Boat-billed Herons at Rio Pixaim in Pantanal

KahnschnabelThe boat slowly chugs through the calm waters, so you can watch the numerous herons, kingfishers, cormorants, birds of prey and songbirds, which are in the bushes and in the trees on the banks. Suddenly the strange Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius) can be seen deep in the bushes at the Rio Pixaim gallery forest.

At 6 o’clock in the morning, when it is still reasonably cool and the sun has not yet risen, there is a wonderful atmosphere on the river. Sometimes even delicate veils of mist will rise above the surface of the water, but they dissolve quickly.

My  guide already became impatient, because after all, one can observe most of the mammals in the early morning. Already on the way to the boat you have to go through a bunch of Capybaras (Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris), which like to sit here on the riverbank.

As soon as the sun has risen, it gets hot in the boat. Partly the river banks are steep and loamy, but there are also small beaches where you can observe a well-camouflaged Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias), Bare-faced Curassows (Crax Fasciolata) and of course the capybaras. The Capybaras often disappear when approaching with a barking sound in the water, and then show-up well camouflaged to observe the boat between the blooming water hyacinths. Very early in the morning, the purple flowers of Anchored Waterhyacinths, called Aguapé-de-Cordao (Eichhornia azurea), are still closed. The flowers open only after prolonged sunshine

The strange Boat-billed Herons are sometimes seen by nature photographers only deep in the shrubbery on the slow-moving river. North of the main entrance to the fazenda, about 500 m towards the bridge of the Transpantaneira, a path leads to a so-called lagoon. In the dry season, however, no water can be seen through the vegetation. On two visits there were always 5 or 6 Boat-billed Herons sitting in a shady tree and dozing in front of him. At night, these unusual heron representatives hunt for shallow lakes and riverbanks. The big eyes show the night activity. The beak is not suitable for poking like its peers, but rather for scooping. Males are bigger and heavier than the females.
They have a black feather head. The bird shown here with the brown breast and mantle is a young Boat-billed Heron. Boat-billed Herons can live up to 25 years. Boat-billed Herons have become really rare in the meantime. Boat-billed Herons are described as loners. Strange is only that they are always in small groups during the day in their sleeping bushes or in gallery rooms to find. There they sit quite undisturbed and unmoved in their tree to rest above the water.

The Fazenda Tereza is located on the banks of the game-rich Rio Pixaim. The 3 kilometer long and very bumpy turnoff to the lodge is at kilometer 63 on the Transpantaneira, just behind the Mato Grosso Hotel. The Fazenda Tereza is still signposted as such. Recently the Lodge calls itself Southwild Pantanal Lodge.

To cope with the growing demand for top shots of the rarer species of the Palearctic Bird-Lens is keen to enrich the range of pictures of birds not only in the western palearctic.  Trips to remote places like this one to capture images were very successful. The nice image of the blog is only a first impression, what you will find in the gallery in the “Picture Shop” very soon. Just give bird-lens.com a message, if www.bird-lens.com could serve you with an image needed before the new pictures are online.

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