Black-faced Dacnis

(Dacnis lineata)

FUN FACT

The Black-faced Dacnis can often be found hanging upside down or employing other acrobatics to look for insects on the undersides of leaves.

The Black-faced Dacnis is one of the tiniest members of the Tanager family (Thraupidae), although just as active and brightly colored as any of its cousins.  Male Black-faced Dacnis are a brilliant turqouise-blue, with a white tummy, black wings and a black bandit's mask.  Females and juveniles are a more drab olive-green, but all the adults have startling yellow eyes, blackish legs, and a sharp black beak.

This little beak is perfectly suited for gleaning tiny bugs from leaves and flowers, as well as for stealing sips of nectar when it's able.  The Black-faced Dacnis is a quick, agile flier, and will sometimes even snatch insects out of the air.  When bugs aren't available, the Black-faced Dacnis is always happy to pluck bits of pulp from soft fruits such as bananas and figs.  This generalized diet allows the Dacnis to stay in the same territory all year round, utilizing different food sources as the seasons change.

Although it's fruit-eating habits don't raise it to the level of an agricultural pest, Black-faced Dacnis populations are still in decline due to pressures from the humans around them.  Whether to use their colorful feathers as decorations or to sell them as novelty cagebirds, Dacnis are still caught out of the wild in alarming numbers.

Distribution

Primarily Amazon rainforests, but also Pacific slope of Ecuador and northern Colombia

Habitat

The canopy of tall, humid forests.

Diet

Fruit and insects, nectar when seasonally available.

Breeding

Little to no information on breeding behavior in the wild. Most likely similar to other dacnis species, with both sexes contributing nest material but the female doing a majority of nest construction and all of incubation and brooding.

Status

Not Under Threat (Least Concern)

At the Aviary

Visit the Black-faced Dacnis in The Canary's Call.