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December 2, 2021

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Friday, November 5, 2021

Return of Bird of the Week: Black-faced Nunbird

Black-fronted Nunbird, Easter Peru

Black-fronted Nunbird, Easter Peru

Here’s another member of the Puffbird family, and close cousin to last week’s White-fronted Nunbird, the Black-fronted Nunbird. At least in WC’s experience, this is a much more common species, and unlike its cousins, hangs out in the lower understory, making it a little easier to photograph. It’s also a little more active than its more sedate White-fronted cousin. Its call is very different, an upslurred  “curry-curry-curry” to WC’s elderly ears.

The head is uniform black, with that bright orange bill. There’s a small bare patch on the face, behind the eye, also black. The body shows highlights of blue-gray and blue-black.

Black-fronted Nunbird, Easter Peru

Black-fronted Nunbird, Easter Peru

This species ranges across the Amazon basin and into southeastern Columbia. It’s something of a riverine and lacustrine habitat specialist. It’s interesting that it evolved away from the other nunbirds just by preference for a habitat zone.

There are two recognized subspecies, the second being confined to eastern Bolivia.

Black-fronted Nunbird, Easter Ecuador

Black-fronted Nunbird, Easter Ecuador

Even for a Neotropic species, this species is poorly known to ornithology. Because of its wide distribution and generalist diet, it is classified as Least Threatened, with the greatest threat being habitat loss. But that’s a guess; there’s no data.

For more bird photos, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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