Moustached turca

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Moustached turca
Ma - Pteroptochos megapodius.jpg
Conservation status
Scientific classification
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Formicariidae
Genus: Pteroptochos
Species: P. megapodius
Binomial name
Pteroptochos megapodius
Kittlitz, 1830

The moustached turca (Pteroptochos megapodius) is a passerine bird which is endemic to Chile. It belongs to the tapaculo group and is a member of the genus Pteroptochos, along with the two species of huet-huet.

It is a stocky bird, 23–24 cm long, with a heavy bill and strong legs and feet. The tail is often held cocked. The plumage is mostly brown with white barring on the breast, belly and undertail-coverts. The bird has a dark eyestripe, white eyebrow and a broad white moustachial stripe. The bill and legs are black. The northern race atacamae is smaller and paler with less obvious barring on the underparts.

The song is a series of low, hooting notes lasting for 5 to 10 seconds. Birds often call while perched on top of a rock.

The nominate subspecies is found in central Chile from northern Bío-Bío Region north to Coquimbo Region. The isolated form atacamae occurs in Atacama Region. Both inhabit arid slopes with rocks and shrubbery from sea-level to high in the foothills of the Andes, reaching 3700 metres in the north. It is a mainly ground-dwelling bird which can run quickly. It feeds on invertebrates such as insects and worms.

The nest is built at the end of a tunnel up to two metres long which is dug in an earth bank or roadside cutting. Two or three white eggs are laid.

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