Carlos Verea


Shadow boxing behavior has barely been recorded in birds within the Neotropical region, with most data collected from Venezuela. In order to improve the scarce knowledge on this topic, visual observations of birds performing such behavior were randomly recorded in the Coastal Mountain Range of northern Venezuela. Eleven wild bird species belonging to three passerine families (Furnariidae, Thraupidae, Icteridae) were documented shadow boxing, nine of them for the first time. Birds recorded had a hostile response to their reflections on car components, glass sliding doors, and windows. The length of a shadow boxing episode ranged from six to 28 minutes depending on the species. Shadow boxing records occurred during the breeding season for all species. Episodes of shadow boxing were performed by single individuals in most of the species (82%) whereas the Swallow Tanager Tersina viridis and the Rufous-fronted Thornbird Phacellodomus rufifrons performed the behavior in pairs (18%). One record involved a female alone. Female participation was recorded in 27% of all species. Wings, beak, and feet were the anatomical structures used to combat the supposed reflective enemy. These observations increase the data associated with shadow boxing, but it is still under-recorded in Venezuela and the Neotropics and poorly understood across the world.