Three-wattled bellbird

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Three-wattled bellbird
Procnias tricarunculataIbis1865P003A.jpg
male (left) and female (right)
Scientific classification Red Pencil Icon.png
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Clade: Tetrapodomorpha
Class: Aves
Order: Passeriformes
Family: Cotingidae
Genus: Procnias
Species:P. tricarunculatus
Binomial name
Procnias tricarunculatus
(Verreaux & Verreaux, 1853)

Procnias tricarunculata

The three-wattled bellbird (Procnias tricarunculatus) is a Central American migratory bird of the cotinga family. The sexes are very dis-similar in appearance. The male has a white head and throat and the remaining plumage is chestnut brown. From the base of his beak dangle three long, slender, black wattles that he uses in display. The female has olive plumage with yellowish streaked underparts and a yellow vent area.

Central America central geographic region of the Americas

Central America is located on the southern tip of North America, or is sometimes defined as a subcontinent of the Americas, bordered by Mexico to the north, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the east, and the Pacific Ocean to the west and south. Central America consists of seven countries: Belize, Costa Rica, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, Nicaragua, and Panama. The combined population of Central America has been estimated to be 41,739,000 and 42,688,190.

Bird migration seasonal movement of birds

Bird migration is the regular seasonal movement, often north and south along a flyway, between breeding and wintering grounds. Many species of bird migrate. Migration carries high costs in predation and mortality, including from hunting by humans, and is driven primarily by availability of food. It occurs mainly in the northern hemisphere, where birds are funneled on to specific routes by natural barriers such as the Mediterranean Sea or the Caribbean Sea.

Cotinga family of birds

The cotingas are a large family, Cotingidae, of suboscine passerine birds found in Central America and tropical South America. Cotingas are birds of forests or forest edges, that are primary frugivorous. They all have broad bills with hooked tips, rounded wings, and strong legs. They range in size from 12–13 cm (4.7–5.1 in) of the fiery-throated fruiteater up to 48–51 cm (19–20 in) of the Amazonian umbrellabird.


The three-wattled bellbird breeds in montane regions of Costa Rica and migrates to western Honduras, Nicaragua and Panama, though its migration pattern is poorly understood. The male bird has a loud, distinctive, bell-like call, and as these birds are secretive and shy, they are more often heard than seen. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed their conservation status as "vulnerable".

Honduras republic in Central America

Honduras, officially the Republic of Honduras, is a country in Central America. It has at times been referred to as Spanish Honduras to differentiate it from British Honduras, which became modern-day Belize. The republic of Honduras is bordered to the west by Guatemala, to the southwest by El Salvador, to the southeast by Nicaragua, to the south by the Pacific Ocean at the Gulf of Fonseca, and to the north by the Gulf of Honduras, a large inlet of the Caribbean Sea.

Nicaragua Country in Central America

Nicaragua, officially the Republic of Nicaragua, is the largest country in the Central American isthmus, bordered by Honduras to the northwest, the Caribbean to the east, Costa Rica to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the southwest. Managua is the country's capital and largest city and is also the third-largest city in Central America, behind Tegucigalpa and Guatemala City. The multi-ethnic population of six million includes people of indigenous, European, African, and Asian heritage. The main language is Spanish. Indigenous tribes on the Mosquito Coast speak their own languages and English.

Panama republic in Central America

Panama, officially the Republic of Panama, is a country in Central America, bordered by Costa Rica to the west, Colombia to the southeast, the Caribbean Sea to the north, and the Pacific Ocean to the south. The capital and largest city is Panama City, whose metropolitan area is home to nearly half the country's 4 million people.


One of four species of bellbird that live in Central and South America, the three-wattled bellbird is between 25 cm (9.8 in) and 30 cm (12 in) long. The body, tail, and wings of the male are uniformly chestnut-brown; its head, neck, and upper breast are white; and it has a black eye-ring, eye-stripe, and bill. Its name comes from the three worm-like wattles of skin that hang from the base of the bill. These wattles can be as long as 10 cm (3.9 in) when extended during songs and interactions. The wattles remain flaccid even when extended. The male shakes the wattles, but otherwise they hang straight down; they are neither erectile nor under muscular control. The side wattles do not stick out to the sides and the central one is not extended directly skywards as shown on some old illustrations and specimens. The female bellbirds are smaller and less striking in appearance, being overall olive with yellowish streaking below, pure yellow vent and no wattles.

