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Cotingas: Cotingidae - Amazonian Umbrellabird (cephalopterus Ornatus): Species Accounts

umbrellabirds birds feathers head

Physical characteristics: Amazonian umbrellabirds are black birds with a whitish eye and strong black claws. They are about the size of a crow, 18 inches (46 centimeters) in length. Their most impressive physical feature is the tall crest of hair-like feathers with white shafts that stands up over its head like an umbrella. In fact, the bird's Latin scientific name roughly means "fancy head." This bird also has a long wattle of feathers that hangs down from its throat to its belly. Amazonian umbrellabirds are known for their loud, carrying voice.

The Amazonian umbrellabird has a tall crest of hair-like feathers with white shafts that stands up over its head like an umbrella. (Illustration by Emily Damstra. Reproduced by permission.)

Geographic range: Amazonian umbrellabirds are found in the Amazon river basin of Brazil and Venezuela, northwest Bolivia, and eastern Colombia.


Habitat: This species prefers to live along rivers. However, near the edge of the Andes mountains, it lives in the forest at elevations up to 4,300 feet (1,300 meters).


Diet: Umbrellabirds primarily eat fruit and berries, but will eat insects, spiders, and insect larvae when fruit is not available.


Behavior and reproduction: Amazonian umbrellabirds are slow-flying birds that spend a lot of time sitting still on branches. During mating season, males form leks spread far apart. The female builds a loose nest of twigs high in a tree and raises a single chick.


Amazonian umbrellabirds and people: These birds are heard more often than they are seen. They are mainly of interest to birdwatchers.


Conservation status: Amazonian umbrellabirds are not threatened or at risk of becoming extinct at any time in the foreseeable future. ∎

Cotingas: Cotingidae - Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (rupicola Rupicola): Species Accounts [next] [back] Cotingas: Cotingidae - Spangled Cotinga (cotinga Cayana): Species Accounts

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almost 7 years ago

I saw one of these impressive birds flying over the Amazon River in 1989. 2 days later we were robbed at gunpoint at the Explorama Lodge by 8 banditos. They robbed 15 tourists....