Restinga antwren (Formicivora littoralis)

loading
Male Restinga antwren perched
loading
Loading more images and videos...

Restinga antwren fact file

Restinga antwren description

KingdomAnimalia
PhylumChordata
ClassAves
OrderPasserifirmes
FamilyThamnophilidae
GenusFormicivora (1)

The restinga antwren (Formicivora littoralis) is a rare and highly specialised bird, restricted to a small and distinct coastal ecosystem in eastern Brazil (3). The male is largely black in colour, except for white wing bars, white around the shoulders, and white spots near the tip of the tail. The female is more rufous-brown in colour, particularly on the upper parts, and has a whitish eyebrow and buffy-cream underparts (2) (4). Although originally described in 1990 as a subspecies of the Serra antwren (Formicivora serrana), the restinga antwren was swiftly elevated to full species status on account of its distinct appearance, range and ecology (5)

Size
Length: 12.5 cm (2)
Top

Restinga antwren biology

The restinga antwren typically forages in pairs, remaining close to the ground in dense thickets, where it is safe from predators (2) (7) (8). Like other antwrens, insects and other invertebrates are its main food source (6) (7) (8). Breeding appears to take place year round, with pairs constructing a deep, open-cup nest around two metres above the ground in the branch of a tree. The clutch size is two, and the sexes share incubation and parental care duties (2) (8).   

Top

Restinga antwren range

The restinga antwren has a highly restricted range along a strip of dunes on the coast of Rio de Janeiro state, Brazil (2) (6) (7).

Top

Restinga antwren habitat

As its name suggests, this species is endemic to restinga, a beach scrub habitat rich in cacti and bromeliads (2) (6). Very few other birds are found in this unique and specialised habitat (3).

Top

Restinga antwren status

The restinga antwren is classified as Endangered (EN) on the IUCN Red List (1).

IUCN Red List species status – Endangered

Top

Restinga antwren threats

The restricted habitat on which the restinga antwren depends is under enormous pressure from beachfront development for housing and holiday resorts, and from the salt industry (2) (3) (5) (7). Owing to a burgeoning human population in the region, squatters are also posing an additional threat to its habitat, while nest predation by alien predators has become a problem more recently (3). If further habitat loss and degradation continues, this highly specialised species is at high risk of going extinct (2) (3). However, recent surveys have shown that its range may extend further than previously estimated, and as a result its conservation status may warrant downlisting to Endangered in the future (2) (5).

Top

Restinga antwren conservation

Although small amounts of restinga habitat are protected within three designated areas, enforcement has been relatively ineffective, with clearance of vegetation still occurring within the reserves’ boundaries (2) (3). Fortunately, conservation efforts have proliferated in recent years, particularly since SAVE Brasil appointed local NGO, Pingo D'água, BirdLife Species Guardian for the restinga antwren. This valuable partnership is supporting further research into the restinga antwren’s ecology, as well as an awareness campaign aimed at local schools, the preparation of a Species Action Plan, the removal of alien predators such as the common marmoset, and the creation of a new reserve which will afford far greater protection to the area then currently exists (2) (3) (7) (9). It is hoped that these admirable efforts will result in the restinga antwren’s recovery, and in doing so set a precedent for the vital protection of other species facing similar threats (3).

View information on this species at the UNEP World Conservation Monitoring Centre.
Top

Find out more

To find out more about conservation of the restinga antwren, visit:

For more information on this and other bird species please see:

Top

Authentication

This information is awaiting authentication by a species expert, and will be updated as soon as possible. If you are able to help please contact:
arkive@wildscreen.org.uk

Top

Glossary

Endemic
A species or taxonomic group that is only found in one particular country or geographic area.
Incubation
The act of incubating eggs, that is, keeping them warm so that development is possible.
Subspecies
A population usually restricted to a geographical area that differs from other populations of the same species, but not to the extent of being classified as a separate species.
Top

References

  1. IUCN Red List (August, 2012)
    http://www.iucnredlist.org/
  2. BirdLife International (February, 2010)
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/speciesfactsheet.php?id=9775
  3. Birdfair – British Birdwatching Fair  (February, 2010)
    http://www.birdfair.org.uk/ppimageupload/Image84325.PDF
  4. Ridgely, R.S. and Tudor, G. (1994) The Birds of South America: The Suboscine Passerines. Volume II. University of Texas Press, Austin, Texas.
  5. Mattos, J.C.F., Vale, M.M., Vecchi, M.B. and Alves, M.A.S. (2009) Abundance, distribution and conservation of the Restinga Antwren Formicivora littoralis. Bird Conservation International, 19: 392-400.
  6. Perrins, C. (2009) The Encyclopedia of Birds. Oxford University Press, Oxford.
  7. Hirschfeld, E. (2008) Rare Birds Yearbook 2009. MagDig Media Limited, UK.
  8. BirdLife International (1992) Restinga antwren Formicivora littoralis. In: BirdLife International. Threatened Birds of the Americas. BirdLife International, Cambridge, UK. Available at:
    http://www.birdlife.org/datazone/userfiles/file/Species/AmRDBPDFs/Formicivora_littoralis_eng.pdf
  9. SAVE Brasil (February, 2010)
    http://www.savebrasil.org.br/
X
Close

Image credit

Male Restinga antwren perched  
Male Restinga antwren perched

© Sávio Bruno

Savio Freire Bruno
saviobruno@vm.uff.br
http://www.uff.br/biodiversidade

X
Close

Link to this photo

ARKive species - Restinga antwren (Formicivora littoralis) Embed this ARKive thumbnail link ("portlet") by copying and pasting the code below.

Terms of Use - The displayed portlet may be used as a link from your website to ARKive's online content for private, scientific, conservation or educational purposes only. It may NOT be used within Apps.

Read more about

X
Close

MyARKive

MyARKive offers the scrapbook feature to signed-up members, allowing you to organize your favourite ARKive images and videos and share them with friends.

Play the Team WILD game:

Team WILD, an elite squadron of science superheroes, needs your help! Your mission: protect and conserve the planet’s species and habitats from destruction.

Conservation in Action

Which species are on the road to recovery? Find out now »

This species is featured in:

This species is featured in the Atlantic forest eco-region

Help us share the wonders of the natural world. Donate today!

Blog RSS