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Brazil Trip Part Five: Other Birds

July 30, 2009 2 comments

Today, I am going to share photos of  some of the “non-parrot” birds I saw in Brazil.

This first set of  photos is of birds  I saw in and around Pirenopolis, a town about 150 km from Brasilia. It was a nice town to visit.

A burrowing owl outside its den in a horse pasture. They were surprisingly common.

A burrowing owl outside its den in a horse pasture. They were surprisingly common.

Heron

Whistling Heron

A kingfisher.

A (ringed?) kingfisher. Kingfishers are one of my favorite bird types. They're very beautiful.

Red-legged Seriema. These were quite common in open areas, such as in cattle pastures.

Red-legged Seriema. These were quite common in open areas, such as in cattle pastures.

Toco Toucan eating palm fruits.

Toco Toucan eating palm fruits.

This next set of pictures was taken at the Parque das Nacoes Indigenas in Campo Grande, which was right across from the hotel I stayed at. This park is quite big and has a lot of birds, in addition to a herd of capybara. There are also museums around it and a restaurant.

Bittern

A Campo Flicker.

A Campo Flicker.

A Great Kiskadee. These guys are very common, both in the countryside and in cities. This guy was banging the heck out of that nut to get it open.

A Great Kiskadee. These guys are very common, both in the countryside and in cities. This guy was banging the heck out of that nut to break it into bite-sized pieces.

And now for bird pictures taken in the countryside of the southern Pantanal region.

Crested Caracara. They are very common in the Pantanal. They're pretty flexible and will scavenge but can also hunt.

Crested Caracara. They are very common in the Pantanal. They're pretty flexible and will scavenge but can also hunt. They're like a raptor crossed with a crow.

Chestnut-eared Aracari, a small species of toucan.

Chestnut-eared Aracari, a small species of toucan.

Rheas, South America's version of the ostrich.

Rheas, South America's version of the ostrich.

Screamers, screaming.

Screamers, screaming.

Guinea Fowl, a domestic bird that originated in sub-Saharan Africa. I just found it funny that they would chase the truck.

Guinea Fowl, a domestic bird that originated in sub-Saharan Africa. I just found it funny that they would chase the truck like this.

Wood Storks.

Wood Storks.

And finally, some Bare-faced Currasows I saw at a farm near Bonito:

The male.

The male.

A pair. The male is the black one.

A pair. The male is the black one.

The next post in this series will show pictures of the mammals I saw.

Related Posts:

Brazil Trip Part One: Yellow-chevroned Parakeets and Peach-fronted Conures

Brazil Trip Part Two: Nanday Conures and Blue-fronted Amazons

Brazil Trip Part Three: Quaker Parakeets

Brazil Trip Part Four: Hyacinth and Greewing Macaws, with a bonus Conure!

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Brazil Trip Part Four: Hyacinth and Greenwing Macaws, with a bonus conure

July 24, 2009 6 comments

One of the big highlights of my trip to Brazil was the group of Hyacinth Macaws that lived right by the lodge I stayed at.  This was one parrot species I absolutely did not want to miss seeing. They are truly spectacular birds, and are the largest of all the flying parrots (the flightless Kakapo parrots of New Zealand are heavier).

Hyacinth Macaws can do just fine  living alongside cattle ranches, as long as they have palm trees and manduvi trees available.  The palm trees provide the food they need and the manduvi trees provide nesting sites.

Hyacinth Macaws in a palm tree

Hyacinth Macaws in a palm tree

Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaw

Hyacinth Macaws primarily eat palm fruits, particularly those of the acuri palm tree. These fruits are very hard for them to open. However, cattle will sometimes eat palm fruits, but they cannot digest them completely. They can, however, digest off the outer coating of the palm fruits. When the fruits come out in the cattle manure, they are largely intact but are missing the very tough, smooth outer coating. Hyacinth Macaws will take these easier to open processed fruits, break them open and extract the nutritious meat on the inside.

Hyacinth_many

Hyacinth_post

After I spent some time in the Pantanal, I headed to a town in the same province called Bonito. Bonito is mainly known for its crystal clear rivers full of colorful fish.  There is also a place there called “Buraco das Araras,” which means, “Hole of Macaws.” It’s basically a large sinkhole that was formed when an underground cave collapsed. It’s about 120 meters deep.  Greenwing Macaws will nest in holes on the side of the cliffs there.

greenwing3

greenwing5

greenwiing

Buraco das Araras

Buraco das Araras

The last species of parrot I managed to photograph in Brazil was the Green-cheeked Conure. I saw a couple flocks  of these while on a hike on a ranch near Bonito. However, they were really hard to get pictures of! They tended to land at the top of trees with very dense foliage. However, this one stood out on a branch for a little while, and I managed to snap his picture:

Green-cheek Conure

Green-cheek Conure

Next up: Pictures of non-parrot birds I photographed in Brazil!

