Bertrando Campos

Greater Thornbird (Phacellodomus ruber)

The Greater Thornbird is, appropriately, the bulkiest member of the genus Phacellodomus, and has largely reddish-colored upperparts, along with strikingly yellow irides. It occupies a relatively wide range over east-central South America, from northeast Brazil south to northern Argentina, Paraguay, and northern Bolivia, wherein the species is found in gallery woodland, thickets, and scrub, nearly always in reasonably close proximity to water. It can descend to the ground to feed, and is usually observed in pairs, which regularly sing in duet, especially in defense of the nest. This thornbird builds a relatively substantial cone-shaped nest of twigs and branches, and this, in common with many congenerics, is often the first clue to the species’ presence in any given area. The nest is often placed over water, but can sometimes be sited on man-made structures, such as telegraph poles.

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