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Nest-Site Selection

Cock-of-the-Rock females build their nests on vertical rock faces, in caves or crevices (Snow 1982; Sarria-Salas 2005).   They construct the nest primarily of mud, mixed with saliva and some plant material (Gilliard 1962)."  The interior is lined with plant fibers (Gilliard 1962; Benalcazar & Benalcazar 1984; Sarria-Salas 2005).

Whether the nest-site is in the entrance or interior of a cave, or on a vertical rock cliff, it usually has certain general characteristics. For example, in the Brazilian Amazon, Guianan Cock-of-the Rock nest sites usually have the following four elements present:  (1) closeness to a watercourse, (2) shade or half-light rather than full sunlight, (3) humidity, (4) slits, cracks, fissures or cavities in the rock on which the nest is built (Omena 2003; Omena & Martins 2007).  If these characteristics are not present, the nest will dry out and then fragment when the female sits on it.  For this reason, dry cliffs and caverns are never used for nesting. (Omena 2003; Omena & Martins 2007)

Although the nest is usually placed close to a watercourse, the watercourse need not be permanent.  For example, of 33 nests made and used by the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock in the Brazilian state of Amazonas, 29 (88%) were built 2.7 to 9.1 meters from permanent streams, while 4 (12%) were built 37.7 to 45 meters away from permanent streams.  However, these last four nests were also built 3.3 to 6.0 meters from intermittent streams that were dry when nest construction began, but which ran later in the nesting season when rainfall increased. (Omena 2003; Omena & Martins 2007)

Secondary Tenants of Nests

In a ravine with a fast-flowing stream near Cali, Colombia, an abandoned nest of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock was renovated and used as a nest by the White-capped Dipper (Cinclus leucocephalus) (Sarria-Salas 2005).  The two species share the same riparian habitats and have similar ranges (the northern Andes from Venezuela to Bolivia).

Predation at Cock-of-the-Rock leks

When Cock-of-the-Rock males display at courtship leks, they attempt to attract females with loud noises, brilliant colored plumage and active display.  Unfortunately, such conspicuous advertising also attracts predators to Cock-of-the-Rock leks. 

In Suriname, Trail (1987) found that the calls of Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock males displaying at leks could be heard several hundred meters through the forest.  A diverse group of predators was attracted to the leks he studied, including the following species:  Ornate Hawk-Eagle (Spitzaetus ornatus), Crested Eagle (Morphnus guianensis), White Hawk (Leucopternis albicollis), Great Black-Hawk (Buteogallus urubitinga), Bicolored Hawk (Accipiter bicolor), Collared Forest-Falcon (Micrastur semitorquatus), Jaguar (Panthera onca), Puma or Cougar (Puma concolor), Ocelot (Leopardus pardalis) and the snake Boa constrictor.  In addition, Trail observed 4 kills of displaying Cock-of-the Rock males, 2 by the Ornate Hawk-Eagle, and 2 by the snake Boa constrictor.

References

Benalcazar CE, Benalcazar F Silvia de  (1984)  Historia Natural del Gallo de Roca Andino (Rupicola peruviana sanguinolenta) [Natural history of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock].  Cespedesia 13: 59-92

Erard C, Thery M, Sabatier D  (1989)  Regime alimentaire de Rupicola rupicola (Cotingidae) en Guyane Francaise:  Relations avec la frugivorie et al zoochorie.  Rev Ecol (Terre Vie) 44: 47-74

Gilliard ET  (1962)  On the breeding behavior of the Cock-of-the-Rock (Aves, Rupicola rupicola).  Bulletin of the American Museum of Natural History 124: 35-68

Luy GA, Bigio D (1994) Notes on the feeding habits of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola peruviana) Ornitologia Neotropical 5: 115-116

Omena Júnior, Reynier de Souza  (2003)  Distribuição espacial, comportamento, abundância e vulnerabilidade à predação de Galos-da-Serra (Rupicola rupicola), no Município de Presidente Figueiredo, Estado do Amazonas.  Trabalho de Conclusão de Curso, Centro Universitário Nilton Lins, Manaus

Omena R, Martins CS  (2007)  Reproductive behavior and characterization of breeding sites of the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola rupicola) in Amazonas, Brazil.  (Published in Portuguese)  Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia 15: 81-84

Rodriguez-Ferraro A, Azpiroz AB  (2005)  Notes on the natural history of the Andean Cock-of-the-Rock (Rupicola peruviana) in western Venezuela.  Ornitologia Neotropical 16: 105-108

Sarria-Salas S  (2005)  Caracterización del Hábitat Reproductivo, Sitios de Anidamiento y Leks, en una Población de Gallo De Roca Andino (Rupicola Peruviana), Parque Nacional Natural Farallones De Cali, Valle Del Cauca. Fundación Natura y Corporación Autónoma Regional de Valle Del Cauca, Cali. Disponible desde URL: http://www.natura.org.co/documents/Fauna-Informe-Gallito-de-Roca.pdf

Snow D  (1982)  The Cotingas.  Oxford University Press, UK

Thery M, Larpin D  (1993)  Seed dispersal and vegetation dynamics at a Cock-of-the-Rock's lek in the tropical forest of French Guiana.  Journal of Tropical Ecology 9: 109-116.

Trail PW  (1987)  Predation and antipredator behavior at Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock leks.  Auk 104: 496-507

Information about this Review

This review is also available in the following languages:  

Portuguese    Spanish

The author is:  Dr. Paul D. Haemig (PhD in Animal Ecology). 

Photograph at top of page:  A male Andean Cock-of-the-Rock displays at a lek early in the morning, Manu Cloud Forest, Peru.  Photo by Harrison Liu (USA).

The proper citation is:

Haemig PD  2012   Ecology of the Cock-of-the-Rock.  ECOLOGY.INFO  #1

If you are aware of any important scientific publications about the Cock-of-the-Rock that were omitted from this review, or have other suggestions for improving it, please contact the author at his e-mail address: 

director {at} ecology.info 

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