Neotropical bellbird genus of birds

Neotropical bellbird is the common name given to passerine birds of the genus Procnias, found in the Neotropics. They are members of the cotinga family. In some parts of their range, they are sometimes referred to as "araponga". They are all restricted to tropical or subtropical humid forested regions, often in low mountains or foothills. As indicated by their common name, they all have very loud voices.

South America A continent in the Western Hemisphere, and mostly in the Southern Hemisphere

South America is a continent in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. It may also be considered a subcontinent of the Americas, which is how it is viewed in the Spanish and Portuguese-speaking regions of the Americas. The reference to South America instead of other regions has increased in the last decades due to changing geopolitical dynamics.

A biological specimen is a biological laboratory specimen held by a biorepository for research. Such a specimen would be taken by sampling so as to be representative of any other specimen taken from the source of the specimen. When biological specimens are stored, ideally they remain equivalent to freshly-collected specimens for the purposes of research.


Famous for having one of the most unusual and distinct vocalizations of any bird in its range, the three-wattled bellbird exists from western Honduras south to eastern Panama. While little is known about the migratory behavior of these birds, they breed primarily in Costa Rican highlands (March–September) and return to lower elevations for the interim months.

Costa Rica country in Central America

Costa Rica, officially the Republic of Costa Rica, is a country in Central America, bordered by Nicaragua to the north, the Caribbean Sea to the northeast, Panama to the southeast, the Pacific Ocean to the southwest, and Ecuador to the south of Cocos Island. It has a population of around 5 million in a land area of 51,060 square kilometers. An estimated 333,980 people live in the capital and largest city, San José with around 2 million people in the surrounding metropolitan area.


The species is completely frugivorous, and performs an important role in seed dispersal. By depositing seeds in gap areas beneath song perches, they nearly double seedling survival rate. [2]

Frugivore organism that eats fruit

A frugivore is an animal that thrives mostly on raw fruits, succulent fruit-like vegetables, roots, shoots, nuts and seeds. It can be any type of herbivore or omnivore where fruit is a preferred food type. Because approximately 20% of all mammalian herbivores also eat fruit, frugivory is common among mammals. Since frugivores eat a lot of fruit, they are highly dependent on the abundance and nutritional composition of fruits. Frugivores can either benefit fruit-producing plants by dispersing seeds, or they can hinder plants by digesting seeds along with the fruits. When both the fruit-producing plant and the frugivore species benefit by fruit-eating behavior, their interaction is called mutualism.


male specimen (in living individuals, the three elongated wattles typically hang loosely down beside the bill) Procnias tricarunculata.jpg
male specimen (in living individuals, the three elongated wattles typically hang loosely down beside the bill)
Male in Costa Rica Procnias tricarunculata -Costa Rica -male-8-4c.jpg
Male in Costa Rica

Because of the secretive behavior of this bird, it is often only detected by the distinctive bell-like call given by the males. At close range, the vocalization of many in Costa Rica is heard as a complex three-part song, the "bonk" giving the bird its name. This hollow, wooden "bonk" is thought to be among the loudest bird calls on Earth, audible to humans from over 0.5 mi (0.80 km) away. The song is different in Nicaragua and in also Panama, and these songs also include an extremely loud, but less bell-like, note. The song may also be a short "Heee-Ahhh"

Research by Donald Kroodsma on recordings archived at the Cornell Lab of Ornithology showed that the three-wattled bellbird is unique among members of its sub-order, in that it learns its song, rather than having the song determined by instinct, because the song changed over the years that it had been recorded.


The population trend of the three-wattled bellbird is on a downward trend because of destruction of the bird's forest habitat. The International Union for Conservation of Nature has assessed their conservation status as "vulnerable". [1]

Related Research Articles

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Wattled jacana species of bird

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Umbrellabird genus of birds

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Yellowish flycatcher species of bird

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Long-wattled umbrellabird bird of western Colombia and Ecuador

The long-wattled umbrellabird is an Umbrellabird in the Cotinga family. Its common names include "Pájaro Bolsón", "Pájaro Toro", "Dungali" and "Vaca de Monte".

