Our Beautiful World

Piciformes with Galbulidae and Bucconidae

Perched male Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Galbula ruficauda melanogenia , Belize

Nine families of largely arboreal birds make up the order Piciformes, the best-known of them being the Picidae, which
includes the woodpeckers and close relatives. The Piciformes contain about 67 living genera with a little over 400 species, of which the Picidae (woodpeckers and relatives) make up about half.

In general, the Piciformes are insectivorous, although the barbets and toucans mostly eat fruit and the honeyguides are unique
among birds in being able to digest beeswax (although insects make up the bulk of their diet). Nearly all Piciformes have
parrot-like zygodactyl feet—two toes forward and two back, an arrangement that has obvious advantages for birds that
spend much of their time on tree trunks. An exception are a few species of three-toed woodpeckers. The jacamars aside,
Piciformes do not have down feathers at any age, only true feathers. They range in size from the Rufous Piculet at 8 cm in
length, and weighing 7 grams, to the Toco Toucan, at 63 centimetres long, and weighing 680 grams All nest in cavities and
have altricial young.


Suborder Galbulae
Family Galbulidae - jacamars (18 species)

Engelsk Norsk Latinsk
White-throated Jacamar Hvitmaskejakamar Brachygalba albogularis
Pale-headed Jacamar Blekhodejakamar Brachygalba goeringi
Brown Jacamar Brunjakamar Brachygalba lugubris
Dusky-backed Jacamar Mørkryggjakamar Brachygalba salmoni
White-eared Jacamar Hvitø¸rejakamar Galbalcyrhynchus leucotis
Chestnut Jacamar Kastanjejakamar Galbalcyrhynchus purusianus
Yellow-billed Jacamar Gulnebbjakamar Galbula albirostris
Purplish Jacamar Purpurjakamar Galbula chalcothorax
Bluish-fronted Jacamar Blåpannejakamar Galbula cyanescens
Blue-cheeked Jacamar Blånakkejakamar Galbula cyanicollis
Paradise Jacamar Paradisjakamar Galbula dea
Green-tailed Jacamar Grønnhalejakamar Galbula galbula
Bronzy Jacamar Bronsejakamar Galbula leucogastra
Coppery-chested Jacamar Kobberjakamar Galbula pastazae
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Rusthalejakamar Galbula ruficauda photo
White-chinned Jacamar Hvithakejakamar Galbula tombacea photo
Three-toed Jacamar Tretåjakamar Jacamaralcyon tridactyla
Great Jacamar Storjakamar Jacamerops aureus
List of names: Source: Norsk Ornitologisk Forening

Family Bucconidae - puffbirds, nunbirds and nunlets (some 30 species)

