White bellbird

Procnias alba

TAXONOMY

Procnias alba Hermann, 1783. OTHER COMMON NAMES

French: Araponga blanc; German: Zapfenglockner; Spanish: Campanero Blanco.

PHYSICAL CHARACTERISTICS

The bellbirds are distinguished by compact bodies, flat beaks, short tarsi and a plumage of small feathers. Males have among the loudest calls of any birds. They are completely white, with a long inflatable, "horn-like" wattle on the head; the "horn" is covered with small white feathers which can be erected during display. Females, which are silent, are predominantly green and somewhat smaller.

DISTRIBUTION

This species is found in the Guiana Shield, ranging from 1,500 to 4,900 ft (450-1,500 m). It may be a local altitudinal migrant.

HABITAT

Bellbirds live in tropical lowland or montane evergreen rainforest.

BEHAVIOR

They prefer high perches in the canopy, often on bare tree branches, which project above the crowns of surrounding trees. The calls sound as if an anvil were being struck with a hammer.

FEEDING ECOLOGY AND DIET

These birds feed on fruit. The short bills with a wide gape are adaptations for gorging on quantities of fruit.

REPRODUCTIVE BIOLOGY

The nest is of sparse construction 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

Not threatened.

SIGNIFICANCE TO HUMANS None known. ♦

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