Bristlefront Merulaxis stresemanni
Brazilian name: Entufado-baiano
Mata de Balbina, Bandeira, Minas Gerais,
Stresemann's Bristlefront is extremely rare and is also extremely difficult to photograph as it is a real skulker in the undergrowth of Atlantic Rain Forest where the light is low and manual focus is required.
|Prior to 1995 the species was
known from only 2 specimens, a male from near Salvador and a
female from Ilhéus. In 1995 another male was seen
near Una but has not been seen since.
Then in 2005, some birds were discovered by Rômulo Robin and his team in a forest fragment on the border between Bahia and Minas Gerais. It is not surprising that it is classified as Critically Endangered by Birdlife International .
|It is very similar in both
looks and behaviour to the Slaty Bristlefront M. ater but it is
larger with proportionately bigger bill and feet. The male is
uniformly slaty-black and lacks the dark brown colouring on the
lower back and flanks of the male Slaty Bristlefront.
The female, shown here, has much brighter rusty-red on the underparts than the female Slaty Bristlefront.
There are recordings on xeno-canto (the recording by Ciro Albano is of the bird in these photos). Ciro also has a photo of this same bird from a different angle on Multiply. There is access to additional information on Avibase but the NatureServe distribution map does not yet show the Mata de Balbina site.
The tiny (400ha) forest remnant at Mata de Balbina has been bought by a local NGO with funds from the American Bird Conservancy but the neighbouring forest remnants where there might be more birds remain unprotected. I did get the distinct impression as I laboured up the hill towards the Mata de Balbina that this could well be a bird of lowland forest that has been pushed up the hillsides as the forest retreated in front of land clearances.
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