Variable Antshrike

species of bird

The variable antshrike (Thamnophilus caerulescens) is a species of bird in the Thamnophilidae family found most in South America. It is (as its name) arguably the species of antbird with the most variable plumage.[1] This leads to claims that it includes more than one species, but evidence suggests that this is incorrect.[1][2]

Variable Antshrike
CHOCA-DA-MATA macho ( Thamnophilus caerulescens).jpg
male Thamnophilus c. caerulescens from São Paulo, Brazil
Scientific classification
T. caerulescens
Binomial name
Thamnophilus caerulescens
Vieillot, 1816

The Variable Antshrike is about 14–16 cm (5.5–6.3 in) long.[3]

Distribution and habitatEdit

Female Thamnophilus c. caerulescens from São Paulo, Brazil.

The Variable Antshrike is found mostly in eastern and southern Brazil. It is also seen in Pernambuco and Alagoas. From southern Brazil, its range spreads through Uruguay, Paraguay, northern Argentina, Bolivia, and along the eastern slope of the Andes in Peru, as far north as the Amazonas Region.[3]

It has many habitats, but most of it is found in foothills in north-eastern Brazil,[3] and does not live in lands higher than 2600 meters (8500 ft).[4]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Brumfield, R. T. (2005). Mitochondrial variation in Bolivian populations of the Variable Antshrike. Auk 122(2): 414–432
  2. Isler, M. L., Isler, P. R., and Brumfield, R. T. (2005). Clinal variation in vocalizations of an antbird (Thamnophilidae) and implications for defining species limits. Auk 122(2): 433–444
  3. 3.0 3.1 3.2 Zimmer, K. J., and Isler, M. L. (2003). Variable Antshrike (Thamnophilus caerulescens). Pp. 561-562 in: del Hoyo, J., Elliott, A., and Christie, D. A. eds. (2003). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 8. Broadbills of Tapaculos. Lynx Edicions, Barcelona. ISBN 84-87334-50-4
  4. Schulenberg, T. S., Stotz, D. F., Lane, D. F., O'Neill, J. P., and Parker III, T. A. (2007). Birds of Peru. Christopher Helm, London. ISBN 978-0-7136-8673-9