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GALLERIES > BIRDS > GALLIFORMES > CRACIDAE > SPECKLED CHACHALACA [Ortalis guttata]


Speckled Chachalaca Picture
 
 

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SPECIES INFO

The Speckled Chachalaca (Ortalis guttata) is a species of bird in the Cracidae family. It is found in forests and woodlands in the western Amazon Basin, disjunctly in the inter-Andean valleys in Colombia, and the Atlantic forests in eastern Brazil. It is the only species of chachalaca with distinct white scaling/spotting on the lower neck and chest, but otherwise it resembles other chachalcas, it being vaguely pheasant-like (though far more arboreal and social), and with an overall brown plumage.

Taxonomy

Several taxa here included as subspecies of the Speckled Chachalaca have been considered valid species instead; the Colombian Chachalaca (O. columbiana Hellmayr, 1906) in the inter-Andean valleys in Colombia, the Scaled Chachalaca (O. squamata Lesson, 1829) in south-eastern Brazil, and the East Brazilian Chachalaca (O. araucuan Spix, 1825) in eastern Brazil. The last of these has also been referred to as the Brazilian Chachalaca or the White-bellied Chachalaca, although the former arguably is problematic as numerous other chachalacas are found in Brazil, while the latter leads to easy confusion with the Central American Ortalis leucogastra. Alternatively, araucuan and squamata have been included as subspecies of the Little Chachalaca (the connection between the Guiana Shield and Atlantic forest is known from several other birds, e.g. the Buff-throated Woodcreeper and the Yellow-green Grosbeak). All three, columbiana, araucuan and squamata, were originally described as valid species, but "? without reason "? changed to subspecies of O. guttata in the Peters' check-list. Nevertheless, they all have white scaling/spotting on the lower neck and chest, thus resembling the Amazonian nominate group (incl. subaffinis), and most recent authorities continue to treat all as subspecies of O. guttata.

Status

It is common in large parts of its Amazonian range, and while it remains locally fairly common both in the inter-Andean valleys of Colombia and in eastern Brazil, it has suffered due to the extensive habitat destruction in these regions. Nevertheless, its tolerance of disturbed habitats combined with its relatively small size makes it far less vulnerable than e.g. the related curassows.





                                     



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