Thursday, May 31, 2012

Black birds #06

If you are thinking of participating in bird watching tours abroad then look no further than the beautiful Brazil. The diverse and colourful range of birds that populate its skies is enough to excite any amateur bird watcher. Here are just some of the species you may spy through the lens of your binoculars when on bird watching tours of Brazil.
black birds with blue heads
While on Brazilian bird watching tours make sure to look out for the magnificent frigatebird or Fregata magnificens - a beautiful bird which is sometimes referred to as the Man O'War. The only dash of colour on this otherwise black bird is its vivid scarlet throat pouch, which the male bird inflates like a balloon to attract the female. Females also have dark feathers but they have a white breast, a brown band on the wings, and a blue circle around the eyes.
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An interesting fact about this bird is that though they eat mainly fish, they have been known to attack other seabirds, forcing them to eject prey from their mouths and stealing it for themselves.
black birds with orange wings
On some bird watching tours in Brazil you will have the pleasure of encountering the largest type of macaw in the world - the hacinth macaw or Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus. It can measure up to 100cm long and around 2kg in weight, with a wingspan of around 150cm. Both the female and male birds are a vibrant blue, with black being found under the wings, and yellow rings around the eyes. Its beak is black with streaks of yellow on the lower section. It is very hard to distinguish the male from the female, although if spotted together the female is usually the more slender of the two. Unfortunately, these birds are becoming rarer in a wild habitat due to their growing popularity as pets.
blackbirds tattoo
One of the more interesting species of bird you should keep an eye out for when on your bird watching tours is the hoatzin or Opisthocomus Hoazin. This bird has a few monikers and is also called a hoactzin, stinkbird, or canje "pheasant". It is a very unusual brown bird whose taxonomic position has caused great debate within the ornithology world. It is around 65 cm in length and has a very long neck. Its small head has a spiky crest and its face is blue and un-feathered, with strange maroon eyes. The bird emits a very strong smell which has resulted in its nickname - 'stinkbird'. Experts have surmised this smell is probably due to the bird's consumption of leaves. The most unusual feature of this bird appears in the young, who possess claws on two of their wing digits.
black birds with red wings
The blue-crowned motmot or Momotus momota is a real treat to observe if you are on bird watching tours in Brazil. It is around 38-48 cm long and can weigh around 145g. The beauty of this bird lies in its tail, which is very long with a bare-shafted racket tip. The colours run from green to blue and present a truly beautiful picture. They like to sit very still and for this reason can be very hard to spot, even for the most avid bird watcher.
black birds with brown heads
Byron Palacios is a Tour Manager for Naturetrek, a tour operator specialising in expert-led natural history and bird watching tours worldwide. Naturetrek bring over 25 years of experience to their bird watching tours in some of the most spectacular regions on Earth.
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