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Birds of North and Middle America, part V/Genus 15. Cercomacra Sclater

 

Genus CERCOMACRA Sclater.

Cercomacra Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1858, 244. (Type, Myrmothera cærulescens Vieillot.)

Medium-sized Formicariidæ (length about 120-135 mm.) with 10 rectrices, distinct rictal bristles, and color plain gray or blackish with concealed white dorsal patch and narrow white tips to wing- coverts (sometimes with broad white tips to lateral rectrices), the adult female of some species brown above, tawny or ochraceous below.

Bill shorter than head, moderately stout, rather broad and depressed basally, its width at frontal antiæ much greater than its depth at same point and equal to at least half the distance from nostril to tip of maxilla; culmen distinctly ridged, straight basally, gently decurved for about terminal half, the tip of maxilla distinctly but not conspicuously uncinate; maxillary tomium nearly straight, minutely notched subterminally; mandibular tomium nearly straight, minutely (very indistinctly) notched subterminally; gonys faintly convex (more decidedly so basally), moderately ascending terminally. Nostril exposed, posteriorly in contact with feathering of latero- frontal antiæ, small, broadly oval, margined above and posteriorly by very narrow membrane, with an internal tubercle showing within posterior portion. Rictal bristles distinct; feathers of chin and malar apex with distinct terminal setæ. Wing moderate, with longest primaries distinctly longer than secondaries; sixth, fifth and fourth, or fourth and fifth primaries longest, the tenth (outermost) one-half to nearly three-fifths as long as the longest, the eighth about as long as secondaries. Tail as long as wing or a little shorter, graduated (graduation about equal to length of tarsus), the rectrices (10) broad, rounded terminally. Tarsus much longer than whole culmen (a little more than one-third as long as wing), slender, the acrotarsium rather distinctly scutellate, the planta tarsi completely fused; middle toe, with claw, much shorter than tarsus (about as long as exposed culmen); outer toe, without claw, reaching to beyond middle of subterminal phalanx of middle toe, the inner toe decidedly shorter; hallux about as long as inner toe but much stouter; basal phalanx of middle toe united to outer toe for most of its length, to inner toe by about half its length (or less); claws moderate or rather weak, that of the hallux decidedly shorter than its digit. Plumage full and blended, that of rump and flanks more elongated and lax; feathers of pileum not elongated.

Coloration. — Plain gray, slate color, or blackish, the back with a concealed patch of white, the wing-coverts narrowly tipped with white (lateral rectrices sometimes broadly tipped with white); adult females of some species similar but throat streaked with white, of others brown above, tawny or ochraceous below.

Nidification. — Nest (of C. nigricans) composed of dry grasses, placed in fork of a low bush. Eggs mahogany color, mottled with darker shades of the same color.[1]

Range. — Southern Mexico to Cayenne, southeastern Brazil, and Peru. (About 10 species.)[2]

KEY TO THE SPECIES AND SUBSPECIES OF CERCOMACRA.

a. General color black or slaty.

b. Lateral rectrices broadly tipped with white. (Cercomacra nigricans.)
c. General color deep black, the throat without white streaks. (Eastern Panama to Venezuela, Triuidád, and western Ecuadór.)

Cercomacra nigricans, adult male (p. 91).

cc. General color blackish slate (more blackish beneath), the throat streaked with white

Cercomacra nigricans, adult female (p. 92).

bb. Lateral rectrices very narrowly if at all tipped with whitish. (Cercomacra tyrannina.)
c. Paler (slate color above, slate-gray below). (Eastern Panamá to British Guiana, western Ecuadór, etc.)

Cercomacra tyrannina tyrannina, adult male (p. 93).

cc. Darker (slate-blackish above, slate color or blackish slate below). (Western Panamá to southeastern Mexico.)

Cercomacra tyrannina crepera, adult male (p. 95).

aa. General color olive-brownish above, tawny below.

b. Paler

Cercomacra tyrannina tyrannina, adult female (p. 93).

bb. Darker

Cercomacra tyrannina crepera, adult female (p. 96).

CERCOMACRA NIGRICANS Sclater.

BLACK TYRANNINE ANTBIRD.

