Great Antshrike (Taraba major)

Great Antshrike

Great Antshrike (Taraba major)

[order] PASSERIFORMES | [family] Thamnophilidae | [latin] Taraba major | [UK] Great Antshrike | [FR] rand Fourmilier pie-gieche | [DE] Weissbrust-Ameisenwurger | [ES] Batara Mayor | [NL] Grote Mierklauwier


Genus Species subspecies Breeding Range Breeding Range 2 Non Breeding Range
Sakesphorus major
Taraba major LA e Mexico to n Argentina
Taraba major borbae
Taraba major duidae
Taraba major granadensis
Taraba major major
Taraba major melanocrissus
Taraba major melanurus
Taraba major obscurus
Taraba major semifasciatus
Taraba major stagurus
Taraba major transandeanus

Physical charateristics

The Great Antshrike is a large and distinctive antbird, typically 20.3 cm long, and weighs 56 g. It has a crest, heavy hooked bill, and brilliant red eyes. The adult male has black upperparts, with two white wingbars and white underparts. There is a white dorsal patch normally concealed except in threat display; young males are similar to the adult, but have rufous wing coverts. The female has rich rufous upperparts and white underparts.

Listen to the sound of Great Antshrike

[audio: Antshrike.mp3]

Copyright remark: Most sounds derived from xeno-canto

wingspan min.: 0 cm wingspan max.: 0 cm
size min.: 19 cm size max.: 20 cm
incubation min.: 17 days incubation max.: 18 days
fledging min.: 12 days fledging max.: 18 days
broods: 2   eggs min.: 2  
      eggs max.: 3  


Latin America : East Mexico to North Argentina


Understorey of dense thickets in forest gallery, savanna woodland and second growth. Found near clearings and edges, also cocoa and citrus plantations and sometimes gardens.


The nest is a deep cup nest lined with soft material in a shrub, tied to a branch or fork. Clutch size is two, sometimes three eggs which are incubated by both sexes for 17-18 days to hatching. The chicks fledge in another 12-13 days. The species is often parasitized by the Shiny Cowbird.

Feeding habits

The Great Antshrike feeds on insects and other arthropods gleaned from foliage. It will also take small lizards and mammals. Sometimes follows ant swarms and joines mixes species flocks. Usually found 1-2 meter above ground.


This species has an extremely large range, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the range size criterion (Extent of Occurrence <20,000 km2 combined with a declining or fluctuating range size, habitat extent/quality, or population size and a small number of locations or severe fragmentation). Despite the fact that the population trend appears to be decreasing, the decline is not believed to be sufficiently rapid to approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population trend criterion (>30% decline over ten years or three generations). The population size is very large, and hence does not approach the thresholds for Vulnerable under the population size criterion (<10,000 mature individuals with a continuing decline estimated to be >10% in ten years or three generations, or with a specified population structure). For these reasons the species is evaluated as Least Concern.
Great Antshrike status Least Concern


Sedentary throughout range.

Distribution map

Great Antshrike distribution range map

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