Umbrellabird are the birds that are native to the rainforests of Central and South America. They are the largest members of their family. There are three species of Umbrellabird i.e. Long wattled Umbrellabird, Amazonian umberallbird and Bare necked Umbrellabird. These birds are solitary and travel short distances.
Scientific Name Of Umbrellabird:
Long wattled Umbrellabird:
Scientific name of Long wattled Umbrellabird is “Cephalopterus penduliger”.
Scientific name of Amazonian Umbrellabird is “Cephalopterus ornatus”.
Bare necked Umbrellabird:
Scientific name of Bare necked Umbrellabird is “Cephalopterus glabricollis”.
Scientific Classification Of Umbrellabird:
Scientific classification of Umbrellabird is as follows,
- Kingdom: Animalia
- Phylum: Chordata
- Class: Aves
- Order: Passeriformes
- Family: Contingidae
- Genus: Cephalopterus
- Species: Cephalopterus penduliger, Cephalopterus ornatus, Cephalopterus glabricollis.
Weight Of Umbrellabird:
The average weight of Umbrellabird is “320 to 570 grams.
Age Of Gender Maturity Of Umbrellabird:
Umbrellabird becomes sexually mature at the age of about 2 to 4 years.
Wingspan Of Umbrellabird:
The average wingspan of Umbrellabird is 66 to 71 centimeters or 26 to 28 inches.
Classification And Evolution Of Umbrellabird:
Umbrellabird is a large bird. It is a tropical bird found in the rainforests of Central and South America. The three different species of Umbrellabird i.e Long wattled Umbrellabird, Bare necked Umbrellabird, Amazonian Umbrellabird are found in slightly different locations. They exhibit crest (umberalla like) on the top of their heads. This feature is the reason behind their name. Their throats have pouch (pendant shaped).
They belong to large perching bird species. Their population is declining because of habitat loss.
Distribution And Habitat Of Umbrellabird:
The Umbrellabird is found in the tropical regions of the rainforests of Central and South America. They spend most of their time jumping between branches.
They can also be found in mountain hills and lowlands at the height of about 500 meters. They can fly high by migrating towards higher places in mountains. At higher altitudes they form groups called as “Lek”. They perform the task of finding their mates at these places. Cloud forests that are 800 to 2,000 high are the breeding sites.
These birds are also known as “altitudnal migrants” because of their ability to migrate up and down the mountains.
Appearance Of Umbrellabird:
Umbrellabird exhibits an umberalla shaped crest on the top of its head. This is the most distinctive feature of Umbrellabird. They have long and curved feathers that are coarse black in colour. All the three species have same appearance except that they all exhibit their owm fingerprints.
Long Wattled Umbrellabird:
These birds exhibit wattle on their throats. This wattle is 30 centimeters long.
These birds are black wholly. They are the largest among the three species of Umbrellabird.
Bare necked Umbrellabird:
These birds exhibit featherless patch of skin that is red in colour on their throats. This is the most distinguishable feature of them.
Anatomy Of Umbrellabird:
Several anatomical features of Umbrellabird are,
Umbrellabirds exhibit umberalla shaped crest on the top of their heads. Males fan out their crest and make some rumbling sounds to attract females.
Feathers are long, curved and black in colour. The feathers retract during mating.
Wattle on throat is exhibited by long wattled Umbrellabird.
Featherless patch of skin:
Featherless patch of skin on throat is exhibited by bare necked Umbrellabird.
Behavior Of Umbrellabird:
Although Umbrellabird is a solitary animal but it can share the habitats with other species of Umbrellabird and woodpeckers.
They find flying difficult because of their large size. That’s why they exhibit hopping between different branches with the help of their clawed toes.
The fact that Umbrellabirds travel short distances make them slow. However, during breeding seasons they exhibit migration to higher altitudes of mountains, where they form small groups so that they can choose their mates. Males perform several courtship displays like fanning their crest out to attract females.
Lifestyle Of Umbrellabird:
Lifestyle of Umbrellabirds is “diurnal”. They go in search of food at day time and roost at night.
Reproduction And Life Cycles Of Umbrellabird:
Breeding generally starts from March until June.
Female forms nest. The nest is made from moss, leaves and twigs that are present inside the tree. The nest made is far from ground so that it can be well protected by predators that prey on eggs.
