The Cock-of-The-Rock is a "familiar name," according
to Swainson in 1837 (Classification of Birds ii. page 76), "long
bestowed" on a bird from the northern parts of South America. However,
his seems to be the first rendering into English of the old French Coq-de-roche,
as Barrere (Fr. Equinox.
The flat-sided crest borne by the bird was likened by the
colonists to that of the Hoopoe, and
accordingly Swainson in 1745 (Ornithol.
page 46) placed it in the genus
while Edwards a few years after drew its head (Gleanings,
264) as that of the "Hoopoe Hen," having received it, it from Surinam under
the name of Widdehop
(Hoopoe), and thus Linnaeus was originally
induced to follow their example, though finally he referred it to the genus
Meanwhile, Brisson, who first gave a good description and illustration
of it, made it in 1760 the representative of a new genus Rupicola.
1769 Vosmaer again illustrated it, expressing his surprise that theDutch
authors, who had described so many beautiful creatures from their possessions
in South America, had never mentioned this remarkable bird.
It has now for many years been recognized as The
Within this genus there are two species.
The first, the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (R. Rupicola) has an almost
wholly orange-coloured plumage, as well as its disk-like crest, which render
it beautifully conspicuous. It inhabits Guiana, and the lower countries
of the Amazons. Further to the westward it is replaced by the more
Andean Cock-of-the-rock (Rupicola peruviana).
Both species mainly feed on friuts. The male Cock-of-the-rock is
polygamous. He will take his own space within an shared arena where
he will display with other birds of this same species in an attempt to
attract a female. The female bird builds her shallow nest created
from mud and plant matter on rocky walls.
The genus is now generally placed in the Family
though Garrod, on account of certain differences in the formation of the
crural arteries, which seem to be of no great taxonomic value, had separated
it from them in the 19th Century.