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Guianan Cock-of-the-rock

Guianan 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: 2015-04-10
Categories: Birds
Camera: Nikon D90, Sigma 135-400mm f/4.5-5.6 APO, Digital RAW
Exposure: f/4.5, 1/400 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2015-07-08 4:49
Viewed: 1691
Points: 26
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
A NEW BIRD FOR TN and Birdpark Avifauna.

The Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola rupicola) is a species of South American passerine. It is about 30 centimetres in length and weighs about 200 to 220 grams. They are found in tropical rainforests, near its preferred habitat of rocky outcrops. The males plumage is bright orange and the males have a prominent half-moon crest. The females are brownish in colour, and are generally much duller coloured than the males. It is one of two species of the genus Rupicola, the other being the Andean Cock-of-the-rock. The Guianan Cock-of-the-rock lives across the forested region of northeastern South America. Its diet consists mostly of fruit, but sometimes includes small snakes and lizards.

The Guianan Cock-of-the-rock breeds in the early months of the year and, on average, lays its eggs around March. During the height of the mating season, males engage in competitive displays in lek, which is a complex courting behaviour that is done to attract females. Males and females live separately except when the females choose a mate. The mating success varies based on multiple factors, ranging from the plumage exhibited by a male to the composition of the lek itself. The females choose a male by flying down to the ground and pecking the male on his rump. The male then turns around and the mating takes place almost immediately. Since no attempts to breed the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock in captivity have succeeded, there is speculation that the male-to-male competition is an important factor in lek formation and breeding, and that artificial environments may not properly reconstruct or imitate natural environments. The main predators of the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock are Harpy Eagles and Black-and-white Hawk-eagles.

The Guianan Cock-of-the-rock is a stout-bodied bird with a prominent half-moon crest. It is a sexually dimorphic bird. The male's crest is more pronounced than the female's and is bright orange. The males also have an orange-tipped black tail, black, orange and white wings, a bright orange bill, an orange iris yellowing as it nears its outer edge, and silky-orange filamentous feathers of the inner remiges. Both sexes also have orange legs and skin. The less conspicuous female is dark brownish-grey overall and has a yellow-tipped black bill, a duller orange iris, and a smaller crest. One-year-old juvenile males look similar to an adult female, but has orange speckles over their bodies. After two years, the juvenile males become mostly orange with brown and grey spots. Males attain their definitive plumage at around three years. Juvenile females look almost identical to their adult counterparts. The two species of Cock-of-the-rock are allopatric, and therefore do not meet with one another. The plumage of male Andean is redder and its wings are mostly black, lacking the orange colouration seen on the male Guianan. The female Andean is reddish brown rather than the brownish-gray of the Guianan.

Taxonomy and etymology
The Guanian Cock-of-the-rock is one of two species of genus Rupicola. It was described by Carl Linnaeus in 1766 as the type species of its genus. The Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruvianus) is similar in body shape and colouration.
The generic and specific names are derived from the Latin words rupes "rock" or "cliff", and cola "inhabiting", which express its habit of nesting on rock walls.

Range and habitat
As suggested by its name, the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock is found in the Guianan Shield, occurring in French Guiana, Suriname, Guyana, southern Venezuela, eastern Colombia and northern Amazonian Brazil. Its preferred habitats are humid forests near rocky outcrops. They are normally found at an altitude of 300 to 2,000 metres.
The Guianan Cock-of-the-rock has distinctive territorial markings. Males usually take dominance of an area on the ground, although they sometimes they occupy middle strata in forests. They make their characteristic marking by clearing out debris from the ground, including twigs, leaves, and pellets. This area is called a “court”. Quality of courts are known to have some influence on mate choice. The court quality is determined by the territory density and location to the center of activity in the lek. The reason for the focus on the center of activity in the lek is that successful males tended to own courts in the most densely clustered lek areas. Guianan courts are commonly found in the Guianan Shield, a forested region in northeastern South America.

The diet of the adult Guianan Cock-of-the-rock consists mainly of fruits meaning they are frugivorous. Up to 65 species of fruit have been reported in their diet, primarily from canopy trees or lianas. Three quarters (75%) of the fruit eaten by the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock at one study site were either black- or red-coloured fruit. In the British Guiana, Thomas E. Gilliard found papayas growing at the base of a huge rock. On top of the rock were perched females that were nesting. He found that no other papayas were growing in that part of the forest and speculated that the perched females ate papayas in the forest where they are native and dropped the seeds below where they were nesting. Small snakes, lizards, insects and frogs are occasionally found in its diet.
By selectively feeding on nearby fruit trees and then defecating or regurgitating the seeds within the leks, these birds can actively influence the regeneration and succession of the forest habitat where they breed.

