South America is home to a huge variety of birds. From the greater rhea to the waved albatross, these birds are sure to bring a sense of wonder to any trip to this part of the world.
A large flightless bird, rheas have long legs that enable them to run quickly and outrun most predators. They live in open pampas and savannas in Argentina and Brazil.
The Greater Rhea (Rhea americana) is the largest bird in South America and a cousin of Ostriches and Emus. It is found in savanna-type habitats, grassy steppes and pampas.
It is a large, flightless bird with long wings that it uses to maintain balance when running. It can weigh up to 150 pounds. It is listed as a "Near Threatened" species by the IUCN. Hunting for meat and export of skins are major threats to the population.
The jabiru stork (Jabiru mycteria) is a large stork that can be found throughout Central and South America. It inhabits wetlands and riparian habitats, as well as tropical rainforests.
These birds are monogamous and return to the same nesting site each year. They lay two to five white eggs that are incubated by both the female and male. The young fledge around 110 days after hatching and spend another three months being cared for by their parents.
The Andean Condor is the world’s largest raptor and it lives high in the Andes Mountains. It eats carrion, including vicunas and guanacos, that have been killed by predators.
During courtship, the male flushes his skin (changes from dull red to bright yellow) and inflates his neck. He also uses hissing and clucking, as well as walking around with his wings spread.
Condors rely on thermal currents to help them gain altitude and soar through the sky. They flap their wings only occasionally to reduce air resistance and drag.
A member of the falcon family, caracaras are scavengers and predators. They eat a wide variety of prey, including insects and small birds.
They live in open lands, especially grasslands and prairies. They also eat fruit and berries.
They are found in most areas of the southern United States and Mexico, extending to Central and South America, including Cuba and the Falkland Islands. They are considered to be of least concern by BirdLife International.
The Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris) is one of the most common birds across much of eastern and southeast Brazil. It is also found in Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and central Argentina.
This species occurs in a variety of wooded habitats including groves, plantations, forests and clearings. In Brazil, it is most commonly seen in lowland humid woodlands and other wooded areas around water bodies such as lakes and lagoons.
The Rufous-bellied Thrush is a year-round resident of most parts of its range, although some migrate south to breed. During breeding season, males help raise their chicks and may be seen feeding them acorns or fruit.
The Great Kiskadee is a large, colorful tyrant flycatcher. It is found in South America.
This bird is known for its bold behavior and loud call. It has a bright yellow belly the color of sulfur and a crest that raises when agitated.
The Great Kiskadee is found in open woodlands, streamside thickets and groves. It eats insects, fruit and seeds.
An insect eater that is found in tropics, the Smooth-billed Anis often lives in groups. They eat insects and small lizards, especially during the dry season.
They nest communally, building a tree nest of twigs in which all group members share incubation and chick raising duties. Females lay a clutch of chalky blue eggs.
In Galapagos, the Smooth-billed Ani is a significant problem, as it has been found to predate on a range of other introduced species including the field cricket Gryllus abditus and the endemic Galapagos carpenter bee Xylocopa darwini. This is an issue that should be investigated further to better understand their impacts and their role within the archipelago's ecological networks.
The Red-headed Woodpecker, or Melanerpes erythrocephalus, is a striking bird. Its crimson head and snow-white body with half white and half black wings make it hard to miss.
This species primarily nests in dead tree tops or stumps. They also use utility poles, fence posts and roof cavities.
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