The buff-throated purpletuft belongs to family of birds endemic to the tropical and subtropical forests of America, many of which have showy plumage. The plumage of this species is not particularly vivid, other than a small tuft of violet feathers on the sides of the male. As the name so clearly describes, the throat is a cinnamon buff colour, as is the chest and under the tail. The rest of the plumage is grey, with white underparts barred with grey, and some white on the rump. There are two subspecies; Iodopleura pipra leucopygia has more noticeable white on the rump and a more extensive buff area on the throat than Iodopleura pipra pipra. Females can be distinguished by the lack of purple feathers, whilst juveniles have conspicuous white feather tips (2).
Birds from the Cotingidae family are known for being fruit-eaters, and the buff-throated purpletuft feeds primarily on mistletoe berries, which dictates its movements, as it follows the seasonal fruiting of this preferred food (2)(4). They also feed on a few other fruits and small insects, picked off vegetation or snatched from the air. Breeding may occur from July to October, when a single egg is laid in a tiny cup-shaped nest situated high above the ground (2)
The subspeciesI.p. leucopygia occurs on the coastal region of north east Brazil, in Paraíba, Pernambuco, Alagoas and Bahia. I.p. leucopygia can be found in coastal east Brazil in the states of Espírito Santo, Rio de Janeiro, and São Paulo (2).
The buff-throated purpletuft occurs in the canopy of humid forest in coastal and lowland areas, up to elevations of 1,000 meters. It can tolerate secondary and disturbed forest, and also inhabits cacao plantations and clearings with scattered trees (2)(3).
The buff-throated purpletuft has a small range and has only been recorded from a few sites, which makes it particularly vulnerable to the loss of forest occurring on the Atlantic coast of Brazil. In this densely populated region of Brazil, extensive areas of habitat are being cleared at a rapid rate for agriculture and urbanization (5). The fragmentation of forests hampers the buff-throated purpletuft’s ability to travel freely to follow the fruiting of their primary food source (4).
The buff-throated purpletuft is protected under Brazilian law, and it occurs within a number of protected areas, such as Serra dos Órgãos National Park and Desengano and Serra do Mar State Parks (2). Due to the rapid rate of forest destruction in eastern Brazil, protection of further, important forest areas would greatly benefit the future survival of the buff-throated purpletuft (2).
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