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December 2, 2021

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Friday, November 5, 2021

Return of Bird of the Week: Lanceolated Monklet

Lanceolated Monklet, Manu Road, Peru

Lanceolated Monklet, Manu Road, Peru

Another member of the Puffbird family, this is the Lanceolated Monklet, one of the rarest birds WC has photographed. “Lanceolated” means “spear-shaped,” a reference to the chest and flank streaking. “Monklet” is a play on the name of its cousins, the Nunbird, but the Monklet is pretty mall, so instead of being a monk it’s a “monklet.” It’s one of the smallest members of the Puffbird family, only 5-6 inches long. The large head and bill, in contrast with the small tail, makes the bird slightly comical. Its appearance is very distinctive, with thoseĀ profuse long recurved whitish nasal tufts and chin feathers, black-bordered white loral patch continuing across forehead and white rim at rear edge of eye.

Lanceolated Monklet, Manu Road, Peru

Lanceolated Monklet, Manu Road, Peru

This Monklet has a wide range, extending from Costa Rica to to Bolivia, but is described as rare across that entire range. While it has shown some adaptability to second growth forest, is is likely threatened or near-threatened. It’s also monotypic, the only species in its genus, and seems the same across its entire range: there are no known subspecies. This is mostly an insectivore, as that big beetle suggests. It’s a tunnel nester, or at least the only reported found nest was in a 15-inch long tunnel.

And other than that, ornithologists know almost nothing about the species. That’s partly because it can be so hard to find. But mostly because there just aren’t the resources to study all of the Neotropic species.

For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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