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Fruit and nectar feeders Cotingas Cotingas (Passeriformes) are among the most ‘glamorous’ of Neotropical birds Bellbirds, umbrellabirds, cocks-of-the-

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Presentation on theme: "Fruit and nectar feeders Cotingas Cotingas (Passeriformes) are among the most ‘glamorous’ of Neotropical birds Bellbirds, umbrellabirds, cocks-of-the-"— Presentation transcript:

1 Fruit and nectar feeders Cotingas Cotingas (Passeriformes) are among the most ‘glamorous’ of Neotropical birds Bellbirds, umbrellabirds, cocks-of-the- rock, pihas, fruiteaters, fruit-crows, and purpletufts All are rainforest birds, some continuing up into the cloud forests and all are ‘extreme’ fruit specialists

2 Fruit and nectar feeders Cotingas Cotingas have wide, flattened bills, accomdating round fruits Poor seed predator=good disperser Heavy fruit diet also results in very slow incubation time for young

3 Fruit and nectar feeders Cotingas Umbrellabirds and cocks-of-the-rock, are large and have ornate plumage on their heads

4 Fruit and nectar feeders Cotingas Pihas (captain of the forest) and fruiteaters are smaller and drab Sexually, range from monogamous (frequently lacking dimorphism) to polygynous, some with large leks

5 Fruit and nectar feeders Cotingas Voice: bellbirds are known for the loud, bell-like notes, pihas for loud scream Plumage: cotingas have shiny metallic plumage and cock-of-the-rock and umbrellabirds for the dramatic head feathers

6 Fruit and nectar feeders Cotingas


8 Fruit and nectar feeders Manakins 53sp of manakins (Passeriformes) which are small, chunky, frugivores inhabiting lowland forests Phylogenetically close to cotingas and tyrant flycathers (several genera may not be true manakins) Males very colorful, females usually drab

9 Fruit and nectar feeders Manakins Manakins have short tails, rounded wings, and a short but wide bill with a hooked tip Pluck fruit on the wing Occasionally eat arthropods

10 Fruit and nectar feeders Manakins Famous for the elaborate courtship displays Many are ‘arena’ birds and display in large leks, others have cooperative displays Females build nests, incubate and feed small clutch (one or two)

11 Fruit and nectar feeders Manakins VIDEO

12 Suboscines Of the 3,700+ sp of Neotropical birds, approximately 1,000 are ‘suboscines’ There are only 50 other suboscines worldwide They are part of perching birds (Passeriformes) of which, most are oscines (songbirds: complex musculature of the syrinx)

13 Suboscines There are two major radiations –Tyrant flycatchers, manakins, and contingas –Woodcreepers, ovenbirds, true antbirds, ground antbirds, gnateaters, and tapaculos Not clear as to why this group is so successful in the Neotropics; may be historical

14 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders Many groups utilize insects and arthropods as the primary portion of their diet They are extremely species-rich –Ovenbirds (218 sp) –Antbirds and Ground Antbirds (250 sp) –Woodcreepers (45 sp) –Tyrant flycathers (393 sp) All are Neotropical sp (a few tyrants mig)

15 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders Tyrannids, ovenbirds, and antbirds each represent adaptive radiations, probably assisted by the specialization encouraged by dietary competition Insect catching birds are going to develop a particular pattern of feeding and its size, behavior, and bill shape become very refined on a particular size range and type of prey

16 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders When you add the high inter-specific competition in the tropics, the diffuse competition encourages an individual to stay focused on its optimal niche

17 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders Insectivorous diets are frequently categorized by how they forage –Flycatching (tyrants, puffbirds, nunbirds) –Bark probing (woodpeckers & woodcreepers) –Foliage gleaning (ovenbirds & many antbirds) –Ant following (some antbirds, other sp)

18 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (flycatching) Puffbirds and Nunbirds (Piciformes) consist of 32 endemic Neotropical sp Found throughout Amazon basin All excavate, many in termite mounds

19 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (flycatching) Puffbirds look puffy and most are brown (some black and white) Cryptic plumage, stationary feeding and understory location make them rarely seen

20 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (bark feeders) Woodpeckers (family Picidae, Piciformes) both drill and probe bark, extracting mostly larvae using their long, extrusible, barbed tongue Occur worldwide (not Australia) Vary in size..ivory-billed (35cm) to piculets (9cm); Imperial (60cm) of western Mexico probably extinct

21 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (bark feeders) Climb vertically using adapted tail as a third prop Toes zygodactyl to help grasp

22 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (bark feeders) Range in color from black and red crest, to greenish olive, to soft browns and chestnut

23 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (bark feeders) Others are ‘ladderbacks’ of B&W

24 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (bark feeders) Woodpeckers are primary excavators, but are frequently usurped by larger species (e.g. collared aracaris)

25 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (bark feeders) Woodcreepers look like woodpeckers, but are unrelated (family Dendrocolaptidae, Passeriformes), most closely related to ovenbirds Excellent example of evolutionary convergence Feed by probing bark crevices & epiphytes May join army ant mixed-species flocks

26 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (bark feeders) Like furnids, woodcreepers are soft shades of brown and rufous (with some whitish or yellowish streaking)

27 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (bark feeders) Its overall size, bill size and shape, and streaking pattern usually separate one species from another Range in size from 15cm to 36cm Found in wet to dry forests

28 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (bark feeders) Personal favorite; scythebills Feed in bromeliads and other epiphytes

29 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (foliage gleaners) Ovenbirds (Furnariidae; Passeriformes) are ‘LBB’ of the tropicsw All are brown, tan, or gray with very little subtle differences occurring

