Capuchinbird Perissocephalus tricolor

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Cotingidae
  • Monotypic
  • Authors: Jack Hruska and Guy M. Kirwan



Hanging fruits are plucked while in flight, while the insect foraging technique consists of perching motionless while scanning and flying to snatch prey of foliage (Snow 1972). The seeds of fruits are often regurgitated after feeding while the bird remains perched in a shady spot (Snow 1972). While Capuchinbird behavior at leks has been well documented, their behavior away from the leks have been poorly studied or noted.


Since males display at leks, and mates are choosen in a common location, defense of territory by males off the lekking sites has not been noted (Snow 1982).

Sexual Behavior

Capuchinbirds exhibit lekking behavior, in which congregations of up to 8 males display and compete for females (Trail 1990). The lekking site, which some authors claim have been utilized for centuries, is located in forest on flat terrain (Snow 1972). Males perch in understory trees, in sites that are partioned according to hierarchical status, with one "alpha" dominant male (Snow 1972). These sites are often associated with Eugenia trees, while others have noted an affiliation to Cecropia trees (Snow 1972) The alpha male each year is able to control the most desired display site, and is usually the only male with which the females copulate (Trail 1990). At these leks, which are most heavily visited and utilized in the early morning and late dusk, males perform a series of displays for observing females. During these congregations, males emit their characteristic "moo" calls. As the male emits his call, he leans forward and inhales while simultaneously adopting an upright posture position and fluffing out his plumage so that the bare head is ringed by feathers (Snow 1972).

Social and interspecific behavior

Capuchinbirds usually are solitary away from the lek. Nonetheless Snow (1972) noted that females may show the tendency to nest in close proximity, visit leks together, and at times feed keep each other company while feeding. No cooperative breeding or feeding between females has been noted, however (Snow 1972).

While interspecies interactions are usually kept to a minimum, Channel-billed Toucans (Ramphastos vitellinus) have been seen to drive males from their lek perches (Snow 1972).

Recommended Citation

Hruska, J. and G. M. Kirwan (2012). Capuchinbird (Perissocephalus tricolor), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.