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Grallariidae – Antpittas

Giant Antpitta in Ecuador: Photo by Ben Lucking

Grallariidae, a diverse family of birds primarily found in the Neotropical region, comprises the antpittas, known for their elusive nature and skulking behavior in the dense undergrowth of forests. With muted plumage hues and often cryptic patterns, they are challenging to spot but are recognized for their distinctive calls echoing through the forest understory.

Overview of Grallariidae

These earth-toned ground dwellers of Neotropical forests often reveal themselves more through their whistled calls than direct sightings. With long legs and stubby tails, they navigate through the undergrowth with agile hops, occasionally pausing to sift through leaf litter in pursuit of insects. While their common name suggests an association with ants, this is only partially accurate, as their habits and appearance resemble those of Old World pittas. Much about their biology remains enigmatic, with intriguing behaviors such as feigning death by nestlings and simulated injury displays by adults awaiting further exploration.