The Helmeted Manakin (Antilophia galeata) is one of the most striking and colorful birds of Brazilian forests. Several species of Manakins occur from the Amazon or Atlantic Forest, but the Helmeted Manakin – the soldadinho in Portugues – is an exclusive species of riparian forests of the central-western Brazilian and the forests of the Pantanal lowland, with only a small distribution area in Bolivia and Paraguay.
As in most species of the family, the male is very flashy. Body all black, contrasting with the living red of the top of the head and back. A longer feathery wad is held high or over the beak, being marked by the shape and giving clue to the common name of the bird. The female and the young males are uniform green except for the beak, legs and eyes. The forehead feathers are Continue reading Helmeted Manakin in Pantanal→
Despite being at the edge of its eastern distribution, the Yellow-billed Cardinal (Paroaria capitata) is so common in the Pantanal, that you hardly can miss it. Besides being one of the most colorful birds of the Pantanal, it is also one of the most common along the rivers, corixos and bays of the Pantanal plain. Form groups of up to a few dozen in feeders, such as at the farm Pouso Alegre and on the salted meat blankets drying in the sun.
The Yellow-billed Cardinal inhabits the riverside in various strata of vegetation. During the flood season, they join the rising waters, reaching places far from the rivers. They colonize farmhouses and other structures created by human action, remaining year-round in the place when there is food. They catch insects, other invertebrates and seeds on the ground. They live in groups throughout the year, although there are strong disputes between them for space or food.
Male and female are identical, with the characteristic red of the head contrasting with the rest of the colors and with the yellow bill.
Young birds come out of the nest with their backs and bill gray. The head is brown. The juvenile birds are sticking to their parents in flocks as of December. In the following months, they begin to change their plumage until they have moulted in the definitive colors. Continue reading Yellow-billed Cardinal in Pantanal→
Ein Aufenthalt auf der Farm Pouso Alegre Lodge, direkt an der sogenannten Transpantaneira, nur 33 km südlich des Zugangs zum Pantanal bei Pocone gelegen, hat manche Überraschung bereit. Eines Morgens nehme ich auf meinem Morgenspaziergang Bewegung direkt entlang des Weges wahr. Ein kleiner Vogel mit einem quer-liegenden Grashalm verschwindet schnell im Dickicht. Ich kann dann die Stelle sehen, in die der im englischen Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher genannte Rostzügel-Todityrann (Poecilotriccus altirostris) fleißig sein Nistmaterial einträgt. Es scheint sich um ein erhöhtes Cerrado-Inselchen zu handeln, das gut mit dicht stehenden Stämmchen verschlossen ist. Trotzdem verschaffe ich mir Zugang zu diesem nur 3 Meter im Durchmesser messenden „Wäldchen“. Ich stehe wenig später praktisch direkt vor seinem hängenden Nest. Nur wenig später kommt der Vogel auch schon mit weiteren trockenen Grashalmen. Wie man in der Gallerie-Sequenz zum Rostzügel-Todityrann sieht, kommt ein Vogel wenig später dann sogar mal mit einer toten Spinne, die ebenfalls beim Nestbau verwendet werden soll. Später stellt sich Continue reading Der Rostzügel-Todityrann am Nest→
The Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota) is so common in the Pantanal, that you hardly can miss it. Besides being one of the most colorful birds of the Pantanal, it is also one of the most spectacular birds of the Pantanal by the colorful and unique shape of the tail feathers. The bird is specialized in hunting insects and small vertebrates from a fixed landing.
The song is similar to that of an owl, most often emitted in the lightening and darkening, although it can be heard at any time of day and night. It starts with a short, severe, accelerated call (understood as udu or hard). When another Blue-crowned Motmot responds, they accelerate the singing and increase the number of “udus”.
Although it activates its calls all day, it is impressive how difficult it is seeing it in the shadows of the vegetation, despite the intense color of the body and head, besides the size of the tail. The bright green of the plumage is yellowish on the belly and chest. Around the red eyes, a large black mask is ending in two ends. Ripping the entire mask, the intense cobalt blue is lighter and more extensive on the Continue reading Blue-crowned Motmot in Pantanal→
The Dull-capped Attila (Attila bolivianus) has rufous-brown upperparts and tail and it has a gray-brown crown. The underparts and the rump are rufous as well. Remarkable is the white iris. Also known as the White-eyed Attila, the Dull-capped Attila is principally an uncommon inhabitant of seasonally flooded forests, including on river islands, as well as gallery woodland in the Brazilian Pantanal, where it feeds alone or in pairs, and sometimes joins mixed-species foraging flocks. Nonetheless, the species is probably most frequently detected by virtue of its loud whistled song. Mainly rufous-brown, the White-eyed Attila is most easily identified by the pale yellowish-white iris. The bird forages in the canopy and subcanopy of varzea forest and old second growth. It is similar to the Cinnamon Attila but is distinguished by a gray-brown crown and – as said already – the white iris.
The Dull-capped Attila is uncommon and widespread also in Amazonia where it is known to range on the south side of the Amazon and lower Marañon River.
