Andean Cock-of-the-rocks


Andean Cock-of-the-rock

Andean Cock-of-the-rockSubspecies:

  • Rupicola peruviana peruvianus, (Latham 1790) - nominate form - featured on this page
    • Rupicola peruviana aequitorialis (Taczanowski 1889)Rupicola peruviana sanguinolentus (Gould 1859)Rupicola peruviana saturatus (Cabanis and Heine 1859)


The Andean Cock-of-the-rock, Rupicola peruviana is a spectacular, medium-sized passerine which is known to be pretty shy and not easily spotted. They emit a loud querulous "uankk?" when disturbed or in flight.

They average 32 cm (12½ in) in length (from beak to tip of tail). The species exhibits marked sexual dimorphism (which means they can be visually sexed)..


  • The male has a large disk-like crest and scarlet or brilliant orange
  • He has black tail and wings
  • His bill is yellowish
  • His irides (= plural of iris) range from red over orange and yellow to bluish-white


  • The female is significantly darker and browner than the male and has a shorter crest.
  • Her bill is dark with a small yellow tip
  • Her irides (= plural of iris) are whitish over reddish to brown

Andean Cock-of-the-RockBreeding / Nesting:

Males compete for breeding females by displaying their colorful plumage, and performing a "mating dance" consisting of wing flapping, bobbing, hopping, bowing, jumping as well as making a variety of calls. The males devote much energy displaying in communal leks (competitive mating displays or dancing grounds), during which males gather to challenge rivals and attract females.

Males are polygamous, and have nothing to do with nesting once mating is done. Instead, males focus on practicing the above-described elaborate display rituals that effectively show off their bright plumage.

After the females have selected their mates and mating has completed, the females build nests under a rocky overhang. The nests are mud plastered to cave entrances or rocky outcrops in forest ravines.

A hen typically lays two white eggs, which she incubates alone for about 28 days. Once the young hatch she raises them without the help of the male.



The Andean Cock-of-the-rocks are common in the humid Andean cloud forests from Venezuela, through Colombia, Ecuador and Peru, to Bolivia. They can mostly be found at elevations of 1,640 to 7,874.feet (500 to 2400 meters) - typically preferring the lower and middle forest levels.

At this time, this species is not considered threatened and is, therefore, are evaluated as Least Concern on the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species.



Their main diet consists of fruit, insects (army ants), as well as small vertebrates, such as frogs and lizards



The Andean Cock-of-the-rock is the national bird of Peru.

Species Research by Sibylle Johnson


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