New 'Cnipodectes' species near Iberia, Peru - October 2003

Published by Pete Hosner (idioptilon AT

Participants: Dan Lebbin, Mike Andersen, Pete Hosner


From 10-18 October 2003, Dan Lebbin, Pete Hosner, and Mike Andersen surveyed a large bamboo patch near Iberia, Madre de Dios, Peru, as a part of Dan’s dissertation on habitat specialization of Amazonian birds. Dan had selected the area because satellite photos show a large amount of bamboo in the area, and it is readily accessible from the town. In the area we found most of the SE Peru bamboo specialists, including the new species of Cnipodectes (twistwing) for which a species description is currently in press. Until this sighting, all other localities were either remote or in areas of Manu not accessible to birders. Our hope is that with these directions, birders will be able to find this species with regularity in this area. A week after our sightings, Joe Tobias and Nat Seddon visited the area and found it across the border in Extrema, Boliva about 10km southeast of Iberia.

Cnipodectes Site Directions

We observed the new Cnipodectes inside a bamboo patch at Oceania, 6 km west of Iberia (~250 m elevation). Iberia can be reached in 4 hours by taxi from Puerto Maldonado for 100 soles. Iberia is north of Puerto Maldonado along the road to Brazil. In Iberia, Mario Zereceda is a good contact. He worked on the Proyecto Pacal and introduced us to this and other bamboo patches in the area. He lives in a house next to the Restauraunt BuenSabor just off the SE corner of the plaza in a house with thick bamboo pillars. There is also a local man with a car named Orlando who drove us to the site many times (there was no good watersource for camping). From the plaza in Iberia head west, cross the old paved airstrip and turn right onto a red dirt road. Continue on this road west, past the institute. After 1.8 km on this road, turn right onto a two-track and proceed through the first of four barbed wire gates. The road continues west through pastures and second growth. Shortly after passing through a large area that has been recently burned and cleared, there is another overgrown two-track on the right side of the road after about 3.8 km (waypoint UTM 19L 0441785, 8740184). Stop here and walk up the two-track into the forest and bamboo. If you arrive at a bridge, you have gone too far. There are two entrances to the trail system we made in the bamboo, both on the right side of this road (0441451,874088 and 0441366,8740622). The trail system consists of four main trails marked with orange flagging every 25 m, but bring a machete because debris frequently collapses over trails through bamboo. The Cnipodectes was heard throughout the trail system. Distances described here are straight-line from GPS. Note that this is private property, please ask the owners (who live in a house down the two track a few hundred meters on the left) for permission.

Habitat: The site is a large Guadua weberbaueri bamboo patch (on a terraza alta) bordered by cleared land, the Rio Tahuamanu, chacras, and mature forest. A logging road cuts through it, and we saw burned and chain-sawed logs within the patch in several palces indicating at least some level of human disturbance. The Cnipodectes seemed to prefer the dense ~5m tall bamboo, versus taller sparser bamboo growing under more mature forest, but was observed in both areas.

Description (from two net captures): bare parts – iris two-toned, overall brownish red but dark when viewed in the field, inner iris ring paler than outer ring, skin around eye mustard yellow, mandible pinkish white fading to yellow towards chin with orange gape flange, maxilla mostly dusky with orange base near gape flange; legs pale blue-gray with lavender tinge, toe pads pale yellow; gape bright yellow-orange. Plumage – underparts bright ochraceous cinnamon, chin paler, brightest on belly; upperparts a rusty chestnut, tail chestnut with burgundy tinge, head bright chestnut, crest held flat, crest feathers dusky with chestnut brown margins, pale lore, wing coverts dusky with rusty edging, ptagium rusty, primaries dusky and heavily modified, remiges dusky with outer edge rust and inner edge whitish-beige; rump rufous; lice eggs around eyes.

