Right out of the car, a loud singing bird can be heard with a rhythmic sound. A beautiful morning in early August on the north side of Das Emas National Park in the state of Goiás in Brazil has started. The sound is generated by a hummingbird. It is the White-vented Violetear (Colibri serrirostris). This beautiful, shining blue-green hummingbird is obviously in a high display mood. The birds flutters excitedly with his wings and raises the wing again and again in the courting display. When my guide mimics the calls, it responds very strongly to the voice recordings. The White-vented Violetear comes up to 5 m to us. Regulary it places themselves parallel to a branch. Sometimes the White-vented Violetear relax the wings, but only seconds later it switches position to provoke the “competitor” up-front.
White-vented Violetear of the Trochilidae family are medium-sized hummingbirds found in the grasslands, savanna and ravines surrounded by shrubs. They are most common in highland areas between 1,000 and 1,500 meters asl, but are Continue reading White-vented Violetear in display→
Pouso Alegre is a pousada (ex-fazenda) which is very well situated 7 km away from the Transpantaneira, with water on both sides much of the way now in the rainy season. The location is 33 km south of Pocone in the northern Pantanal. The hole pousada is a great nature-area with original landscape and extensive cattle ranching. A paradise for the keen birdwatcher as well as for the beginner in birdwatching who approaches that pastime in a relaxing attitude.
The owner is there much of the time, and is a dedicated naturalist. If you are birders you will be pleased with the birding opportunities, including Hyacinth Macaws in front of the porch. On the way you will see of Jabiru storks, herons and raptors a lot. You can go on other guided hikes or horseback rides. It’s all custom and small-scale. The scenery is beautiful.
You can see an enormous variety of animals and birds but also the flora is wonderful.
Bird-lens was invited in the frame of an scientific project to monitor resident and migratory bird species in the Pantanal of Brazil. See also the blog here!
More than 600 species of birds – almost a third of the avifauna of Brazil – have been detected in the wider area of the Pantanal, of which about 20% occur as migrants of wintering birds only seasonally. Among them are those from other neotropical regions like the Andes, but also from North America (Nearctic) and from the Southern region of Latin America (Australis).
Although the origin of migratory species in most cases is known, there is still a lot of knowledge missing e.g. about the distribution patterns, feeding ecology and ecological niches, bioacoustics and metabolic physiology (eg moulting).
Whereas long-distance bird migration for aquatic bird species is roughly understood there are other movements of birds between especially the lower Paraná River valley wetlands in Argentina, and the south Brazil/Pantanal wetlands which are far from clear.
Besides the fact, that the global patterns of Summer/ Winter north and south of the equator determines the arrival and departure of arctic migrants and Patagonian guests, there are two major inherent factors which drive birds moving in and out the Pantanal. The one is the regular change in flooding and dryness or even droughts. The other factor is the different food mix embedded in that pattern of seasonal flooding. Whereas most birds move in with the floods in September/ October others move in when the floods retreat using food resources e.g. on small pools left after the waters has covered the most part of the Pantanal.
A good example are the Jabirus, Jabiru mycteria, big storks, which are not present in the Pantanal during the flooding season. Obviously they move to higher grounds to sites outside the Pantanal area. Availability of food for the adult individuals to raise their young are the driving factor. The birds prefer low water levels, especially in lagoons and ponds, in order to obtain the food they can catch with their specialized beaks. Besides by watching for preys while walking they also hunt by tactile prey location, thanks to the sensible bill tip. The Jabiru feeds on various aquatic preys such as fish, molluscs, crustaceans, amphibians, snakes, even young caimans and insects. They walk slowly in shallow water, regularly stabbing and pecking at preys with the bill. One of their fish species preferred are mussum fish (Symbranchus marmoratus), which can stay dormant and encapsulated in the mud throughout the dry season. They are reactivated by the humidity of the rain and start to swim again when the water rises in the rainy season. The Jabiru is a specialist in detecting and catching the dormant fish in the muddy ground of the dried ponds.
Another example of birds using the environmental conditions during the dry season are huge concentrations in nesting sites in the gallery forest, to take advantage of the seasonal resources available. The breeding colonies are formed by hundreds of nesting birds, such as Wood stork (Mycteria americana), egrets (Snowy Egret, Egretta thula, Great White Egret, Casmerodius albus and the Capped Heron, Pilherodius pileatus) and the Roseate Spoonbill, Ajaia ajaja. In this galleryyou will find some more examples of bird moving in the Pantanal or adjacent Southern Brazil or migrate to these wetlands.
The next Latin America Symposium is held at 7th/ 8th of December 2012 in Bonn. For someone interested in topics of biology and geology in the neotropics a real must!
For those who want to present their own scientific results to a wider audience, it is possible to perform a PowerPoint presentation. Alternatively, it is possible to present scientific findings with posters. These contributions are more than welcome. Overview contributions of the latest developments in research are particularly desired. Presentation should not exceed 30 minutes. But also short papers (max. 15 min) can be presented on the following topics: tropical ecology, biogeography, vegetation science, limnology, botany, entomology, ichthyology, herpetology, ornithology plus free projects.
Posters to topics mentioned above are welcome. Posters should not exceed a height/ width of 1 m x 1 m. Presentations and posters: in German or English.
The 4th Latin America Symposium was held on Dec.9th/10th 2011 in Bonn at the Zoologische Forschungsmuseum Alexander Koenig (ZFMK). The Latin-America Symposium “Monitoring and Securing Biodiversity”, organized by ZFMK and the ILZ, Bonn, Participants were from all over the world. The AmiBio consortium was well represented by Dr. Olaf Jahn and Prof.Dr. Karl-L. Schuchmann (ZFMK), Dr. Todor Ganchev (UOP), Ms. Vassiliki Dimitriou, Ms. Evangelia Antoniou, Mr. Florent Celhay, Mr. Dimitris Kyrgiopoulos (SPAY). All presentations contributed to a better understanding for monitoring and securing biodiversity. Continue reading Latin America Symposium 2011→
Images of birds for science & public; Western Palaearctic & the World