Army ants marching on the forest floor as the flush insect and small vertebrate, which become potential prey for birds that follow the ants.
Army ants are not a micro-habitat in the traditional sense of the word but represent an essential element for a few bird species that depend on them. A few species of birds are heavily associated with columns of army ants and have specialized in catching invertebrates flushed out of their hideouts by the marching ants. These species are rarely seen away from the ants and match their foraging activities to that of the swarm of ants they follow. These species are also known as obligate ant-followers.
The Bicolored Antbird (Gymnopithys bicolor) is an obligate army ant follower. This bird adapts its daily activities to those of the Army ants.
There are more than one species the army ants. However, ants of the genus Atta sp. appear to be the more favored by ant-following birds.
See more Neotropical bird habitats.
- Neotropical Birds: Ecology and Conservation. Stotz Douglas F., Fitzpatrick John W., Parker Theodore A. III, and Moskovits Debra K. University of Chicago Press, 1996.