Overview

Brief Summary

Biology

While much of the long-wattled umbrellabird's breeding biology is still unclear (9) (10), its courtship behaviour is known to be complex and elaborate (4) (9). Throughout the year, male birds can be found gathered at established sites, termed “leks”, where they make exuberant displays to the female birds (4) (10). The male uses a combination of raising its crest, swinging its wattle, and making grunting vocalisations to attract a mate (4). After mating, the female is solely responsible for building the nest, incubating the eggs and brooding the chicks (9) (10). Puzzlingly, in at least one part of its range, male long-wattled umbrellabird displaying activity peaks during the dry season (August to December), around six months before the period of greatest female nesting activity (10). It is not yet clear why this disparity occurs, but possibly it is because the male relies on large quantities of fruit, which may be more abundant during the dry season, to sustain its energetic display (10). In contrast, when nesting, the female may be more dependent on the abundance of insects in the rainy season to give the energy and nutrients required to produce eggs and brood chicks (9) (10). In order to maximize chances of offspring survival at this time, it is thought that the female birds might either store male sperm for a long period after mating in the dry season, or they may mate with the small proportion of superior males still capable of displaying at the leks during the rainy season (10). The consumption of large quantities of fruit means that the long-wattled umbrellabird plays an important ecological role within its habitat as a seed dispersal agent. Along with fruit, this opportunistic species will also take large insects, amphibians and reptiles (2) (8) (9).
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Description

The long-wattled umbrellabird gains its name from the rather bizarre and striking features of the male of the species. The male bird has a large crest, composed of hair-like feathers, extending over the bill, and a long, black feathered wattle hanging from the middle of the chest (2) (4). The wattle reaches a length of up to 45 centimetres (5) and can be inflated during courtship, when it resembles a large, open pine cone (6). During flight, it is retracted and held against the chest (7). The female and juvenile resemble the male but are smaller, and both the crest and wattle are greatly reduced (4). The long-wattled umbrellabird is usually silent, except during displays, when the male makes a protracted grunting noise (7), as well as a low-frequency booming call that is audible to humans at a distance of up to one kilometre away (5).
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Distribution

Range Description

Cephalopterus penduliger occurs on the Pacific slope and adjacent lowlands of south-west Colombia (Chocó to Nariño) and west Ecuador (Esmeraldas to El Oro), as well as in Ecuador's coastal cordillera (Esmeraldas and northern Manabí). In recent decades its distribution in lowland Ecuador has contracted greatly, but a few leks survived at altitudes as low as 80m at least until the early 2000s (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). There are concentrations of records in the far north of the known range in Valle de Cauca (Hilty and Brown 1986, Wege and Long 1995, N. Gómez in litt. 1999), east and west Esmeraldas and adjacent parts of Imbabura and Nariño, although this is likely to be a reflection of observer coverage and the species presumably occurs in suitable habitat between these areas (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). The rapidly declining population (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Jahn et al. 1999) is currently estimated at 7,290-48,600 mature individuals (O. Jahn in litt. 2007).

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Range

W Andes of sw Colombia and w Ecuador (south to El Oro).
  • Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2014. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: Version 6.9. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/

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Range

The long-wattled umbrellabird is found in a relatively narrow belt along the western slopes of the Andes, from the San Juan River in Colombia down to southern Ecuador (4). Its range falls within the Chocó Biogeographical Region, a 100,000 square kilometre area of humid forest in western Colombia and north-western Ecuador, which is one of the most biologically diverse areas in the world (8).
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Ecology

Habitat

Habitat and Ecology

Habitat and Ecology
This lekking species is found in humid and wet forest from 80-1,800 m altitude (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Jahn et al. 1999, Jahn and Mena 2002b). In some areas, it is believed to make seasonal altitudinal movements (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Hornbuckle et al. 1997, Jahn et al. 1999), although there are records throughout the year from lowland and foothill locations (K. S. Berg in litt. 1999, Jahn et al. 1999). It feeds on palm-nuts, insects, amphibians and reptiles such as lizards Anolis spp (Hornbuckle et al. 1997, K. S. Berg in litt. 1999, Jahn et al. 1999, Karubian et al. 2003, Greeney et al. 2006). Nests have been recorded in June and January, at the top of a tree fern Cyathea sp. 5 m in height and 4.5 m above the ground in a vine tangle, both in secondary forest (Karubian et al. 2003, Greeney et al. 2006). Although it appears somewhat tolerant of degraded habitats and human activity when selecting nest sites, it may prefer mature forest for feeding and lekking (Jahn et al. 1999, Jahn 2001, Jahn and Mena 2002b, Karubian et al. 2003).



Systems
  • Terrestrial
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Found in both humid and wet forest, the long-wattled umbrellabird occupies a range of altitudes from 80 to 1,800 metres (2).
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Conservation

Conservation Status

IUCN Red List Assessment


Red List Category
VU
Vulnerable

Red List Criteria
A2cd+3cd+4cd

Version
3.1

Year Assessed
2012

Assessor/s
BirdLife International

Reviewer/s
Symes, A. & Butchart, S.

Contributor/s
Berg, K., Coopmans, P., Gomez, N., Jahn, O., Salaman, P. & Sharpe, C J

Justification
A combination of extensive forest loss since 1960, and some pressure from hunting indicate that this species's population is declining rapidly. The population is presumably now small and fragmented in very small subpopulations. It therefore qualifies as Vulnerable.

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Status

Classified as Vulnerable (VU) on the IUCN Red List (1) and listed on Appendix III of CITES (3).
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Population

Population
The population is estimated to number 10,000-19,999 individuals based on an assessment of known records, descriptions of abundance and range size. This is consistent with recorded population density estimates for congeners or close relatives with a similar body size, and the fact that only a proportion of the estimated Extent of Occurrence is likely to be occupied. This estimate is equivalent to 6,667-13,333 mature individuals, rounded here to 6,000-15,000 mature individuals.

Population Trend
Decreasing
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Threats

Major Threats
Hunting pressure is rapidly increasing due infrastructural development and advancing colonization frontiers (Jahn and Mena 2002b, Cárdenas 2007). It is easy to locate the traditional lek sites and to approach the displaying males, making it an easy bag for hunters (Jahn et al. 1999, Jahn and Mena 2002b). Rapid deforestation rates have continued to affect Esmeraldas and Nariño during the 1990s ( Salaman 1994, WWF/ IUCN 1994-1997, Salaman and Stiles 1996, Sharpe 1999). By 1996, in western Ecuador the remnant cover of evergreen lowland and premontane forests was only 18% and 40% respectively. (Sierra 1999). In Esmeraldas, annual deforestation rates in the lowlands (<300m) were 3.8% and accumulated loss of primary forest >38% during the last decade (Cárdenas 2007). During the same period, the cover of primary premontane forest (300-1300m) was reduced by 7% (Cárdenas 2007). At higher altitudes and in Cauca and south Valle de Cauca, Colombia, deforestation has been slower and more habitat remains (Dodson and Gentry 1991, P. G. W. Salaman in litt. 1999). However, plans to colonise and develop remoter areas are progressing through infrastructural improvements, particularly the rapid expansion of the road network, which have increased the impact of logging, small-scale agriculture, illegal coca plantations, gold mining and hunting (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Salaman 1994, WWF/ IUCN 1994-1997, Salaman and Stiles 1996, Bowen-Jones et al. 1999, Jahn et al. 1999), which is already affecting some key protected areas (Jahn and Mena 2002b, O. Jahn in litt. 2007, P. Mena Valenzuela in litt. 2007). Intensive agricultural development is a major threat, especially oil palm and banana plantations and livestock-farming (Dodson and Gentry 1991, WWF/ IUCN 1994-1997, P. Coopmans in litt. 1998, Bowen-Jones et al. 1999, Sharpe 1999). Since 2004, some indigenous communities within the Awá Ethnic Reserve have converted their forest into oil palm plantations (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). It also suffers from trade (Ridgely and Tudor 1994, Jahn et al. 1999): in the Ventanas area of Esmeraldas, they are highly prized as domestic birds, and local people capture them as pets, for sale to third parties and to eat (Sharpe 1999).

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The primary threat to the long-wattled Umbrellabird is habitat loss. This species is endemic to the Chocó rainforests and depends upon primary rainforest habitat, which is disappearing rapidly due to human colonisation (5). The improvement of transport networks has allowed the destructive activities of logging, mining, and conversion to agriculture and plantations to expand into previously undisturbed remote areas (2). Not only does this loss and degradation destroy numerous display and nesting sites, but the increased human presence around those that remain may well lead to reduced breeding success (9). Hunting pressure on the long-wattled umbrellabird is a lesser, but still important threat to this species' survival (2) (5). During courtship displays, the gathered males become an easy target for hunters, who sell them locally, and sometimes internationally, as cage birds (4).
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Management

