RUFOUS HORNERO Furnarius rufus
Commonly seen high-stepping on lawns on plazas, the hornero has adapted well to city life. Each pair builds a number of clay “oven” nests which they use for roosting as well as breeding. Nests are the focal point of ear-splitting pair-bonding displays, the birds pointing their heads skywards and fluttering their wings rapidly as they sing at the tops of their voices.
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Photographs on this web-site were taken by Paul Smith, Hemme Batjes, Regis Nossent,
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FAUNA Paraguay Ten Common City Birds
Here is a brief beginner´s guide to 10 of the commonest Paraguayan city birds to help you with identification. These birds can be found in any urban garden or plaza and are found in all the country´s major cities.
HOUSE SPARROW Passer domesticus
Introduced from Europe the House Sparrow is probably the commonest small bird in Paraguayan cities. Noisy, boisterous and conspicuous, they are familiar to everybody, hopping on the ground in argumentative flocks and taking advantage of any available food source. The arrival of this species in South America has been to the detriment of the native Rufous-collared Sparrow.
The native sparrow, this species is out-competed by the House Sparrow in urban areas. Though they are superficially similar they are in fact unrelated. This species is shier and less gregarious. Note the different head pattern and the peaked crest that can be raised and lowered.
SAYACA TANAGER Thraupis sayaca
A splash of colour in the city, this turquoise gem is one of the commonest city birds. It is a fruit eater and groups gorge themselves at fruiting trees. They are noisy birds, but their squeaky, tuneless song is not pleasing on the ear.
PICUI GROUND-DOVE Columbina picui
Invariably in pairs, the local name for these little doves “tortolitas” is also used to describe young couples in love. They walk on the ground with a comical wobble, but their flight is swift and graceful. These birds can be easily identified by the broad white band across the wing visible in flight and at rest.
SHINY COWBIRD Molothrus bonariensis
The wholly blackish cowbird is a nest parasite, laying its eggs in the nests of other birds. They live in large flocks, feeding on the ground often around the feet of livestock. The flight pattern is distinctive, several wingbeats followed by a glide on closed wings.
SAFFRON FINCH Sicalis flaveola
The Paraguayan “canary”, males a pretty yellow birds with green wings and an orange forehead. Females are brown and streaky. During the breeding season males perch predominately to deliver their sweet musical song. Saffron finches feed mainly on seeds.
GREAT KISKADEE Pitangus sulphuratus
The “pitogue” is one of Paraguay´s most familiar birds thanks to its raucous, onomatopoeic call. They are omnivourous, feeding on insects, fruit, small vertebrates and even fishing on occasion! During late afternoon kiskadees adopt high perches and call loudly. Legend has it that if a woman hears a kiskadee sing she is pregnant.
HOUSE WREN Troglodytes aedon
The industrious house wren is a secretive inhabitant of urban gardens, creeping mouse-like through vegetation. Though its brown plumage means it isn´t much to look at, it possesses a wonderfully varied, warbling song the match of any other species. Wrens are well known for building their domed nests in the most unlikely of places.
Generally the commonest town thrush, it is best recognized by the whitish belly and dark lores. They run on lawns, stopping briefly to probe the soil for invertebrates, and frequently moving the tail up and down. In the breeding season the bill of the male is bright yellow.
To see how you can learn more about Common Birds in Paraguay click here.