Pope Cardinals were regular visitors to the lodge in the Amazon Rainforest, but a flash of blood red in the shrubs was usually all I got to see of this bird…the bad photo shows the difficulty I found with photographing this vibrantly coloured bird in the forest.
Cardinal birds were named after the scarlet robes of the Catholic Cardinals.
They have a mostly black back, their black/grey wings are edged in white as are their tails. They have pure white chests and collars and the bright red head and red narrow bib that has given them their name.
These birds have strong bills and are seed eaters but also eat fruit.
The Yellow-tufted Woodpecker… Scientific name: Melanerpes cruentatus
The Yellow-tufted Woodpecker is a small bird, black with a yellow, black and red head and a yellow eye circle. It has a red lower breast and a black and white chevron under tail. It has sharp claws for holding onto branches and strong neck muscles to absorb the shock of drilling into trees.
Highly social, these lovely woodpeckers are usually seen in noisy groups of 3-8.
This one particular afternoon,a pair appeared on a small tree behind my lodge. To get a good photo my friend quietly lay on the ground and invited me to join him. As I had seen a Feu de Lance curled there in previous days I declined, but Ananias, bravely lay down and took these photos.
The Yellow-tufted woodpeckers eat fruit, seeds, nectar and insects using their unique barbed tongue.
Naturally in a huge forest there are many varieties of woodpeckers and woodcreepers. Being a fairly new bird watcher and enthusiast, I had heard them, but could not place the bird with the call. Once I got to recognise the call and the bird together, my hand would fly to my camera and I would go looking, knowing I was in for a treat.
Often very high on trees surrounding the lodge, the woodpeckers and woodcreepers were not easy to photograph, but I managed to get one or two.
The reddish brown, Long billed Wood Creeper perched on a palm tree in front of the lodge. It clung to the trunk of the palm which had spiteful, sharp spikes. Fortunately the wood-creepers long beak enabled it to search for insects without getting impaled or blinded.
The woodcreeper was a large bird, with a lattice pattern on the back of its head, which appeared to extend under its chin like a collar. It had a creamy white chin and beak.
It was a regular visitor, as was a beautiful White Woodpecker which always avoided my camera. It, too, favoured the palm trees and could be seen pulling long strands of dead palm leaves from the tree. To get at the insects or for nesting, I couldn’t figure out.
The smaller Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers, black with yellow cap and eye circles, red bellies, and decurved beaks, were photographed behind the lodge by a friend who lay quietly on the ground. He invited me to join him, but as I’d seen a Feu de Lance curled there one morning, I declined.
A very striking woodpecker was one that is named either a Powerful Woodpecker or a Lineated Woodpecker. A large, predominantly black bird with a white stripe from eye to wing, spreading under and above its wings. What was most appealing about it was its wonderful red Mohican head crest. It looked so dramatic.
I tend to think it looks more like a Powerful Woodpecker, though according to bird books they are not seen in the Brazilian Rainforest. But as some bird books I have read have also denied Saffron Finches as inhabitants of my area of forest and I know differently, there is always a doubt. Comments welcome.
Long-billed Woodcreeper Scientific name: Nasica longirostris
Powerful Woodpecker Scientific name: Campephilus pollens
Lineated Woodpecker Scientific name: Dryocopus lineatus