Picathartes oreas Reichenow, 1899, Cameroon. Monotypic. OTHER COMMON NAMES
English: Red-headed rockfowl, blue-headed picathartes, gray-necked bald crow, Cameroon picathartes; French: Picatharte du Cameroun; German: Blaustirn Stelzenkrahe; Spanish: Pi-catartes Cuelligris.
14 in (35 cm), 7.7 oz (220 g). Appears obviously related to preceding species, but markedly distinct. Uniquely beautiful blue, black, and red pattern of bare skin on head, blue extending to base of bill. Neck, mantle, back, and tail gray. A patch of black bristles on crown, and short ruff at base of bald head, can be erected when bird is excited. Primaries black; underparts pale yellow.
Primarily Cameroon, and contiguous Nigeria and Gabon. Recently discovered to occur on the island of Bioko, Gulf of Guinea.
Closed canopy, undisturbed rainforest, often hilly, always in vicinity of rock formations.
Found on or near ground, singly, in pairs, or in groups of up to 10. Flocks have been observed bounding along, almost in unison. Shares previous species' curiosity towards humans. Groups gather to roost in communal nesting sites at night.
Actively hunts, poking through leaf litter, pouncing on prey, primarily arthropods (including crabs), snails, worms, frogs, and lizards. Often follows army ants, and may poke through bat guano.
Monogamous. Mud and fiber nests similar to that of white-necked picathartes, similarly plastered to rocks, built by both sexes. Construction may take months, sometime a year. Clutch of usually two variously colored speckled eggs incubated by both parents for 24 days.
Vulnerable due to dependence on primary forest. Still abundant in various locations, and new populations have been recently discovered. Limited commercial exploitation as zoo birds from 1968 to 1970. CITES Appendix I status, awarded in 1973, prevents further international trade.
SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS
Future "flagship" and ecotourism potential. ♦
Was this article helpful?