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Endemic to Brazil, where its distribution is curiously disjunct, the nominate subspecies has been steadily expanding its range in recent years. This taxon was formerly distributed from Maranhão, in far northeast Brazil, south to about eastern Minas Gerais, but in the last few decades has spread south through Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, and has recently arrived in the city of São Paulo, which expansion has presumably been partially ‘fuelled’ by habitat destruction. Nonetheless, Like all horneros, this is a principally terrestrial species, which draws the attention by its bold behavior and loud, staccato songs. It prefers second-growth scrub, woodland edges, pastures, and other disturbed areas, often in close proximity to water, both rivers and lakes.

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