Green-tailed Jacamar (Galbula galbula)
Green-tailed Jacamar, Amazonia National Park, Pará, Brazil, Sept 2000 - click for larger image Brazil

The Jacamars seem to be related to kingfishers but in looks and behaviour are very like the bee-eaters of the Old World - a good example of convergent evolution.

Green-tailed Jacamar, Roraima, Brazil, July 2001 - click for larger image The Green-tailed Jacamar has a particularly long and slender bill (5cms of a total of 20 cms.) The photographs are of males with their conspicuous white throat, metallic green back and rufous belly. The female looks very similar but has a buffy white throat.

They are forest birds and the Green-tailed Jacamar is found both north of the Amazon and south of the Amazon but only between the Madeira and Tapajos rivers.

As in the photos, they are usually found sitting on a thin branch looking for passing insects which they sally out to catch and bring it back to the perch to eat. Their long bills reach past the wings of butterflies and dragonflies so that the body can be firmly grasped without the insect's wings hitting the bird's face. When catching bees and wasps, the long bill helps to keep the stings out of harms way until they have been bashed against a branch.

Like kingfishers and motmots, they excavate nests in sandy or clay banks

There are illustrations in HBW, Volume 7, Pages 87 and 98; and in Hilty & Brown, Plate 19.

See also the Rufous-tailed Jacamar page.

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