Guianan Cocks-of-the-rock breed early in the year, and the females lay their eggs around March. During the height of mating season, males gather in leks with multiple males defending a social display arena of much greater area than that of a lone male. The males each have their own area on the forest floor where they make their courts. The size of each court is about 1 metre in diameter, and the next bird is often about 3 metres away. The females and males live separately; only when it is time to mate do females fly over to observe and choose a male. When this occurs, the females tap the males from behind and insemination quickly follows. When females approach a lek, the males stand firmly and present themselves rigidly.
Mating success is dependent on a variety of factors that range from the plumage exhibited by a male to the composition of the lek itself. In one study, the female Guianan Cocks-of-the-rock displayed sexual selection based off sequential comparisons or threshold standards. The hens engaged in a “pool–comparison” tactic, meaning that females chose males of higher rank in courtship. Males of higher rank were those with more matings received from other females; the lower-ranking single males were ignored. The rankings were determined by where the courts were positioned in the lek: courts that were more centrally placed indicated more successful and higher-ranking males. The females in the study were individually observed to aggregate towards larger, more centrally concentrated leks, demonstrating active female choice.

Unlike other species of the family Cotingidae, the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock makes its nest on rocky cliff faces and caves rather than in the trees. The female lays one or two eggs in the nest of mud and plant material, which is attached by saliva to a vertical rock. The male does not participate in the building of the nest or the incubation of the eggs. Eggs typically incubate for 27–28 days. The ideal nesting sites for this species are usually located in a cave or vertical rock face with crevices that provide some shelter and protection from the elements. The nests themselves are solid moldings formed from mud and plant material deposited into the crevices. Due to the solid nature of these nests, they typically persist from one breeding season to the next. Females will make repairs to their nests as a breeding season begins.

Source: Wikipedia

ramthakur, NikosR, ellis49, Hotelcalifornia, CeltickRanger, pierrefonds has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2015-07-08 5:09]

Hello Peter,
What a beautiful bird, the colors are so brilliant to have thinned out very well.
Regards Sigi

Never seen this bird before either here or anywhere else, Peter.
We must thank you for your valuable contribution.
An ideal point of view that gives a perfect impression of its very unique look and colours. The eye in particular is the most fascinating feature of this species for me.
As usual, a professional work on view.

Hello Peter

Excellent absolutly perfect image, very nice composition, brilliant colors, nice bokeh and POV.



Hello Peter,
Never seen before. Excellent image.

Hallo Peter
Mooie vogel met die prachtige oranje kleur
staat er goed op en super scherp

bedankt weer gr lou

Hi Peter,
what a beauty you have captured I really like the hairdo, :-)
Fantastic colours in the plumage and the eye is amazing.
Also well composed and with accurate white balance.
Well done, mf.


Hello Peter,
Very long NOTE......I like to read; so enjoyed.
Thanks for showing us such beautiful colored and amazing featured bird. Well captured. I like its color. Just thinking to capture such species in its natural habitat.
Thanks for sharing with informative NOTE,
Congratulation for such amazing bird,

Hello Peter

Once again congratulations for a new bird on TN from you,
beautiful eye-contact of this exotic bird with you,
with the beautiful orange color tones of its plumage, TFS


Ciao Peter, great maccapture of lovely bird in nice pose, fantastic colors,splendid sharpness and fine details, very well done, my friend, ciao Silvio

hello Peter
i like the orange plumage of this bird, the color of your country,
beautiful contrast with the brown BG, great sharpness and POV
i like his strange head
Have a good night

Hi Peter,

The subject is well framed. The point of view is showing the details of the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock. It is clear and sharp. The good luminosity is making the colors to stand out. Have a nice day.


  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2015-07-17 11:43]

Hi Peter,this specie is absolutely beautiful,new for TN and for me too,i never seen before.Great shot from the bird park,a very bright orange and an excellent point of view too! Have a nice weekend and thanks,Luciano

  • Great 
  • mishe Gold Star Critiquer [C: 110 W: 0 N: 3] (1076)
  • [2015-09-17 14:10]

Hallo Peter.
Fantastic bird and shot.
Colors and sharpness are fantastic.
Thanks for sharing.
With best wishes,Mishe.

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