Sunday 1 September 2013

Serra dos Tucanos: Atlantic Forest garden birds

So… after a busy week with little time for blogging, it’s back to the apparently never-ending photos from Brazil.

As mentioned previously, one of the highlights of staying at Serra dos Tucanos is the range of stunning birds that visit the various feeders in the garden. You can sit in comfort on the veranda with a cold drink (Caipirinha, anyone?) in one hand, binoculars in the other, and take in some of the amazing species shown here as they feed on discarded fruit. There’s also a little photo hide overlooking one of the bird tables, where although the strongly dappled light is tricky, views are very close indeed!

First up, iridescent Green-headed Tanagers – one of the commonest species at SdT, though endemic to the Atlantic Forest nevertheless. Far too easy to get blasé about these!


Another relatively common species with a somewhat similar colour scheme: Blue-naped Chlorophonia. One of our guides suggested that this should be adopted as the national bird of Brazil, given that it features all the colours of the flag…


…and has got to be better than the comparatively common and drab Rufous-bellied Thrush (the current title-holder)!


Returning to the luminously bright colour-palette, this immature male Blue Dacnis was a smart bird in very obvious moult…


… heading towards the utterly stunning adult plumage!


Green Honeycreeper is another bird to make you go ‘Wow!’ the first time it appears, though like the Dacnis, fairly regular around the garden:


The final bird in the ‘blue’ theme is a Sayaca Tanager – we did also see the similar (rarer, and bluer) Azure-shouldered Tanager in the garden, but they didn’t hang around long enough for photos.


Before you start thinking all tanagers feature blue plumage… here’s the counter-example, a Brazilian Tanager:


And finally, this rather more sombrely attired little guy is a Chestnut-bellied Euphonia – still pretty smart!


I should also make mention of the range of other birds seen in the garden, but not photographed. These included Channel-billed Toucan, Slaty-breasted Wood-rails (under the feeders at dawn and dusk), Plain Parakeets, Blond-crested Woodpecker, and Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper!

You might be wondering about the absence of a particularly smart family of birds that are often seen on feeders in the Americas… they’re coming next time!

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