Behavior Observations: Between 11 October and 18 October, we saw or heard Cnipodectes daily, with the best observations on the first, second (captures), and the last day. We observed foraging, winglifting and recorded vocalizations using gear from Cornell LNS. Calling birds were heard throughout the bamboo patch and throughout the day, but more frequently in the morning between dawn (5:15am) and 8 am. Generally, short bursts of calls were interspersed with long periods of silence, but on 11, 15, and 18 October we recorded more consistent calling over periods of about an hour. While foraging, Cnipodectes searched for prey from a perch, frequently moving head around to search at different angles, holding body still in an upright posture (except for frequent winglifting), occasionally changing perches before making abrupt sallies to small br! anches or leaves (bamboo and non-bamboo), afterwards dropping to a lower perch. Observed prey included an Orthoptera, which was beaten against a branch before swallowing. The Cnipodectes foraged low, about1-3 m high, in dense bamboo (5m tall) and taller bamboo under taller forest. On 11 October, Pete watched the Cnipodectes winglift, generally alternating sides with 3 consecutive left winglifts. On 18 October, Dan and Pete watched a Cnipodectes lift one wing many times consectuively before switching sides, and saw it lift both wings simultaneously on two occasions. More details on foraging behavior and winglifts are below.

On 11 October we heard at least two birds countersinging from about 4:10 pm until about 5 pm. Mike recorded this using a miniDAT and a senhiesser shotgun microphone from Cornell’s Macaulay Library of Natural Sounds and all recordings will be catalogued there. We watched at least one of these birds call, winglift, and forage during this period. Pete saw the Cnipodectes make 3 direct upward 1 m sallies, launching off of horizontal bamboo to glean prey off of bamboo leaves. After each attack, the bird flew in a fluttery and erratic manner to a new perch near the same level as the original perch (1 time) or to a lower perch (2 times).

On 18 October Dan and Pete followed an unbanded Cnipodectes for over 45 minutes, dictating observations into a microphone (Sony ProII cassette deck with a senhessier shotgun mic) between 6:15-6:55 am and photographing it once. The Cnipodectes performed at least two upward sallies, two downward sallies and one horizontal sally towards prey located on small bamboo branches and leaves. One of these upward sallies was approximately 30 cm to a dead bamboo branch with dry leaves, after which it dropped to a lower perch. It was observed beating prey against a branch, including one Orthoptera (approx. 20 mm grasshopper). Other prey taken was small, unidentifiable, and swallowed immediately. The bird foraged between 1-3 m up off the ground, frequently lower near 1 m height.

This individual moved 75-100 m over the courseof the observation. On 15 October, Pete followed and recorded a singing bird move over 100m.

Mike and Pete have over an hour of taped vocalizations, including calls similar to those Thomas Valqui recorded (a series of whet whet whet notes) as well as a different descending whinny call.

Photos taken the week after our visit at a nearby site in Boliva were taken by Joe Tobias, and posted on Surfbirds

Species Lists

Our complete species list for the location.

In addition, Lophotriccus eulophotes (Long-crested Pygmy-tyrant) can be found at a different site on a two track that leads into some good forest west a couple kilometers south of the Rio Tawamanu on the road to Puerto Maldonado.

