The birdlife of Brazil is a true treasure trove for nature enthusiasts and birdwatchers alike. With their vibrant colors and mesmerizing songs, the country’s birds are a source of wonder and beauty. In this post, we’ll take you on a journey through Brazil’s avian paradise and introduce you to some of the most beautiful birds that you can find in the country. From the majestic Hyacinth Macaw to the colorful Toco Toucan, these birds are a feast for the senses.
So come along and discover the beauty of Brazil’s avian inhabitants!
1. Toco Toucan
Scientific name: Ramphastos toco
Length: 61 centimeters (24 inches)
Body mass: 500-870 grams
Wingspan: 109-152 centimters (43-60 inches)
Lifespan: 12-20 years
Also referred to as Common Toucan, the Toco Toucans are not only the largest of all toucans, but of the entire Piciformes order, including woodpeckers, toucanets, puffbirds, barbets, and honeyguides.
A popular attraction in zoos, these toucans primarily inhabit the semi-open habitats of South America and are found in the eastern and southern parts of Brazil.
Toco Toucans have an overall black plumage, except for a red rump, and a white face and throat. They possess black eyes surrounded by a bare blue skin patch, around which you can spot an orangish hue. Their unusually large bills are mainly orange in color, have a black base, and a black spot on the upper mandible’s tip.
The adults of this species have identical plumages, and display dimorphism in their body mass, with males being the heavier sex.
2. Jandaya Parakeet
Scientific name: Aratinga jandaya
Length: 30 centimeters (11.8 inches)
Body mass: 125-140 grams
Lifespan: 25-30 years
Called Jenday Conure in the world of aviculture, the Jandaya Parakeets are a small parrot species endemic to the woodlands of northeastern Brazil. They have a widespread population within the country and can be commonly found in Tocantis, Ceara, Piaui, Maranhao, and Para.
These parakeets are closely related to the Sun Parakeets, and resemble them closely in appearance. The head and underbody of Jandaya Parakeets are colored in a bright orangish-yellow, with the shade darkening as you move further down.
Their feathers are leaf-green in color, with a long and narrow tricolored tail. The base is green, yellow in the middle, and blue at the tip. They have dark irises, grey bills, and white skin patches around their eyes.
3. Scarlet Ibis
Scientific name: Eudocimus ruber
Length: 55-63 centimeters (22-25 inches)
Body mass: 1.2-1.4 kilograms
Wingspan: 54 centimeters (21.2 inches)
Lifespan: 16-20 years
The Scarlet Ibises are a long-legged wading bird found in the marsh and wetland habitats of Brazil and several other South American countries. They’re also found on some of the Caribbean islands and are the national bird of Trinidad.
True to their name, the plumage of Scarlet Ibises is colored in a vibrant shade of scarlet, except for their black eyes, greyish bills, and feet. If you’ve ever seen them in flight, you will notice how both their neck and legs appear extended.
While both sexes of the adult ibises are identical in their plumage, the males are typically larger in size than the females and have longer bills.
4. Hyacinth Macaw
Scientific name: Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
Length: 1 meter (3.25 feet)
Body mass: 1.2-1.7 kilograms
Lifespan: 30-50 years
A vulnerable species of South America, the Hyacinth Macaws are not only the largest macaws but the largest flying member of the entire parrot family. Within Brazil, you’ll find their population dwelling in the wetlands of the Pantanal region and the savannahs of Cerrado.
In appearance, Hyacinth Macaws are quite similar to Lear’s Macaws, only the latter is considerably smaller in size. As their name indicates, these macaws have an overall blue plumage, with their upper parts being lighter than the undersides.
There are bright yellow skin patches at the base of their lower mandible, as well as yellow eye rings around their eyes. The adults lack dimorphism, with both sexes being identical in appearance.
Scientific name: Opisthocomus hoazin
Length: 65 centimeters (25.5 inches)
Body mass: 1 kilogram
Lifespan: 14-15 years
Also referred to as Canje Pheasant and Stinkbird, the Hoatzins are a pheasant-sized bird endemic to the Orinoco and Amazon (including Brazil, Suriname, Colombia, and Guyana) Basins of South America.
These birds are extraordinary not merely because of their striking appearance but also because of their unique digestive system, which has more in common with mammals than with birds.
Much like the pheasants, Hoatzins have a small head and neck, with a stocky body and long, broad-tipped tail. Their plumage is primarily colored in dark brown, with a buff-colored crest, throat, and darker, rufous belly and rump. You’ll find white markings on all their brown flight feathers, with the lower half of their tail feathers dipped in buff.
They have red irises, grey bills, and bare blue patches on their face. Both sexes of these birds sport the same plumage, lacking any dimorphism.
6. Blond-crested Woodpecker
Scientific name: Celeus flavescens
Length: 27-30 centimeters (10-11 inches)
Body mass: 110-165 grams
Lifespan: 4-12 years
Named after their pale-colored crest, the Blond-crested Woodpeckers are a South American woodpecker species found in the forests of Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.
These woodpeckers have a medium-sized body with a cream-yellow, almost blond head and crest. The rest of their body is dark brown, with blond streaks scattered all over their flight feathers, and a plain, dark tail. Their eyes are dark, while the bills, legs, and feet are all greyish.
The adults of this species bear one significant difference in appearance by which you can tell them apart: the males have bright red cheek patches that are absent in their female counterparts.
