The Nature and Habitat of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

The Nature and Habitat of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock

Andean cock-of-the-rock is a very interesting bird. Scientifically it is known as Rupicola peruvianus. It belongs to the family of Cotinga. This bird can be found in the cloud forests of the mountains of the Andes. Their habitat range is almost 260,000 sq. km. spreading across the countries of Peru, Ecuador, Columbia, Venezuela and Bolivia. They inhabit mostly in the ravines or streams in forests in the mountains at an elevation of 500 – 2,400 m above sea level. They generally live in the middle and lower levels of the forests.
The bird is a passerine bird of medium size. It is about 32 cm in length with a weight of only 235 g. They exhibit sexual dimorphism quite explicitly. The feature that makes them unique is the presence of brilliant orange or scarlet plumage in the males. The males also have a crest which large and disk-like. The females are quite bland to look at in comparison to the males. The male is essentially black while the female is on the brownish side.

The males are polygamous and have nothing to do with nesting once the breeding is over. They invest all their effort to beckon and attract the female partner for mating, in the form of various elaborate rituals to display off their plumage. The show often occurs at communal leks, in a gathering along with other males. Sometimes ‘confrontation displays’ are also observed. The intensity of their show-off increases even more when approached by a female.

 

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