Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda

  • Order: Galbuliformes
  • Family: Galbulidae
  • Polytypic: 6 subspecies
  • Authors: Noelle M. Chaine

The Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda Cuvier 1816) is a beautiful inhabitant of forest edges and clearings of Central and South America. It occurs in several disjunct populations: from eastern Mexico south to western Panama; from eastern Panama south to western Ecuador, Colombia and Venezuela; in Guyana; and from Bolivia east to eastern Brazil. The six recognized subspecies of Rufous-tailed Jacamar vary slightly in the amounts of black on the chin and in the number of green central rectrices, but in general males are an iridescent coppery/golden green above with a white throat and cinnamon-rufous underparts. Females are a slightly duller green and have a cinnamon-buff throat. Rufous-tailed Jacamars feed almost exclusively on flying insects, especially dragonflies, butterflies and moths.  These birds forage from a perch on an exposed branch 1 to 3 meters from the ground, and sally out to catch insects on the wing.  After the jacamar has caught an insect it beats it several times against a branch to stun it and remove the insect's wings before it swallows.

Song (Black-chinned)

© David L. Ross, Jr.

  • Year-round
  • Migration
  • Breeding
  • Non-Breeding

Recommended Citation

Chaine, N. M. (2010). Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.