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Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(3), 319-322 ARTICLE September 2015 Solar worship: the Rufous-tailed Jacamar sunbathes on the ground 1,2,3 Ivan Sazima Museu de Zoologia, C.P. 6109, Universidade Estadual de Campinas, CEP 13083-970, Campinas, SP, Brazil. Projeto Dacnis, Estrada do Rio Escuro 4754, CEP 11680-000, Ubatuba, SP, Brazil. Corresponding author: firstname.lastname@example.org Received on 19 January 2015. Accepted on 30 March 2015. ABSTRACT T T: Sunbathing is a comfort behaviour widespread among birds, but remains inadequately documented for jacamars (Galbulidae). Herein I briefl y describe and illustrate sunbathing by the Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda) on a dirt road in the Atlantic forest of Southeastern Brazil. A female with worn tail tip displayed sunning behaviour after 9 min of dustbathing. Th e bird crouched on the ground with its back oriented towards the sun, spread the wings and remained in this posture for about 3 min, raising its head from time to time to watch fl ying insects. Th e sunning session ended with the bird ejecting a chitinous pellet. Afterwards, it flew to a perch where it preened for about 5 min before startin g to chase flyin g insects. Sunbathing by the Rufous- tailed Jacamar is similar to that displayed by puffbirds and some woodpeckers while on the ground. Because the jacamar preened its plumage after dustbathing and sunning, it is likely that the main functions for these behaviours on the sandy ground were feather maintenance and parasite removal. KE E EY Y Y-WORDS: Galbula ruficauda, com fort behaviour, sunning, dustbathing, Atlantic forest, Southeastern Brazil. INTRODUCTION a stretch of the Atlantic forest at Ubatuba, São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil, on 17 December 2014, in the Sunning or sunbathing is a comfort behaviour widespread late afternoon. Th roughout the observation, I used among birds (Kennedy 1969, Mueller 1972, Burton the “ad libitum” sampling method, which is adequate to record rare events (Altmann 1974). Digital photos 1985). While sunbathing, birds may display a trance- like state or condition (Mueller 1972, Cade 1973, of the jacamar displaying dustbathing, sunning, and Blem & Blem 1992) and I observed that, while in this regurgitating behaviours are housed as vouchers in the trance, several bird species such as doves, thrushes, and Museu de Zoologia, Universidade Estadual de Campinas fl ycatchers allow a close approach. Sunning can have (ZUEC). several functions, including thermal regulation, feather maintenance, gaining vitamin D, parasite removal, and RESULTS soothing irritated skin from emergence of new feathers (Kennedy 1969, Mueller 1972, Blem & Blem 1993, Clayton et alll. 2010). Although recorded for several I noticed a female jacamar with worn tail tip landing on the ground of a dirt road at the edge of a forest stretch species of Piciformes such as woodpeckers and puffbirds at 16:33 h (air temperature 29°-30°). Immediately upon (Rasmussen & Collar 2002, Winkler & Christie 2002), sunbathing remains inadequately documented for landing, the bird began a dustbathing session that lasted jacamars, Galbulidae (Tobias 2002). In a detailed account about 9 min (16:33-16:42 h), but was briefly interru pted on life history of the Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula three times because of people and a motorcycle moving on the road. The bird dustbathed with quick movements rufi cauda), there is no mention to sunning (Skutch 1963). of one wing and the corresponding body side touching the ground and stirring the sand. It interchanged the left METHODS and right body sides and wings while dustbathing. The dust was scattered on the ruffl ed feathers on the back I report here on a female Rufous-tailed Jacamar sunning by downwards and upwards wing movements (Figure 1a). Aside from these interchanging side movements, I on a dirt road (23°20'40"S, 44°50'38"W, 9 m. a. s. l.) in Solar worship: the Rufous-tailed Jacamar sunbathes on the ground Ivan Sazima observed that the bird also interchanged its feet to scratch directed the head towards the potential prey (Figure the ground backwards while dustbathing. 1c). It held the bill at an angle of about 45° to 80° while After dustbathing, the jacamar began sunning itself watching insects fl ying nearby, but resumed the sunning for 3 min (16:42-16:45 h). While sunning, the bird posture afterwards without leaving the ground. The crouched on the ground with its back oriented towards sunning session ended as the bird turned its body, opened the sun with its spread wings touching the ground its bill widely and ejected a chitinous pellet (Figure 1d) (Figure 1b). It fluffed the plumage a little, but the feathers that contained insect remains. Afterwards, it perched on a remained neatly arranged on the body. The bird raised branch and preened the feathers for about 5 min (16:46- its head from time to time to watch fl ying insects and 16:51 h) before starting to chase fl ying insects. FIGURE 1. A female Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficaud a) on a dirt road (23°20'40" S, 44°50'38" W, 9 m. a. s. l.) in a stretch of the Atlantic forest at Ubatuba, São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil. The bird dustbathes with movements of win gs and belly towards the substrate, raising dust that accumulates on its feathers (a); after dustbathing, the bird sunbathes crouched on the ground with spread wings and back oriented towards the sun (b); the bird raises the head to watch fl ying insect but continues sunning, (c); opening