Psophiidae – Trumpeters

They rely on monkeys to drop some fruits on the forest floor as they are not adapted to fly high

These birds are perfectly adapted to the floor of South America’s rainforests. They have evolved to fit a ground-dwelling lifestyle in the dense understory of the lowland tropical forests, where they can be found from the Guianas to northern Argentina.

Characterized by their large humped backs and plump bodies, trumpeters are sturdy birds. They possess long legs and toes, which are suitable for rapid walking and running through the forest, evading predators, and chasing after prey. Though unsuitable for long-distance foraging or probing, their short bills are perfectly adapted to picking up food from the forest floor.

These birds, largely terrestrial, prefer habitats with proximity to water bodies and an abundance of fruit trees. The availability of water and food sources like fruits and small animals shapes their daily foraging patterns and social behavior. Though they can fly, trumpeters prefer to walk or run, reserving flight primarily to escape potential threats or reach their nests in trees.

Trumpeters are well-known for their vocal behavior. Their loud, shrill calls serve multiple purposes: they can act as alarms to warn of danger, or as territorial calls to assert dominance and maintain the integrity of their home range. These sounds are so integral to their communication that they can often be heard resonating through the forest, a testament to their social nature.

Speaking of social behavior, trumpeters are indeed gregarious birds. They often form small groups or flocks, sometimes comprising extended family units that forage together, preen each other, and participate in communal activities like mock fights. These interactions are essential for maintaining social bonds and teaching young birds the skills they will need to survive.

Despite their social nature, trumpeters can be fiercely defensive and aggressive regarding territorial disputes. They will vigorously defend their territory against intruders, including other trumpeters and species.