Adult male. — Uniform deep black, relieved by white tips to wing- coverts (anterior half of lesser covert area wholly white), broad white edging to outermost feather of alula, and broad white tips to rectrices (except middle pair); feathers of back extensively white beneath surface; under wing-coverts uniform black for anterior half or more, white for posterior portion; inner webs of remiges broadly edged (except terminally) with white; bill black; iris dark brown; legs and feet dusky (bluish gray or grayish bдгe in life); length (skins), 132-160 (148); wing, 61.5-71.5 (67.8); tail, 62.5-71 (67.1); culmen, 15.5-19 (17.4); tarsus, 22-24.5 (23.5); middle toe, 12-15 (13.4).[3]

Immature male. — Similar to the adult male but black less intense (more or less tinged with slate color), throat broadly streaked with whitish, and (sometimes) chest and breast very narrowly streaked with white; mandible pale horn color (in dried skins).

Adult female. — Above plain slate color, the wings and tail marked with white, as in adult male; chin and throat mixed black and white; chest (except laterally) slate-black; breast (except laterally) black, irregularly streaked or otherwise marked with white; rest of underparts (including sides of chest and breast), plain slate-gray, tinged with olive posteriorly; maxilla brownish black with paler tomia; mandible dull whitish (in dried skin); legs and feet horn color (bluish gray in life?); length (skin), 132-145 (138); wing, 60.5-63 (61.6); tail, 52.5-64 (60); culmen, 16-17 (16.5); tarsus, 22-24 (22.8); middle toe, 12-14 (13.1).[4]

Eastern Panamá (Lion Hill; Paraiso Station; Panamá; Sabana de Panamá; San Miguél Island), through Colombia (Remédios, Antioquía; Santa Marta; Bucaramanga; Bogotá; Rio Cauca) to western Ecuadór (Babahoyo; Esmeraldas; Balzár Mountains; Pambilár; Chimbo), Venezuela (Altagracia) and Trinidád.

Cercomacra nigricans Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1858, 245 (Santa Marta, Colombia; coll. P. L. Sclater); Cat. Am. Birds, 1862, 184 (Bogotá and Santa Marta, Colombia; Bababoyo, Ecuadór); Cat. Birds Brit. Mus., xv, 1890, 267 (Paraiso Station, Panamá; Santa Marta, Remédies, Bogotá, and Bucaramanga, Colombia; Balzár Mts. Santa Rita, Babahoyo, and Esmeraldas, w. Ecuadór). — Sclater and Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1879, 526 (Antioquía, Colombia). — Berlepsch, Journ. für Orn., 1884, 308 (Bucaramanga, Colombia). — Taczanowski and Berlepsch, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1885, 100 (Ecuadór). — Salvin and Godman, Biol. Centr.-Am., Aves, ii, 1892, 215 (Lion Hill and Paraiso Station, Panamá; Ecuadór; Venezuela; Trinidád; etc.). — Berlepsch and Hartert, Novit. Zool., ix, 1892, 76 (Altagracia, Venezuela; crit.), 612 (Pambilár, n. w. Ecuadór). — Thayer and Bangs, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., xlvi, 1905, 150 (San Miguél I., Bay of Panamá); xlvi, 1906, 217 (Sabana de Panamá).
[Cercomacra] nigricans Sclater and Salvin, Nom. Av. Neotr., 1873, 73. — Sharpe, Hand-list, iii, 1901, 29 (Panamá to Ecuadór).
Pyriglena maculicaudis Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1858, 66, 247 (Trinidád; coll. P. L. Sclater); Cat. Am. Birds, 1862, 185 (do.). — Lawrence, Ann. Lyc. N. Y., vii, 1862, 325 (Lion Hill, Panamá). — Sclater and Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1864, 356 (Lion Hill; crit.).
[Cercomacra] maculicaudis Sclater and Salvin, Nom. Av. Neotr., 1873, 73.
Cercomacra maculicaudis Sclater, Cat. B. Brit. Mus., xv, 1890, 268 (Paraiso Station and Panamá, Panamá; Bogotá; Trinidád). — Hartert, Novit. Zool., v, 1898, 492 (Chimbo, 1,000 ft., n. w. Ecuadór; crit.). — Bangs, Auk, xviii, 1901, 30 (San Miguel I., Bay of Panama).
Cercomacra maculicauda Bangs, Proc. New Engl. Zool. Club, ii, 1900, 24 (Loma del León, Panamá).
Cercomacra maculosa Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1860, 279 (Babahoyo, w. Ecuadór; coll. P. L. Sclater); Cat. Am. Birds, 1862, 184.