The location of the photo-shot was taken on the farm Pouso Alegre. This is a pousada which is very well situated 7 km away from the Transpantaneira. The location is only 33 km south of Pocone in the northern Pantanal. The whole pousada is a great Continue reading Dull-capped Attila in Pantanal→
Im dämmrigen Unterholz eines der Waldstücke inmitten der Savannenlandschaft im Pantanal taucht auf einmal Farbe auf. Auf einem Ast ist ein Vogel zu sehen, der ein auffälliges Rot vom Rücken bis zum Kopf aufweist. Das sieht aus, wie ein Helm. Und so ist auch sein deutscher und sein englischer Name. Es ist ein Helmeted Manakin (Antilophia galeata). Im Bereich der Stirn wird der „Helm“ durch Büschel, die bis über den Schnabel reichen, verlängert. Der Rest des Körpers ist stock-schwarz. Das ist also das Männchen der Helmpipra. Soldadinho wird dieser Vertreter aus der Familie der Pipriden in Portugues genannt. Das Männchen der Helmpipra ist einer der auffallendsten und buntesten Vögel der brasilianischen Wälder. Mehrere Arten von Manakins kommen im Amazonastiefland oder im Atlantischen Regenwald, der Serra do Mar, vor. Allerdings ist die Helmpipra eine Art, die in erster Linie Continue reading Schwarz-rote Schönheit: die Helmpipra im Pantanal→
During scientific research in the northern Pantanal between the 20th of December 2012 and the 10th of January 2013 I often observe Solitary Sandpipers along the muddy ditches on a farm. Of the two subspecies of the solitary sandpiper recognized the subspecies present probably was Tringa solitaria solitaria which usually has a more well-defined streak between the eye and the bill which are clearly visible on the images shot. On the other hand Tringa solitaria cinnamomea typically lacks these streaks, being more finely spotted and speckled instead. First I saw the Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria) on the muddy fringes of small pools, where you could see them from wooden bridges crossing these waters. There were no more but 3 individuals which you could see at one time. In between 10 days the water level rose by about half a meter. After that you only saw Solitary Sandpipers on muddy pieces of grassland between leaves of grass. These patches were characterized by highly degraded grassland, where cattle used to feed on quite recently.
Mantelkardinale bewohnen Trockenwälder und Savannen des südlichen Amerikas. Die Verbreitung reicht vom südöstlichen Bolivien, über Brasilien bis in den Norden Argentiniens. Zwischenzeitlich wurde die Art auch auf Hawai eingeführt. Es ist unbekannt, wann oder wie diese Art nach Hawai kam. Die ersten Beobachtungen reichen zurück vielleicht schon bis in die 1930er Jahre.
Obwohl er sich im Pantanal am Rand seiner östlichen Verteilung befindet, ist der bunte Mantelkardinal (Paroaria capitata) im Pantanal so verbreitet, dass man ihn kaum verpassen kann. Abgesehen davon, dass er einer der buntesten Vögel des Pantanal ist, gehört er auch zu den häufigsten an den Flüssen, Corixos und Altarmen der Pantanal-Ebene. Immer mal wieder bilden sich Gruppen von bis zu einem Dutzend Vögeln, die an Futterstellen, wie auf der Touristen-Farm Pouso Alegre auftauchen.
Der Mantelkardinal bewohnt die Flussufer in unterschiedlichen Vegetationsschichten. Während der Hochwassersaison kommen sie mit der Flut und den ansteigenden Wasserspiegel und erreichen Orte weit ab von Flüssen. Sie fangen Insekten, andere Wirbellose und nehmen Sämereien auf dem Boden auf. Meist leben Mantelkardinale in Gruppen, obwohl es starke territoriale Streitigkeiten zwischen einzelnen Individuen geben kann.
The Rufous Hornero (Furnarius rufus) is so common in the Pantanal, that you hardly think of taking a picture, as you think, that you will do it next day. Ok, this time some pictures were shot, when the bird was standing on a termite mound. There is some examination ungoing to study the interaction between birds and termites in Brazil. A study found 218 bird species feeding on termites or using termitaria for nesting or perching . The study found out, that termites are used as a food source are exploited as a nest site for some bird species as well. Some bird species also perch on the top of termite mounds to search for their prey or to conduct territorial or courtship displays.
The Rufous Hornero is one – or the best-known- of the Ovenbirds and is from the same family as the Woodcreepers or the Spinetails. The bird looks a bit like a thrush but is very plain with a dirty white supercilium and a rather long, slightly Continue reading Rufous Hornero on a termite mound→
A trip during a scientific excursion in the northern Pantanal between the 20th of December 2012 and the 10th of January 2013 showed a lot of excitement. One day I perceived a movement right along the path I was walking. A small bird with a transversely lying blade of grass quickly disappeared in the thicket. I can then see the place where a Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatcher (Poecilotriccus altirostris) diligently enters his nesting material. It appears to be an Cerrado islet that stand out slightly. The area is well closed with tight standing stems. Nevertheless, I get access to this only 3 meters in diameter measuring grove. After all, I’m standing right in front of his hanging nest. Only a short time later the Continue reading Rusty-fronted Tody-flycatcher at the nest→
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.