Female lays only one egg. The incubation period is 1 month.
After hatching, the baby which is called as “Chick” is fed and cared by its parents. After about 2 to 3 months, the chick will be able to walk and feed by its own.
Umberalla Bird Feeder:
Keep the seeds in the inverted plastic container. The plastic container can either be a whipped topping container or plant saucer. In the center cut a slit. Then hang it on the feeder or nectar. This umberalla protects the bird from heavy downpours.
Diet And Prey Of Umbrellabird:
The Umbrellabirds are omnivores. They feed on both plants and animals. The primary sources of food are fruits and small animals like other tropical perching birds.
They can feed on spiders, insects, birds and frogs. While picking berries, these birds use their strong clawed toes and curved beak to grab the branches. The curved beak allows the Umbrellabird to grab the insects with ease.
Predation And Threats To Umbrellabird:
As Umbrellabirds spend most of their time hopping on trees so predators on ground can’t reach to them. However, the predators like Arboreal animals often prey on the eggs of Umbrellabird. Some other predators include monkeys, snakes, eagles and hawks.
The biggest threat to these birds is habitat loss. Humans are constantly clearing lowland forests for agriculture. Long wattled Umbrellabird is threatened the most because of habitat loss.
Relationship Between Humans And Umbrellabirds:
The Umbrellabirds mostly live in lowlands and rainforest canopy. That’s why it is difficult to spot them in open areas during non breeding seasons. However in high altitudes of mountains, they are threatened by some local hunters. Deforestation of lowlands by humans is the biggest threat to Umbrellabirds.
Conservation Status Of Umbrellabird:
The International Union for Conservation of Nature classified Amazonian Umbrellabird as “Least concern”. The Long wattled Umbrellabird and Bare necked Umbrellabird are classified as “Threatened”. These birds are under threat because of major habitat loss.
Facts Of Umbrellabird:
- Umbrellabird is native to the rainforests of Central and South Ametrica.
- They prey on fruits, frogs and insects.
- They show solitary behavior.
- They migrate up and down the mountains.
- Their population is declining because of habitat loss.
- They have distinctive umberalla shaped crest and black feathers.
- They have diurnal lifestyle.
- There are three species of Umbrellabird including Long wattled Umbrellabird, Bare necked Umbrellabird and Amazonian Umbrellabird. The three species live in slight different areas.
- They play important role in native eco system because of their ability to distribute the seeds.
- During breeding season, the throat pouches of these birds inflate.
- They make characteristic rumbling sounds during mating.
- Long wattled Umbrellabirds exhibit long wattle.
- The Umbrellabird was discovered by Charles Darwin in 1800.
Long Wattled Umbrellabird:
- These birds have crow like appearance having bushy crest.
- Males have thick wattle hanging from throat that can be increased in length up to 30 cm during courtship display.
- They can be found in the rainforests of western Colombia and western Ecuador.
- They are usually found near fruiting trees.
- They can be found in Amazonian regions and Andean slopes.
- They also have crow like appearance and a bushy crest.
- They exhibit pale eyes.
- A thick braid is dangling from their throat.
- Males are usually larger in size as compared to females.
- Males exhibit longer wattle and white patches on crest.
- They exhibit undulating flight.
Bare Necked Umbrellabird:
- They are large birds having black colour on their whole bodies.
- They have unique hair.
- They have large red sac hanging from their throats.
- Females lack red sac and crest. They are large and black wholly. That’s why they are distinguishable.
Some of the adaptations of Umbrellabird are,
- All the three species of Umbrellabird have umberalla shaped crest on the top of their heads and pendant shaped pouch dangling from their throats.
- They grab on to the branches because of their long clawed toes and curved beaks.
- They have the ability to distribute the seeds from the fruits they eat.
- They are adapted to live as solitary animals.
- The curved beaks of Umbrellabirds are black in colour and quite similar to Ravens.
Lifespan Of Umbrellabird:
The average lifespan of Umbrellabird is 12 to 20 years.
The three different species of Umbrellabird are found in the rainforests of Central and South America. They are well known for their unique umberalla shaped crest, pendant shaped pouch, clawed toes and curved beaks. They are charming solitary birds.