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Andean Cock-of-the-rock

Andean Cock-of-the-rock
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter van Zoest (PeterZ) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2014-10-23
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, AF Nikkor 70-300mm f4-5.6 G, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/60 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2014-10-31 6:59
Viewed: 1986
Points: 28
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
The Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus) is a medium-sized passerine bird of the Cotinga family native to Andean cloud forests in South America. It is widely regarded as the national bird of Peru. It has four subspecies and its closest relative is the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock.

The species exhibits marked sexual dimorphism; the male has a large disk-like crest and scarlet or brilliant orange plumage, while the female is significantly darker and browner. Gatherings of males compete for breeding females with each male displaying its colourful plumage, bobbing and hopping, and making a variety of calls. After mating, the female makes a nest under a rocky overhang, incubates the eggs, and rears the young, all by herself.

It is distributed all across the Cloud Forest of the Andes. The species is patchily distributed across its range of about 260,000 square km. Even though it is being affected by its habitat destruction, the Andean Cock-of-the-rock is not near enough to the threshold of becoming threatened.

Taxonomy and etymology
One of two species in the genus Rupicola, the other being the Guiana Cock-of-the-rock, the Andean Cock-of-the-rock was first described by English ornithologist John Latham in 1790.
Four subspecies are known:
• R. p. peruvianus, (Latham 1790)
• R. p. aequatorialis, Taczanowski 1889
• R. p. sanguinolentus, Gould 1859
• R. p. saturatus, Cabanis and Heine 1859

The Andean Cock-of-the-rock is a medium-sized passerine, approximately 32 centimetres long and weighing 235 grams. The birds is one of many birds species to exhibit marked sexual dimorphism. In addition to the display calls described in the breeding section below, foraging birds give a loud querulous "uankk?" when disturbed or in flight.

Distribution and habitat
The Andean Cock-of-the-rock is distributed in cloud forests of the Andes. It lives in a large range of about 260,000 km˛ across Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Perú, and Bolivia, mostly in ravines and forested streams inmontane areas at 500–2400 meters elevation. It typically stays in the lower and middle forest levels, but will range higher in fruiting trees and will sometimes enter and cross clearings. It is generally shy and inconspicuous, often seen only briefly after being flushed out or while swiftly flying down a valley.

Food and feeding
The diet consists mainly of fruit and insects, although small reptiles and frogs have been recorded. They are one of many species recorded following army ants. They occasionally will eat high protein fruits, but they prefer to eat the other fruits on their menu.

The male takes the lesser part in breeding, is polygamous, and has nothing to do with nesting once mating is done. The male's energy instead is devoted to very elaborate display rituals that show off its magnificent plumage. These displays take place in communal leks, where males gather to challenge rivals and beckon the females. The males are easily disturbed, so their behaviour is not easy to see. One study reported that the display activity is dependent on light intensity, with the morning display period occurring during the same light intensity level as the afternoon period.
At the lek males have been observed to break up into pairs, performing "confrontation displays". This consists of facing each other while bowing, jumping, and flapping their wings, sometimes even snapping their bills, and at the same time giving off various squawking and grunting calls. When the female approaches, it becomes even more intense. The display turns into a cacophony of bright color and a frenzied activity filling the air with very strange sounds.

Breeding takes place during different intervals in different areas. In Colombia, breeding normally happens in February until July. In Ecuador, the breeding interval spans from July until February.

The nests, built entirely by the female, are mud plastered to cave entrances or rocky outcrops in forest ravines. The nests are often constructed from the saliva of the females mixed in with vegetable matter and mud. The nest is shaped like a concave cup. The female typically lays two white eggs. The females incubates these eggs for about 25 to 28 days.

Andean Cocks-of-the-rock face slightly larger predators than smaller songbirds. Predators are attracted to leks by the conspicuous behaviour of the displaying males. The animals reported to prey on adult cocks-of-the-rock including hawk-eagles, hawks, forest-falcons, jaguar, puma, ocelot and the boa constrictor.

The worldwide population size and trends in population numbers have not been determined, but is it believed that the Andean Cock-of-the-rock is not threatened. The species is evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species despite habitat destruction. It is patchily distributed, but its range is large enough to sustain it at a Least Concern status.

Source: Parts of Wikipedia

Hotelcalifornia, NikosR, Hormon_Manyer, periko, anel, CeltickRanger has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter - What an attractive Bird! Just checked female one before writing this comment. Well captured against such dark BG. Good details and attractive colour. Thanks for showing us this beautiful bird. Regards and have a nice WE- Srikumar

Ciao Peter, great capture of fantastic bird, wonderful colors, excellent sharpness, fine details and splendid light, very well done, my friend, have a good week end, ciao Silvio

Hello Peter,
It's a tad noisy; otherwise this is an IMPRESSIVE macro.
Love your notes.
You can do far, far, far better. You have "sharpened" this one a bit tooooooo much!!!
Greetings from Mario.
P.S. A lot of us e.g. Asbed = Celtick Ranger, Anna = imageme = Lai Wah Ho and 15 others are going to stop uploading images on TN. Why? 'Cause someone is constantly blocking our entrance into TN. Once TN "fixes" this nasty situation for us we will return. Our absence, though insignificant, will put a dent [a very tiny dent] into the TN income.

  • Great 
  • NikosR Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 76 W: 3 N: 447] (3436)
  • [2014-10-31 10:43]

Hello Peter

Perfect macro of this beautiful bird, very beautiful colors, fine details, nice presentation, very nice blurring dark BG. Thanks for sharing. Have a nice WE.



hallo Peter
Super mooie foto
mooie kleuren en goed van scherpte
Deze staat er weer prachtig op
bedankt weer gr lou

  • Great 
  • Ishi Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 298 W: 21 N: 1943] (13387)
  • [2014-10-31 23:33]

Hello Peter,

Lovely specimen, expertly recorded. Great details and colors.

Have a pleasant weekend,


Hi Peter,
The exposure balance is simply marvellous, the proper flash usage made the image quite extraordinary. At least I love this kind of photos with high contrast between the perfectly exposed main subject and the underexposured background. Well, I detected some oversharpening on the plumage here and there, but absolutely not in a disturbing dose. In my opinion a good photo, and the useful note again taught me something new. Thanks a million.
Best regards, László from the currently very rainy Ireland :-(

Hello Peter,
An impressive capture with fine details,well balanced composition too.
Best regards....Joy

Hi Peter, what a striking image its like this guy jumps out at you, nice exposure with good fill in flash control, well captured Peter and well done,



  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2014-11-01 10:42]

Hallo peter,
A fantastic bird ..
Very beautiful photo in nice sharpness and details.
Have a nice weekend,

Ciao Peter. Impressive details and sharp with superb colours results. Well done.


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2014-11-02 12:51]

Hi Peter,another incredible specie,great capture in an original perspective and fine detail,i like the bright colors too.Have a nice week and thanks,LUCIANO

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2014-11-17 7:45]

Hello Peter,
Missed this striking bird from Walsrode. Really amazing bird with this very colorful plumage. Nice to have such a beuatiful National bird. Very vivid attitude which makes the posting even more interesting.

Hello Peter

Excellent photo of this bird with fine POV obtaining
its expressive pose, glance, and eye-contact,
great contrast of the color tones, TFS


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