Longwattled umbrellabird

Cephalopterus penduliger

TAXONOMY

Cephalopterus penduliger Sclater, 1859. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Bullbird; French: Coracine casquée; German: Langlappen-Schirmvogel; Spanish: Pajaro Paraguas Caranculado.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Umbrellabirds have sharp and powerful claws to secure good grips on branches during calling. This group comprises the largest of the cotingas, being about the size of a crow. As is the case with most cotingas, the females are smaller and less dramatic than the males in terms of ornamentation. The males are entirely black.

Wilhelm Meise describes them as follows: "The inflated throat sac, which looks somewhat like a pine cone with spread

scales, is moved to and fro like a pendulum; soft sounds are heard with this movement. With the utterance of the loud, low-pitched rumbling courtship call, the head is thrown back and the wattle swings forward.". The much-widened trachea enables umbrella birds to utter "terrible roaring" sounds which have earned them the name of "bullbirds."

DISTRIBUTION

This species is restricted to the Pacific slope from southwestern Colombia through Ecuador. They are found in the foothills between 460 and 5,900 ft (140-1,800 m).

HABITAT

Umbrellabirds usually inhabit the mid-level to upper story of tall trees.

BEHAVIOR

This species may be an altitudinal migrant, but there are both highland and lowland populations known to be sedentary. The call is a plaintive combination between a "roar" and bleating calf, often occurring in the morning or afternoon. Males may displace other males from calling perches. Umbrellabirds have a very characteristic slow-flapping during flight with the crest laying down flat. Once perched they will often hop clumsily from branch to branch. Animal prey is often beaten against a tree branch before swallowing.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

The umbrellabirds consume fruits such as berries and palm fruits and nuts. Larger seeds of the fruits they consume are regurgitated. This helps regenerate the tropical forests they live in, as seeds of their preferred food plants are dispersed throughout the forests. Insects, larvae and some spiders are taken as well. Animal matter is consumed especially during the rainy season when fruits are more scarce.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The nest is platform type and built very roughly of loose twigs such that the single egg or chick can be seen from underneath. The nest is often located high in a tree fork.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Vulnerable. Global numbers are estimated at less than 10,000 individuals for the species, with populations declining.

The long-wattled umbrellabird is threatened with deforestation and consequent habitat fragmentation. The habitat fragmentation is due to logging and agrarian development, such as livestock ranching, and oil palm and banana plantations. The geographic range of this species is estimated at 21,000 mi2 (54,000 km2).

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Various tribes may use the wattles for ornamentation in their artifacts. ♦

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