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Rufous-tailed Jacamar - BirdForum Opus

Photo © by renato.santos.4b
Iraquara, Bahia, Brazil, 28 August 2021
Galbula ruficauda


Female of the southern group
Photo by oderson
Itumbiara, GO, Brazil, August 2008

19–25 cm (7½-9¾ in); Long slender bill
Long tail has rufous underside, green upperside.
Female has a rufous-buffy throat; males have a white throat (black chin in one subspecies). Metallic green above, in some subspecies with yellow-golden reflections, and the underparts vary from rufous to orange depending on subspecies; paler in female. Male has a green breast band in most subspecies.


Mexico, throughout Central America and most of South America to Argentina, and including Trinidad and Tobago but excluding Chile.



Female (food received from male, perhaps as part of mating ritual)
Photo by arthurgrosset
Carajás, Pará, Brazil, October 2005

Six subspecies are recognized[1]. These have been proposed for split into a northern and a southern species.

  • Northern group:
  • G. r. melanogenia: Black-chinned
Lowlands of south-eastern Mexico (Veracruz) to western Ecuador
  • G. r. ruficauda: Rufous-tailed
  • G. r. brevirostris:
  • North East Colombia and north-western Venezuela (Lake Maracaibo region)
  • G. r. pallens:
  • Arid tropical northern Colombia
  • Southern group:
  • G. r. rufoviridis: Spot-tailed
  • G. r. heterogyna:
  • Bolivia east of the Andes and south-western Brazil (western Mato Grosso)


Male of the northern group
Photo by Gallus
Island of Tobago, Trinidad and Tobago, March 2005

Forest borders and clearings, secondary growth thickets, alongside streams, and marshes.



They eat a wide variety of insects caught in flight.


The nest is a burrow in a bank or termite mound. The clutch consists of 2-4 rufous-spotted white eggs.


  1. Clements, J. F., T. S. Schulenberg, M. J. Iliff, D. Roberson, T. A. Fredericks, B. L. Sullivan, and C. L. Wood. 2017. The eBird/Clements checklist of birds of the world: v2017, with updates to August 2017. Downloaded from http://www.birds.cornell.edu/clementschecklist/download/
  2. Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive (retrieved Mar 2018)
  3. Dissertation by Dr. Witt read August 2009
  4. Wikipedia

Recommended Citation

External Links

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