Motmots are a small group of birds with long central tail feathers with racquet-like tips. They often swing their tails from side to side like a pendulum. No one knows the purpose of the motmot’s unusual tail.
These tanagers often travel in loud, conspicuous groups as they search for food in forests or gardens.
This unusual bird is probably most closely related to cranes. To scare away predators, it spreads its wings to show large spots that look like huge eyes.
As in most hawks, the female Black Hawk-Eagle is larger than the male, the reverse of most bird species. Scientists are not sure why.
This medium-sized falcon feeds almost exclusively on snakes, including venomous species. Scales on its feet are though to protect it from snake bites.
Fruit and Seed Eaters
Toucans are the South American equivalent of the Asian hornbills. Although both birds have huge, hollow, brightly-colored bills, they are not closely related. They evolved separately to fill the same ecological niche.
Toucans’ bills are very light and strong. They have been seen at play fencing with their bills. Toucans and toucanets use their long bills to help reach fruit at the ends of branches.
Two or three males manakins work together to attract a female. Their display includes a coordinated series of calls and flights that resemble a Ferris wheel. Only the dominant male of the group mates with the female.
Macaws’ streamlined bodies, narrow wings, and long tails are useful in their long, daily flights to find food, water, and roosting areas.
So many Hyacinth Macaws were exported in the past that this species is now endangered. Export is now illegal, but many are still captured and smuggled out for the pet trade.
The many species of parrots in the Amazon rainforest coexist because they are different sizes and use different food sources. Compare this parrot to the other two shown in the diorama.
Male cotingas use their wing feathers to make a rattling noise when they fly, perhaps as part of a display to females. Males may also puff out their purple throat feathers in display.