White-tipped Plantcutter Phytotoma rutila

  • © Glenn Bartley

Up until recently the thee species of plantcutters were given their own family. Now molecular data clarifies that they are cotingas, making them the southernmost ranging of all cotingas! The name plantcutter is adept as they do often feed on leaves and buds, although fruit is favored at least during some periods of the year. The cutting edge of plantcutter bills are serrated, helping them to cut through vegetal matter. Plantcutters are plump, vertical perching birds with vivid red eyes; they show a noticeable amount of sexual dimorphism. The male White-tipped is rusty below and on the crown, contrasting with a gray head and upperparts, the white-tips of the English name are on the tail. Females are brownish and streaked, lacking the rufous colors of males. Perhaps the most curious aspect of this plantcutter is its song, if one can term it that. The sound is almost the same as that of fishing line peeling off a reel when one hooks a big fish! It is a zzzzzppppppppp ZZZZZZZZZZPPPPPP, rather unusual sounding but distinctive.

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© Emiliano Depino

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

Recommended Citation

White-tipped Plantcutter (Phytotoma rutila), In Neotropical Birds Online (T. S. Schulenberg, Editor). Cornell Lab of Ornithology, Ithaca, NY, USA. retrieved from Neotropical Birds Online: https://neotropical.birds.cornell.edu/Species-Account/nb/species/whtpla1