where does the umbrella bird live

umbrellabird, any of three species of cotingas (family Cotingidae, order Passeriformes) of tropical American forests. They are notable for their unique, umbrella-like crest and for the pendant suspended from the throat, which is an inflatable wattle. When displaying, the male spreads the crest to cover his head and, at the same time, makes rumbling noises.

The three species are black and 38–50 cm (15–20 inches) long. All spend most of their lives in the canopies of tall trees. In the ornate umbrellabird (C. ornatus) of the Amazon basin, the wattle is short, triangular, and devoid of feathers on the hindside. In the long-wattled umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger), found west of the Andes in Ecuador and Colombia, the wattle may be 28 cm (11 inches) long and is entirely shingled with short, black feathers. The bare-necked umbrellabird (C. glabricollis) of Panama and Costa Rica has a short, round wattle, which is bright red and unfeathered. The latter two species are considered by some authorities to be subspecies of C. ornatus.

umbrellabird, any of the three cotinga species found in tropical American forests (family Cotingidae, order Passeriformes) They stand out for having an unusual crest that resembles an umbrella and for having an inflatable wattle pendant hanging from their throat. The male makes rumbling noises and spreads his crest to cover his head when displaying.

The three species are 38–50 cm (15–20 inches) long and black in color. Everybody lives mostly under the canopy of tall trees. In the ornate umbrellabird (C. ornatus) of the Amazon basin, the wattle’s hindside is featherless and it is triangular in shape. The wattle of the long-wattled umbrellabird (Cephalopterus penduliger), which is found in Ecuador and Colombia west of the Andes, can grow up to 28 cm (11 inches) in length and is completely covered in short, black feathers. The bare-necked umbrellabird (C. glabricollis), which is found in Costa Rica and Panama, has a short, round, bright red featherless wattle. Some authorities consider the latter two species to be subspecies of C. ornatus.

Reproduction and Life Cycles

Mating territories are occupied from March until June. After mating, the female builds a rather large nest inside a tree, usually high above the ground, using twigs, moss, and leaves. This is believed to be done to shield the nest from ravenous predators that prey on the umbrellabird’s eggs. The female then deposits a single egg, which takes just one month to hatch. The chick is then raised by its parents for a few months before leaving the nest. There have been abandoned nests discovered next to active nests, suggesting that females might even return to the same tree each year to lay their eggs. It is estimated that umbrellabirds have a 16-year lifespan in the wild.

The umbrellabird, like many other tropical perching birds around the world, is an omnivore that eats whatever is available at the tops of the trees. The main food sources for umbrellabirds are fruits and small animals. It consumes a variety of invertebrates, including tiny frogs, birds, and insects and spiders. The umbrellabird picks fruits and berries with its curved beak while clinging to branches with its strong toes. The Umbrellabird can easily catch flying insects thanks to its fairly long, black beak, which resembles a raven’s. The Umbrellabird is an essential component of its natural ecosystem because it disperses seeds from the fruit it consumes throughout the forest.

where does the umbrella bird live

Like other umbrellabirds, the bare-necked umbrellabird (Cephalopterus glabricollis) is endangered by habitat loss.

©Lichter – Public Domain

Because it spends most of its time at treetops, ground-dwelling predators don’t really threaten the uncommon umbrellabird. On the other hand, arboreal animals have a different story to tell; they frequently feed on the eggs and smaller, more manageable individuals. The main predators of the umbrellabird are monkeys and snakes, as well as large raptors like hawks and eagles that are able to hunt from the air. Humans, however, pose the greatest threat to the umbrellabird because they clear their natural lowland forests, usually for agricultural purposes.

Despite the fact that habitat loss is seriously affecting all three species, the Long-Wattled Umbrellabird is believed to be most vulnerable because it only inhabits a small number of extremely restricted locations.

Interesting Facts and Features

During the breeding season, male umbrellabirds inflate their characteristic throat pouch. This is thought to be done to increase the volume of their rumbling calls, which are described as sounding like a hippopotamus. One of the traits that sets the three species of umbrellabird apart the most is the wattle. The namesake Long-Wattled Umbrellabird has a long, black wattle, the Amazonian has a shorter one, and the Bare-Necked Umbrellabird is smaller and redder than the others.

During an expedition to South America in the 1800s, Sir Alfred Wallace, a friend of Charles Darwin, made the first written record of the umbrellabird’s existence.

where does the umbrella bird live

The umbrellabird is a rare sight in open spaces, as it inhabits the canopy of the rainforest.

©frank wouters, CC BY 2.0, via Wikimedia Commons – License

When the umbrellabird is in the lowlands during the non-breeding season, it can be difficult to spot because it rarely appears in open areas and lives high in the rainforest canopy. However, local hunters have been known to target the umbrellabirds’ breeding grounds higher up in the mountain cloud forests. They spend the majority of their time in the lowlands, where deforestation is the primary cause of the sharp drops in population. Most often, these areas are developed into plantations of bananas and pineapples, which do not support their arboreal lifestyle.


What does an umbrella bird eat?

The diet of the Long-wattled Umbrellabird is composed of insects, lizards, and fruit, especially palm-nuts. They regurgitate the larger seeds of the fruits they eat, so are important “farmers” that help disperse seeds and regenerate the tropical forests where they live.

How rare is umbrella bird?

The long-wattled umbrellabird is considered rare and it resides in humid to wet premontane and cloud forest. They are often found on the Pacific slopes of southwest Colombia and western Ecuador, but occasionally are found at lower altitudes.

What are some fun facts about the umbrellabird?

An umbrella bird is about the same size as a crow and loves to eat large insects and spiders. They also eat frogs, lizards, and small birds. Their large curved beaks help them to pick fruit and berries from the treetops. Umbrella birds help the rainforest flourish by spreading the seeds of the fruit they eat.

Where did the umbrella bird come from?

The Ornate Umbrellabird, sometimes called the Amazonian Umbrellabird, lives in the Amazon Basin and in a small area along Ecuador’s Andean East Slope. The Bare-necked Umbrellabird, found in Panama and Costa Rica, stands out for its bright red wattle.