BIRDS LIMPKINS: Aramidae – Manu National Park:
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)
The Limpkin is a marsh-dwelling bird. It superficially resembles an ibis, but the difference is that ibises have bills that are more decurved and slender.
They are confined to the New World and are usually seen in freshwater lakes where they probe in the mud for large Pomacea snails. They do also feed on amphibians, lizards and so on, but could not exist without the snails.
Both male and female incubate the eggs.
This bird is also known as “the weeping”, because its call resembles that of a crying human in manu.
BIRDS TRUMPETERS: Psophiidae – Manu National Park:
PALE-WINGED TRUMPETER, Wcissflugel-Trompcter (Psophia leucoptera) Trompetero
Trumpeters are a small group of terrestrial birds. They are notably social birds, living in groups of three to fifteen members. They hold and defend very confined territories of about 2 km2. They are largely confined to Amazonia. In shape they are rhea-like due to their long legs, humped carriage and short fowllike bill. They eat |?oth plant and animal matter, which can include insects, reptiles and amphibians and fallen fruits (the leftovers from other animals). They are know to swim across rivers in manu.
They are normally rather wary, but as pets become tame and affectionate. Their habit of “sounding the alarm” at disturbances in the day or night makes them much prized. They are like the watch dogs of the jungle. Their skill is their prowess as snake killers. They have the ability to peck adroitly at a snake’s head and avoid it’s bite until the snake succumbs. The name “trumpeter” comes from their curious vocalization. They express a ventriloquial, muffled hoot which sounds similar to the sound of air blown across the opening of a bottle. This sound is formed inside their stomach, and the birds call with their bills closed.
The trumpeters have a very curious and peculiar display dance. The males get so excited that there is even a chance that one may die in the middle of one his jumps. The group acts as helpers to the couple reproducing. Only one couple can reproduce at a time.
In some areas these birds are now in extinción. This because their delicious meat has led to over hunting.
There is a Yora Indian creation myth which includes the trumpeter. One day, the ancestors of the Yora killed a chief. He was the chief of a miserly tribe from which the Yora had stolen fire, com and peppers.
The Yora burned this tribe’s chief and sprinkled the Pale-winged trumpeter with the dead chief s ashes.
The bird was sitting, so it’s tail remained untouched.
This is why the tail is still white today in manu.
BIRDS RAILS, 6ALUNULES: Rallidae – Manu National Park:
Many of this family are notoriously secretive denizens of marsh, swamp, or damp tall grassland.Most of the rails are quite omnivorous. The reason for their success can undoubttedly be based partly on this fact. The Gray-necked wood-rail (Aramides cajanea) preys heavily on crabs.
BIRDS SUNBITTERNS: Eurypygidae – Manu National Park:
SUNBITTERN, Sonnenralle (Eurypyga helias)
The single species of this family is an elegant and sedate bird. It inhabits shady forest streams in wanner parts of the New World tropics. It is difficult to observe as it commoniy stalks along quiet river or lake banks.
It is heron shaped. It hunts fish, amphibians, crustaceans, and insects. These prey are captured by the practice of quick strikes, using its long neck and spearlike bill.
When it spreads its wings, it reveals bright chestnut, yellow, black and white linings. It’s name comes from these linings, as they appear to resemble giant eyes. Predators are warned off when the subittems fash this scary “face”, formed in part from these false eyes.
BIRDS JACANAS: Jacanidae – Manu National Park:
WATTLED JACANA, Statthunhnchen (Jacana jacana) Tuqui tuqui
This is a small family composed of quite delicately proportioned marsh birds. Their extremely long toes and nails enable them to walk over floating vegetation with ease. Thus they are able to feed in areas where other birds cannot, creating their own ecological niche. A leathery frontal shield above the bill also differentiates the jacana. Small aquatic plant and animal life is their alimentation. When disturbed they lift and flash their yellow wings. The local name comes from its song.
The New World species are polyandrous breeders, with bigger females mate with several males. Before the eggs hatch and after, males do most of the reproductive work, building the nest and then feeding the hatchlings. The female’s role is confined to mating and laying the eggs.
