Galbula – Typical jacamars

These clever birds aren’t fooled by mimicry attempted by harmless prey

Typical jacamars are among the most visually striking birds found in the Neotropical region, particularly within the lush confines of Amazonia. This group is renowned for the iridescence of their feathers, which shimmer with a metallic sheen in the sunlight, captivating the eye with their vibrant colors.

In terms of sexual dimorphism, typical jacamars exhibit subtle differences between males and females. Although both sexes generally look similar, males often boast brighter and more glossy plumage. This is particularly evident in the white throat patch seen in many male jacamar species. Such ornamental features are likely to play a role in mate attraction and competitive displays.

The vocalizations of typical jacamars are just as distinctive as their appearance. Their calls are characterized by a series of accelerating high-pitched notes that culminate in a trill. These vocal displays serve various communication purposes, from establishing territory to strengthening pair bonds and signaling the presence of predators or other threats.

The diet of typical jacamars is strictly insectivorous, comprising various flying insects such as butterflies, moths, beetles, flies, wasps, and dragonflies. Their foraging strategy is one of patience and precision; they often perch in light gaps in the forest, which are areas where sunlight streams through the canopy. This strategic positioning allows them to better spot and subsequently dart out to snatch their aerial prey mid-flight, using their long, sharp bills to great effect.

Reproduction for these birds involves monogamous pairs, which is common among bird species that require extensive parental investment. Jacamars nest exclusively in burrows, which they dig into the sides of sandy banks, mud, or even into the hard walls of termitariums. This nesting behavior provides their offspring with protection from predators and the elements. The choice of a termitarium as a nesting site is particularly intriguing, as it may offer a stable microclimate and protection due to the hardness of the termite-built structure.