Pantanal – Wildlife Paradise Continued

For Wildlife Photographers the Pantanal is renowned as a comparatively easy place to view large no. of waterbirds, as well as raptors and several species of rare parrots.

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I should of course not forget the definite flagship species, the jaguar, sadly they have literary been in the ‘firing line’ for more than 150 years because of their perceived threat to people and cattle.

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The Campo Flicker (Colaptes campestris) is an unusual woodpecker; although it frequently can be seen in trees or bushes, it is among the very few species that spends a significant portion of its life on the ground. It breeds in holes in trees, termite mounds or earth banks.

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The common Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira) is often found in open or semi-open habitats, in this image you see a juvenile (to the left) begging for food near Pouso Alegre in the Pantanal, where I saw them several times foraging on the ground in groups.

 

 

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This rainbow colours of this male White-chinned Sapphire (Hylocharis cyan’s) are simply extraordinary, and colour shades change depending on the angle of the light.

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It is not often that you have the opportunity to take images like this one.  The Neotropic Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) is tossing a catfish in position so it can swallow it head-first which happened a few seconds later.  In situations like this there is no time for making any camera adjustments, you just have to concentrate on getting the focus right – and pray for the best.

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Very late one afternoon when I was trekking with a local guide in a forest close to the Cuiaba river, we came across this very fresh tapir footprint, but we could not follow as the undergrowth was just too thick and it would be impossible to approach the tapir without making a lot of noise.  We decided to make a detour using a better forest track half running in order to miss this golden opportunity.  I could see the guide was getting excited, so I tried to keep up with him best possible.

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After half an hour’s chase we caught up with this male tapir, and slowly followed it at a distance, as it was impossible to get a clear view; 30 minutes later it stopped briefly in a forest opening and looked back, and that was the only chance we got before it was too dark.  But that moment was surely the highlight of the day.

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The Southern Screamer (Chauna torquata) is a huge species with a wingspan of around 170 cm or 67 in.  They mate for a lifetime, estimated to be up to 15 years.  In spite of its size it is an excellent flier but also a good swimmer with its partially webbed feet.  I saw this species twice but was never able to get very close as September is the breeding season.

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Crocodilians are often difficult to see and secretive in most parts of the world, in Pantanal the yacare caiman is omni-present, – a big difference compared with half a century ago, when it was heavily hunted and there was concerns that the species would be exterminated entirely from the region.

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The Blue-and-yellow macaw (Ara ararauna) is another striking species. This loving pair is sitting at their nest, which is inside this hollow ‘Buriti’ palm.

 

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