Blue-black grosbeak species of bird

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Yellow-billed cotinga species of bird

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The black-tipped cotinga, also known as the white cotinga, is a species of bird in the family Cotingidae. It is found in Colombia, Ecuador, and Panama where its natural habitat is subtropical or tropical moist lowland forests. The male, being white, is conspicuous, but in general it is an uncommon species.

Snowy cotinga species of bird

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Bare-necked umbrellabird species of bird

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Amazonian umbrellabird species of bird

The Amazonian umbrellabird is a species of bird in the family Cotingidae native to the Amazon basin with a separate population on the eastern slopes of the Andes. The male bird is entirely black, with a black crest and inflatable wattle on the throat, and at 48 to 55 cm, may be the largest passerine bird in South America. The female is slightly smaller. Both have an undulating flight, described as woodpecker-like, and the male has a loud, booming call.

Lovely cotinga species of bird

The lovely cotinga is a species of bird in the family Cotingidae. It is found in North and Central America from southern Mexico through Guatemala, Belize, Honduras and Nicaragua to Costa Rica with reports from western Panama. Its natural habitats are tropical moist lowland forests and heavily degraded former forest. The male is a bright turquoise blue while the female is greyish-brown with pale underparts. Because of its total population size and wide range, this species is not yet considered vulnerable.

Blue cotinga species of bird

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Purple-throated cotinga species of bird

The purple-throated cotinga is a species of bird in the cotinga family, Cotingidae. It is found in the western Amazon rainforest of South America; its range extends from southern Colombia south through eastern Ecuador and Peru and east through extreme northwestern Bolivia and into western Amazonian Brazil. It lives in the canopy or along the borders of humid forest throughout its range. The purple-throated cotinga is monotypic within the genus Porphyrolaema and has no known subspecies. It is one of the smaller cotinga species and expresses strong sexual dimorphism. Males have black upperparts with a bold white wingstripe and white edges to the tertial feathers and a white belly with some black barring on the rear flanks. The throat is a deep purple, giving the bird both its common and scientific names. Females are dark brown with pale buffy margins on the upperparts, buffy cinnamon with black barring on the underparts, and rufous on the throat. The male has a powerful voice.

White bellbird species of bird

The white bellbird is a species of bird in the family Cotingidae. The specific epithet is often spelled alba, but albus is correct due to the gender of genus. It is found in forests in the Guianas, with small numbers in Venezuela and Pará. Only the male is white; the female is overall olive with yellowish streaks below and resembles other bellbirds.

Bare-throated bellbird species of bird

The bare-throated bellbird is a species of bird in the family Cotingidae. It is found in moist subtropical and tropical forests in Argentina, Brazil, and Paraguay. The male has white plumage and bristly bluish-black bare skin around its eye, beak and throat. The female is more drab, being olive-brown above with streaked yellow underparts. The male has one of the loudest bird calls known, producing a metallic sound similar to a hammer striking an anvil. This bird feeds on fruit and plays a part in dispersing the seeds of forest trees. It is considered a vulnerable species because of loss of its forest habitat and collection for the pet bird trade.

Nicaraguan grackle species of bird

The Nicaraguan grackle is a species of passerine bird belonging to the genus Quiscalus, a genus of grackles in the New World blackbird family, Icteridae. It is found only in Nicaragua and northernmost Costa Rica.

Miraflor Natural Reserve

Miraflor Natural Reserve is a nature reserve in Nicaragua. It is one of the 78 reserves that are under official protection in the country. It was declared a nature reserve in 1990. It is located 30 km (19 mi) from Estelí, Nicaragua, and spans an area of 206 km2 (80 sq mi).


  1. 1 2 BirdLife International (2012). "Procnias tricarunculatus". IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2013.2. International Union for Conservation of Nature . Retrieved 12 January 2016.
  2. Wenny, Dan W (2001). "Advantages of seed dispersal: A re-evaluation of directed dispersal". Evol. Ecol. Res. 3 (1): 51–74.

Further reading