Meeting symbol: the trumpeter

The trumpeters (Psophia spp.) are the only truly Amazonian endemic bird family (Psophiidae). They occur throughout the Amazon in intact, primary terra firme forests, where they are very sensitive to habitat disturbance. In their distribution and diversity, they exemplify the classic Amazonian pattern of ecologically similar, congeneric species that

jacamim-grande

replace one another geographically across the major rivers of the basin. Thus, there is only one of the eight trumpeter species at any one locality in the Amazon, and each major interfluve has its own endemic species. Here at Manaus, three species occur within just a few miles of each other: one east of the Rio Negro (P. crepitans), one to the west (P. ochroptera), and one just across the Amazon River itself (P. leucoptera); a fourth species (P. viridis) can also be found not far downstream, on the east side of the Rio Madeira.

In addition to exemplifying the biogeographic patterns for which Amazonian birds have now become famous and that are perhaps most-easily observed at Manaus, trumpeters are also much sought after by birdwatchers and renowned locally for their behavior. In Brazilian Amazonian woods-lore, the jacamim (as it is called) is admired for its bravery in attacking snakes and being one of the few predators of forest turtles (jabutis). Nevertheless, trumpeters tame nicely in captivity and are often raised together with chickens where they naturally defend the flock against predator attacks. This habit of taking in and protecting other animals has led to a name for parents who willingly adopt and raise other people’s children (pai-jacamim). Trumpeters are highly social and playful, traits that we hope also capture the spirit of this joint meeting.