White-throated Tinamou Tinamus guttatus
Cinereous Tinamou Crypturellus cinereus
Little Tinamou Crypturellus soui
Undulated Tinamou Crypturellus undulatus
Black-capped Tinamou Crypturellus atrocapillus
Specled Chachalaca Ortalis guttata
Spix's Guan Penelope jacquacu
Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
G Y-headed Vulture Cathartes melambrotus
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Slender-billed Kite Rostrhamus hamatus
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Grey Hawk Asturina nitida
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
Black Hawk-eagle Spizaetus tyrannus
Black Caracara Daptrius ater
Red-throated Caracara Ibycter americanus
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
Barred Forest Falcon Micrastur ruficollis
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
Chestnut-headed Crake Anurolimnas castaneiceps
Grey-necked Wood Rail Aramides cajanea
American Golden-Plover Pluvialis dominica
Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos
Buff-breasted Sandpiper Tryngites subruficollis
Scaled Pigeon Patagioenas speciosa
Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis
Plumbeous Pigeon Patagioenas plumbea
Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti
Grey-fronted Dove Leptotila rufaxilla
Ruddy Quail-Dove Geotrygon montana
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Red-and- Green Macaw Ara chloropterus
Chestnut-fronted Macaw Ara severa
Blue-headed Macaw Primolius couloni
Dusky-headed Parakeet Aratinga weddellii
Cobalt-winged Parakeet Brotogeris cyanoptera
Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus
Yellow-crowned Parrot Amazona ochrocephala
Mealy Parrot Amazona farinosa
Hoatzin Opisthocomus hoazin
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Little Cuckoo Piaya minuta
Greater Ani Crotophaga major
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Pavonine Cuckoo Dromococcyx pavoninus
Tawny-b Screech-Owl Megascops watsonii
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Glaucidium brasilianum
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Ocellated Poorwill Nyctiphrynus ocellatus
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Short-tailed Swift Chaetura brachyura
Rufous-breasted Hermit Glaucis hirsutus
White-b Hermit Phaethornis hispidus
Needle-billed Hermit Phaethornis philippii
Reddish Hermit Phaethornis ruber
Blue-tailed Emerald Chlorostilbon mellisugus
Fork-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania furcata
Sapph-spang. Hummer Amazilia lactea
Blue-crowned Trogon Trogon curucui
Collared Trogon Trogon collaris
Black-tailed Trogon Trogon melanurus
Blue-crowned Motmot Momotus momota
Broad-billed Motmot Electron platyrhynchum
White-throated Jacamar Brachygalba albogularis
Bluish-fronted Jacamar Galbula cyanescens
Paradise Jacamar Galbula dea
Great Jacamar Jacamerops aureus
Chestnut-cap Puffbird Bucco macrodactylus
Striolated Puffbird Nystalus striolatus
Rufous-capped Nunlet Nonnula ruficapilla
Black-fronted Nunbird Monasa nigrifrons
Gilded Barbet Capito auratus
Lemon-throated Barbet Eubucco richardsoni
Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus
Collared Aracari Pteroglossus mariae
Channel-billed Toucan Ramphastos culminatus
Red-billed Toucan Ramphastos cuvieri
Rufous-breasted Piculet Picumnus rufiventris
Yellow-t Woodpecker Melanerpes cruentatus
Little Woodpecker Veniliornis passerinus
Rufous-h Woodpecker Celeus spectabilis
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Red-n Woodpecker Campephilus rubricollis
Crimson-cr Woodpecker Campephilus melanoleucos
Wedge-b Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
Plain-br Woodcreeper Dendrocincla fuliginosa
White-ch Woodcreeper Dendrocincla merula
O. Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus obsoletus
Buff-thr Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus guttatus
Red-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus trochilirostris
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
Pale-legged Hornero Furnarius leucopus
Plain-crowned Spinetail Synallaxis gujanensis
Peruvian Recurvebill Simoxenops ucayalae
Buff-throated F-g Automolus ochrolaemus
Brown-rumped F-g Automolus melanopezus
Chestnut-crowned Foliage-gleaner Automolus rufipileatus
Bamboo Antshrike Cym. sanctaemariae
Great Antshrike Taraba major
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Plain-winged Antshrike Thamnophilus schistaceus
Bluish-slate Antshrike Thamnom. schistogynus
Spot-winged Antshrike Pygiptila stellaris
White-eyed Antwren Myrmoth. leucophthalma
