Guianan cockoftherock

Rupicola rupicola

TAXONOMY

Rupicola rupicola Linnaeus, 1766. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Coq-de-roche orange; German: Cayenne Klippenvogel; Spanish: Gallito de Rocas Guayanes.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

While the female is a drab brown color, the male's plumage is a bright orange; the head is decorated with a helmet-like erect crest. The bright coloration is derived from zeaxanthin, the

Rupicola rupicola | Resident demonstrated its grace and readiness to dance, gave way to a third male." Up to 50 males have been observed at a lek.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Like most cotingas, the cocks-of-the-rock consume fruits primarily, but will consume more animal matter as fruits become scarce.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

Polygynous. Nests 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. 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. The female lays two spotted brownish eggs, and the incubation period is 27-28 days. When the chicks hatch the males can be distinguished from females as their feet and bills are yellow and black, respectively.

CONSERVATION STATUS

While neither species is listed as Threatened or Endangered, quite a few individuals were taken during the 1900s for the live bird trade. However, trade is much more restricted today.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Natives may eat cock-of-the-rock flesh. Because of their bright plumage, cocks-of-the-rock are hunted by men of numerous Indian tribes. The Emperor of Brazil had a mantle made of cock-of-the-rock feathers. ♦

same pigment found in corn (Zea mays), which it is named for. This pigmentation often fades rapidly in taxidermied specimens.

DISTRIBUTION

This species is found in northern Amazonia and the Guianan shield, from southeastern Colombia through southern Venezuela and northern Brazil, eastward through French Guiana. It is found at lower elevations, typically not exceeding 4,900 ft (1,500 m).

HABITAT

Lowland forest.

BEHAVIOR

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. In the courtship season, males gather on rocks amid the foam of river rapids to display their colors in most unusual dances. Robert Schomburgk (1804-1865), the well-known South American traveler, described these dances as follows: "A whole troop of these wonderful birds was holding their dance on the smooth, flat upper surface of a tremendous rock. About twenty admiring observers, both males and females, sat on the bushes nearby while a male moved about over the top of the rock in every direction with some rather unusual movements. It would spread its wings, toss its head in every direction, scratch the rock with its primaries, and hop upwards at varying speeds, always from the same point; again it would fan out and erect its tail and once more walk about coquettishly with proud steps. When it seemed to be tired, it uttered a different phrase from the usual call and, flying to the nearest twig, it left its place on the rock to another male. After awhile, this second bird, having first

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