Creation Moments – Bird that Lies and Steals

Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus) by Ian

Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus) by Ian

The Bird that Lies and Steals from Creation Moments©2013

If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us [our] sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. (1 John 1:9 )

Many species of birds live in communities that are quite complex and even resemble human communities.

In the Amazon rainforests of Peru, 20 or more mixed species of birds will flock together in the lower levels of the rainforest canopy. Each flock has a leader and organizer – the bluish-slate ant-shrike. Each morning the ant-shrike will assemble its flock with loud calls.

This strange arrangement has a very good purpose. The ant-shrike watches over the flock like a mother watches her children. When a bird-eating hawk appears overhead, the ant-shrike shrieks a warning so that members of the flock can take cover. But as often as half the time, the ant-shrike sounds the alarm when there is no hawk. The ant-shrike sounds the alarm to distract members of the flock when he sees that they have discovered some choice insects. In this way, the ant-shrike gets up to 85 percent of its food by sounding the false hawk alarm. Nevertheless, the rest of the flock put up with his lying and thieving because of his value as a hawk watcher.

Lying and stealing are, of course, wrong for human beings. And our Creator will hold us each personally responsible for our thoughts and actions. But His Son, Jesus Christ, took our sins upon Himself so that all who believe in Him as their Lord and Savior will stand before Him cleansed of all their sins. Our Creator has promised this!

I thank You, Lord, that You have taken my sin upon Yourself. Help my trust to always rest in what You have done for me and not in what I think I can do to better myself before the heavenly Father. Amen.

Spot-backed Antshrike (Hypoedaleus guttatus) by Dario Sanches

Spot-backed Antshrike (Hypoedaleus guttatus) by Dario Sanches

Lee’s Addition:

A very good lesson from our Antshrike and Creation Moments. Antshrikes belong to the Thamnophilidae – Antbirds Family. The antbird family contains over 200 species, variously called antwrens, antvireos, antbirds and antshrikes. The names refer to the relative sizes of the birds rather than any particular resemblance to the true wrens, vireos or shrikes.

The antbirds are a large family, Thamnophilidae, of passerine birds found across subtropical and tropical Central and South America, from Mexico to Argentina. There are more than 200 species, known variously as antshrikes, antwrens, antvireos, fire-eyes, bare-eyes and bushbirds. They are related to the antthrushes and antpittas (family Formicariidae), the tapaculos, the gnateaters and the ovenbirds. Despite some species’ common names, this family is not closely related to the wrens, vireos or shrikes.

Antbirds are generally small birds with rounded wings and strong legs. They have mostly sombre grey, white, brown and rufous plumage, which is sexually dimorphic in pattern and colouring. Some species communicate warnings to rivals by exposing white feather patches on their backs or shoulders. Most have heavy bills, which in many species are hooked at the tip.

Most species live in forests, although a few are found in other habitats. Insects and other arthropods form the most important part of their diet, although small vertebrates are occasionally taken. Most species feed in the understory and midstory of the forest, although a few feed in the canopy and a few on the ground. Many join mixed-species feeding flocks, and a few species are core members. To various degrees, around eighteen species specialise in following columns of army ants to eat the small invertebrates flushed by the ants, and many others may feed in this way opportunistically.

Silvery-cheeked Antshrike (Sakesphorus cristatus) by AGrosset

Silvery-cheeked Antshrike (Sakesphorus cristatus) by AGrosset

Antbirds are monogamous, mate for life, and defend territories. They usually lay two eggs in a nest that is either suspended from branches or supported on a branch, stump, or mound on the ground. Both parents share the tasks of incubation and of brooding and feeding the nestlings. After fledging, each parent cares exclusively for one chick.

The antbirds are a group of small to medium-sized passerines that range in size from the large Giant Antshrike to the tiny Pygmy Antwren. In general terms, “antshrikes” are relatively large-bodied birds, “antvireos” are medium-sized and chunky, while “antwrens” include most smaller species; “antbird” genera can vary greatly in size. Members of this family have short rounded wings that provide good manoeuvrability when flying in dense undergrowth. The legs are large and strong, particularly in species that are obligate ant-followers. These species are well adapted to gripping vertical stems and saplings, which are more common than horizontal branches in the undergrowth, and thus the ability to grip them is an advantage for birds following swarms of army ants. The claws of these antbirds are longer than those of species that do not follow ants, and the soles of some species have projections that are tough and gripping when the foot is clenched. Tarsus length in antbirds is related to foraging strategy. Longer tarsi typically occur in genera such as the Thamnophilus antshrikes that forage by perch-gleaning (sitting and leaning forward to snatch insects from the branch), whereas shorter tarsi typically occur in those that catch prey on the wing, such as the Thamnomanes antshrikes.

Most antbirds have proportionately large, heavy bills. Several genera of antshrike have a strongly hooked tip to the bill, and all antbirds have a notch or ‘tooth’ at the tip of the bill which helps in holding and crushing insect prey. The two genera of bushbirds have upturned chisel-like bills. (Wikipedia with editing)

Barred Antshrike – Duet Song by Jeremy Minns (xeno-canto)

Barred Antshrike – Call by Jeremy Minns (xeno-canto)



Creation Moments

Thamnophilidae – Antbirds Family

Antbirds – Wikipedia


Please leave a Comment. They are encouraging.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s