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Three-toed Jacamar Jacamaralcyon tridactyla
BirdLife is updating this factsheet for the 2016 Red List
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Although capable of surviving in some degraded woodlots, this species has undergone a major decline, such that the remaining population is believed to be very small and fragmented. Habitat loss and degradation continue to threaten populations, which are likely to be declining. For these reasons it qualifies as Vulnerable.

Taxonomic source(s)
del Hoyo, J.; Collar, N. J.; Christie, D. A.; Elliott, A.; Fishpool, L. D. C. 2014. HBW and BirdLife International Illustrated Checklist of the Birds of the World. Barcelona, Spain and Cambridge UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International.
SACC. 2006. A classification of the bird species of South America. Available at: #

18 cm. Dull olivaceous, long-billed bird. Dark grey upperparts glossed green. White breast and lower belly with olivaceous-grey flanks and vent. Blackish throat, warm brown face, with bold buffy streaking on crown, whiter streaks on malar. Long tail and wings dusky. Slender, blackish bill. Voice Complex series of ascending whistles mixed with raspy notes, often delivered in groups. Also wheet call. Hints In small groups, perched motionless in subcanopy, somewhat concealed. In vicinity of exposed earth banks.

Distribution and population
Jacamaralcyon tridactyla now occurs chiefly in small numbers at a few sites in the rio Paraíba valley in Rio de Janeiro state, and in the dry regions of east Minas Gerais, south-east Brazil. There are older records from Espírito Santo (known from only two localities and not since 1940), São Paulo (not since at least 1975) and Paraná (not reliably since 1961). Recent records from Minas Gerais have widened its known distribution (Machado et al. 1998, T. A. de Melo Júnior in litt. 1998, 1999, Silveira and Nobre 1998, Vasconcelos et al. 1999, Ribon et al. 2002) and suggest that further populations may exist within this area. It was considered very common in the early and mid-19th century and must have suffered a very substantial decline in numbers. It is now local even in the core of its current diminished range.

Population justification
The total population is placed in the band 250-999 mature individuals, equating to 375-1,499 individuals in total, rounded here to 350-1,500 individuals.

Trend justification
A rapid and on-going population decline is suspected on the basis of habitat destruction and fragmentation.

It is now primarily restricted to small patches of dry forest, possibly associated with streams, but can persist in degraded areas where the original vegetation has been replaced (e.g. by Eucalyptus plantations [Machado and Lamas 1996, Silveira and Nobre 1998]) if a native understorey remains. It is dependent on earth banks (streamsides and roadcuttings) for nesting-cavities (Silveira and Nobre 1998). Individuals are conspicuous, perching in exposed positions in the subcanopy (8-15 m), though also lower (T. A. de Melo Júnior in litt. 1998, 1999, G. M. Kirwan in litt. 1999), from where they sally to take aerial insect prey (Silveira and Nobre 1998). Preferred food items are small cryptic Lepidoptera (G. M. Kirwan in litt. 1999) and Hymenoptera (Machado and Lamas 1996), but birds also take Diptera, Odonata, Homoptera, Hemiptera and Isoptera (Machado and Lamas 1996). Vocalisations and courtship behaviour increase at the start of the rainy season, but decrease during incubation (Vasconcelos et al. 1999).

Widespread and continuing habitat destruction have been responsible for the significant decline in numbers and range of this species. In addition, its specialised habitat requirements ensure that it is absent from many degraded woodlots. Its resulting highly fragmented distribution is very vulnerable to further habitat loss and the effects of small population sizes, such as local extinctions and inbreeding.

Conservation Actions Underway
It is protected under Brazilian law. It is known from Caratinga Biological Station, the environs of Rio Doce State Park, Serra do Brigadeiro State Park, Fernão Dias State Park and UFMG Ecological Station, Minas Gerais. Conservation Actions Proposed
Survey suitable habitat to clarify distribution, status and ecological requirements. Prevent disturbance of the understorey and earth banks at known localities (Silveira and Nobre 1998). Protect key sites, especially in south-east Minas Gerais and the rio Paraíba valley.

