Thursday, February 14, 2013

Birding the Mangrove and Coast of Northern Brazil

Coastal Maranhao has extensive mangrove swamp, some of the most expansive in the world.  It isn't as  species rich as the rainforest, but a surprising number of species can be found there. From the ubiquitous Orange-winged Parrots (Amazona amazona), Yellow-headed Caracaras, and Scarlet Ibis to Crested Orupendulas, Rufous Crab Hawk, and many others, the mangroves were fun to bird in.  
Scarlet Ibis were gorgeous and perhaps one of the commonest species seen.  Late in the evening it was not uncommon to see hundreds flying to roost for the night.
They roost in trees in very large numbers.
Captivating to the point of distraction.  How can you find or even glance at other species when hundreds of these are flying over your head?
That color is hard to photograph though.  Most of my photos look fake!
Yellow-headed Caracaras were common as well.  Scarecely a moment passed where one wasn't seen or heard.  
In this part of Brazil they look different from the rest of the population.  There head is more white than yellow.  Apparently boating is a hobby.
The slightly less common Southern Caracara was also a pleasure to watch.  Sorry for the crap photo.
Needless to say, Great Kiskadees were just about everywhere, as common here as anywhere else in the Neotropics from South America to south Texas.
Cayenne Tern, formerly classified as a population of Sandwich Tern, was uncommon but seen regularly.
Large-billed Tern.  Another common bird.  Another crappy photo.
Beware of the evil goats on the windblown dunes of Lencois.  Frightening.
Orange-winged Parrots.  The only Amazona that we saw in the mangroves, and the only parrot we identified there.  I think we had parakeets at one point whose identity was never confirmed.
Good night.
Other cool species we saw included Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Ringed and Amazon Kingfisher, Greater Ani, Little Blue, Tricolored, Striated, Rufescent Tiger-, and Cocoi Herons, Great Black Hawk, Tropical Mockingbird, Yellow-billed Tern, Gray-hooded Gull, and of course the countless shorebirds.



  1. Very cool post. Just when you think you've seen every color of Ibis.....blows my mind away. Thank you for sharing your work.

  2. That goat photo is out of this world.