Jacamar habitat includes Neotropical rainforests, streams or riverine forest, and savanna woodland. Generally, jacamars live at the edge of forests. Jacamars prefer habitat that supports their favorite prey—large, showy butterflies. Suitable nesting sites, such as dirt masses associated with fallen trees and sandy or clay stream banks, also are key. The rufous-tailed jacamar prefers low-lying thickets that border rivers, while the paradise jacamar seeks a higher perch. The coppery-chested jacamar lives at the highest elevations of all jacamars. It has been observed at altitudes of 5,100 ft (1,550 m) in the Andes. It is a resident of the eastern slope of the Ecuadorian Andes, although its distribution is patchy, and its population is dwindling due to habitat loss.

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