Rufoustailed plantcutter

Phytotoma rara

TAXONOMY

Phytotoma rara Molina, 1782. OTHER COMMON NAMES

English: Chilean plantcutter; French: Rara a queue rousse; German: Rotschwanz-Pflanzenmäher; Spanish: Cortaplantas Chileno.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Considerable sexual dichromatism; the gaudy male outshines the more muted female. Weight about 1.5 oz (48 g), body length about 7 in (17 cm). The male shows reddish on the crown, throat, breast, and underparts. The back of the neck and dorsal plumage are dark olive green, with darker stripes. The blackish wings bear a distinctive white stripe. The tail is mainly blackish, with a red stripe down its middle. The female tends to muted browns, shading to grayish. The breast and abdomen are

Phytotoma raimondii

whitish with dark, longitudinal streaks in the breast and flanks. The wings are blackish like the male's, but lack the white stripe. The eyes are a vivid, emphatic red in both sexes.

DISTRIBUTION

Chile and Argentina, from Vallenar in the north to Chiloe in the south, and into Chilean and Argentinean Patagonia.

HABITAT

Forest, scrublands, and farmland from sea level to 6,000 ft (2,000 m) above sea level.

BEHAVIOR

Little has been recorded of the bird's daily activities, aside from what is described in the feeding ecology.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

The species often lives near farms because of its special fondness for young cereal leaves, although leaves of native plants will also be eaten. During the austral summer, the bird adds fruit and insects to the leaf diet.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The species prefers to nest in the forks of tree branches, but will nest in higher shrubs. The nest is made with root fibers and large twigs on the outside and smaller twigs inside. Brooding takes place in the austral summer. Egg-laying begins in October and produces two to four eggs of a clear bluish green color with some blackish spots.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Not threatened, although uncommon.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

The rufous-tailed plantcutter can be a nuisance to farmers because of its fondness for cereal leaves. ♦

Phytotoma rara
0 0

Post a comment