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Fr: Agami à ailes blanches
All : Weißflügel-Trompetervogel
Esp: Trompetero Aliblanco
Ital: Agami alibianche
Nd: Witvleugeltrompetvogel
Sd: Vitvingad trumpetarfågel


Patrick Ingremeau

Eduardo Andrés Jordan

Text by Nicole Bouglouan


HANDBOOK OF THE BIRDS OF THE WORLD Vol 3 by Josep del Hoyo-Andrew Elliott-Jordi Sargatal - Lynx Edicions - ISBN : 8487334202

A GUIDE TO THE BIRDS OF COLOMBIA by Steven L. Hilty and William L. Brown - Princeton University Press – ISBN 069108372X

L’ENCYCLOPEDIE MONDIALE DES OISEAUX - Dr Christopher M. Perrins - BORDAS - ISBN: 2040185607

Avibase (Lepage Denis)

BirdLife International (BirdLife International)

CREAGUS@Monterey Bay (Don Roberson)

Neomorphus, a site devoted to research, conservation and exploration in the tropics

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Pale-winged Trumpeter
Psophia leucoptera

Gruiforme Order – Psophiidae Family

Length: 42-52 cm
Weight: M: 1280-1440 g – F: 1180-1320 g

The Pale-winged Trumpeter belongs to the family Psophiidae which contains only three species. These birds have rare breeding system and practise co-operative polyandry (see explanations in “behaviour”). This system is known for only 8 birds’ species throughout the world. Trumpeters live in well-organized hierarchical groups.  

The adult has uniformly black plumage, making it very similar to the Grey-winged Trumpeter (P. crepitans). However, the large, oval-shaped hind-wing patch is white to buff. The outer wing-coverts show iridescent purple, green and bronze tips. We can see a purple iridescence at neck base too.
The head is black. The bill is pale blue to creamy-white, with pale yellow base. The eyes are dark brown. Legs and feet are pale blue-grey.
Both sexes are similar, but the female is slightly smaller than male.
The juvenile resembles adult, except the dark brown edges at tips of contour feathers of body. It is sexually mature at two years old.

We can find two subspecies:
P.l. leucoptera (here described and displayed), is found in E Peru, CW Brazil and NE Bolivia.
P.l. ochroptera is found in NW Brazil. This race has an ochraceous hind-wing patch instead white.

The Pale-winged Trumpeter gives loud calls, a rapid, descending series of 3-5 notes, followed by long, low-pitched, descending “Oh-oh-oh-oh-oh-oooooooh”. This call is usually used to proclaim the territory, and may continue throughout the night, at intervals of about 2h/2h30. Several groups often “exchange” their territorial calls when they leave the nightime roost at dawn.
During social interactions, other calls can be heard, harsher, more cackling sounds consisting of ascending notes.

The Pale-winged Trumpeter also calls to warn other group members about approaching predators. It produces loud, sharp squawks. Other mixed sounds such as hum and growl, and a distinctive “hm-hm-hm-hm-hm…” can be heard in front of other type of predators or other animals such as snakes.

The Pale-winged Trumpeter is resident in mature, thick tropical humid forest, and can be seen from lowlands up to 750 metres of elevation. This species usually remains far from humans.

See above in “subspecies”

The Pale-winged Trumpeter feeds primarily on pulp of ripe fruits from several plant species. It also feeds on arthropods, occasionally annelids and small vertebrates.
It forages on the forest floor from where it picks up fallen fruits, or removes them from low plants. It may often forage below trees where primates are feeding, involving numerous fallen items. Fruits are their main food resources.

During the breeding season, the Pale-winged Trumpeter forms co-operative breeding groups. Only some individual in the group breed, but all members take part in nesting duties.
Only the dominant female lays eggs. She copulates with the three highest ranking males of the group, Alpha, Beta and Gamma.
This mating system is known as co-operative polyandry, in which several males copulate with only one dominant female.

Breeding activities start when the male Alpha and the dominant female investigate for nesting cavities, about 2-3 months before the laying. They use mainly holes in tree trunks, usually excavated by other animals.
During the nest-site selection, the male or the female, or both, enter the cavity and remain inside during several seconds or minutes. They may toss out debris and leaves from the floor of the hole, and even sit down as during the incubation.

Several potential sites (10-12) are visited by the pair, but they select a cavity about one week before the laying. Both mates clean the hole, only leaving a thin lining of decayed wood. Such cavity is at about 10-12 metres above the ground.

Copulation begins six weeks before the laying, and the three males copulate with the dominant female. But usually and after some interactions between them, the male Alpha obtains about 2/3 of the copulations during the fertile period of the female.
Before mating, there is a short period of solicitation. The female crouches while presenting her rump to the male which walks in circles. But the female keeps her rump facing the male. After some seconds, it mounts the female and the copulation occurs.
Other social interactions occur in the group, but more information is needed to know exactly what kind of games or displays are performed by these birds.  

The Pale-winged Trumpeter is resident in its range, and the group maintains and defends a stable territory all year round.

The Pale-winged Trumpeter is mainly a terrestrial species. Trumpeters have weak power of flight, but they are able to perform short-distance flights. They only fly to reach the roosts and the nesting cavity, and to escape predators.

The breeding season takes place between September and April.
Once the nesting cavity is chosen and ready, the female lays 2-4 white eggs. The incubation lasts 23-29 days. The female incubates from dusk to late morning, and one of the males, often the male Alpha, incubates during the rest of the day.
There is some ritual ceremony while the change occurs. The group goes to the cavity and waits during the change. Then, they leave the nest-site for foraging in their territory.

At hatching, the chicks are covered with russet down above, and creamy-white below with black bib. There are black-and-white stripes too.
They leave the nest hole by jumping on morning. They depend on adults for food for three weeks, and remain still partially dependent until three months old.

The Pale-winged Trumpeter feeds mainly on ripe fruits. It also takes arthropods, worms and small vertebrates. It forages on the ground.

The Pale-winged Trumpeter appears widespread in undisturbed habitats, large reserves and remotes areas. The main threats are the destruction of their habitat and the hunting pressure.
However, in spite of some declines, the species is not currently threatened.