Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers (3.2 million square miles) and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

We visited Brazil in September 2019


The Pantanal- The World's Largest Wetlands

The Size of North Dakota (68,994 square miles)

The Pantanal is a natural region encompassing the world's largest tropical wetland area. It is located mostly within the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso do Sul, but it extends into Mato Grosso and portions of Bolivia and Paraguay. It sprawls over an area estimated at between 140,000 and 195,000 square kilometers (54,000 and 75,000 sq mi). Various sub-regional ecosystems exist, each with distinct hydrological, geological and ecological characteristics; up to 12 of them have been defined   Roughly 80% of the Pantanal floodplains are submerged during the rainy seasons, nurturing a biologically diverse collection of aquatic plants and helping to support a dense array of animal species.  The name "Pantanal" comes from the Portuguese word pântano, meaning wetland, bog, swamp, quagmire or marsh.

The Pantanal ecosystem is also thought to be home to 1000 bird species, 400 fish species, 300 mammalian species, 480 reptile species and over 9000 subspecies of invertebrates.

Pousada Piuval- Northern Pantanal

Using Feet to Eat!

The yellow-chevroned parakeet, is native to tropical South America south of the Amazon River basin from central Brazil to southern Bolivia, Paraguay and northern Argentina. Caged birds have been released in some areas and the birds have established self-sustaining populations in the Los Angeles, San Francisco, California and Miami, Florida areas of the United States. This bird seems to be doing better in its North American feral population than its closely related cousin, the white-winged parakeet. The species is also fairily established in the downtown area of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, where it was introduced. The native population in South America continues to do well.

Photo of the Day for September 3, 2019

Taken at Pousada Piuval at the northern edge of the Pantanal

Mom is Coming Home!

What a beautiful and impressive bird! The Hyacinth Macaw is the tallest and heaviest flying parrot species. From the top of its head to the end of its tail, it measures over 3 feet in length. It has a massive beak which allows it to open very hard nuts. They nest in large cavities in mature trees and competition for nesting sites can be fierce. This mom was photographed returning to her nest. Dad was nearby and watching the nest carefully. They are a beautiful blue in color and have yellow around the eyes and by their mouth. A wonderful experience!

The Hyacinth Macaw, or hyacinthine macaw, is a parrot native to central and eastern South America. With a length (from the top of its head to the tip of its long-pointed tail) of about 100 cm (3.3 ft) it is longer than any other species of parrot. It is the largest macaw and the largest flying parrot species, though the flightless kakapo of New Zealand can outweigh it at up to 3.5 kg. While generally easily recognized, it could be confused with the smaller Lear's macaw. Habitat loss and the trapping of wild birds for the pet trade have taken a heavy toll on their population in the wild, so the species is classified as Vulnerable on the International Union for Conservation of Nature's Red List.

Photo of the Day for September 4, 2019

Has anyone seen the Wicked Witch of the West?

Actually, this Black-striped Capuchin could care less about the Wizard of Oz. Although it appears to be a flying monkey, it was just jumping from tree to tree when I was able to snap this photograph. They are quite smart. They were the first non-ape primates in which tool usage was documented in the wild, as individuals have been seen cracking nuts by placing them on a stone "anvil" while hitting them with another large stone. Another hot day in the Brazilian Pantanal. Temperatures get to 105 to 115 in the afternoon but we are here to photograph so out we go!

Photo of the Day for September 5, 2019

The Sunbittern is a medium-sized wading bird found in Central and South America. When wading, this bird has rather subdued colors; when flying- something else!  I watched this bird for quite some time when it suddenly flew about 40 feet and landed on the other side of a small pond. As it flew, we saw the colors explode from its wings- a beautiful combination of reds, golds, blacks and whites with some pink feathers as well in an almost a quilt like pattern. Absolutely breathtaking to watch and photograph!!

Photo of the Day for September 6, 2019

Fish for breakfast, Fish for lunch, Fish for supper!

This Cocoi Heron had just captured a piranha fish and was about to fly out of the water when I took this photograph in the Pantanal of Brazil. The Cocoi Heron is the largest heron in South American and is similar in structure to the Great Blue Heron in North America which has a wingspan of nearly 7 feet.
This Cocoi used its large wingspan to spring up from the water and fly away with its breakfast. The Cocoi Heron feeds primarily on fish. There seem to be a lot of fish in the Pantanal Rivers as we have seen many kingfishers so far, some with fish in their mouths!

Photo of the Day for September 7, 2019

What a Cat!

From 20 yards away, I watched this impressive 18-month-old female Jaguar for over 1 hour from the safety of a boat in the Cuiabá River in Brazil yesterday, under a blazing sun in over 100 degrees. The jaguar was in the shade. We were dripping wet from sweat. Jaguars are the third largest cat in the world after tigers and lions. Jaguars can commonly weigh up 120 to 220 pounds but large males have weighed up to nearly 350 pounds. This jaguar was first resting in the shade before getting up for a short stroll. She then disappeared into the jungle. We will spend two more days here in the southern Pantanal looking for more of these wonderful cats!

Photo of the Day September 8, 2019

An Endangered Family Gets a Meal while Baby asks for some Food!


The Giant River Otter lives in a few areas of South America, with only 5000 left after decades of poaching for their fur in the 1950s and 1960s and now habitat destruction. They have lost 80% of their historic range. They are enlisted as endangered. Giant River Otters are very social and they live in extended family groups which can be as large as 20 but more commonly around 8. They build dens to live in. Yesterday, I watched a family group have breakfast after catching fish. Several of the babies cried to be fed and they were given caught fish to eat by their parents. It was wonderful to see their interaction and how they care for each other!

Photo of the Day for September 10, 2019

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