Whitenecked Puffbird Notharchus macrorhynchos


Physical characteristics: White-necked puffbirds look a little bit like kingfishers, being identified mainly by their white forehead and wide, glossy black breast band. They have glossy black-blue upperparts, a white collar, throat, sides of face, and belly. The bill is

White-necked puffbirds dig nests into former termite nests built in trees, or nest in holes in the ground. (Illustration by Dan Erickson. Reproduced by permission.)

black, there is variable dark barring on the flanks, the tail is narrow with white tips and the feet are black. As one of the largest puffbirds, adults are about 11 inches (25 centimeters) long and weigh between 2.9 and 3.7 ounces (81 and 106 grams).

Geographic range: They range from Mexico in Central America to Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, eastern Peru, northern Bolivia, and northern and western Brazil (to the Amazon River) in South America.

Habitat: White-necked puffbirds live in mostly humid to semi-arid (somewhat dry) secondary forests, mixed pine and oak woods, forest edges and clearings, and plantations; from sea level to 3,940 feet (1,200 meters).

Diet: Their diet consists of large insects and small vertebrates (animals with backbone), along with some vegetable materials. They hunt from the ground to the tops of the trees.

Behavior and reproduction: The mating pair defends their territory. They do not migrate. White-necked puffbirds spend much of their time perching without motion on high open branches. Female and male pairs dig nests in former termite nests built in trees usually 40 to 50 feet (12 to 15 meters) off the ground, but can range from 10 to 60 feet (3 to 18 meters). Holes in the ground are also used as nests. Information about incubation and nestling periods and activities are not known.

White-necked puffbirds and people: There is no known significant relationship between people and white-necked puffbirds.

Conservation status: White-necked puffbirds are not threatened. There are few in Central America, but they are fairly numerous in South America. ■

Rufous-capped nunlet (Nonnula ruficapilla) Resident

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