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While following the Ant Followers! Vishnu and I got to see multiple new families of birds on our maiden visit to Yucatan Peninsula of Mexico. While exploring the ancient ruins of Coba we came across a flock of 'Ant Followers' like thrushes, woodcreepers, ant-tanagers, tanagers, cuckoos, jays. At first glance, it looks like the 'Ant Followers' are feeding on ants but on closer look, these species of birds feed by following the army ant swarms and take out the prey which is disturbed by these ants. On the other hand, birds push back the disturbed prey back on the ground so Ants can feed back on the prey as well. It is an interesting evolutionary process and highly debated as to who gets more benefits in the whole process. Some studies show that ants get fewer benefits than birds while feeding on prey and relationship is more 'parasitic' than 'mutualistic’. Also sometimes smaller sized Ant followers may face dire consequences if they get stung more than four times while feeding as it may result in death. Here is a pic of Ruddy Woodcreeper Dendrocincla homochroa (look at that fat tick below the eye). This Ant Follower species was accompanied by species like Ivory-billed and Northern-barred Woodcreepers, Red-throated and Red-mantled Ant-tanager, Grey-headed Tanager, Yucatan endemic Yucatan Jay, Squirrel Cuckoo etc. #ruddywoodcreeper #mexico #yucatan #yucatanmexico #yucatanpeninsula #coba #birds #birding #evolution #antswarm #antfollower #woodcreeper #parasitism #mutualism #lifer #armyant #ant