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Temporal range: Miocene-Recent 13–0 Ma
Ariramba-de-cauda-ruiva (cropped).jpg
Adult female rufous-tailed jacamar
(Galbula ruficauda melanogenia)
Scientific classification e
Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Chordata
Class: Aves
Order: Piciformes
Family: Galbulidae
Genus: Galbula
Brisson, 1760
Type species
Alcedo galbula
Linnaeus, 1766

10, see text

Galbula is the type and largest genus of the jacamar family (Galbulidae) of piciform birds, and its suborder Galbulae. Sometimes, the Piciformes are split in two, with the Galbulae upranked to full order Galbuliformes.[1]

The genus was introduced by the French zoologist Mathurin Jacques Brisson in 1760 with the green-tailed jacamar (Galbula galbula) as the type species.[2][3] The name galbula is the Latin word for a small yellow bird.[4]

They are smallish to mid-sized forest birds of the Neotropics, with long pointed bills, elongated tails, and small feet. Colored in metallic iridescent hues – typically greenish – at least on the upperside, some have a red or brownish belly. Males and females are generally similar in appearance, but in most species differ in minor plumage details. As usual for Piciformes, they nest in burrows they dig out themselves. In the case of this genus, nests are dug in earthen banks along rivers or roads, or in termitaria. As with other jacamars but otherwise unknown among Piciformes, their chicks do not hatch naked. They have a piping song and feed in typical jacamar fashion, by catching flying arthropods, typically larger insects such has butterflies.[1]

Most Galbula species are fairly common in their natural range, which despite rampant deforestation is still extensive. Only the coppery-chested jacamar (G. pastazae) occurs in a more restricted region in the Andes foothills, and is considered a threatened species.[1]


Ten living species are presently recognized in this genus:[5]

Image Scientific name Common Name Distribution
Galbula albirostris - Yellow-billed jacamar (male).jpg Galbula albirostris Yellow-billed jacamar Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela
Galbula cyanicollis - Castelnau.jpg Galbula cyanicollis Blue-necked jacamar Amazon rainforest of Brazil, far northern Bolivia and eastern Peru
Ariramba-de-cauda-ruiva (cropped).jpg Galbula ruficauda Rufous-tailed jacamar southern Mexico, Central America and South America as far south as southern Brazil and Ecuador
Galbula galbula Keulemans.jpg Galbula galbula Green-tailed jacamar Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela
Coppery-chested Jacamar - Ecuador S4E0608.jpg Galbula pastazae Coppery-chested jacamar southern Colombia, Ecuador and far northern Peru
Bluish-fronted Jacamar - Manu NP 8499.jpg Galbula cyanescens Bluish-fronted jacamar western Amazon Basin of Brazil, Peru and far northwestern Bolivia.
GalbulaFuscicapillaWolf.jpg Galbula tombacea White-chinned jacamar Amazon Basin of Colombia, Amazonas and northern parts of Ecuador and Peru
Galbula chalcothorax Keulemans, b.jpg Galbula chalcothorax Purplish jacamar western Amazon Basin of Ecuador, Peru, southern Colombia and western parts of Acre and Amazonas
Purplish Jacamar (Galbula leucogastra).jpg Galbula leucogastra Bronzy jacamar Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, French Guiana, Guyana, Suriname, and Venezuela
Galbula dea - Paradise Jacamar.JPG Galbula dea Paradise jacamar Bolivia, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and the Guyanas

A fossil species, Galbula hylochoreutes, has been described from the mid-Miocene of Colombia. It was apparently more specialized for aerial feeding than the living species.


  1. ^ a b c Tobias, J.; Züchner T. & T.A. de Melo Júnior (2002) "Family Galbulidae (Jacamars)". in del Hoyo, J.; Elliot, A. & Sargatal, J. (editors). (2002). Handbook of the Birds of the World. Volume 7: Jacamars to Woodpeckers. Lynx Edicions. ISBN 84-87334-37-7
  2. ^ Brisson, Mathurin Jacques (1760). Ornithologie, ou, Méthode Contenant la Division des Oiseaux en Ordres, Sections, Genres, Especes & leurs Variétés (in French and Latin). Paris: Jean-Baptiste Bauche. Vol. 1, p. 42, Vol. 4, p. 86.
  3. ^ Peters, James Lee, ed. (1948). Check-list of Birds of the World. Volume 6. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press. p. 5.
  4. ^ Jobling, J.A. (2019). del Hoyo, J.; Elliott, A.; Sargatal, J.; Christie, D.A.; de Juana, E. (eds.). "Key to Scientific Names in Ornithology". Handbook of the Birds of the World Alive. Lynx Edicions. Retrieved 2 April 2019.
  5. ^ Gill, Frank; Donsker, David, eds. (2019). "Jacamars, puffbirds, toucans, barbets, honeyguides". World Bird List Version 9.1. International Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved 2 April 2019.