30 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (foliage gleaners) Name is derived from ‘oven’ like dome- shaped nests (although not all do this) Occur in lowland forest, cloud forest, dry forests, as well as the pampas, puna and paramo

31 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (ant followers) Antbirds (Formicariidae; Passeriformes) include antbirds, antshrikes, antwrens, antvireos, antthrushes, & antpittas They follow…ants The degree to which they follow varies from never to ‘professionally’ Antbirds are more colorful than the ovenbirds with many having sexually dimorphic species

32 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (ant followers) Males are frequently boldly barred BW Many have chestnut or brown as well Many have blue or red skin around eye, some have a red eye

33 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (ant followers) Most antbirds are foliage gleaners, picking and snatching insects from the foliage, with some catching on the wing They typically form mixed species flocks with other birds and divide the area vertically amongst themselves Certain species tend to dominate the central positions

34 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (ant followers) How would you describe the relationship amongst the members of these flocks? There are 28 sp of ‘professional’ ant- following birds In addition, there are many species which opportunistically join flocks as they pass through their territories Some butterflies join the flock. Why?

35 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (ant followers) In central America, the spotted antbird, bicolored antbird and black- faced antthrush are dominant players

36 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (ant followers) Some of the part-timers following ant swarms are woodcreepers, ovenbirds, motmots, some tanagers, and a surprising number of migrants Only when breeding to they cease to follow ants (although they quickly follow any ants that come through their territory)

37 Suboscines Insect-Arthropod Feeders (ant followers) Antbirds mate for life and both sexes help building and raising young At least one species, ocellated antbird, forms clans with subsequent male generations returning and defending territory

38 Birds of Prey Not surprisingly, birds of prey are also very abundant in the tropics Many species occupy open areas as they are easy to soar and search However, plenty of species still utilize the resources of the forests (e.g. forest falcons)

39 Birds of Prey Kites 11 sp of kites live in the Neotropics eating small animals such as mice, birds, lizards and arthropods Generally have sharp, hooked bills Often in savannas

40 Birds of Prey Kites Notable species include the snail kite, swallow- tailed kite, pearl kite (at 9” one of the smallest)

41 Birds of Prey Hawks, Falcons, & Caracaras 40 sp of hawks are found in the Neotropics Crane Hawk is found in wet savannas to mangroves and probes epiphytes and branches for amphibians and reptiles

42 Birds of Prey Hawks, Falcons, & Caracaras Savanna Hawk which is often seen walking In contrast, the white hawk often is seen soaring over forests Other soarers include the black hawk and great black hawk

43 Birds of Prey Hawks, Falcons, & Caracaras Black- collared hawk feeds on fish, found near marshes Distinctive shape (wide wings, short tail)

44 Birds of Prey Hawks, Falcons, & Caracaras Roadside hawk is among the most commonly seen BoP in the tropics as it frequently is perched along roads Highly variable plumage (13 races)

45 Birds of Prey Hawks, Falcons, & Caracaras Falcons are small, speedy BoP that rely on aerial agility Typified by long tail and sharp wings Feed on birds, small mammals, insects and even bats

46 Birds of Prey Hawks, Falcons, & Caracaras The laughing falcon is found along forest edges Loud call Eats snakes (and others)

47 Birds of Prey Hawks, Falcons, & Caracaras Forest falcons are grayish falcons that lurk in the forests, often sitting motionless

48 Birds of Prey Hawks, Falcons, & Caracaras Yellow-headed Caracara is extremely common and can be seen in flocks Why flock? –Carrion feeders… what is the limitation?

49 Birds of Prey Hawks, Falcons, & Caracaras The largest Neotropical bird of prey are eagles and hawk-eagles (3sp) –Ornate hawk-eagle –Black hawk-eagle –B&W hawk-eagle

50 Birds of Prey Hawks, Falcons, & Caracaras Harpy eagle is a huge predator (>1m) with very thick legs Territories frequently exceed 100km 2 Strictly a forest dweller Eats monkeys and sloths

51 Birds of Prey Owls Owls (Strigiformes) has two groups, the barn owls (Tytonidae) and typical owls (Strigidae) 24 neotropical birds

52 Birds of Prey Owls Spectacled owl is the largest Neotropical owl (19”)

53 Birds of Prey Owls B&W owl Mottled owl

54 Birds of Prey Owls It is not uncommon to see pygmy owls (6”) during the day

55 the Southern Invasion During the autumn, approximately >50% of birds breeding in North America head south The majority pull up in C Am, but many continue to S Am while still others winter in the West Indies

56 the Southern Invasion The abundance of migrants is high, but central America is 1/8 th the size Consider dry forests of western Mex –Summer 2 birds/ha –Winter 64 birds/ha

57 the Southern Invasion Many of the species are not migrating away from the harsh winter of the temperate zone but rather returning home to the tropics from ‘seasonal bounty’ of the temperate zone E.g. tyrannid flycatchers, hummingbirds, tanagers, orioles and wood warblers

58 the Southern Invasion

59 Many species come down and take advantage of brushy habitat E.g. GRCA, NOYE, YBCH Others take advantage of the forest E.g. WOTH, OVEN, AMRE, other warblers Still others occupy successional habitat

60 the Southern Invasion Other species have relatively large dietary shifts in the tropics and some become frugivores E.g. NOOR, OROR, SCTA, SUTA

61 the Southern Invasion The degree to which migrants interact with local species probably varies across space and time and will be dependent upon local resources and the abundance of competitors E.g. on BCI, several migrants actively prevented from joining in mixed-antbird flocks In Amazon, many migrants join

62 the Southern Invasion At least some species move in and become part of the larger avian community Several species, WOTH, OVEN, GRCA (and other species as well) all occupy the same locations from one year to the next Site fidelity

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