CERCOMACRA TYRANNINA TYRANNINA (Sclater).

TYRANNINE ANTBIRD.

Adult male. — Above plain slate color, sometimes tinged, more or less, with olive on rump and upper tail-coverts, the feathers of interscapular region darker centrally and extensively white basally; anterior portion of lesser wing-covert area white, the remaining lesser coverts, together with middle and greater coverts, narrowly tipped or terminally margined with white, the alulæ (sometimes outermost primaries also) edged with white; rectrices (except middle pair) usually narrowly tipped with white, this preceded by an indistinct bar or area of dusky; under parts plain slate-gray, sometimes tinged with olive posteriorly; under wing-coverts yellowish white, spotted or mottled with dusky on carpal region; inner webs of remiges broadly edged with yellowish white; bill brownish black or blackish brown; iris brown; legs and feet horn color or dusky (bluish gray or grayish blue in life); length (skins), 117-139 (132); wing, 59-64.5 (61.8); tail, 52.5-59 (56.2); culmen, 15.5-17.5 (16.4); tarsus, 21.5-23 (22.6); middle toe, 12.5-13 (12.9).[5]

Adult female. — Above plain light olive to grayish olive, the tail browner (sepia), the wings also browner, with outer primaries edged with pale clay color or olive-buff, the wing-coverts (in part, at least) more or less distinctly margined terminally or narrowly tipped with the same or pale fulvous; under parts, including sides of head, plain ochraceous or tawny ochraceous, strongly tinged with olive on flanks, the auricular region also tinged or clouded with olive and with very narrow and indistinct shaft-streaks of paler ochraceous; maxilla dusky brown with paler tomium, mandible dull whitish (in dried skins); legs and feet brownish or horn color (in dried skins); length (skins), 125-141 (131); wing, 57-61 (59.2) tail, 50-60 (54.7); culmen, 15.5-17 (16.3); tarsus, 21.5-23 (21.9); middle toe, 11.5-13 (12.7).[6]

Immature male. — Similar to the adult female but ochraceous of under parts more or less intermixed, especially on anterior portions, with slate-gray, and anterior upper parts more grayish.

Eastern Panamá (Lion Hill; Chepo; Code; Sabana de Code; Cascajál, Coclé; Rio Lara) , and southward through Colombia (Bogotá; Rio Cauca; Remédios, Antioquía; Bucaramanga), Venezuela (Munduapo; Maripa; Suapuré; La Union, Caura; Bichaco), British Guiana (Roraima; Camacusa; Bartica Grove; Takutu River), Ecuadór (Esmeraldas; Babahoyo; Chimbo; Yaguachi; San Javiér; Pambilár: Foreste del Rio Peripa), to Peru (Ropaybamba; Huambo; Chirimoto) and northern Brazil (Rio Negro; Pará; Obidos).

