Rupicola peruviana Latham, 1790. OTHER COMMON NAMES
French: Coq-de-roche péruvien; German: Andenklippenvogel; Spanish: Gallito de Rocas Peruano.
Cocks-of-the-rock have sharp and powerful claws to secure good grips on branches during courtship. The pigeon-sized cocks-of-the-rock, with their teased-out feathers on the forehead, back and wings, have a particularly striking coloration. While the female is a drab brown color, the male's plumage is scarlet; the head is decorated with a helmet-like erect crest.
This species is distributed through the Andes from extreme western Venezuela through Colombia, Ecuador, and Peru to western Bolivia, ranging between 3,000 and 7,900 ft (900-2,400 m).
This species inhabits the lower to mid strata of tropical montane forest.
When flying, a loud "hissing" sound is produced from the modified remige of the wing tip. A spectacular array of vocalizations are produced, including different "popping" noised produced by snapping the bill. Unlike the Guianan cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola), the Andean cock-of-the-rock will only dance in trees, rather than on the ground as well.
Like most cotingas, cocks-of-the-rock consume fruits primarily, but will consume more animal matter as fruits become scarce. Captive individuals are known to eat small lizards (Ano-lis sp.) and baby laboratory mice (Mus sp.).
Nests, built by the female, are typically located near the male lekking grounds, and sometimes several females build nests
close to each other. The cup shaped nests are typically plastered to a damp rock face within crevices of cliffs or ravines, often over a stream. Unusual nesting sites have been discovered, such as under a well-trafficked bridge. The nest may weigh nearly 2.2 lb (1 kg), and is made of clay mixed with vegetable fibers and is often covered with lichens.
While Andean cocks-of-the-rock are not listed as Threatened or Endangered, the Andes Mountains are the subject of significant deforestation. Additionally, quite a few individuals were taken during the 1900s for the live bird trade. However trade is much more restricted today.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Andean cock-of-the-rock is the national bird of Peru. Natives may eat these birds for food. ♦
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