Brazil Trip Part Two: Blue-fronted Amazons and Nanday Conures
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.
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 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.
Next up: Quaker Parakeets!