Ornate Antwren Myrmotherula ornata
White-flanked Antwren Myrmotherula axillaris
Ihering's Antwren Myrmotherula iheringi
Grey Antwren Myrmotherula menetriesii
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis
Striated Antbird Drymophila devillei
Grey Antbird Cercomacra cinerascens
Blackish Antbird Cercomacra nigrescens
Manu Antbird Cercomacra manu
White-browed Antbird Myrmoborus leucophrys
Black-faced Antbird Myrmoborus myotherinus
Warbling Antbird Hypocnemis cantator
White-lined Antbird Percnostola lophotes
Chestnut-tailed Antbird Myrmeciza hemimelaena
Black-throated Antbird Myrmeciza atrothorax
Goeldi's Antbird Myrmeciza goeldii
Spot-backed Antbird Hylophylax naevius
Black-spotted Bare-eye Phlegopsis nigromaculata
Rufous-capped Antthrush Formicarius colma
Black-faced Antthrush Formicarius analis
Rufous-fr Antthrush Formicarius rufifrons
Amazonian Antpitta Hylopezus berlepschi
Thrush-like Antpitta Myrmothera campanisona
Yellow-cr Tyrannulet Tyrannulus elatus
Large Elaenia Elaenia spectabilis
Ringed Antpipit Corythopis torquata
Sepia-capped Flycatcher Lept. amaurocephalus
Flam. Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus flammulatus
Short-t Pygmy-Tyrant Myiornis ecaudatus
White-ch Tody-Tyrant Poecilotriccus albifacies
Rufous-fronted Tody-F Poecilotriccus latirostris
Olivaceous Flatbill Rhynchocyclus olivaceus
Grey-crowned Flycatcher Tolmomyias poliocephalus
Golden-cr Spadebill Platyrinchus coronatus
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher Terenotriccus erythrurus
Euler's Flycatcher Lathrotriccus euleri
Eastern Wood-Pewee Contopus virens
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus rubinus
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
C. Slaty Flycatcher G. aurantioatrocristatus
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Short-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus ferox
Large-headed Flatbill Ramphotrigon megacephalum
Dusky-tailed Flatbill Ramphotrigon fuscicauda
Dull-capped Attila Attila bolivianus
Cnipodectes sp nov
S-bellied T-Manakin Neopelma sulphureiventer
Fiery-capped Manakin Machaeropterus pyrocephalus
Band-tailed Manakin Pipra fasciicauda
Black-tailed Tityra Tityra cayana
White-browed Purpletuft Iodopleura isabellae
White-winged Becard P. polychopterus
Screaming Piha Lipaugus vociferans
Black-faced Cotinga Conioptilon mcilhennyi
Bare-necked Fruitcrow Gymnoderus foetidus
Purple-thr Fruitcrow Querula purpurata
Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
Violaceous Jay Cyanocorax violaceus
Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Brown-chested Martin Progne tapera
S. R-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Cliff Swallow Petrochelidon pyrrhonota
Thrush-like Wren Campylorhynchus turdinus
Moustached Wren Thryothorus genibarbis
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
S. Nightingale-Wren Microcerculus marginatus
Musician Wren Cyphorhinus arada
Long-billed Gnatwren Ramphocaenus melanurus
Veery Catharus fuscescens
Swainson's Thrush Catharus ustulatus
Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis
Hauxwell's Thrush Turdus hauxwelli
Swallow Tanager Tersina viridis
Magpie Tanager Cissopis leveriana
White-sh Tanager Tachyphonus luctuosus
W-winged S-Tanager Lanio versicolor
Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo
Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Turquoise Tanager Tangara mexicana
Paradise Tanager Tangara chilensis
G-and-gold Tanager Tangara schrankii
Masked Tanager Tangara nigrocincta
Opal-crowned Tanager Tangara callophrys
Black-faced Dacnis Dacnis lineata
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Guira Tanager Hemithraupis guira
Red-crowned Ant-tanager Habia rubica
Yellow-browed Sparrow Myospiza aurifrons
Pectoral Sparrow Arremon taciturnus
Blue-black Grosbeak Volatinia jacarina
Double-collared Seedeater Sporophila caerulescens
Chestnut-breasted Seedeater Sporophila castaneiventris
Lesser Seed-finch Oryzoborus angolensis
Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola
Blue-black Grosbeak Cyanocompsa cyanoides
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Gray Saltator Saltator coerulescens
Slate colored Grosbeak Saltator grossus
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus
R-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons
Amazonian Antpitta Psarocolius bifasciatus
Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela
Troupial Icterus croconotus
Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivora
Buff-rumped Warbler Phaeothlypis fulvicauda