Skip to Content

Cotingidae – Cotingas

Lovely Cotinga in Costa Rica: Photo by Gustavo Rojas

Cotingas, comprising around 65 species, are found in tropical forests across Central and South America.

Overview of Cotingidae

No bird family exhibits a greater diversity of auditory, behavioral, and plumage elaborations, driven by rampant sexual selection, than the cotingas. With around 65 species found in tropical forests across Central and South America, they range in size from sparrows to crows. Some species are vividly colorful, while others are highly cryptic, with calls ranging from the clarion calls of bellbirds to the calf-like mewing of the Capuchinbird. Many cotinga species have males that group together in leks to display for females during the breeding season. In at least one species, the lekking birds create their own forested habitat by regurgitating seeds that germinate and grow around their traditional lek sites.