Pyriglena tyrannina Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1855, 90, 147, pl. 98 (Bogotá, Colombia; coll. Brit. Mus.).
Cercomacra tyrannina Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1858, 245 (monogr.; Bogotá); 1860, 294 (Esmeraldas, w. Ecuadór; crit.); Cat. Am. Birds, 1862, 184, part (Bogotá, Colombia; Esmeraldas, w. Ecuadór); Cat. Birds Brit. Mus., XV, 1890, 184, part (Lion Hill, Paraiso, Chepo, and Panamá, Panamá; Esmeraldas, Ecuadór; Roraima, Camacusa, Bartica Grove, and Takutu R., Brit. Guiana; Rio Negro and Pará, Brazil). — Sclater and Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1864, 356 (Panamá; crit.); 1879, 526 (Remédios, Antioquía; Colombia; descr. nest and eggs). — Pelzeln, Orn. Bras., ii, Abth., 1869, 84. — Layard, Ibis, 1873, 387 (Pará, Brazil; food). — Taczanowski, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1874, 530 (Ropaybamba, centr. Peru); 1882, 31 (Huambo and Chirimoto, n. e. Peru); Orn. du Pérou, ii, 1884, 54. — Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1883, 424 (Panamá); 1885, 427 (Bartica Grove, Camacusa, and Roraima, 3,000 ft., Brit. Guiana). — Berlepsch and Taczanowski, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1883, 565 (Chimbo, w. Ecuadór; crit.). — Berlepsch, Journ. für Orn., 1884, 308 (Bucaramanga, Colombia; crit.). — Taczanowski and Berlepsch, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1885, 68 (Chimbo, w. Ecuadór), 100 (Yaguachi, Ecuadór). — Salvadori and Festa, Boll. Mus. Zool., etc., Torino, xiv, 1899, no. 339, 7 (Rio Lara, Panamá; crit.); xv, 1899, no. 362, 30 (Foreste del Rio Peripa, w. Ecuadór; crit.). — Salvin and Godman, Biol. Centr.-Am., Aves, ii, 1892, 214, part (Lion Hill, Panamá, and Chepo, Panamá; Colombia; Ecuadór; Peru; Guiana). — Bangs, Proc. New Engl. Zool. Club, ii, 1900, 23 (Loma del Leon, Panamá). — Hartert, Novit. Zool., ix, 1902, 612 (San Javier and Pambilár, n. w. Ecuadór; crit.). — Berlepsch and Hartert, Novit. Zool., ix, 1902, 76 (Munduapo, etc., Venezuela). — Hellmayr, Novit. Zool., xii, 1905, 286 (near Pará, Brazil; crit.); xiii, 1906, 370 (Prata, near Pará); xiv, 1907, 32 (Obidos, Brazil; crit.). — Thayer and Bangs, Bull. Mus. Comp. Zool., xlvi, 1906, 217 (Sabana de Panamá).
[Cercomacra] tyrannina Pelzeln, Orn. Bras., iv, Abth., 1870, 419. — Sclater and Salvin, Nom. Av. Neotr., 1873, 73, part. — Sharpe, Hand-list, iii, 1901, 28, part (Panama; Colombia; Ecuador; Guiana; Amazonia).
Hypocnemis schistacea (not of Sclater) Lawrence, Ann. Lyc. N. Y., vii, 1862, 325 (Lion Hill, Panamá).
Disythamnus rufiventris Lawrence, Ann. Lyc. Nat. Hist. N. Y., viii, 1867, 131 (Lion Hill, Panamá; coll. G. N. Lawrence; = young male; see Salvin, Ibis, 1874, 316).

CERCOMACRA TYRANNINA CREPERA (Bangs).

DUSKY TYRANNINE ANTBIRD.

Similar to C. t. tyrannina but adult male with coloration averaging much darker, the general color of upper parts blackish slate to slate- black, under parts slate color to blackish slate; adult female and young male not always distinguishable from those of C. t. tyrannina, but usually with color of upper parts darker and more brownish olive, the under parts decidedly deeper tawny.[7]

Adult male. — Length, (skins), 124-148 (137); wing, 60-67 (63.4); tail, 54.5-62.5 (57.2); culmen, 15-18 (16.6); tarsus, 21.5-24 (22.9); middle toe, 12.5-14 (13.5).[8]

Adult female. — Length (skins), 123-148 (134); wing, 57-63 (60); tail, 51-64 (57.4); culmen, 14-17 (15.9); tarsus, 20.5-23.5 (22.4); middle toe, 12.5-14 (13.2).[9]

