Plushcap Catamblyrhynchus diadema

  • Order: Passeriformes
  • Family: Thraupidae
  • Polytypic: 3 subspecies
  • Authors: Ashley Salinas and Kevin J. Burns

The Plushcap is one of the most distinctive of all Neotropical passerines in terms of both its appearance and behavior. Its otherwise drab plumage is offset by a bright yellow patch of dense, velvety feathers on its forecrown. Hilty et al. (1979) speculated that these short, dense feathers are less susceptible to feather wear and more resistant to moisture than typical feathers. This may be an adaptation for its specialized feeding mode, in which it probes into dense whorls of bamboo for its prey items (Hilty et al. 1979). The species is found from Venezuela to south to extreme northwestern Argentina in humid montane forests and is always found in close association with Chusquea bamboo. Due to its distinct appearance and behavior, it long was classified in its own family. However, it is now recognized as a tanager, although its relationships within this group remain obscure. The diet consists of small insects and plant material, and they typically foraging in small groups within mixed species flocks. BirdLife International (2009) assesses the conservation status of the Plushcap as of Least Concern in view of its wide geographic distribution, although the size of the global population is believed to be in decline.

Slow song

© Daniel Lane

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

Recommended Citation

Salinas, A. and K. J. Burns (2010). Plushcap (Catamblyrhynchus diadema), version 1.0. In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA.