|Rufous-tailed jacamar (Galbula ruficauda)|
The jacamars are a family, Galbulidae, of near passerine birds from tropical South and Central America, extending up to Mexico. The family contains five genera and 18 species. The family is closely related to the puffbirds, another Neotropical family, and the two families are often separated into their own order, Galbuliformes, separate from the Piciformes. They are principally birds of low-altitude woodlands and forests, and particularly of forest edge and canopy.
The jacamars are small to medium-sized perching birds, 14–34 cm (5.5–13.4 in) in length and weighing 17–75 g (0.60–2.65 oz). They are elegant, glossy birds with long bills and tails. In appearance and behaviour they show resemblances to the Old World bee-eaters, as most arial insectivores tend to have short, wide bills rather than long, thin ones. The legs are short and weak, and the feet are zygodactylic (two forward-pointing toes, two backward-pointing). Their plumage is often bright and highly iridescent, although it is quite dull in a few species. There are minor differences in plumage based on sex, males often having a white patch on the breast.
Diet and feeding
Jacamars are insectivores, taking a variety of insect prey (many specialize on butterflies and moths) by hawking in the air. Birds sit in favoured perches and sally towards the prey when it is close enough. Only the great jacamar varies from the rest of the family, taking prey by gleaning and occasionally taking small lizards and spiders.
The breeding systems of jacamars have not been studied in depth. They are thought to generally be monogamous, although a few species are thought to engage in cooperative breeding sometimes, with several adults sharing duties. The family nests in holes either in the soil or in arboreal termite mounds. Ground-nesting species usually nest in the banks of rivers (or, more recently, roads), although if these are not available they will nest in the soil held by the roots of fallen trees. Bank-nesting jacamars can sometimes be loosely colonial. Clutch sizes are between one and four eggs, and usually more than one. Both parents participate in incubation. Little is known about the incubation times of most species, but it lasts for between 19–26 days in the rufous-tailed jacamar. Chicks are born with down feathers, unique among the piciformes.
- Genus: Galbalcyrhynchus
- Genus: Brachygalba
- Genus: Jacamaralcyon
- Three-toed jacamar, Jacamaralcyon tridactyla
- Genus: Galbula
- Yellow-billed jacamar, Galbula albirostris
- Blue-necked jacamar, Galbula cyanicollis
- Rufous-tailed jacamar, Galbula ruficauda
- Green-tailed jacamar, Galbula galbula
- Coppery-chested jacamar, Galbula pastazae
- Bluish-fronted jacamar, Galbula cyanescens
- White-chinned jacamar, Galbula tombacea
- Purplish jacamar, Galbula chalcothorax
- Bronzy jacamar, Galbula leucogastra
- Paradise jacamar, Galbula dea
- Genus: Jacamerops
- Great jacamar, Jacamerops aureus
- Jacamar videos in the Internet Bird Collection