Engelsk Norsk Latinsk
Collared Puffbird Rusthodedovenfugl Bucco capensis
Chestnut-capped Puffbird Brunkronedovenfugl Bucco macrodactylus
Sooty-capped Puffbird Gråkinndovenfugl Bucco noanamae
Spotted Puffbird Tamatiadovenfugl Bucco tamatia
Swallow-winged Puffbird Svalevinge Chelidoptera tenebrosa
White-faced Nunbird Priorinnefugl Hapaloptila castanea
Two-banded Puffbird Tobeltedovenfugl Hypnelus bicinctus
Russet-throated Puffbird Ruststrupedovenfugl Hypnelus ruficollis
Black-streaked Puffbird Mørkdovenfugl Malacoptila fulvogularis
White-chested Puffbird Oransjenebbdovenfugl Malacoptila fusca
Moustached Puffbird Mustasjedovenfugl Malacoptila mystacalis photo
White-whiskered Puffbird Hvitskjeggdovenfugl Malacoptila panamensis
Rufous-necked Puffbird Rustkragedovenfugl Malacoptila rufa
Semicollared Puffbird Rustnakkedovenfugl Malacoptila semicincta
Crescent-chested Puffbird Halvmånedovenfugl Malacoptila striata photo
Lanceolated Monklet Munkedovenfugl Micromonacha lanceolata
Black Nunbird Svartklarisse Monasa atra photo
Black-fronted Nunbird Sotklarisse Monasa nigrifrons photo
White-fronted Nunbird Hvitpanneklarisse Monasa morphoeus photo
Yellow-billed Nunbird Gulnebbklarisse Monasa flavirostris
Rusty-breasted Nunlet Rødbrystnovise Nonnula rubecula
Fulvous-chinned Nunlet Brunkinnovise Nonnula sclateri
Brown Nunlet Brunnovise Nonnula brunnea
Gray-cheeked Nunlet Gråkinnovise Nonnula frontalis
Rufous-capped Nunlet Rustkronenovise Nonnula ruficapilla
Chestnut-headed Nunlet Nøttehodenovise Nonnula amaurocephala
Guinean Puffbird   Notharchus macrorhynchos
White-necked Puffbird Hvitpannedovenfugl Notharchus hyperrynchus
Brown-banded Puffbird Brunbeltedovenfugl Notharchus ordii
Black-breasted Puffbird Svartbrystdovenfugl Notharchus pectoralis photo
Buff-bellied Puffbird Rustbukdovenfugl Notharchus swainsoni
Pied Puffbird Perledovenfugl Notharchus tectus photo
White-eared Puffbird Hvitøredovenfugl Nystalus chacuru
Spot-backed Puffbird Flekkdovenfugl Nystalus maculatus
Barred Puffbird Skjelldovenfugl Nystalus radiatus photo
Striolated Puffbird Stripedovenfugl Nystalus striolatus

Suborder Pici
Family Lybiidae - African barbets (about 40 species, recently split from Capitonidae)
Family Megalaimidae - Asian barbets (about 25 species, recently split from Capitonidae)
Family Ramphastidae - toucans (about 40 species)
Family Semnornithidae - toucan-barbets (2 species, recently split from Capitonidae)
Family Capitonidae - American barbets (about 15 species)
Family Picidae - woodpeckers, piculets and wrynecks (over 200 species)
Family Indicatoridae - honeyguides (17 species)


The jacamars are a family, Galbulidae, of near passerine birds from tropical South and Central America, extending up to
Mexico. The order contains five genera and 18 species. The family is closely related to the puffbirds, another Neotropical
family, and the two families are often separated into their own order away from the Piciformes, instead being placed in the
Galbuliformes. They are principally birds of low altitude woodlands and forests, and particularly of forest edge and canopy.

The jacamars are small to medium sized perching birds ranging between 14–34 cm in length and weighing between 17-75 g.
They are glossy elegant birds with long bills and tails. In appearance and behaviour they show resemblances to the Old
World bee-eaters, as most ariel insectivores tend to have short wide bills as opposed to long thin ones. The legs are short
and weak, and the feet are zygodactyl. Their plumage is often bright and highly iridescent, although it is quite dull in a few
species. There are minor differences in plumage based on sex, males often having a white patch on the breast.

Jacamars are insectivores, taking a variety of insect prey (many specialize on butterflies and moths) by hawking in the air.
Birds sit in favoured perches and sally towards the prey when it is close enough. Only the Great Jacamar varies from
the rest of the family, taking prey by gleaning and occasionally taking small lizards and spiders.

The breeding systems of jacamars have not been studied in depth. They are thought to generally be monogamous, although
a few species are thought to sometimes engage in cooperative breeding with several adults sharing duties. The family nests
in holes either in the soil or in arboreal termite mounds. Ground nesting species usually nest in the banks of rivers (or more
recently, roads), although if these are not available they will nest in the soil held by the roots of fallen trees. Bank-nesting
jacamars can sometimes be loosely colonial. Clutch sizes are between 1-4 eggs, with 2-4 being more common.
Both parents participate in incubation. Little is known about the incubation times of most species, although it lasts for
between 19–26 days in the Rufous-tailed Jacamar. Chicks are born with down feathers, unique among the piciformes.

Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Photo: Dario Sanches

Perched male Rufous-tailed Jacamar

Galbula tombacea mentalis, Brazil
Photo: Cláudio Dias Timm

Brown Jacamar, Brachygalba lugubris. Brazil
© www.arthurgrosset.com

The Brown Jacamar, Brachygalba lugubris, is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru,
Suriname, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and heavily degraded former

Great Jacamar, Jacamerops aureus. Panama

Photo: Dominic Sherony

The Great Jacamar, Jacamerops aureus, is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana,
Panama, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Female Bronzy Jacamar, Galbula leucogastra
Female has a buff throat and belly, male has white..

© www.arthurgrosset.com

The Bronzy Jacamar, Galbula leucogastra, occurs in the countries of Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela. Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical
dry shrubland.

Blue-necked Jacamar, Galbula cyanicollis
© www.arthurgrosset.com

The Blue-necked Jacamar or Blue-cheeked Jacamar, Galbula cyanicollis, is found in Bolivia, Brazil, and Peru.
Its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests.

Paradise Jacamar, Galbula dea. Brazil
© www.arthurgrosset.com

The Paradise Jacamar has a distinctive silhouette with it needle-like bill and its long, stiletto shaped tail.
At a distance, it looks black with a white throat but its crown is a browny colour and its wings are a bronzy-green.

The Paradise Jacamar is normally found in the forest canopy (often perched on dead branches)
in comparison with the greener members of the genus such as Green-tailed Jacamar,
G. galbula and Rufous-tailed Jacamar, G. ruficauda, which are to be found low down in the forest.

There are 4 sub-species which differ slightly in length of wing, bill and tail and in the colour of the crown.
Text: www.arthurgrosset.com


The puffbirds and their relatives in the near passerine family Bucconidae are tropical birds breeding from South America up
to Mexico.

They are related to the jacamars, but lack the iridescent colours of that family. They are mainly brown, rufous or grey, with large
heads and flattened bills with a hooked tip. The loose abundant plumage and short tails makes them look stout and puffy, giving
rise to the English name of the family. They feed on insects and small vertebrates caught by a watch and wait technique.
The species range in size from the Rufous-capped Nunlet, at 13 cm and 14 grams , to the White-necked Puffbird,
at up to 29 cm and 106 grams.

Like most of their relatives, this group are hole nesters, laying 2–3 glossy white eggs in a hole in the ground or a termite mound..

White-necked Puffbird, Notharchus hyperrhynchus. 2009.

The Guianan Puffbird, Notharchus macrorhynchos, is a species of puffbird in the Bucconidae family. It is found in forest and
woodland in north-eastern South America, (and named after the Guianas), in far eastern Venezuela, north-eastern Brazil,
Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana. It formerly included Notharchus hyperrhynchus as a subspecies, but under the common
name White-necked Puffbird (the name now used for Notharchus hyperrhynchus).

Black-breasted Puffbird,
Notharchus pectoralis


Pied Puffbird, Notharchus tectus. Panama
Photo: Dominic Sherony

Chestnut-capped Puffbird,
Bucco macrodactylus


Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Bucco macrodactylus,
The Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Bucco macrodactylus, (right picture above), is found in northwestern South America in the
western Amazon Basin of Brazil, and Amazonian Venezuela, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru, and northern Bolivia; also the
eastern Orinoco River Basin of Venezuela.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and subtropical or tropical swamps.

It is a small, roundish dark brown bird with a short narrow tail, and a dull whitish breast. It is a bright multicolored bird, named
for its cap, which is a deep chestnut; a medium orange, narrow collar on the upper back borders the chestnut cap and ends at
the side of the neck in a spot. A second collar similar to the Collared Puffbird's is on the upper breast, wider on the sides,
narrow under the throat, and deep black. The black collar is parallel to a second deep black stripe, an eye-stripe across the
lower eye from the side to the bill. The deep chestnut cap and two black stripes enclose two parallel bright white stripes.
The bill is stout, short and medium black, with a decurved tip. The bird has black eyes, black legs, and also short light-buff
whiskered-feathers surrounding the base of its bill, (moustachial). These bright head colors are all contrasted against a duller
colored body and breast.

