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Birds of North and Middle America, part V/Genus 3. Abalius Cabanis


Genus ABALIUS Cabanis.

Abalius[1] Cabanis, Journ. für Orn., ix, July, 1861, 242. (Type, Thamnophilus punctatus Cabanis = T. bridgesi Sclater.)

Medium-sized Formicariidaæ (length about 155 mm.) with tail nearly as long as wing, pileum not crested, the adult male black (under parts of body more gray or slate colored) with small white tips to wing- coverts and lateral rectrices, adult females slate color or olive streaked with whitish.

Bill about as long as head rather stout, moderately compressed, distinctly hooked; exposed culmen about as long as tarsus, distinctly ridged, gently curved from near base to beyond middle, where more strongly decurved, the tip of maxilla conspicuously uncinate; maxillary tomium nearly straight, distinctly notched subterminally; tip of mandible slightly recurved or subfalcate, the tomium slightly but distinctly toothed and notched subterminally; gonys strongly convex and prominent basally, ascending and moderately convex terminally, nearly twice as long as unfeathered portion of rami. Nostril small, exposed, obliquely oval, without visible internal tubercle. Rictal bristles obvious but small; feathers of chin and anterior portion of malar region with small bristly tips, those of loral region with much- thickened shafts, and those of frontal antiæ semi-decomposed. Wing moderate, the longest primaries decidedly longer than secondaries, much rounded; fifth, sixth, and seventh primaries longest, the tenth (outermost) about three-fifths as long as the longest, the ninth about as long as secondaries. Tail slightly but decidedly shorter than wing, much rounded (graduation about equal to distance from nostril to tip of maxilla), the rectrices (12) broad, rounded terminally. Tarsus as long as exposed culmen or a little shorter (between one- fourth and one-third as long as wing), distinctly scutellate, the planta consisting of two longitudinal series of scutella, the inner series of which are larger, of quadrate form, and extend around the posterior margin, the outer series much smaller, longitudinal, and irregularly hexagonal or elliptical; middle toe, with claw, much shorter than tarsus; outer toe, without claw, reaching to beyond middle of subterminal phalanx of middle toe, the inner toe decidedly but slightly shorter; hallux about as long as inner toe but much stouter; middle toe united to outer toe by whole of its basal phalanx, to inner toe by more than half its basal phalanx; claws moderately curved, rather blunt, much compressed. Plumage blended, rather lax, especially on rump; feathers of pileum moderately developed, not forming a distinct crest.

Coloration. — Adult male black (more gray or slaty on under parts of body), the wing-coverts with white terminal dots, the lateral rectrices narrowly tipped with white; adult female gray or olive, narrowly streaked with whitish.

Range. — Costa Rica and western Panamá. (Monotypic.)



Adult male. — Head, neck, chest, and upper parts black, broken on wing-coverts by a small spot of white at tip of most of these feathers; outer pair of rectrices with a small terminal spot of white, the next pair sometimes with a similar but smaller spot;[2] under parts of body, posterior to chest, plain slate color, the under tail-coverts similar but darker; under wing-coverts (except along margin of wing) yellowish white, usually flecked, more or less, with dusky; inner webs of remiges broadly edged (except terminally) with yellowish white; bill black; iris brown; legs and feet dusky (plumbeous in life); length (skins), 150-167 (157); wing, 72-80 (74.9); tail, 62-71 (67.5); culmen, 20-22.5 (21.4); tarsus, 21-23.5 (22.4); middle toe, 13.5-14.5 (13.9).[3]

Adult female. — Head and neck black narrowly streaked with white, the streaks much broader (sometimes spot-like) on chin and throat; back, scapulars, rump, and upper tail-coverts plain sepia brown to slaty brown, the feathers of back slightly darker centrally; wings and tail darker (the tail brownish black or blackish brown), all, or nearly all, the wing-coverts marked with a small roundish or triangular terminal spot of white; under parts, posterior to throat or upper chest, varying from nearly slate-gray to olive-drab, the pectoral region streaked with white; under tail-coverts deeper brown, narrowly streaked (sometimes also somewhat spotted) with white; under wing-coverts and broad edgings to inner webs of remiges yellowish white or pale creamy yellow; maxilla black, mandible paler (plumbeous in life); iris dark brown or brownish gray; legs and feet plumbeous; length (skms), 148-166 (157); wing, 70-77 (72.9); tail, 60-70.5 (66.7); culmen, 19.5-22 (20.7); tarsus, 21-23.5 (22.4); middle toe, 13-15 (14).[4]

Young male (first plumage). — Similar to the adult male but texture of plumage much softer, black of back, etc., duller, and chest with narrow shaft-streaks of white.

