ABSTRACT

Eciton burchellii is a Neotropical army ant that influences the ecology of many associated animal species, including their prey and species that attend the ant's foraging raids. At least 29 bird species are obligate specialists on foraging at army ant raid fronts, and additional species across diverse avian orders follow army ant raids in a facultative manner. These facultative ant-following birds include species of raptors in Accipitriformes, Strigiformes, and Falconiformes. The most frequently documented raptors that follow raids are forest-falcons in the genus Micrastur. Micrastur falcons add a unique type of predation to raids, catching larger arthropod species that would otherwise likely escape the ants, and also prey on small fleeing vertebrates, such as lizards and other ant-following bird species. Here we present an observation of a Collared Forest-falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus) attending an E. b. parvispinum raid and flying toward a Ruddy Woodcreeper (Dendrocincla homochroa) at the raid front, as well as capturing a fleeing snake from the raid front. To our knowledge, this is the first report of a snake falling prey to a raptor at an army ant raid front.

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