Tuesday, July 16, 2013


This is a bird I'd never before heard of so thought I'd share it as it may also be a stranger to you.

The Umbrellabirds are birds in the genus Cephalopterus found in rainforests of Central and South America. With a total length of 35-50 cm (14-20 in), they are among the largest members of the Cotinga family, and the male Amazonian Umbrellabird is the largest passerine in South America.

They are almost entirely black, and have a conspicuous crest on top of their head, vaguely resembling an umbrella (hence their common name).  All have an inflatable wattle on the neck which serves to amplify their loud, booming calls  This wattle may reach a length of 35 cm (14 in) in the Long-wattled Umbrellabird, but is smaller in the two remaining species, and covered in bare, bright red skin in the Bare-necked Umbrellabird.  Females resemble males, but are noticeably smaller and have a reduced crest and wattle.

They feed on fruits, large insects and occasionally small vertebrates (e.g. lizards).  The males gather in loose 'leks', where they call and extend their wattle to attract females.  The flimsy nest is built entirely by the females, which incubate and raise the chicks without help from the males.  (Obviously another male-dominated society).

Of the three species, two, the Long-wattled and Bare-necked Umbrellabird, are threatened by habitat loss and, to a lesser extent, hunting.

The Bare-necked Umbrellabird is the largest passerine in its range and is found in Costa Rica and Panama:
The Amazonian Umbrellabird is also almost entirely black, with a head crest and an inflatable wattle on the neck.  This bird though has pale eyes, whereas in other umbrellabirds the eye is black.  The undulating flying method of this species is considered quite woodpecker-like.  One population occurs in the Amazon Basin, mainly near rivers in woodland and forest and the second in forested foothills of the eastern Andes.


  1. There's just no end to nature's imagination, is there?

  2. Mother Nature never fails to amaze me.