Bell Bird

The Bell Bird is an English name which is given in various parts of the world to a number of very different species, but always from the way that their call resembles the sound of a bell. In Guiana, it is applied to the Campanero of the Spanish inhabitants, belonging to the Family Cotingidae (birds of this family sometimes being known as Chatterer).
Bell Bird
Bell Bird (Chasmorhynchus Nudicollis)

Beak of Bell Bird
Beak of Bellbird (Chasmorhynchus Nudicollis)

Waterton in his book "Wanderings, 2nd Journey" wrote that this bird is approximately the same size as a jay, with snowy white plumage.  He noted a spiral tube of almost 3 inches in length rising from the bird's head, this being black and dotted over with small white-colored feathers.  Waterton continued that this tube was able to reach the bird's mouth, and appeared like a spire when filled with air, yet looked pendulous when "empty".  However, Mr Salvin recorded his impression in Ibis, 1865, page. 93, that "no inflation takes place, and that the bird possesses little or no voluntary muscular control over these excrescences" in an allied species from Costa Rica, referred to at that time as Chasmorhynchus tricarunculatus - so called from its three elongated appendages, which in appearance call to mind the long pendants of an orchid (Cypripedium caudatum).

The fact that a Brazilian species, referred to by 19th century ornithologits as Chasmorhynchus nudicollis, was said to utter a note which, if not actually "bell-like" in tone, had a clear metallic ring, though the bird, as may be seen by the picture, has no caruncle, shows that this feature is not likely to be connected with the power of producing the peculiar sound.  A fourth species, referred to as Chasmorhynchus variegatus, was said to inhabit Trinidad and the neighboring part of South America.  Its loud note was likened by  Leotaud (Ois Trinidad, P. 260) to the sound of a cracked bell.  Its call was described as being loud and clear, like the sound of a bell, and apparently could be heard from three miles away.  The bird was said to toll, pause for a minute then toll again and pause once more.  These minute long pauses would continue for three times before a longer six to eight minute pause, after which the tolling would continue at one minute spaces for another three times.

In New Zealand the name Bell Bird is given to the Anthornis melanura of the Family Meliphagidae (HONEY SUCKER, also known as honeyeater), whose melody struck the companions of Cook, when on his second voyage the ship was lying in Queen Charlotte's Sound, as being "like small bells most exquisitely tuned" - a bird which owing to the destruction of the forests no longer exists in many parts of that country, and for whom fears of potential future extinction have been raised in the past. In Australia, according to Gould, two species of birds belonging to a different genus of the Family last-named are called Bellbird for the same reason.  One of them is Manorhina melanophrys, also called the Bell Miner.  The other Gould referred to as Orececa cristata, which is possibly a reference to the Laniidae (SHRIKE).

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