Photos: Cock of the Rocks, the Peru National Bird

The cock of the rocks or tunqui (Rupicola peruviana), notable for the incredible beauty of its plumage, is a species of passerine bird of the Cotingidae family that lives in the Amazon region of Peru.
According to Supreme Resolution 983 of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, promulgated in the government of President Manuel Prado on December 11, 1941, the Peruvian rupícolana is the Peru national bird. Due to its incomparable plumage and many individual and collective manifestations, it is admired in the world as one of the most beautiful and delicate birds.

Characteristics and Habitat

The Peru National Bird is of medium size, about 35 centimeters. The male is of a beautiful intense orange-red color, orange eyes, yellow legs and beak, with wings and black tails. The female is dark reddish brown.
In Peru, it is found in protected areas such as the national parks of Río Abiseo, in San Martín; Yanachaga-Chemillén, in Pasco; Tingo María, in Huánuco; and Manu National Park, in Cusco-Madre de Dios. Also in the protection forests such as Alto Mayo, in San Martín; San Matías-San Carlos, in Pasco; and Pui-Pui, in Junín. Also, in the forests of San Ignacio, in the National Park of Cutervo, in the historic sanctuary of Machu Picchu and other similar territories, along the eastern slope of the Andes.
They live in groups of 10 to 20 individuals. The roosters of the rocks lay their eggs in the crevices of the cliffs. It is very rare to find a lonely cock, since they always live in small communities. They remain hidden most of the day and only leave the forest at certain times. It has been seen on the banks of the rivers bathing and drinking water.

Feeding

The cock of the rocks feeds mainly of diverse fruits, that grow in great amounts in the forest of mountains of the Eastern slopes Andean, whose seeds it digests and disperses being thus an instrument of the nature in the preservation of its ecological surroundings. They are almost exclusively frugivorous, except pigeons, which are fed with insects during the first weeks.

Behavior

Its name is associated with rocks because it inhabits humid canyons of great depth in which they frequent ravines or steep rocks. They are mainly diurnal, although they have activities at dusk where they go out to look for fruits.

Reproduction

The sexual courtship of the Peru National Bird ones has a special meaning. The males gather in places called ‘cantaderos’ to perform a kind of dance and singing contest. Placed in absolute orders, they are offered to the females performing their best performance, in which the crest plays a major role because it attracts the most.

Predators

  • Snakes
  • Royal crestuda eagle
  • Monera Eagle
  • Busardo Blanco
  • Busardo-Negro Urubitinga
  • Two-colored hawk
  • Collared mountain hawk
  • Jaguar
  • Cougar
  • Ocelote

Important data

The Peru National Birds are large disseminators of seeds in the Peruvian Jungle, which contributes to the preservation of forests. In this way they help the natural regeneration of their environment. Currently it is estimated that there are about 3,000 specimens so it is urgent to protect them nationally.