The Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, Rupicola rupicola, is a South American passerine about 30 cm (12 in) in length. The bright orange male has an extraordinary half-moon crest, which is used is competitive displays in lek gatherings to attract a female.
The Guianan Cock-of-the-rock is a stout-bodied bird with an extraordinary half-moon crest, an orange-tipped black tail, black, orange and white wings, and silky-orange filaments of the inner remiges. Additionally, this species also has an orange bill, legs and skin. The less conspicuous female is dark brownish-grey overall and possesses a yellow-tipped black bill and a smaller crest. It has a total length of approximately 30 cm (12 in) and weighs 200-220 grams (7-7½ oz).
Range and habitat
As suggested by its name, the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock is found in the Guianan Shield, occurring in French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, southern Venezuela, eastern Colombia and northern Amazonian Brazil. The preferred habitat is humid forest near rocky outcrops.
Food and feeding
The diet consists mainly of fruits.
The smaller of the two cocks-of-the-rock, the male takes the lesser part in breeding, is polygamous, and has nothing to do with nesting once mating is done. The male's energy instead is devoted to very elaborate display rituals that show off its magnificent plumage. These displays take place in communal leks, where 40 or more males may gather to challenge rivals and beckon the females.
The displaying male shows its crest and plumage so much that the bill and tail become obscured, almost making it difficult to recognize as a bird. Within the lek, each bird has its own perch on a low branch, with a "court" on the ground below that is cleared of dead leaves by the draughts of each male taking off and landing. They also have a variety of calls and movements, showing off the crest and elongated filaments on the rump and secondaries, and snapping their bills. Males display on branches about 2.5 m (10 ft) from the ground until a female approaches, when the males display and call from individual plots on the ground. The female chooses a male by landing on the ground behind a male and pecking him on the rump, the male turns round, and mating takes place almost immediately.
The female lays 1-2 eggs in the nest of mud and plant material, which is attached by saliva to a vertical rock. The male does not participate in the building of the nest or the incubation of the eggs. Eggs incubate 27–28 days.
- BirdLife International (2008). Rupicola rupicola. In: IUCN 2008. IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Downloaded on 10 May 2006.
- Burton, Maurice; Robert Burton (2002). International Wildlife Encyclopedia. Marshall Cavendish. p. 490. ISBN 978-0-7614-7270-4.
- Ridgely, Robert S.; Guy Tudor (1994). The Birds of South America: The Suboscine Passerines. University of Texas Press. pp. 778–779. ISBN 0-19-857218-2.
- Attenborough, David (1998) [First published 1998]. "Finding partners". The Life of Birds. England: BBC Books. pp. 211–212. ISBN 0-563-38792-0.