Today’s animal of the day is the gorgeous Umbrellabird which resides in the rainforest climes of Central and South America.

Darwin’s friend Sir Alfred Wallace discovered this species on a South American expedition in the 1800s. 

Here are a few facts about this unusual bird: 

  • Umbrellabirds were given their name for the shaped crest on their heads.
  • There are three different Umbrellabirds: the Long-Wattled, the Amazonian, and the Bare-Necked.
  • In mating season, the males fan their crests wide and rumble their throats to attract the females.
  • All three types have coarse, black feathers but differ in other traits.
  • The Long-Wattled Umbrellabird has a long black wattle on its throat.
  • The Amazonian Umbrellabird has mostly black feathers.
  • The Bare-Necked Umbrellabird has a featherless patch on its chin.
  • The birds tend to hop between branches in the trees to travel because of their large size.
  • Groups are called a “Lek” and migrate up and down the mountains instead of across land.
  • As omnivores, they eat everything from fruit to insects to small animals.
  • Adult birds have a wingspan that can reach over two feet.
  • The females lay one egg at a time, and it only incubates a month before hatching.
  • Both parents feed their chick for several months before it flies off on its own.
  • Their lifespan ranges from 12 to 20 years.
  • Monkeys, snakes, and birds of prey go after the eggs and young birds, but Umbrellabirds don’t have any other predator threats.
  • The Long-Wattled and the Bare-Necked types are both considered to be endangered species due to habitat depletion.