ⓘ Umbrellabird


ⓘ Umbrellabird

Umbrellabirds are birds in the genus Cephalopterus. They are found in rainforests of Central and South America. With a total length of 35–50 cm, 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 the 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 the long-wattled umbrellabird, but it 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.

Two of the three species, the long-wattled and bare-necked umbrellabird, are threatened by habitat loss and to a lesser extent by hunting.