Spangled cotinga

Cotinga cayana TAXONOMY

Cotinga cayana Linnaeus, 1766. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Cotinga de Cayenne; German: Halsbandkotinga; Spanish: Cotinga Grande.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The average weight is 2.7 oz (76 g). Sexually dimorphic. Females are darkish brown with a light brown, spotted breast. Males are a stunning turquoise color with shimmering iridescent feathers and a band of blue across the chest.

DISTRIBUTION

This species is found throughout the Amazon. It is the only species within the genus that overlaps the geographic distribution of other congeners.

HABITAT

This species is a canopy specialist in lowland tropical evergreen forest. While principally a lowland species, it may range up to 0.5 mi (800 m).

BEHAVIOR

The quiet behavior of the members of this genus is in contrast with their vivid colors. During courtship male spangled cotin-

gas will flatten themselves horizontally, moving the wings and spreading the tail while emitting a soft and mournful "hooooo."

Various congeners will forage in the same tree with spangled cotingas, such as plum-throated cotinga (Cotinga may-nana). The spangled cotinga will also forage with other species of cotingas including the purple-throated (Querula purpurata) and bare-necked fruitcrows (Gymnodoerus foetidus).

While conspecifics are often found in close association, there is at least one record of a male spangled cotinga chasing another male from the area. A female spangled cotinga and female cinereous mourner simultaneously mobbed a female barenecked fruitcrow through habitat that was atypical for the latter species. On another occasion a male spangled cotinga was observed chasing a black-headed parrot (Pionites melanocephala).

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

Fruit and berries are consumed, often "gorging" at a masting tree or bush such as mistletoe. The fruits are often plucked on the wing. Although the seeds of larger species (e.g., mistletoe) might be regurgitated, smaller seeds are often swallowed. Insects are also taken.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The mating system is not completely known within this group. However, there is some evidence that loose lek associations may be in place.

The nest is platform type, often high in a tree fork, or next to an epiphyte. The female incubates and cares for the young alone.

CONSERVATION STATUS Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS

Several indigenous tribes use cotinga feathers in their ornamentation. ♦

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