Southeastern Mexico, in States of Vera Cruz (Play a Vicente; Sochiapa; Santa Lucrécia; Buena Vista), Tabasco (Teapa), and Chiapas (Palenque), and southward through Guatemala (Cobán; Choctúm; sources of Rio de la Pasión; Yzabál; Los Amates, Yzabál; Telemán; Chiséc), British Honduras (Belize; near Manatee Lagoon), Honduras (Omoa; San Pedro; San Pedro Sula; Rio Blanco; La Bomba), Nicaragua (Matagalpa; Los Sábalos; Greytown; Rio Escondido; Sucuyá; San Emilis; 4 leagues south of Lake Manágua) and Costa Rica (Tucurríqui; Pacuare; San Carlos; Jiménez; El Hogár; Guacimo; Guápiles; Carrillo; Turrialba; Guayabo; Angostura; Juan Viñas; Rio Sícsola; Talamanca; Naranjo de Cartago; Pozo Azúl de Pirrís; Pozo del Rio Grande; Pozo de Térraba; Térraba; Buenos Aires; Boruca; Barranco, Boruca; Tenório; El Generál; Pigres; Lagarto; Bebedero; Miravalles; La Vijágua; Cerro Santa Maria) to western Panamá (Santa Fé de Verágua; Divala; Bugaba; Mina de Chorcha).

Cercomacra tyrannina (not Pyriglena tyrannina Sclater) Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1859, 383 (Playa Vicente, Vera Cruz); Cat. Am. Birds, 1862, 184, part (Choctúm, Guatemala; Omoa, Honduras); Cat. Birds Brit. Mus., XV, 1890, 265, part (Chiséc, Choctúm, and sources of Rio de la Pasión, Guatemala; Omoa, Honduras; Tucurríqui, Costa Rica; Santa Fé, Bugaba, and Mina de Chorcha, w. Panamá). — Moore, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1859, 55 (Belize, Brit. Honduras; crit.). — Sclater and Salvin, Ibis, 1859, 119 (Cobán, Guatemala; Belize); Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1870, 837 (San Pedro, Honduras). — Salvin and Sclater, Ibis, 1860, 36 (Yzabál, Guatemala). — Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1867, 145 (Santa Fé de Verágua, w. Panamá); 1870, 195 (Mina de Chorcрa and Bugaba, w. Panamá). — Lawrence, Ann. Lyc. N. Y., ix, 1868, 109 (Angostura, Costa Rica). — Frantzius, Journ. für Orn., 1869, 305 (Costa Rica). — Boucard, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1878, 61 (San Carlos, Costa Rica); Ann. Soc. Linn. Lyon, 1878, 39 (Guatemala). — Nutting, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., vi, 1883, 386 (Sucuyá, Nicaragua), 405 (Los Sábalos, Nicaragua). — Zeledón, Anal. Mus. Nac. Costa Rica, i, 1887, 115 (Pacuare, Jiménez, and Pozo Azúl, Costa Rica). — Salvin and Godman, Biol. Centr.-Am., Aves, ii, 1892, 214, part (Playa Vicente and Sochiapa, Vera Cruz; Belize, Brit. Honduras; Chiséc, etc., Guatemala; San Pedro, Honduras; Matagalpa, etc., Nicaragua; Tucurríqui, etc., Costa Rica; Bugaba, Mina de Chorcha, and Santa Fé de Verágua, Panamá). — Richmond, Proc. U. S. Nat. Mus., xvi, 1893, 501 (Rio Escondido, Nicaragua; habits). — Cherrie, Expl. Zool. Merid. Costa Rica, 1893, 42 (Lagarto, Boruca, Térraba, and Buenos Aires, s. w. Costa Rica). — Underwood, Ibis, 1896, 440 (Volcan de Miravalles, Costa Rica).
[Cercomacra] tyrannina Sclater and Salvin, Nom. Av. Neotr., 1873, 73, part. — Sharpe, Hand-list, iii, 1901, 28, part.
Cercomacra tyrannina tyrannina Carriker, Ann. Carnegie Mus., v, no. 1, Oct. 1, 1908, 9, in text (s. w. Costa Rica).
Cercomacra crepera Bangs, Auk, xviii, Oct., 1901, 365 (Divala, Chiriquí, Panamá; coll. E. A. and 0. Bangs). — Dearborn, Pub. 125, Field Mus. Nat. Hist., 1907, 109 (Los Amates, e. Guatemala; crit.).
Cercomacra tyrannina crepera Bangs, Auk, xxiv, 1907, 296 (Boruca, Paso Reál, Pozo del Rio Grande, and Barranca, s. w. Costa Rica). — Carriker, Ann. Carnegie Mus., v, 1908, 8 (e. Costa Rica; crit.); vi, 1910, 612 (Costa Rica; crit.; habits). — Ferry, Pub. 146, Field Mus. N. H., orn. ser., i, no. 6, 1910, 271 (Guayabo, Costa Rica).


