Pyriglena atra by Pat Latas(8 in. x 8 in. | mixed:graphite, ink, digital | ID#4130)
Family: THAMNOPHILIDAE | Conservation Status: Endangered | Population Trend: decreasing
Fire-eyes are antbirds, and follow army ant excursions. I was fortunate to find a huge army ant swarm in southeastern Brasil in 2001, and of the many species attending were male and female and immature fire-eyes. Army ants are always exciting and the fire-eyes flitted like animate shadows with their ruby eyes flashing in the minimal light. A blessing to see them in action. Even at that time, they were fairly common and predictable to find. It is an unimaginable tragedy that they are nearly gone, and my heart, brain and soul literally hurt in considering their loss. In selecting species to illustrate for the Silent Skies Mural, I chose birds who I have actually seen in the wild or at least their very near relatives. In my other life, I am a wildlife and avian veterinarian, interested in conservation, and serve various organizations in that professional capacity. The opportunity to bring some of the lesser-known and less-spectacular species to light is a real privilege, and reflects the mission of Artists for Conservation. These birds demand and deserve our attention and their extinction would be a tragic loss to the biodiversity and beauty and brilliance of our precious planet.
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