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Purple-throated fruitcrow

Querula purpurata

Description: The plumage of the Purple-throated fruitcrow is entirely black on females and juveniles. With the exception of a slightly iridescent purplish- red throat, males are entirely black as well. The body is stocky, giving them a very distinctive silhouette. The broad, round wings and short tail are apparent in flight.

Size: Males grow to 11-12 inches (28-30 cm) in length, while females reach 10-11 inches (25-28 cm).

Behavior: These birds almost always travel in groups of three to six (mixed sexes) and are often found with other large birds, such as falcons, caciques and oropendolas. They are bold and curious birds, which makes them fairly easy to spot in the wild. Males have a distinctive display when courting females, they flare out their brilliant throat feathers, shake their tails back and forth and make piercing calls.

Diet: Diet consists mainly of fruits and berries, although some insects and small vertebrates are also consumed.

Communication: Purple-throated fruitcrows are very vocal birds. Their most common calls are low, mellow whistles, such as “oo-waa”, “woooo” and “wheeooowooo”.

Reproduction: Nests, untidy cups of small twigs lined with even smaller twigs, are built in fairly conspicuous spots and are defended aggressively by each member of the group. One female will lay an egg, which is tended to by every adult in the group. The fledging period is 32-33 days, despite the fact that the young are fed insects instead of fruit. Insects provide more protein, which usually means the young develop more quickly.

Habitat/range: Common in humid forests and second growth woodlands, Purple-throated fruitcrows prefer forest edges and openings in lower elevations. They are found in Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, French Guiana, Guyana, Peru, Suriname and Venezuela; also in southern Central America in Nicaragua, Costa Rica and Panama.

Status: Listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List.