Related posts:

Brazil Trip Part One: Yellow-chevroned Parakeets and Peach-fronted Conures

Brazil Trip Part Two: Blue-fronted Amazons and Nanday Conures

Brazil Trip Part Three: Quaker Parakeets

Brazil Trip Part Three: Quaker Parakeets

July 17, 2009 3 comments

I have been writing a series of posts about a recent trip I took to Brazil, and today I am writing about Quaker Parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus).  All the pictures with this update were taken in the southern Pantanal region of Brazil. Quaker Parakeets are very common there.  Where I stayed, they had built several nests at the top of palm trees.  The dead leaves hanging over the nests acted like “curtains” over the entrance of their nests.  The palm leaves concealed many of the nests, but here’s one where I could see the entrance:

Quaker Parakeet Nest

Quaker Parakeet Nest

Quakers are the only parrot species that creates such large nests out of sticks. Most parrots nest in natural tree cavities, although a few species will nest in the side of cliffs.  Quaker nests are communal affairs, and several birds will live in each nest.  They use the nests for raising young, but they also sleep in the nests during the non-breeding season.  One nest may have several “doors” and chambers. Young Quaker Parakeets may help their parents raise young before they start families of their own.

There is one subspecies of Quaker Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus luchsi), found in central Bolivia, that nests in cliffs

Quakers and their nest, which is underneath the palm leaves.

Quakers and their nest, which is underneath the palm leaves.

Wild Quakers are incredibly busy birds and seem to spend quite a bit of the day adding sticks to their nests.  They are also very noisy which makes their nests quite easy to locate. They even chatter away while inside the nests and only quiet down once it starts to get dark.

Quakers in their nest

Quakers in their nest

Quaker Parakeet

Quaker Parakeet

Quaker Parakeet stretching

Quaker Parakeet stretching

Quaker Parakeets may also be referred to as “Monk Parakeets.” Their natural range includes southern Brazil, northern Argentina, Bolivia, Uruguay, and Paraguay. They tend to occur in open woodlands. However, introduced populations occur in parts of the United States, Japan, Puerto Rico,  Israel, Bermuda, and Europe. Most of these introduced populations live in cities.

A Quaker Parakeet adding a stick to its nest

A Quaker Parakeet adding a stick to its nest

Quaker Parakeets will sometimes nest in the “basement” of Jabiru Stork nests. Jabiru Storks are the largest of their kind, and are common in the Pantanal. Their nests, like the nests of quakers, are large and built out of sticks. Jabirus will tolerate the presence of Quaker Parakeets in their nests.

A Jabiru Stork nest

A Jabiru Stork nest

Jabiru Stork

Jabiru Stork

The next post in this series will concern the two species of macaw I saw: Hyacinth Macaws and Greenwing Macaws.

Related posts in this series:

Brazil Trip Part One: Yellow-chevroned Parakeets and Peach-fronted Conures

Brazil Trip Part Two: Blue-fronted Amazons and Nanday Conures

Brazil Trip Part Two: Blue-fronted Amazons and Nanday Conures

July 10, 2009 4 comments

As noted in my previous post, I been in Brazil recently. I just spent several days in the Pantanal, which is the world’s largest wetland and is in the Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso du Sol provinces of western Brazil. It’s currently the dry season, so it’s very easy to travel around, but during the wet season, about 80% of the region (which is 140 000 km square) is submerged.

It is incredibly rich in wildlife, and not only that, but much of the wildlife is very conspicuous. I saw well over 100 different bird species while I was there and for mammals, I was able to see capybara, agouti, three species of deer, giant river otters, coatimundis, crab-eating foxes, giant anteaters, and white-lipped peccaries. Caimans – a relative of the crocodile – are very visible during the dry season as they all have to crowd around the little water that is left. There are throngs of caiman around nearly every river and lake in the region.  They are also not as fearsome as they look, as their eye sight and hearing is poor. They ignore humans and birds, as they only eat fish.

Yacare Caiman

Yacare Caiman

Nanday Conures were among the first parrot species I saw in the Pantanal. They are common and are very conspicuous in flight, as groups will fly together in perfect synchrony. They are also very noisy.  Once they’ve landed, they can be hard to get good pictures of, because they tend to perch among dense foliage at the tops of tall trees. I did get some pictures of a couple that would rest in a tree just outside my room at the lodge I was staying at in the Pantanal (at Pousada Xaraes, which I’d highly recommend to birdwatchers and other wildlife enthusiasts).

Nanday Conure

Nanday Conure

A pair of Nanday Conures preen each other.

A pair of Nanday Conures preen each other.

Nanday Conures preening

Nanday Conures preening

Nanday Conures are also referred to as “Black-hooded Parakeets.”  A lot of ornithologists and field guides refer to conures as “parakeets.” Thus, Peach-fronted Conures will be called Peach-fronted Parakeets.  Pet owners and aviculturalists are more likely to use the word “conure,” although the parrot guides written by ornithologist Joseph Forshaw uses the word “conure” as well.  I personally prefer to call them conures because that word differentiates them from the Australian and Asian parakeets. The South American conures are actually more closely related to macaws than they are to any of the Australian birds referred to as parakeets.

Blue-fronted Amazons are also plentiful in the Pantanal region. They are quite noisy in the morning and evening.  They are very distinctive in flight and are difficult to mistake for any other bird.  Bonded pairs will fly together side-by-side using short, rapid wingbeats.

A pair of Blue-fronted Amazons

A pair of Blue-fronted Amazons

BlueFrontedAmazon2

BlueFrontedAmazon3

BluefrontedAmazon4

Next up: Quaker Parakeets!

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