Small Wattled Jacanas share the same habitat with big, bulky Horned screamers, especially during the breeding season. Horned screamers are huge birds with long wingspan and can easily frighten a caiman away. It may seem curious that such a large and self-sufficient bird would wish to share it’s habitat. However, it is a mutually beneficial arrangement. Homed screamers live in monogamous couples and prefer to have more agile jacanas nearby keeping watch. The advantage for the jacanas is that homed screamers feed mainly on floating vegetation of the Pistia family, which has huge leaves and roots. When these plants are removed, jacanas have an easier job of looking for their small animal prey.
BIRDS SKIMMERS: Rynchopldae – Manu National Park:
BLACK SKIMMER, Schwarzer Scherenschnabel (Rynchops nigra)
Three species of skimmers are known; one in America, one in tropical Africa, and a third in Southeast Asia.
They resemble large, long-winged tems and all are distinguished by their large, peculiar bills. They have laterally compressed and bladelike mandibles, with the lower one decidedly longer than the upper. Flying very low over the water with open bills, the lower nuinclibles are used to cut or “plough” the surface of the water. When a small fish or crustacean is contacted, it is snapped up quickly. Sometimes it is unavoidable that skimmers will hit their bill against a sandbar, but when this happens the neck acts as a bumper. Skimmers do this flying in the shape of a “U”. This enables them to get back to their favorite spot on the beach. Some hold the opinion that on the first trip the movement of skimming on the water attracts fish and on the way back skimmers catch them. They can also fish at night time.
When not skimming, the birds rest on a sand beach. They commonly rest at midday. The skimmers sometimes have a strange habit of resting with the head touching the sand and the tail lifted. This makes them look as if they are dead, but they are only resting.
Like many sand beach breeding species, they lay their eggs during the dry season. These eggs are incubated more by the males than by the females. They wet their feet and abdomen to regulate the temperature of the eggs.
BIRDS PARROTS: Psittacidae – Manu National Park:
Parrots are an anatomically homogeneous group of birds. They are found in greatest abundance in tropical regions and in temperate Australia. They are noisy, social, and have heavy, hooked bills and yoketoed feet. Their reputation preceds them; they need little introduction.
Parrots are gregarious frugivores. In the forest, flocks search out fruits, flowers, blossoms, and occasionally roots and tubers. They methodically climb around tree branches. As they attack their desired fruits they often hang in awkward acrobatic positions.
Their bodies are variously attuned to their survival needs in manu;
- Their sharply hooked, hinged upper mandible is very useful. It is utilised when climbing around trees as well as to scrape and scoop out large fruits.
- Their feet are very adequate for manipulating food items. They can be left orright handed (“footed”).
- Using their strong, nutcracker-like bills, they can crack many of the toughest nuts and seeds, Because of this ability to crush and digest seeds, they are primarily seed predators rather than seed dispersers. They eat nuts and seeds with equal relish as the pulpy fruit itself.
- Their muscular tonques are adept tools for scooping out pulp from fruit and nectar from flowers in manu.
Parrots are mostly graen which can make them remarkably invisible when perched in the leafy forest canopy. They reveal their presence through vocalizing, usually with a harsh screech or squawk.
Their nests are usually made in tree holes, woodpecker holes, or in cavities dug in arboreal termite nests. The larger Amazonia parrots and macaws usually mate for life, with the marital status maintained by feeding and mutual cleanliness. These mated pairs often fly together within larger flocks in manu.
Unfortunately, these bigger species are rapidly being lost to mankind in many parts of Amazonia. There are two reasons. Firstly, the destruction of rainforest continues at an accelerating pace and secondly these species continue to be captured. Captured birds are sold as pets or, killed to fabricate souvenirs for tourists. One macaw can cost more than three thousand dollars in the international pet market. The last couple of bluish Spix’s Hyacinth macaws were sold for $80,000.