  1. Sclater and Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1879, 526.
  2. Some of these doubtless only subspecies.
  3. Seventeen specimens.
  4. Ten specimens.
    Locality. Wing. Tail. Culmen. Tarsus. Middle
    toe.
    males.
    Seven adult males from eastern Panamá (mainland) 66.6 65.9 17.4 23.3 13.5
    Seven adult males from San Miguél Island, Panamá 68.4 68 17.7 23.4 13.1
    Three adult males from Colombia 70 67.7 16.8 24 13.8
    females.
    Two adult females from eastern Panamá (mainland) 61.2 60 17 23.5 13.7
    Seven adult females from San Miguél Island, Panamá 61.9 61.1 16.4 22.6 13
    One adult female from Colombia 60.5 52.5 16.5 - -
  5. Nine specimens.
  6. Eleven specimens.
    Locality. Wing. Tail. Culmen. Tarsus. Middle
    toe.
    males.
    Seven adult males from eastern Panamá 62.3 55.6 16 22.5 12.9
    Two adult males from Venezuela 60 58.3 17.5 22.7 13
    females.
    Five adult females from eastern Panamá 59.6 51.9 16.1 22.2 12.6
    Six adult females from Venezuela 58.9 57 16.5 21.7 12.7
  7. There is much variation in intensity of coloration among specimens from Costa Rica and northward. As a rule, specimens from the Caribbean slope are much darker than those from the Pacific side, and were the differences strictly geographical two well-marked forms could easily be made out; but unfortunately both slate-colored and blackish examples sometimes occur in the same locality, as in eastern Nicaragua (Rio Escondido), Honduras (Rio Blanco and San Pedro Sula), while extreme dark specimens come from Bebedero, northwestern Costa Rica, and light colored ones from British Honduras. A large majority of the specimens from southwestern Costa Rica are so light colored that they could almost be referred to true C. tyrannina; but much darker ones occasionally occur there also. Specimens from Venezuela agree exactly with those from Bogotá and Panamá; but two adult males from Reyes and Mapiri, Bolivia, respectively, are quite as dark as the darkest examples of C. t. crepera. On the whole, I consider our present understanding of this species, with reference to its geographic variations, far from satisfactory.
  8. Forty-four specimens.
  9. Thirty-nine specimens.
    Locality. Wing. Tail. Culmen. Tarsus. Middle
    toe.
    males.
    Three adult males from southeastern Mexico (Vera Cruz) 63.5 60.5 16 22.5 12.8
    Ten adult males from Guatemala 63.7 59 16.9 22.7 13.2
    Five adult males from Honduras 63.1 60.5 17.2 23 13.4
    Four adult males from eastern Nicaragua 62.4 58.6 16.7 23 13.2
    One adult male from western Nicaragua 63 58.5 17.5 22.5 13.5
    One adult male from British Honduras 63 55.5 - - 14
    Ten adult males from eastern Costa Rica 63.3 56.8 16.2 23.3 13.8
    Ten adult males from western Costa Rica 63.4 58.4 16.4 23.2 13.7
    females.
    Two adult females from southeastern Mexico 61 55 16 21.3 13
    Nine adult females from Guatemala 60.4 60.8 16.2 22.3 13.1
    Three adult females from British Honduras 59 60.8 15 22.5 13.2
    Three adult females from Honduras 61.2 55.5 16.8 23 13
    One adult female from eastern Nicaragua 57.5 52.5 17 22 13
    One adult female from western Nicaragua 58 53.5 16 22.5 13
    Ten adult females from eastern Costa Rica 60.2 56.4 15.6 22.8 13.4
    Ten adult females from western Costa Rica 59.6 56 14.2 22.3 13.2