The Red-ruffed fruitcrow is a species of passerine bird, the only one of the monotypic genus Pyroderus, of the Cotingidae family. It is native to South America.


The male reaches a length of 38-43 cm, the female 35.5 -39.5 cm; in southeastern South America, northern Venezuela to the eastern Andes of Colombia, it is all black with a large bright fire red bib covering the throat and upper chest, with a certain scaly effect. Elsewhere the underparts are mainly rufous chestnut.


Original description

The species P. scutatus was described for the first time by the British naturalist George Shaw in 1792 under the scientific nameCoracias scutata; type locality «Nova Friburgo, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil».

The genus Pyroderus was described by the British ornithologist George Robert Gray in 1840.


According to the classification of the International Ornithological Congress (IOC) (Version 6.1, 2016) and Clements Checklist v.2015, 5 subspecies are recognized, with their corresponding geographical distribution:

Pyroderus scutatus occidentalis (Chapman, 1914) – Western Andes and western slope of the central Andes of Colombia, and western slope in northwest Ecuador.

Pyroderus scutatus granadensis (Lafresnaye, 1846) – Serranía del Perijá (on the Colombia-Venezuela border), north and west of Venezuela (Andes, and coastal mountains east to the Federal District) and in the eastern Andes and eastern slope of the Central Andes of Colombia.

Pyroderus scutatus masoni (Ridgway, 1886) – eastern subtropical Peru (south from Amazonas to Junín).

Pyroderus scutatus orenocensis (Lafresnaye, 1846) – tropical north of Venezuela (northeast of Bolívar) and north of adjacent Guyana.

Pyroderus scutatus scutatus (Shaw, 1792) – tropical southeast of Brazil (from Bahia and south of Goiás south to Rio Grande do Sul), east to east of Paraguay and northeast of Argentina (Misiones).


It is distributed fragmented in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Ecuador, Guyana, Paraguay, Peru and Venezuela.


Its natural habitat is the middle stratum and the subcanopy of lowland, humid, subtropical or tropical forests, subtropical or tropical humid montane areas; up to altitudes of 850 masl in the east and up to 2,200 m on the Andean slopes.


The males gather in small leks where they are exhibited in branches close to the ground, bending and spreading the red neck feathers, which hang from the body like a ruffle.


Palmito (Euterpe edulis) is one of the favorite foods of the species.

It feeds on fruits or large arthropods that it captures in flight or while perched. In the southeast of São Paulo, Brazil, it is regularly associated with other frugivorous birds such as toucans (Ramphastos dicolorus and Ramphastos vitellinus), arasarís (Pteroglossus bailloni), bird-bell (Procnias nudicollis) and the bluish thrush (Turdus flavipes) in various fruit bowls. like Trichilia, and others like Nectandra, Ocotea, Virola, Cecropia and Euterpe edulis palm heart. In the south of São Paulo it was observed associated with flocks of cerulean chara (Cyanocorax caeruleus) or the arasarí banana (P. bailloni).


It is generally solitary and inconspicuous; it stays inside the forest and rarely perches in the open. Sometimes it can be even curious.4


While on display they emit a deep and raucous call «ooom-ooom-ooom.» Outside of the lek they are almost silent, but occasionally emit a singular «ooom».


Avibase. 2011. Pyroderus scutatus. Downloaded from on 21/07/2011.

BirdLife International (2011) Species factsheet: Pyroderus scutatus. Downloaded from on 22/07/2011.

Foster, M. 1987. Feeding methods and efficiencies of selected frugivorous birds. The Condor 89: 566-580.

Hilty, S. L. y W. L. Brown. 2001. Guía de las Aves de Colombia. Princetn. Univ. Press, Princeton, NJ. 1030p.

IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. Version 2011.1. <>. Downloaded on 22 July 2011.

Jobling, C. 2010. The Helm dictionary of cientifics birds names. Christopher Helm and A & C Black Publishers Ltda. Londres. 433p.

Muir, J., D. Licata y T. E. Martin. 2008. Reproductive biology of the Red-ruffed Fruitcrow (Pyroderus scutatus granadensis). The Wilson journal of Ornithology 120(4):862-867.