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Black-throated antshrike preys on nests of social paper wasps in central French Guiana

Sean Mccann, Onour Moeri, Tanya Jones, Gerhard Gerhard Gries


We studied predation by birds on nests of neotropical social paper wasps at the Inselberg camp of the Nouragues Reserve in Central French Guiana, an minimally-disturbed lowland rainforest habitat. Seven meters above ground, we built recording arenas and fitted them with motion-detecting video cameras. We transferred active wasp nests from surrounding forest to the arenas to film bird predators of wasps. In a video recording taken on 13 April 2010, we documented predation by a male Black-throated Antshrike, Frederickena viridis, on nests of Polybia scrobalis and P. bistriata. In rapid fly-bys, the antshrike repeatedly struck the wasp nests with his beak and in the process knocked parts of the nest to the ground. After the wasps absconded, he perched next to the nest of P. bistriata and fed on the wasp larvae and pupae. This predation tactic and type of prey was previously not known for F. viridis. Also, F. viridis apparently forages in higher strata of the forest than previously recorded.

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