Collar, N. J.; Gonzaga, L. P.; Krabbe, N.; Madroño Nieto, A.; Naranjo, L. G.; Parker, T. A.; Wege, D. C. 1992. Threatened birds of the Americas: the ICBP/IUCN Red Data Book. International Council for Bird Preservation, Cambridge, U.K.

Machado, A. B. M.; da Fonseca, G. A. B.; Machado, R. B.; Aguiar, L. M. De S.; Lins, L. V. 1998. Livro Vermelho: das espécies ameaçadas de extinça1o da fauna de Minas Gerais. Fundaça1o Biodiversitas, Belo Horizonte.

Machado, R. M.; Lamas, I. R. 1996. Avifauna associada a um relorestamento de eucalipto no município de Antônio Dias, Minas Gerais. Ararajuba 4(1): 15-22.

Ribon, R.; Whitney, B. M.; Pacheco, J. F. 2002. Discovery of Bahia Spintail Synallaxis cinerea in north-east Minas Gerais, Brazil, with additional records of some rare and threatened montane Atlantic Forest birds. Cotinga 17: 46-50.

Silveira, L. F.; Rocha Nobre, H. 1998. New records of Three-toed Jacamar Jacamaralcyon tridactyla in Minas Gerais, Brazil, with some notes on its biology. Cotinga: 47-51.

Vasconcelos, M. F. De; Maldonado-Coelho, M.; Duraes, R. 1999. Notas sobre algumas espécies de aves ameaçadas e pouco conhecidas da porçao Meridional da Cadeia do Espinhaço, Minas Gerais. Melopsittacus: 44-50.

Further web sources of information
Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Detailed species account from the Threatened birds of the Americas: the BirdLife International Red Data Book (BirdLife International 1992). Please note, taxonomic treatment and IUCN Red List category may have changed since publication.

Explore HBW Alive for further information on this species

Recuento detallado de la especie tomado del libro Aves Amenazadas de las Americas, Libro Rojo de BirdLife International (BirdLife International 1992). Nota: la taxonomoía y la categoría de la Lista Roja de la UICN pudo haber cambiado desde esta publicación.

Search for photos and videos, and hear sounds of this species from the Internet Bird Collection

Text account compilers
Benstead, P., Capper, D., Clay, R., Sharpe, C J, Symes, A., Williams, R.

Kirwan, G., Melo Júnior, T.

IUCN Red List evaluators
Butchart, S., Symes, A.

Recommended citation
BirdLife International (2016) Species factsheet: Jacamaralcyon tridactyla. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016. Recommended citation for factsheets for more than one species: BirdLife International (2016) IUCN Red List for birds. Downloaded from on 22/10/2016.

This information is based upon, and updates, the information published in BirdLife International (2000) Threatened birds of the world. Barcelona and Cambridge, UK: Lynx Edicions and BirdLife International, BirdLife International (2004) Threatened birds of the world 2004 CD-ROM and BirdLife International (2008) Threatened birds of the world 2008 CD-ROM. These sources provide the information for species accounts for the birds on the IUCN Red List.

To provide new information to update this factsheet or to correct any errors, please email BirdLife

To contribute to discussions on the evaluation of the IUCN Red List status of Globally Threatened Birds, please visit BirdLife's Globally Threatened Bird Forums.

Additional resources for this species

ARKive species - Three-toed jacamar (Jacamaralcyon tridactyla) 0

Key facts
Current IUCN Red List category Vulnerable
Family Galbulidae (Jacamars)
Species name author (Vieillot, 1817)
Population size 250-999 mature individuals
Population trend Decreasing
Distribution size (breeding/resident) 67,200 km2
Country endemic? Yes
Links to further information
- Additional Information on this species