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Double-banded Greytail

Xenerpestes minlosi

The Double-banded Greytail, scientifically known as Xenerpestes minlosi, is a diminutive member of the Furnariidae family, resembling a warbler in stature. This bird measures between 11 to 12 centimeters in length, with both sexes donning similar plumage.

Identification Tips

Adults of the nominate subspecies boast olive-buff lores and a creamy white supercilium, contrasted by a dark gray line behind the eye on a predominantly grayish face. Their crown is tinged with blackish hues, while their back, rump, and tail are a consistent dark gray. The wings are also dark gray, accented with yellowish at the bend and two distinctive white bars on the coverts. The throat and underparts are a creamy whitish color, with grayish flecks adorning the breast and olive-buff undertail coverts. The light brown iris, dark brown maxilla, grayish white mandible, and grayish brown legs and feet complete their appearance. Juveniles present a less defined supercilium, grayer underparts, and lack the wingbars seen in adults. The subspecies X. m. umbraticus is characterized by darker upperparts, wings, and tail compared to the nominate.

Habitat

The Double-banded Greytail inhabits lowland and foothill evergreen forests, including both primary and mature secondary growths. Its habitat extends from near sea level up to 900 meters in elevation, though in Ecuador, it is typically found no higher than 500 meters.

Distribution

The species is found in Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama. The nominate subspecies resides in Colombia from near the Caribbean coast into the Magdalena River Valley, reaching as far south as Boyacá and Santander departments. The subspecies X. m. umbraticus inhabits eastern Panama's Darién Province and extends south through western Colombia into northwestern Ecuador's Esmeraldas and Pichincha provinces.

Behaviour

The Double-banded Greytail is a permanent resident within its range, known for its solitary or paired foraging behavior. It often joins mixed-species feeding flocks and is observed foraging from the forest's midstorey to the canopy, particularly in dense vine tangles.

Song & calls

The species' song is a long, dry, extremely rapid chattering trill of consistent pitch, crescendoing in volume. Its call is a sharp, thin, inflected note, distinctive in the forest soundscape.

Breeding

Currently, there is no available information regarding the breeding biology of the Double-banded Greytail.

Similar Species

The Double-banded Greytail could potentially be confused with other small, grayish birds within its habitat, but its distinctive vocalizations and wing markings aid in its identification.

Diet and Feeding

This bird's diet consists of arthropods. It employs a foraging technique that includes gleaning prey from both live and dead foliage, often hanging upside down beneath leaves, and also gleaning from twigs and occasionally flowers.

Conservation status

The IUCN has classified the Double-banded Greytail as Least Concern. It is estimated to have a population of at least 50,000 mature individuals, which is believed to be decreasing. However, no immediate threats have been identified. The species is considered rare to locally uncommon, which may partly reflect the challenges in detecting this elusive bird.

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