Birds in a specific family usually have a high degree of family resemblance.  Gulls look like gulls, hawks look like a hawk and owls look like an owl.

This is not the case with Cotingas.  Contingas vary in size, body structure and behavior.  They carry names such as Kinglet Calyptura (about 3 inches long), Bearded Bellbird (11 inches long), Orange-breasted Fruiteater (7 inches long) and the Amazonian Umbrellabird (almost 20 inches long). The group is so diverse it seems that there is always a discussion among scientists to decide if a particular species really belongs in the Cotinga family.

Cotingas are found in Central and South America.  Their preferred habitat is forest and forest edges. They are a member of the passerines (sometimes called perching birds or song birds). They feed on insects and fruit.

The Andean Cock-of-the-Rock is the showiest member of this diverse group

The Andean Cock-of-the-Rock is the showiest member of this diverse group

Females are usually much duller in appearance than the males.

Bare-necked Fruitcrow

Bare-necked Fruitcrow. The only member of the genus Gymnoderus. It is found in the Amazon Rainforest.

In some species courtship occurs on lekking grounds, with birds like the Cock-of-the-Rock performing elaborate displays.

Bearded Bellbird

Bearded Bellbird. Occurs in humid forests and woodland of Trinidad and Tobago, Colombia, Guyana, Venezuela, Bolivia and northern Brazil.

In some species both parents care for the young and in others the males depart after mating.

The Purple-throated Fruitcrow is a colonial nester and does little to hide its nests.  Often one female will lay an egg and the others, male and female, help provide insects to the chick.

Orange-breasted Fruiteater

Orange-breasted Fruiteater. Native to Colombia and Ecuador. Found in subtropical or tropical moist montane forests.


Yellow-billed Cotinga

Yellow-billed Cotinga. Found in coastal Costa Rica and western Panama. Found in a variety of habitats.

The photographs are from Central and South America and were taken by Glenn Bartley. Glenn has been a staff photographer for many years. Glenn leads his own photographer work shops to Central and South America as well as Canada. His trips are so popular that his tropical workshops scheduled for the balance of 2016 and all of 2017 are already sold out.  Visit Glenn’s web site to sign up for email alerts about future workshops and to see more of his fantastic work.


One Comment to “Meet the Cotingas”

  1. From above: “Cotingas are found in Central and South America.” ……. and Mexico.

    Indeed, a wonderful group of birds. Nice seeing Glenn’s photos, too. Best, RAB

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