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Doliornis sclateri

Bay-vented Cotinga

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Cotingidae
  • Monotypic

Authors: Schulenberg, Thomas S., and Guy M. Kirwan



Doliornis are medium sized, heavy set, crested cotingas; they are similar to Ampelion cotingas, but have a smaller bill. Bay-vented Cotinga is brownish gray above, with a purer gray nape, sides to the face and throat. The lower breast and belly are dull brown, contrasting with the rufous undertail coverts (the bay vent). The sexes are similar, other than in crown color: black in the male, and gray in the female.

Similar Species

Bay-vented Cotinga is distinctive within its limited geographic range. It is syntopic with Red-crested Cotinga (Ampelion rubrocristatus), but Red-crested Cotinga has gray and white underparts (including the undertail coverts), and has a white band across the tail (which often is conspicuous in flight). Chestnut-bellied Cotinga (Doliornis remseni) is very similar to Bay-vented Cotinga, but the two species are allopatric; Chestnut-bellied Cotinga is distinguished by the rufous chestnut (not brown) belly, and by the darker gray of the face and throat.


The primary vocalization of Bay-vented Cotinga (the presumed song) is described as "a mewing, rising rhee or rhee-ah, louder and scratchier than voice of Red-crested Cotinga [Ampelion rubrocristatus]" (Lane, in Schulenberg et al. 2010). This vocalization often is answered by other, distant individuals (Parker 1982).

Nonvocal Sounds

None reported.

Detailed Description (appearance)

The following description is based on Fjeldså and Krabbe (1990), Robbins et al. (1994), and Kirwan and Green (2011):

Adult male: Crown glossy black; semiconcealed crest in center of crown reddish chestnut. Upper back dark grayish, shading browner on the rump and rectrices. Wings grayish brown. Sides of the head and the throat gray (paler than the upperparts). Lower breast and belly brown, sharply contrasting with the gray of the throat. In fresh plumage, the breast is paler, feathers with subterminal buff bars and terminal darker bars; these bars wear off, and in very worn plumage the subterminal buff bars scarcely are apparent. Undertail coverts rufous chestnut.

Adult female: Similar to male, but crown dark gray with dusky shaft streaks; crest duller red; back and uppertail coverts paler.

Juvenile: Breast and belly clay colored, indistinctly streaked with olive brown; crown gray, and lacks the reddish crest.

Bare Parts

Iris: gray

Bill: maxilla black; mandible blue gray, tip black

Tarsi and toes: dark gray

Bare parts color data from Parker (1982).


Total length: 20 cm (Fjeldså and Krabbe 1990)

Linear measurements (from Robbins et al. 1994):

male (n = 16)

wing length, mean 100.9 ± 1.9 mm (range 99.0-1-4.6 mm)

tail length, mean 85.4 ±2.8 mm (range 81.7-91.2 mm)

bill length (from base), mean 19.2 ± 0.6 mm (range 18.2-20.2 mm)

tarsus length, mean 26.1 ± 1.0 mm (range 24.4-27.8 mm)

female (n = 12):

wing length, mean 97.8 ± 3.1 mm (range 88.4-104.6 mm)

tail length, mean 85.4 ±2.4 mm (range 82.8-90.9 mm)

bill length (from base), mean 19.6 ± 0.8 mm (range 17.4-21.0 mm)

tarsus length, mean 26.0 ± 1.0 mm (range 24.0-27.5 mm)

Mass (from Robbins et al. 1994):

male (n = 16), mean 60.7 ± 4.0 g (range 54.0-69.0 g)

female (n = 12), mean 59.6 ± 4.9 g (range 53.0-67.0 g)


Little information. Two specimens from January were undergoing body molt; a male specimen in June was completing the molt of the remiges, and rectrices; and a specimen from July had fresh remiges and rectrices (Parker 1982). 

Geographic Variation



Described as Doliornis sclateri by Taczanowski 1874, with a type locality of Maraynioc [Junín] Peru; sclateri is the type species for Doliornis.

Koepcke inferred a close relationship between the genera ZaratornisDoliornis and Ampelion (Koepcke 1954). Bond (1956) proposed that all three genera should be united (as Ampelion). This merger was adopted by some authors (e.g., Snow 1973, 1979), but others continued to maintain Doliornis and Zaratornis as distinct (e.g., Meyer de Schauensee 1966).

Genetic data from a variety of sources, including protein electrophoresis (Lanyon and Lanyon 1989) and phylogenetic analysis of nuclear and mitochondrial DNA sequences (Ohlson et al. 2007, Tello et al. 2009), indicate that the Zaratornis, Ampelion, Doliornis, and Phytotoma form a clade. Since Phytotoma is internal in this clade (and Zaratornis at its base), one must either merge all into a single genus, or recognize a minimum of three genera (Zaratornis, Phytotoma, and Ampelion); most authorities accept the latter arrangement. Within this group, Ampelion and Doliornis are sister taxa (Ohlson et al. 2007, Tello et al. 2009).

Recommended Citation

Schulenberg, Thomas S., and Guy M. Kirwan. 2012. Bay-vented Cotinga (Doliornis sclateri), Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Ithaca: Cornell Lab of Ornithology; retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: