Procnias – Neotropical bellbirds

Wattles and beards make these birds look like they work at special designations in the jungle’s government department

These birds are native to the tropical forests of Central and South America and are particularly renowned for their remarkable vocal abilities and distinctive appearance.

Sexual dimorphism is highly pronounced in bellbirds. Males are often adorned with bright, conspicuous plumage and elaborate ornamentation such as wattles or “beards,” which can be extended during their loud and resonant mating calls. These wattles come in various forms, depending on the species: some like the Three-wattled Bellbird, have long, worm-like wattles that dangle from the beak, while others have shorter, more compact structures. The coloration of the males is typically white or light-colored, which contrasts sharply with the dense green foliage of their forest habitat, making them highly visible during display rituals.

Females, on the other hand, have more cryptic plumage that blends into the forest canopy, which is advantageous for nesting and avoiding predation. Their coloration is usually a mix of greens and browns, providing effective camouflage.

The vocalizations of Procnias bellbirds are among the loudest of any bird species. Their calls can be heard over long distances and are used to establish territory and attract mates. These calls are not only loud but can be quite complex, with different species having distinctive calls that are unique to their kind.

Bellbirds feed on a variety of fruits and play an important role in their ecosystems as seed dispersers. Their diet is instrumental in the regeneration of tropical forests, as the seeds they consume are often deposited in new locations, aiding in plant diversity and forest dynamics.

In terms of behavior, bellbirds are arboreal and spend much of their time in the treetops. They have strong feet with a toe arrangement that is well-suited for perching on branches and tree trunks, a characteristic of passerine birds.