Tuesday, 29 November 2011

Swallow-tailed puffbird

Chelidoptera tenebrosa

Photo by Tomas Grim (Internet Bird Collection)

Common name:

Order Galbuliformes
Family Bucconidae

This South American species is found in most of Brazil and throughout the Amazon basin stretching into Bolivia, Colombia, Ecuador, the Guyanas, Suriname, Peru and Venezuela.

These birds are 14-16 cm long and weigh 40-50 g.

Swallow-tailed puffbirds are mostly found in tropical and sub-tropical moist forests, but also occur in swamp forests, heavily degraded former forests, dry and moist savannas and scrublands. They are present from sea level up to an altitude of 1.750 m.

These birds are insectivorous, catching slow flying insects, like winged ants, on the wing.

Swallow-tailed puffbirds mostly breed in July-March. They excavate a deep tunnel, up to 1,5 m long, in sandy soil. At the bottom of this tunnels lies the incubation chamber which is lined with dry grasses and leaves. There the female lays 1-2 shiny white eggs which are incubated for 14-15 days. The chicks fledge 15 days after hatching. Each pair raises a single brood per year.

IUCN status - LC (Least Concern)
This species has an extremely large breeding range and, although he global population size has not been quantified, the swallow-winged puffbird is described as common. The population is suspected to be increasing as ongoing habitat degradation is creating new areas of suitable habitat. It is reported to be abundant along the Trans-Amazonian Highway.

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