The red-bellied warbler, a tropical bird

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The red-bellied warbler is an endemic bird of Colombia, Venezuela and Trinidad and Tobago. It has discreet plumage and a powerful song. This species helps to disperse seeds and is therefore considered to participate in the regeneration of forests.

The red-bellied warbler ( Ortalis ruficauda ) is a tropical bird of the order Galliformes. It is also known as “chachalaca” or “Cocrico” .

This species is part of an old group of birds of the family Cracidae , which includes about fifty species and is related to megapods. These are known as the mound-building birds that inhabit Australasia.

Distribution of the red-bellied warbler

The red-bellied warbler lives only in America . It is endemic in the neotropical zones: northeast of Colombia and north of Venezuela, although it also lives in Trinidad and Tobago, where it is one of the two national birds.


The red-bellied warbler lives in deciduous thickets, gallery forests, and patches of forest in the drier lowlands of northeastern Colombia, northern Venezuela, and Trinidad and Tobago, as mentioned above. -above.

In Venezuela, ortalids generally do not inhabit the depths of moist forests, but prefer brush, thick edges of streams or low forests found in drier regions of the tropics .

Physical characteristics

These birds are similar in appearance and size to hens and pheasants . They have a small head, a long neck, a body with large and strong legs and a relatively long tail. They also make low, resonant songs.

This species has opaque and discreet plumage . The predominant colors are gray, brown and black, which serve as camouflage on the branches and on the ground. Females of this species also have a dark brown morphology with a light brown body part.

Red-bellied warbler on a branch

Habits of the Red-bellied Oralid

The red-bellied warbler is primarily a diurnal bird . It is most active in the early morning, before dawn, when you hear them make audible calls.

These birds prefer to nest in the trees . They feed mainly on fruits and herbs, therefore tender fruits, seeds, flowers, green shoots and leaves. Because of its fruit consumption habits, this bird is a good seed disperser and therefore has an importance in the regeneration of forests .

Recent studies have qualified the red-bellied warbler as a species indicating the conservation status of forests. In addition, this bird is a social species which generally gathers to search in flocks of 4 to 20 birds .

Red-bellied ortalides generally rest during the hottest hours of the day. Of course, their resting places are always in the trees. They also take dust baths, which would help them fight external parasites. But they can also embark on a courtship display.


It should be noted that these birds are monogamous . In addition, they generally nest in trees. Both male and female help build the nest. During the reproduction phase, they can be territorial.

They usually lay two white eggs that the female incubates alone . The young are precocious and are born with the instinct to climb immediately and take refuge in the nesting tree. They are able to fly in the days after hatching.

Two red-bellied prawns

The song of the red-bellied warbler

Many specimens of the red-bellied warbler emit extremely loud sounds. They have a very large trachea which guarantees that his calls can be heard more than a kilometer away.

Usually, the clouds of ortalids emit very loud sounds in choir. Their songs are dominated by a crowd of chuckles, cries and croaking .

State of conservation of the red-bellied warbler

Traditionally, the cracid family has been hunted in rural Neotropic villages , due to its larger size compared to other forest birds. On the other hand, the increasing deforestation of their habitat is also influencing the accelerated decline of local populations of cracids throughout Latin America .