Andean cock-of-the-rock

The Andean cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus), also known as tunki (Quechua),[3] is a large passerine bird of the cotinga family native to Andean cloud forests in South America. It is the national bird of Peru. It has four subspecies and its closest relative is the Guianan cock-of-the-rock.

Andean cock-of-the-rock
Male R. p. sanguinolentus, Colombia
Female (nominate)
CITES Appendix II (CITES)[2]
Scientific classification Edit this classification
Domain: Eukaryota
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cotingidae
Genus: Rupicola
R. peruvianus
Binomial name
Rupicola peruvianus
(Latham, 1790)
Male R. p. sanguinolentus
showing back feathers

The Andean cock-of-the-rock exhibits marked sexual dimorphism; the male has a large disk-like crest and scarlet or brilliant orange plumage, while the female is significantly darker and browner. Gatherings of males compete for breeding females with each male displaying his colourful plumage, bobbing and hopping, and making a variety of calls. After mating, the female makes a nest under a rocky overhang, incubates the eggs, and rears the young by herself.

The Andean cock-of-the-rock eats a diet of fruit, supplemented by insects, amphibians, reptiles, and smaller mice. It is distributed all across the cloud forest of the Andes, having a range of around 260,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi). Even though it is being affected by the destruction of its habitat, the Andean cock-of-the-rock is not classified as threatened.

Taxonomy and etymology edit

One of two species in the genus Rupicola, the other being the Guianan cock-of-the-rock, the Andean cock-of-the-rock was first described by English ornithologist John Latham in 1790. It is classified in the Cotingidae, a family of largely frugivorous tropical forest suboscine passerines. The generic name is derived from the Latin stems rupes "rock" or "cliff", and cola "inhabiting",[4] and is derived from its habit of nesting in rock walls. Its specific epithet peruvianus "of Peru" is masculine despite the -a ending of the genus name (in Latin, names in -cola were masculine or neuter); peruviana is seen in older works.[5]

Four subspecies are known:[6]

Description edit

Immature male at the Cincinnati Zoo, US

The Andean cock-of-the-rock is a large passerine, approximately 32 cm (13 in) long and weighing around 265 grams (9.3 oz; 0.584 lb), although males are somewhat larger and the heaviest specimens can reach 300 grams (11 oz; 0.66 lb). The bird is one of many bird species to exhibit marked sexual dimorphism. The male has a large disk-like crest and brilliant scarlet or orange plumage. He has a black tail and wings, and pale greyish scapulars. The female is significantly drabber and browner than the male and has a less prominent crest. The bill is yellowish in the male and dark with a small yellow tip in the female. Depending on gender and subspecies there are significant variations in the color of the iris, ranging from red over orange and yellow to bluish-white in the male, and whitish over reddish to brown in the female.[7] In addition to the display calls described in the breeding section below, foraging birds give a loud querulous "tank?" when disturbed or in flight.[8][9]

Distribution and habitat edit

The Andean cock-of-the-rock is distributed in the cloud forests of the Andes. It lives in a large range of about 260,000 km2 (100,000 sq mi) across Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, and Bolivia,[1] mostly in ravines and forested streams in montane areas at 500 to 2,400 m (1,600 to 7,900 ft) elevation. It typically stays in the lower and middle forest levels but will range higher in fruiting trees and will sometimes enter and cross clearings. It is generally shy and inconspicuous, often seen only briefly after being flushed out or while swiftly flying down a valley.[8]

R. p. aequatorialis is the most widespread subspecies, ranging across the Andes of East Colombia to West Venezuela, East Ecuador, and East Peru. The nominate subspecies, R. p. peruvianus has a small range stretching only through the Andes of Central Peru. R. p. sanguinolentus ranges throughout the Andes in West Colombia to Northwest Ecuador. The subspecies R. p. saturatus has a range across Southeast Peru and West Bolivia.[10]

Behavior edit

Food and feeding edit

The diet consists mainly of fruit and insects, although small reptiles and frogs have been recorded.[11] The fruits consumed are often from the plant families Lauraceae, Annonaceae, and Rubiaceae, although a few other plant families have also been reported in their diet.[9] They are one of many species recorded following army ants.[12] They occasionally will eat high-protein fruits, but they prefer to eat the other fruits on their menu.[9]

Breeding edit

Male cocks-of-the-rock are polygamous, and have nothing to do with nesting once mating is done. The male's energy instead is devoted to very elaborate display rituals that show off his magnificent plumage. These displays take place in communal leks, where males gather to challenge rivals and beckon the females.[7] The males are easily disturbed, so their behavior is not easy to see.[8] One study reported that the display activity is dependent on light intensity, with the morning display period occurring during the same light intensity level as the afternoon period.[13]

At the lek, males have been observed to break up into pairs, performing "confrontation displays". This consists of facing each other while bowing, jumping, and flapping their wings, sometimes even snapping their bills, and at the same time giving off various squawking and grunting calls. When the female approaches, she becomes even more intense. The display turns into a cacophony of bright color and a frenzied activity filling the air with very strange sounds.[8]