Pied Puffbird, Notharchus tectus

The Pied Puffbird, Notharchus tectus, photo above, is a species of puffbird in the Bucconidae family.
It is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Panama, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela.

Its natural habitats are subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests and heavily degraded former forest.
This is one of the smaller puffbirds at 15 cm and is a bit like a miniature White-necked Puffbird, Notharchus. macrorhynchus,
except that it has white spots on its crown and a white supercilium.

This nest can be in a termites' nest about 3 metres up a tree. The puffbird excavates a chamber in the termites nest and the
termites immediately restore the walls opened by the puffbird but leave the puffbird's chamber undisturbed. I assume that there
is some sort of symbiotic relationship between the termites and the puffbird but I don't know what it might be.
Will try to find more about symbiosis later. Se another example of symiosis here.

White-whiskered Puffbird, Malacoptila panamensis

White whiskered Puffbird Malacoptila panamensis
Photo: Len Blumin

The White-whiskered Puffbird, Malacoptila panamensis, is a bird which is a resident breeding species from southeastern Mexico
to central Ecuador. It is sometimes known as White-whiskered Softwing.

This puffbird is found in forests, shady plantations, especially of Theobroma cacao, and old second growth in lowlands and
foothills up to 1200m. It nests in a 15-55 cm long, 6 cm diameter burrow in, usually, gently sloping ground. The wider nesting
chamber is lined with dried leaves. The female lays 2, rarely 3, glossy white eggs; both sexes incubate the eggs and feed the young.

The White-whiskered Puffbird is a stout, large-headed, 18 cm long bird which weighs 42 g on average. It has bristles around the
base of the large bill, and white “whiskers”, actually tufts of feathers. The adult male has pale brown upperparts and tail, with fine
cinnamon spotting on the wings and crown. The underparts are cinnamon-buff, streaked darker, and becoming paler moving down
the body to the almost white vent area. The female has a greyer brown back and darker streaks on the paler underparts,
giving her a more contrasted appearance than the male.

Young birds are like the female but have barring on the upperparts and narrower streaks on the underparts.

Like other puffbirds, this species hunts by a watch-and-wait technique, sitting motionless before darting to catch large insects,
spiders, small frogs or lizards. These are taken back to the perch and beaten against it prior to consumption. Despite its size,
this species is easily overlooked as it sits motionless in the foliage.

Moustached Puffbird,
Malacoptila mystacalis, Colombia

Photo: Julian Londono

Barred Puffbird,
Nystalus radiatus, Panama


Crescent-chested Puffbird,
Malacoptila striata, Brazil

Photo: Dario Sanches

Spotted Puffbird, Bucco tamatia

Spotted Puffbird, Bucco tamatia
Roraima, Brazil, July 2001

© www.arthurgrosset.com

The Spotted Puffbird, Bucco tamatia, with its black bill, red iris, orange forehead, throat and upper chest, white malar stripe
and black patch on the side of its neck is unlikely to be confused.

It is found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname, and Venezuela. Its preferred habitat
seems to be gallery forest, the edges of várzea forest and Mauritia palm groves which is where these birds were found.

Like most puffbirds, they can be hard to spot because they spend a lot of time motionless. However, once spotted they
can be very confiding and allow you to get quite close.

These birds were feeding on a termite nest and may have been excavating a nest of their own. If so, the termites would restore
the walls opened up by the puffbirds but leave the nest chamber made by them.
Source: © www.arthurgrosset.com

White-fronted Nunbird, Monasa morphoeus
© www.arthurgrosset.com

Black Nunbird, Monasa atra.
© www.arthurgrosset.com

Black-fronted Nunbird, Monasa nigrifrons
© www.arthurgrosset.com

Text on this page if nothing else is stated, comes from Wikipedia.


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