Paradise Jacamar

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image: paradisejacamar.jpg

Common Name: Paradise Jacamar

Scientific Name: Galbula dea

Size: 11 ½ - 12 inches (30 cm) (bill to tail)

Habitat: South America; Venezuela, Brazil, Colombia, Bolivia, Peru and the Guyanas. The bird's range encompasses nearly the entire Amazon Basin, except in the northwest basin in parts of Colombia and Venezuela. Found in Tropical rainforests and savannah.

Status: Least Concern. Global population: Unknown. Widespread and common throughout its range

Diet: Butterflies and other flying insects. Jacamars are dramatic acrobats, swooping down from perches to capture colorful butterflies in mid-air. They spend most of their time on a branch, scanning alertly for prey.

Nesting: Both sexes are similar. During breeding season, male jacamars engage in lively vocal performances, with a series of explosive, sharp calls. Two rival males use this display of courtship and verbal bravado to impress a potential mate. Jacamars form monogamous pairs.

Jacamars dig holes for nests in steep river banks. They use the bill to break up the soil, then remove it by kicking backwards with their feet as they burrow. These tunnels also can be found some distance from the water, on soil banks or roots of fallen trees. The nest sits at the end of the tunnel in a horizontal, oval-shaped terminal chamber. Tunnels are 12–36 in (30–91 cm) long and about 2 in (5 cm) in diameter. The nest chamber is used repeatedly and does not contain nest material, although eggs often are covered with a layer of regurgitated insect parts. In some species, male and female participate in building the nest hole; in other species only the female does this work.

Jacamars lay one to four round, glossy, white eggs. Both parents incubate the eggs during the day for one to three hours at a time. At night, the female incubates alone while the male stays nearby to defend the nest. Jacamars rarely leave eggs unattended. During incubation, the male feeds his partner several times each day. The incubation period is 20–23 days.

Both parents feed the young with insects. Chicks remain in the nest 21–26 days.


Cool Facts: With their energetic behavior and iridescent feathers you would think a jacamar is part of the hummingbird family but it isn’t. It family line is closer to puffbirds, toucans, and woodpeckers. Like all members of the order Piciformes, jacamars and their relatives have zygodactyl feet, with two toes pointing forward and two facing back. Jacamars evolved with this toe arrangement, which helps them grasp branches while hunting in trees.

Scientists believe jacamars are closely related to Old World bee-eaters, which also prey on flying insects, have similar plumage, and raise their young in the same manner.

There are 4 sub-species (races) which differ slightly in length of wing, bill and tail and in the color of the crown. Amazonum which has a shorter tail and a light brown crown with whitish tips to the feathers. Phainopepla which has a more extensive white throat.


Found in Songbird Remix Amazon

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