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May 13, 2021

Return of Bird of the Week: Chaco Chachalaca

Chaco Chachalaca, Panatnal, Brazil
One of WC’s birding buddies call this genus of Cracids the “Cha-cha” birds. Chachalacas are cousins to the Currasows and Guans featured earlier. They generally tend to be a bit drabber than those cousins, but there are exceptions. Chaco Chachalacas are famous for their dawn chorus; this bird was vocalizing when WC got this shot. The male’s morning call is described as a “bink, ka chee chaw raw taw, chaw raw taw, chaw raw taw” and is very loud, audible for half a mile. You be the judge:
central South America, and espcially the Pantanal area, the large swamp that straddles parts of Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia. They are hunted there and, as a consequence, are quite skittish. WC has head shots like this one, and tail shots like the next, but hasn’t seen, let alone photographed, one completely in the open.  
Chaco Chachalaca Butt, Pantanal, Brazil
This species is primarily a vegetarian, feeding on a variety of plant matter, including seeds and fruits, although it also has been known to consume caterpillars. There are two subspecies; this is probably pantanalensis, which prefer the swampy lowland forest and the edges of groves. It’s mostly arboreal, but WC has seen it on the ground. The Chaco Chachalaca is not believed to be globally threatened (Least Concern). In Brazil, it’s common in all regions of Pantanal, and in less frequented portions of Chaco area; that’s probably also the case in Paraguay, although colonization and development of the Paraguayn Chaco is already leading to declines in some areas. The extensive wildfires in the Pantanal this year almost certainly impact the species, but the extent of the impact isn’t yet known. For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.
Chaco Chachalaca, Panatnal, Brazil
One of WC’s birding buddies call this genus of Cracids the “Cha-cha” birds. Chachalacas are cousins to the Currasows and Guans featured earlier. They generally tend to be a bit drabber than those cousins, but there are exceptions. Chaco Chachalacas are famous for their dawn chorus; this bird was vocalizing when WC got this shot. The male’s morning call is described as a “bink, ka chee chaw raw taw, chaw raw taw, chaw raw taw” and is very loud, audible for half a mile. You be the judge:
central South America, and espcially the Pantanal area, the large swamp that straddles parts of Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia. They are hunted there and, as a consequence, are quite skittish. WC has head shots like this one, and tail shots like the next, but hasn’t seen, let alone photographed, one completely in the open.  
Chaco Chachalaca Butt, Pantanal, Brazil
This species is primarily a vegetarian, feeding on a variety of plant matter, including seeds and fruits, although it also has been known to consume caterpillars. There are two subspecies; this is probably pantanalensis, which prefer the swampy lowland forest and the edges of groves. It’s mostly arboreal, but WC has seen it on the ground. The Chaco Chachalaca is not believed to be globally threatened (Least Concern). In Brazil, it’s common in all regions of Pantanal, and in less frequented portions of Chaco area; that’s probably also the case in Paraguay, although colonization and development of the Paraguayn Chaco is already leading to declines in some areas. The extensive wildfires in the Pantanal this year almost certainly impact the species, but the extent of the impact isn’t yet known. For more bird photographs, please visit Frozen Feather Images.

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