Bird of the Week, February 22, 2013,
Banded Cotinga


Banded Cotinga by Ciro Albano


The male Banded Cotinga is a strikingly beautiful bird, with bright blue plumage set off by a vivid purple throat and belly divided by a blue breast-band, set off by black mottling on the back with black wings and tail. The more low-key female is mottled dusky brown and white. Males also have specially modified primaries (the biggest flight feathers) that produce a whirring sound as the bird displays.


These are treetop birds that live high in the forest canopy, where they feed on mainly on fruit, sometimes supplemented by seeds and insects.


The biggest threat to the Banded Cotinga is habitat loss; extensive, continuing deforestation within its range has restricted populations to a few protected areas, including the Stresemann’s Bristlefront Reserve, managed by ABC’s partner Fundação Biodiversitas. These birds have been collected for their feathers by local indigenous people, and capture for the cage-bird trade has also posed a threat.


Recommended conservation measures that will benefit this lovely species include surveying areas of suitable habitat within its range to locate further populations, continuing protection of known territories, and reforesting adjacent areas with native trees. ABC continues to work with Biodiversitas to protect this beautiful bird and its Atlantic Forest habitat.


Check out a YouTube video by Ciro Albano!




Photo: Ciro Albano; Range Map, NatureServe