and frogs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Avibase
  3. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved July 2014)
  4. Restall et all 2006 Birds of Northern South America ISBN 9780300108620
  5. BF Member observations

Recommended Citation

External Links

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