There are some basic differences between the macaws and parrots in manu:
- macaws are larger than parrots in manu
- macaws are more colourful while parrots are mostly green
- macaws have a long pointed tail while parrots have short square tails
- macaws do not have feathers on the face
- macaws are only social on salt licks, while parrots are always in big social groups
- the colours of the macaw get brighter the older they are.
BIRDS Macaws; Manu National Park:
In native language, Macaw means, “that who cries along the river”. They are highly intelligent animals and can live up 50 or 60 years old.. There are sixteen species in total. Six species are extinct, while eight species are at present in danger of extintion in manu.
Macaws have big reproducing problems. It takes 5-6 years for a macaw to reach reproductive age. Then, only 10-20% of adult mated pairs attempt to nest in any given area. Of these, roughly 35% fail completely to raise a chick. In another 40%, only one chick survives, because the parents always take more care of the first chick.
The surprising lack of suitable nest sites is one of the biggest obstacles. The nests are built in certain kinds of trees. For the Blue and yellow Macaws the most common site is on the top part of dead Pona palm trees. The Scarlet Macaws nest in hard wood tree holes. Macaws cannot hack out holes for nests by themselves because of their downcurved bills. Thus they use holes made previously, for example by woodpeckers. Existing holes are not always abundantly available. Nesting starts in December, so macaws start to look for their favorite tree from August. Often it occurs that two couples see the tree at the same time. They may start to fight for it, sometimes until death. A fighting macaw may even go as far as to pull a competing macaw’s chicks from their nest.
To aid this reproduction process, in some areas conservation units have built artificial nests, which are accepted by the macaws.
Incubation takes one month, but the hatchling will stay in the nest for three months more. The parents take turns feeding their young. These meals consist of regurgitated fruits, seeds, and even clay from nearby clay licks. Once fledged, the young macaws travel for a period of time with their parents. This is vital for the young to learn complex information such as the location of clay licks and the types and location of fruits that they can eat. Breeding macaws have a typically relatively scruffy appearance, which suggests that nesting takes a lot out of them.
The Macaws feed feed on fruits, some leaves and flower nectar, but their ecological niche is unripe seeds. Many unripe seeds contain toxins, especially tannins, which cause stomach problems for macaws. They need to visit salt licks, rich in salts, to neutralize the toxins. In native queshua language these licks are known as “Ccolpas”, which means salty clays.
In Manu, typical areas of macaw salt licks are the (Scheela butyracea) palm trees, known as Shebonal. Few nutrients, a high concentration of aluminium, and little organic material characterise these areas. There is poor drainage due to the high concentration of clay in the ground. Thus, during the rainy season, the areas easily get flooded and during the dry season clay bricks form.
It is not surprising that macaws use these high aluminium concentrated clay to cure their stomach aches. Aluminium hydroxide medicines are also used as antiacid for humans. The macaws need to visit the licks every two or three days and they may fly as far as even 100 km to reach them. High concentration of clay is found only at certain levels on the lick, and the macaws can be seen to feed only at those levels. A sparcity of these levels often leads to fights between macaws for a space. If for some reason the clay lick is destroyed, macaws move to another one. Only Red – and green Macaws, Grunflugel ara (Ara chloptera) have been observed to frequently visit the Blanquillo clay click.
In my personal opinion, a clay lick may be a social place where single macaws look for their further partner. When feeding on a lick, macaws are very nervous, because they can be easily attacked by predators on the open wall. They are especially vulnerable because their head is inside a hole to eat the clay.
“The souls which left this world follow the direction of waters of Seronhai river. That is the river of those who had bom to the other world. Then is a point where Seronhai opens in two directions. In the middle is the Yongkatone, a gigantic macaw. You need to give it something to eat and it will let you pass, to continue your trip to Wanamei, to the tree where you will live happy and nothing less. For that reason it is good to give something to eat to those who are starving.. Because if you do not give something to eat to Yongkatone, it becomes bitter and will cut your head off and throw it to the other side of the river, where there is a fire.”
A Harakmbut myth.