Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (rupicola Rupicola): Species Accounts
Physical characteristics: Male Guianan cocks-of-the-rock are bright orange birds with large orange crests on their heads. They have black and white wing bars and black on their tails. Females are a drab brown color.
Geographic range: Guianan cocks-of-the-rock are found in southern Guyana, Colombia, Venezuela and in northern Brazil.
Habitat: Guiana cocks-of-the-rock live in lowland forests below 4,900 feet (1,500 meters).
Diet: Cocks-of-the-rock prefer fruit and berries, but will eat insects if other food is scarce.
Behavior and reproduction: Male cocks-of-the-rock clear spots on the forest floor to form large leks where they sing loudly and perform mating dances for females. Predators such as hawks, jaguars, ocelots, and boa constrictors are attracted to these leks. Successful males will mate with many females during the breeding season. Females raise their young alone, building cup-shaped nests of clay and plants along rock faces or in holes on cliffs. They lay two eggs that hatch in about a month.
Guianan cocks-of-the-rock and people: In the early twentieth century, hunters captured these birds and sold them as pets. Today they are attractive to birdwatchers and ecotourists who want to observe nature without disturbing it. In this way they may add to the local tourist economy. Native tribes hunt these birds for their feathers and as food. Fly fishermen use their feathers in making fishing flies.
Conservation status: Guianan cocks-of-the-rock are not threatened or at risk of extinction. ∎
FOR MORE INFORMATION
Hilty, Steven L. Birds of Venezuela. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2003.
Kircher, John. A Neotropical Companion: An Introduction to the Animals, Plants, and Ecosystems of the New World Tropics, 2nd ed. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1999.
Ridgley, Robert S., and Guy Tudor. The Birds of South America. Vol 2, The Suboscine Passerines. Austin, TX: University of Texas Press, 1994.
"Cotingas, Bellbirds, Becards, Cock-of-the-rock." Cornell University. http://www.eeb.cornell.edu/winkler/botw/families.htm (accessed on May 4, 2004).
"Ecology of the Cock-of-the-Rock." Ecology Online. http://www.ecology.info/cock-of-the-rock.htm (accessed on May 4, 2004).
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