its mouth widely, the bird regurgitates a chitinous pellet and ends the sunning session (d). An additional record of a sunning Rufous-tailed Jacamar was obtained near the Rio Cachoeirinha (20°42'30"S, 48°51'00"W, 475 m a. s. l.), Olímpia, São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil, on 21 April 2010 at 14:31 h (D. L. Lucas Bessa, pers. comm.). Th e bird’s feathers were wet and it oriented the chest towards the sun while perched on a twig (Figure 2). Its wings were more spread than those of the individual I recorded on the ground. FIGURE 2. A female Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficaud a) recorded near the Rio Cachoeirinha (20°42'30" S, 48°51'00" W, 475 m a. s. l.), Olímpia, São Paulo, Southeastern Brazil, sunbathes on a twig, its plumage wet and the chest oriented towards the sun. Photo by D. L. Lucas Bessa. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(3), 2015 Solar worship: the Rufous-tailed Jacamar sunbathes on the ground Ivan Sazima DISCUSSION experimentally demonstrated (Blem & Blem 1993, Clayton et alll. 2010). Dustbathing possibly has some of the functions suggested or demonstrated for sunning, e.g., Sunning by jacamars seems to be poorly documented, if at all (Tobias 2002), and I am unaware of additional reports feather maintenance and parasite removal (Kelso 1978, on this comfort behaviour among the Galbulidae except Juana 1992, Sick 1997). Because the jacamar preened the for a photograph of a sunbathing Rufous-tailed Jacamar plumage after dustbathing and sunning, it seems likely that the main functions for its behaviour on the sandy perched on a branch after rain (Parasram 2009). The ground were feather maintenance and parasite removal posture of the wings is similar to that which I recorded for the jacamar sunning on the ground, as is the direction (Kelso 1978, Juana 1992, Blem & Blem 1993, Clayton of the back towards the sun (Parasram 2009). et alll. 2010). What called my attention in the ground sunbathing Sunning behaviour may be actually rare among jacamars, but there remains the possibility that some field jacamar was the head turning towards flying insects while ornithologists do not pay proper attention to widespread the bird was sunning. While perched and hunting, most jacamar species direct their attention upwards and hold and “commonplace” behaviours such as feather the bill at an angle of about 45° (Tobias 2002), and the maintenance, bathing, scratching, and other comfort sunning bird reported here was no exception even if behaviours (see Kelso 1978, Sazima 2011). unwilling to leave the ground. Compared with the sunning posture recorded for A A ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS Piciformes such as woodpeckers (Winkler & Christie 2002), the wings of jacamars tend to be less spread and the tail is not spread, a trait observed for another galbulid, I thank Marlies Sazima for loving support in the fi eld and at home; Tadeu Artur de Melo Júnior for useful comments the Three-toed Jacamar, Jacamaralcyon tridactyla a when on the subject; Luís Fábio da Silveira for confirmin g the perched (T. A. Mello Júnior pers. comm.). Th e Acorn sunning bird's sex; Dina Lúcia Lucas Bessa for her fi ne Woodpecker Melanerpes formicivorus s sits with wings partially spread while sunbathing and apparently falls photograph of a sunning bird; an anonymous reviewer for asleep (= trance?) for a few minutes (Koenig et al. 1995). valued suggestions; the CNPq for earlier fi nancial support. I did not observe the jacamar orienting the side of the head towards the sun as some woodpeckers and several R R REFERENCES bird species do (Burton 1985, Winkler & Christie 2002, pers. obs.). These differences may be due to the very small Altmann, J. 1974. Observational study of behaviour: sampling sample of sunning jacamars (Parasram 2009, this paper) methods. Behaviour, 49(3): 227-267. or they are characteristic of galbulids. Further natural Blem, C. R. & Blem, L. B. 1992. Some observations of sunbathing in history-oriented observations would clarify this subject. swallows. Journal of Field Ornithology, 63(1): 53-56. 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Handbook of the birds of the world. Vol. regurgitate pellets of chitinous parts of insects (Tobias 1, Ostrich to ducks. Barcelona, Lynx Edicions. 2002), but again I was unable to find information about Kelso, L. 1978. On plumage care of the Tree Sparrow (review of Fetisov, L. S. 1976. Ob ukhode polevogo vorobya, Passer montanus under which circumstances they display this behaviour. L. Vestnik Leningradskogo Universiteta, Seriya Biologiya, Ejecting pellets of undigested food is a behaviour often 1976(21): 53-60. In Russian). Banding Birds, 49(2): 193. observed in several bird species after sessions of preening Kennedy, R. J. 1969. Sunbathing behavior of birds. British Birds, or resting (pers. obs.). 62(7): 249-258. Kilham, L. 1975. Dirt-bathing by a Pileated Woodpecker. Bird The presumed or demonstrated functions of sunnin g banding, 46(3): 251-252. include thermal regulation, feather maintenance, gaining Koenig, W. D.; Stacey, P. B.; Stanback, M. T. & Mumme, R. 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Skutch, A. F. 1963. Life history of the Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficaudaa in Costa Rica. Ibis, 105(3): 354-368. Associate Editor: Marcos Pérsio Dantas Santos. Revista Brasileira de Ornitologia, 23(3), 2015
Ornithology Research – Springer Journals
Published: Sep 1, 2015
Keywords: Galbula rufcauda; comfort behaviour; sunning; dustbathing; Atlantic forest; Southeastern Brazil
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