Conservation Actions

Conservation Actions
Conservation Actions Underway
The Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological-Reserve, Esmeraldas, may hold one of the largest subpopulations (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). Jatun Sacha Bilsa Reserve and the neighbouring Mache-Chindul Ecological-Reserve (Esmeraldas) hold significant numbers (Jahn et al. 1999). The species is also present in the Buenaventura Reserve (El Oro) (Greeney et al. 2006), Gran Reserva Chachi (Esmeraldas) (O. Jahn in litt. 2007), Awacachi Corridor (Esmeraldas), Canandé Reserve (Esmeraldas), Protective Forest Mindo-Nambillo (Pichincha), as well as in the private reserves at Milpe and Sachatamia (Pichincha) (O. Jahn in litt. 2007). Two national parks, Los Farallones de Cali (Valle de Cauca) and Munchique (Cauca) are probably important, owing to their large size (Hilty and Brown 1986, Wege and Long 1995, Jahn et al. 1999), although there are no modern records from the latter.

Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey foothill forests in its range, especially within the two Colombian National Parks (Wege and Long 1995). Consolidate protection of the Awacachi Biological Corridor to maintain link between Awá Ethnic Reserve and Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve and the surrounding buffer zone (Bowen-Jones et al. 1999). Designate the Awá reserve, Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve, Awacachi Corridor, Gran Reserva Chachi, and Canandé Reserve, including the Río Santiago, Cayapas, Ónzole, and Hoja Blanca drainages, as a biosphere reserve (Bowen-Jones et al. 1999, Jahn and Mena 2002b). Sustainably manage the buffer zone to the Awá Ethnic Reserve and Cotacachi-Cayapas Ecological Reserve (Bowen-Jones et al. 1999, Jahn and Mena 2002b). Implement population monitoring programmes (Jahn and Mena 2002b). Consolidate protection of the Mache-Chindul and Cotacachi-Cayapas ecological reserves through law enforcement against illegal logging, hunting, and colonization inside the reserves and sustainable management projects in their buffer zones (O. Jahn in litt. 2007).

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Conservation

In western Colombia, the long-wattled umbrellabird's range includes two large national parks, Los Farallones de Cali and Munchique. Population surveys within these sites are necessary to evaluate whether they represent important strongholds for this species and should be targeted for specific conservation efforts (2). In western Ecuador, the long-wattled umbrellabird occurs within a number of protected areas. Despite many of these sites harbouring significant populations, illegal logging, hunting and colonisation remain threats to this species and its habitat. Increased law enforcement of these areas is required if they are to provide an effective refuge for threatened species. The Center for Tropical Research, a conservation and research organisation, is currently working to provide effective conservation action for the forests of north-western Ecuador. The organisation's work includes research into the biology of the long-wattled umbrellabird and surveys of its population, which will help towards developing conservation strategies for this unusual species (8).
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Wikipedia

Long-wattled umbrellabird

The long-wattled umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger) is a bird belonging to the family Cotingidae,

Distribution[edit]

This species can be found in a relatively narrow belt along the Pacific slopes of the Chocó of western Colombia and Ecuador.

Habitat[edit]

The long-wattled umbrellabird lives in the canopies of tall trees in wet and humid forests at an elevation of 80–1,800 metres (260–5,910 ft) above sea level.

Illustration of Cephalopterus penduliger. J. Wolf - Ibis volume 1 (1859)

It is sensitive to habitat destruction, and its large size make it easy to hunt. Furthermore, only a few of the populations live within protected areas, so the bird is now considered vulnerable.

Description[edit]

The long-wattled umbrellabird is a large black bird with a body length reaching 51 centimeters in the males. Females are only about half the size of the males. In the males the head of these birds shows an impressive overhanging crest, extending over the bill, composed by hair-like feathers.

The bird's common name comes from the a long, inflatable wattle hanging from central chest of the male, which is up to 35 cm long and covered in short, scaly feathers. This wattle may be inflated during the elaborate courtship. In the females, by contrast, the wattle and the crest are reduced.

These birds are usually silent, but in breeding season, the males shout a loud call. The nest of this bird was first seen by scientists in 2003. Building the nest and brooding the chicks is in the sole responsibility of the female. The diet of the long-wattled umbrellabird is composed of insects, lizards and fruit, especially palm-nuts.

References[edit]

  • Tim Flannery and Peter Schouten. Astonishing Animals: Extraordinary Creatures and the Fantastic Worlds They Inhabit. New York: Atlantic Monthly Press, 2004. Page 26

Further reading[edit]

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