This extraordinarily beautiful bird of humid tropical forests is found only in eastern Panama and parts of Colombia, Venezuela and Ecuador. Laura saw and photographed two males in Darien Province in Panama. The blue cotinga (in Colombia, Ecuador, Venezuela and Panama) (Cotinga nattererii), is a species of passeriform bird belonging to the Cotinga genus of the Cotingidae family. It is native to Colombia, northwestern Ecuador, eastern and central Panama, and western Venezuela.
In Venezuela, it is found in the clearings of the tropical forest, near Lake Maracaibo and has also been observed in deposits in the states of Mérida and Táchira. In Colombia, it is found along the entire length of the Pacific coast and the Magdalena river valley. It is rare in the Ecuadorian province of Esmeraldas. In Panama, it is found in the east of the province of Colón and west of that of Panama, near the city of La Chorrera and has often been seen in the clearings of Barro Colorado. This species is considered rare and local in its natural habitat, the canopy and the edges of humid forests up to 1000 m of altitude.
It is 18 to 18.5 cm in length and has a short, black bill. Adult, its shape resembles that of a pigeon. Sexual dimorphism is very pronounced. Most of the male’s plumage is bright blue. It has a black eye ring. The wings are black, with the exception of the small coverts and when flapping, blue edges are seen on the feathers. On the throat and upper part of the chest, it has a purplish black spot. The belly is decorated with a blackish purple stripe.
The female is dark brown on top. It has the white plumage of tiles. A gray eye ring is barely visible. The chest has a sandy background color and the belly is yellowish cinnamon. Most notably on the chest, but also on the belly, the feathers are darker towards the center so that they look like scales. The tail is dark brown.
Generally it is solitary, preferably in the branches of the upper stratum of the forest, but it is possible that several look for food in the same fruit tree. Your flight is quick and easy. Their song is generally not heard, and the flapping of their wings is the only audible indication of their presence. The blue cotinga (Cotinga nattererii) is a species of bird in the family Cotingidae. It is found in Colombia, north-west Ecuador, eastern and central Panama and western Venezuela in tropical moist lowland forests and heavily degraded former forest. In relation to range and population size this species is not considered to be vulnerable.
The blue cotinga is a plump, dove-like bird with a small head. It grows to a length of about 7 inches (18 cm). The male has glossy blue plumage and a black bib with a purple iridescent sheen on the throat and breast. There is a black ring round the eye, and the wings and tail are black with broad blue margins. On the belly there is a circular patch of purple. The female looks quite different; she is dark brown above, each feather having a pale margin which gives the bird a scaly appearance, and the underparts are pale brown with each feather having a buff margin. The turquoise cotinga (Cotinga ridgwayi) is a similar species with which this bird might be confused, but it has a different range.
This species is native to Central America and South America. Its range extends from central Panama southwards to northwestern Ecuador and Venezuela. It occurs on the borders of moist woodland, in the canopy of primary forest and in tall secondary forest. Its altitudinal range is up to about 900 meters (3,000 ft).
The blue cotinga lives high in the canopy. It is mostly a solitary bird, but may sometimes be seen in groups on a fruiting tree; the diet consists of fruit, plucked while hovering briefly. The male often sits in a stationary position on a high perch on an emergent tree, under which conditions his brilliant blue colour may be indiscernible while he is silhouetted against the sky. This bird does not seem to have a song or call, but the male may, while in flight, make a whirring or rattling sound with his wings, perhaps a form of display. C. nattererii has a very wide range and is described as fairly common. For these reasons, the International Union for Conservation of Nature has rated its conservation status as being of «least concern».