Threewattled bellbird

Procnias tricarunculata

TAXONOMY

Procnias tricarunculata Verreaux and Verreaux, 1853. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Araponga tricaruncule; German: Hammerling; Spanish: Procnias tricarunculata.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

Male is approximately 12 in (30 cm) long; female is approximately 10 in (25 cm). The plumage of the adult male is: chestnut brown, except for head, neck, and chest, which are white. The adult female is olive-green above; yellow underside striped with dark olive-green. They are famous not only because of the truly enchanting calls of the males, but also because of the inflatable skin appendages about the heads of the males.

DISTRIBUTION

This species is found in two patches in Middle America: eastern Honduras to northern Nicaragua, and the southern tip of Nicaragua through Costa Rica to central Panama. Although this species may be found up to 9,800 ft (3,000 m), it may locally migrate to the lowlands.

HABITAT

Bellbirds live in tropical lowland or montane evergreen rainforest. They prefer high perches in the canopy, often on bare tree branches, which project above the crowns of surrounding trees.

BEHAVIOR

The far-reaching bell-like calls (often described as "bockk") of the males are characteristic of their jungle home. This species breeds in foothill and highland forest between 2,500 and 6,900 ft (750-2,100 m), though the lower elevation for breeding is typically 3,900 ft (1,200 m). The breeding season may occur from March through September, but this is variable. During the nonbreeding season extensive migrations are taken.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

These birds feed on fruit. The short bills with a wide gape are adaptations for gorging on quantities of fruit, and has been seen regurgitating mistletoe with much effort.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The nest is made of very little construction material, and is built on open branches. One or two eggs are laid per clutch. Female bellbirds care for the young alone, regurgitating fruit and cleaning the nest of fecal sacks and regurgitated seeds.

CONSERVATION STATUS

Vulnerable, with habitat fragmentation due to logging, and conversion to banana plantations and cattle ranches, being the principal threats. Its geographic range is estimated at 9,000-44,000 mi2 (23,000-114,000 km2). Its numbers are estimated at less than 10,000, with populations declining.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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