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Alternative names: Black-capped Mockingthrush; Black-capped Mockingwren
21-22cm (8Â¼-8Â¾ in)
Juvenile is more dusky, has darker eye, and shows a white line behind the eye.
Nominate atricapilla is larger and lacks evident barring on its flanks. Subspecies albovittatus shows the white postocular line in all ages. Subspecies nigrodorsalis has black back.
Formerly classified variously as a thrush, thrasher or wren, this unique bird is now placed in its own family, the Donacobiidae believed to be allied with certain Old World warblers.
There are 4 subspecies:
Grass or marsh surrounding pools, lakes and rivers in lowlands.
The nest is an open cup always with a close relationship to water (near or over). Eggs are a purplish white with reddish or purplish spots and blotches. The female incubates the eggs for 16-18 days. Both sexes, with the assistance of young from a previous, year feed the chicks.
Almost exclusively invertebrates including hymenopterans, beetles (Coleoptera), orthopterans, and neuropterans.
This species is famous for duetting antiphonally, each member of a pair singing different parts of a combined song. Bare yellow skin on the sides of its neck form air sacs inflated during song. Male gives a series of loud, ringing upward-slurred liquid whistles. Sometimes described as sounding like a "car alarm."
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