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Russet-winged Schiffornis (Schiffornis stenorhyncha)

Russet-winged Schiffornis is one of five species that formerly were united under the name Thrush-like Schiffornis (Schiffornis turdina); the other members of this group are Northern Schiffornis (S. veraepacis), Olivaceous Schiffornis (S. olivacea), Foothill Schiffornis (S. aenea), and Brown-winged Schiffornis (S. turdina). 

Russet-winged Schiffornis is a representative of this group that occurs from central Panama east across northern Colombia to western and northern Venezuela. All species in this group have similar, dull plumages, being primarily brown or olive brown, with paler underparts, and prominent large dark eyes. Although all members of the group also are poorly known, Russet-winged Schiffornis probably is one of the least studied members of the complex. This is a relatively low density species that occupies the understory of terra firme forests, most often foraging within 1-2 m of the ground, and typically is solitary. The clear whistled song is heard far more often than th…

Featured species: Lesser Capybara (Hydrochoerus isthmius)

Lesser Capybara (Hydrochoerus isthmius)

The Lesser Capybara (Hydrochoerus isthmius) is a species of large semi-aquatic rodent that lives in herds near fresh water from eastern Panama to the northwest of Colombia and the west of Venezuela, west of the Andes. Originally described in 1912 by the American zoologist Edward Alphonso Goldman, this species is scarce and shy in Panama and uncommon in Venezuela. In Colombia, lesser capybaras were abundant in stream edges, swamps and permanent lagoons.

Lesser Capybara (Hydrochoerus isthmius)

From its description, it was considered as a small subspecies of capybara (H. hydrochaeris), the largest living rodent in the world. However, in 1991 after genetic and morphological analysis that determined differences, it was elevated to species condition. At present, only these two species of capybaras exist. The size and weight of the lesser capybara are considerably smaller than its congener’s.

Lesser Capybara (Hydrochoerus isthmius)

It feeds only on vegetables and is captured by caimans, crocodiles, boas, big cats such as the jaguar and puma, and by humans, as it is used as a source of food by subsistence hunting. This species occurs only in habitats close to water including marshes, estuaries, and along rivers and streams. Depending on habitat and human pressure, it is found singly or socially, as well as may be diurnal or nocturnal. They can reproduce throughout the year, and after a gestation of approximately 15 weeks, two to eight cubs are born.

Lesser Capybara (Hydrochoerus isthmius)

The major threats are deforestation of gallery forests, extensive agriculture and subsistence hunting, especially in Colombia where it is heavily hunted and its habitat is being rapidly destroyed in swamps at the mouth of the Magdalena River. In Panama, although it is scarce, can be frequently seen in the Canal area.


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