Young female (first plumage). — Similar to adult female but duller in color, with black of head and neck replaced by dark sooty brown above and paler sooty brown below, and streaks much less distinct, those on pileum pale brownish or tinged with brown, instead of pure white, those of pectoral area broader but much less distinct and also suffused with pale brownish.

Southwestern Costa Rica (Pozo Azúl de Pirrís; Pozo del Pitál, Rio Naranjo; El Pozo de Térraba; Trojas de Rio Grande; El Naranjo; Buenos Aires; El Generál; Tenório; Paso Reál, Boruca, Pozo del Rio Grande, and Lagarto, Boruca; Pigres; San Mateo; Esparta) and western Panamá (Divala and Davíd, Cliiriquí; Verágua).

Thamnophilus bridgesi Sclater, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1856, 141 (Davíd, Chiriquí, Panamá; coll. P. L. Sclater; = ?); 1858, 212 (monogr.); Cat. Birds Brit.-Mus., XV, 1890, 194 (Bugaba and Mina de Chorcha, Panamá). — Salvin, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1867, 144 (Davíd, Panamá); 1870, 194 (Bugaba and Mina de Chorcha). — Lawrence, Ann. Lyc. N. Y., ix, 1868, 107 (San Mateo, Costa Rica). — Frantzius, Journ. für Orn., 1869, 305 (Costa Rica). — Zeledón, Anal. Mus. Nac. Costa Rica, 1887, 114 (Las Trojas and Pozo Azúl de Pirrís, Costa Rica). — Salvin and Godman, Biol. Centr.-Am., Aves, ii, 1892, 199, pl. 49, fig. 2. — Cherrie, Auk, x, 1893, 279, 280 (Pacific side Costa Rica, up to 2,200 ft.; crit.; habits); Anal. Inst. Fis.-Geog. Costa Rica, vi, 1893,17 (Pozo del Pitál, Costa Rica; syn.; crit.); Expl. Zool. Merid. Costa Rica, 1893, 41 (Palmár, Boruca, Térraba, Lagarto, and Buenos Aires, s. w. Costa Rica). — Bangs, Auk, xxiv, 1907, 296 (Boruca, Paso Reál, Pozo del Rio Grande, and Lagarto, s. w. Costa Rica). — Carriker, Ann. Carnegie Mus., vi, 1910, 601 (Pacific lowlands and foothills, Costa Rica; habits).
[Thamnophilus] bridgesi Sclater and Salvin, Nom. Av. Neotr., 1873, 70. — Sharpe, Hand-list, iii, 1901, 12.
Thamnophilus punctatus (not Lanius punctatus Shaw, 1809[5]) Cabanis, Journ. für Orn., July, 1861, 241 (Costa Rica; coll. Berlin Mus.; = ?). — Lawrence, Ann. Lyc. N. Y., ix, 1868, 107 (Costa Rica). — Frantzius, Journ. für Orn., 1869, 305 (Costa Rica). — Salvin, Ibis, 1870, 110 (Costa Rica; crit); Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1870, 194 (Mina de Chorcha, Bugaba, and Volcan de Chiriquí, Panamá). — Zeledón, Anal. Mus. Nac. Costa Rica, 1887, 114 (Las Trojas and Pozo Azúl de Pirrís, Costa Rica). — Sclater, Cat. Birds Brit. Mus., xv, 1890, 191 (Costa Rica; Bugaba and Mina de Chorcha, Panamá). — Salvin and Godman, Biol. Centr. Am., Aves, ii, 1892, 198, pl. 49, fig. 1.
[Thamnophilus] punctatus Sclater and Salvin, Nom. Av. Neotr., 1873, 70. — Sharpe, Hand-list, iii, 1901, 12.
(?) Thamnophilus nigricristatus (not of Lawrence) Boucard, Proc. Zool. Soc. Lond., 1878, 60 (San Carlos, Costa Rica; cites "Th. punctatus Cab.")[6]

  1. "Von α, privativum und βαλιύς, scheckig, bunt" (Cabanis.)
  2. Very rarely there are a few very narrow streaks of white on the chest.
  3. Nineteen specimens.
  4. Eighteen specimens
    Locality. Wing. Tail. Culmen. Tarsus. Middle
    Ten adult males from Costa Rica 75.8 68.6 21.3 22.1 13.9
    Nine adult males from western Panamá 74 66.3 21.6 22.7 13.9
    Ten adult females from Costa Rica 73.4 67.8 20.6 22.5 14.1
    Eight adult females from western Panamá 72.3 65.3 20.8 22.2 13.9
  5. Usually placed in Thamnophilus, but in this work designated as Erionotus punctatus (p. 49).
  6. Salvin and Godman, however (Biol. Centr.-Am., Aves, ii, 1892, 195), place this reference under Cymbilanius lineatus.