Breeding takes place at different times of the year in different areas. In Colombia, breeding normally happens from February until July. In Ecuador, the breeding interval spans from July until February.[14]

Nesting edit

The nests, built entirely by the female, are mud-plastered to cave entrances or rocky outcrops in forest ravines.[15] The nests are often constructed from the saliva of the females mixed in with vegetable matter and mud.[9][14] The nest is shaped like a concave cup.[14] The female typically lays two white eggs.[16] The female incubates these eggs for about 25 to 28 days.[9]

Impact on environment edit

Andean cocks-of-the-rock influence the environment around them. It was found that a white-capped dipper renovated an abandoned cock-of-the-rock nest to lay its eggs in. Cocks-of-the-rock also change the surrounding flora through seed dispersal. Seeds that the birds ingest often are found deposited around lek and nesting sites. This favors the germination and growth of those seeds. The diversity of these types of seeds has been found to be increased at lek and nests and decreased throughout the surrounding forest.[17]

Predators edit

Andean cocks-of-the-rock face slightly larger predators than smaller songbirds. Predators are attracted to leks by the conspicuous behavior of the displaying males. The animals reported to prey on adult cocks-of-the-rock include hawk-eagles, forest-falcons, hawks, owls, jaguars, mountain lions, ocelots, and the boa constrictor.[17]

Relationship with humans edit

The Andean cock-of-the-rock is the national bird of Peru.[7][18] Juveniles and adults have occasionally been pets.[19]

Conservation edit

The worldwide population size and trends in population numbers have not been determined, but it is believed that the Andean cock-of-the-rock is not threatened. The species is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species despite habitat destruction. It is patchily distributed, but its range is large enough to sustain it at a Least Concern status.[1][9]

References edit

  1. ^ a b c BirdLife International (2018). "Rupicola peruvianus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. 2018: e.T22700974A130267257. doi:10.2305/IUCN.UK.2018-2.RLTS.T22700974A130267257.en. Retrieved 13 November 2021.
  2. ^ "Appendices | CITES". Retrieved 2022-01-14.
  3. ^ "Diccionario: Quechua - Español - Quechua, Simi Taqe: Qheswa - Español - Qheswa" (PDF). Diccionario Quechua - Español - Quechua. Gobierno Regional del Cusco, Perú: Academía Mayor de la Lengua Quechua. 2005.
  4. ^ Simpson, D.P. (1979). Cassell's Latin Dictionary (5th ed.). London: Cassell Ltd. p. 883. ISBN 0-304-52257-0.
  5. ^ David, N.; Gosselin, M. (2002). "The grammatical gender of avian genera". Bulletin of the British Ornithologists' Club. 122 (4): 257–282.
  6. ^ "Zoological Nomenclature Resource: Psittaciformes (Version 9.005)". 18 December 2008.
  7. ^ a b c Bostwick, K.S. (2004). del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A.; Christie, D.A. (eds.). Cotingas to Pipits and Wagtails. Handbook of the Birds of the World. Vol. 9. Barcelona: Lynx Editions. pp. 107–108. ISBN 84-87334-69-5.
  8. ^ a b c d Ridgely, Robert S.; Tudor, Guy (1994). The Birds of South America: The Suboscine Passerines. University of Texas Press. pp. 778–779. ISBN 0-19-857218-2.
  9. ^ a b c d e f Begazo, A.; Farrow-Johnson (2012). Schulenberg, T.S. (ed.). "Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus)". Ithaca, NY, US: Cornell Lab of Ornithology: Neotropical Birds Online.
  10. ^ "Rupicola peruvianus". Avibase.
  11. ^ Lopes, Leonardo E.; Fernandes, Alexandre M.; Marini, Miguel Â. (2005). "Predation on vertebrates by Neotropical passerine birds" (PDF). Lundiana. 6 (1). Instituto de Ciências Biológicas - UFMG: 57–66.
  12. ^ Rios, Margarita; Londoño, Gustavo; Biancucci, Luis (2008). "Notes on birds that follow army ants in the northern Andes" (PDF). Ornitologia Neotropical. 19. The Neotropical Ornithological Society: 137–142.
  13. ^ Hill, Geoffrey E.; McGraw, Kevin J. (2006). Bird Coloration. Harvard University Press. p. 159. ISBN 978-0-674-01893-8.
  14. ^ a b c Janni, O.; Boano, G.; Pavia, M.; Gertosio, G. (2008). "Notes on the breeding of birds in Yanachaga-Chemillén National Park, Peru". Cotinga. 30: 42–46.
  15. ^ Hilty, Steven L.; Brown, Bill; Brown, William L. (1986). A Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press. p. 440. ISBN 978-0-691-08372-8.
  16. ^ Reina, Ruben; Reina, E. (1991). The Gift of Birds. UPenn Museum of Archaeology. p. 124. ISBN 978-0-924171-12-3.
  17. ^ a b "Rupicola peruvianus". Ecology.Info.
  18. ^ "Andean Cock-of-the-rock - Rupicola peruvianus". New Hampshire Public Broadcasting. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  19. ^ BirdLife species factsheet for Rupicola peruvianus

External links edit