7. Rufous Motmot
Scientific name: Baryphthengus martii
Length: 42-47 centimeters (17-19 inches)
Body mass: 146-170 grams
Lifespan: 12-14 years
Popularly believed to be the most attractive member of the Motmot family, the Rufous Motmots are tropical birds that inhabit the primary and secondary forests of their range. You can spot these South American motmots in Brazil, Honduras, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
As their name signifies, Rufous Motmots have a cinnamon-rufous head and underbody, save for a black mask around their eyes. Their back and flight feathers are bright green, with bluish edges and a long, blue tail. Their eyes, bills, feet, and legs are all black, and both sexes appear identical.
8. Green-billed Toucan
Scientific name: Ramphastos dicolorus
Length: 40-46 centimeters (15.5-18 inches)
Body mass: 265-400 grams
Lifespan: 16-20 years
Also referred to as Red-breasted Toucan, the Green-billed Toucans are one of the smallest members of the Toucan family that primarily dwell in the Atlantic forests of Brazil.
Much like the other toucans, these birds also possess primarily black plumage, a pale-colored face, an orangish throat, a black belly, red breast, and rump. Their irises are lemon yellow, with green eye rings, and a red hue spread around them. The bills are primarily yellow as well, but have green base stripes and markings.
Both sexes of Green-billed Toucans are identical in their size and plumage, being monomorphic.
9. Paradise Tanager
Scientific name: Tangara chilensis
Length: 13-15 centimeters
Body mass: 17-19 grams
Lifespan: 11-14 years
One of the most strikingly-colored members of their genus, the Paradise Tanagers have been named so for a good reason. These multi-colored passerine birds primarily inhabit the northern and western regions of the Amazon Basin, and are found in Brazil, Colombia, Peru, Ecuador, and Bolivia.
Paradise Tanagers have a neon-colored mask covering a majority of their otherwise dark-colored head. They have a dark blue chin patch that extends to their throat, while the rest of their underbody is covered in cyan blue.
Their back, wings, and tail are all black, including their eyes, bills, legs, and feet. The adults are sexually monomorphic and appear identical.
10. Bare-throated Bellbird
Scientific name: Procnias nudicollis
Length: 27 centimeters (10.6 inches)
Body mass: 163-225 grams
Lifespan: 12-16 years
Belonging to the family of the Cotingas, the Bare-throated Bellbirds are a near-threatened bellbird species that dwell in the moist forests of Brazil, Paraguay, and Argentina. These birds are well-known for the loud, almost metallic calls of the males.
The adults of this species are highly sexually dimorphic, with both sexes having significantly different plumages. The males have a striking white plumage all over their bodies, except for the bare blue patch around their eyes, bills, and throat.
On the other hand, their female counterparts have a dull, olive-brown head, back, wings, and tail. Their underparts are yellow, but possess heavy olive-brown markings around the throat and chest. However, both sexes possess the same dark eyes, greyish bills, and feet.
11. Pin-tailed Manakin
Scientific name: Ilicura militaris
Length: 11-12.5 centimeters (4.9-4.3 inches)
Body mass: 14-16 grams
Lifespan: 7-12 years
Named after their long, thin-tipped tail, the Pin-tailed Manakins are a small manakin species native to the Atlantic forests of Brazil. They spend the majority of their lives deep within the rainforests and are rarely spotted by humans.
Pin-tailed Manakins are strongly sexually dimorphic, wherein the males are colored much more attractively than the females. Because the juveniles take after their mothers, people often have trouble distinguishing the two.
Males have a black head and mantle, a red patch above their bills, and a white chin patch extending to their cheeks. Their throat, chest, and belly, and a pale greenish rump. Their wings are olive-green with dark edges and a dark, pin-tipped tail.
The females are much drabber in contrast and have an olive-green crown and greyish cheeks. Their undersides are off-white with a greenish wash. Their back, wings, and tail are all olive green as well. Both sexes have golden irises, bone-colored bills, reddish feet, and legs.
12. Red-necked Aracari
Scientific name: Pteroglossus bitorquatus
Length: 38-45 centimeters (15-18 inches)
Body mass: 112-170 grams
Lifespan: 5-7 years
Also referred to as Double-collared Aracari, the Red-necked Aracaris are an endangered aracari species endemic to the Southeast Amazon Basin in Brazil.
These birds have a dark brown head, reddish mantle and chest, a yellow throat band, belly, and rump, black wings and tail. Their irises range from golden to brown, with a bright yellow upper mandible and a black lower mandible with a white base.
While both sexes have similar plumage; only the females possess a paler crown, a narrower throat band, and a shorter beak.
13. Yellow-fronted Woodpecker
Scientific name: Melanerpes flavifrons
Length: 18 centimeters (7 inches)
Body mass: 49-64 grams
Lifespan: 4-7 years
Commonly found in the heavily degraded forests of eastern South America, the Yellow-fronted Woodpeckers are a colorful woodpecker species native to Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay.
Both sexes of this species have identical plumage, except for their faces. They have a red wash on their underbody, while their wings and tail are black. The vent is white, and the flanks are streaked with brown.
While both sexes have black eye masks and yellow chin and forehead patches, the males have a red crown extending all the way to the back of their head, while the females possess a black when.
14. Seven-colored Tanager
Scientific name: Tangara fastuosa
Length: 13-13.5 centimeters (5 inches)
Body mass: 21-24 grams
Lifespan: 3-5 years
Endemic to the forests of north-eastern Brazil, the Seven-colored Tanagers are yet another colorful and vibrant member of the Tanager family. This vulnerable species slightly resemble the Green-headed Tanagers but have more colors.
Their head, chin, and mantle are turquoise blue in color, with a dark patch around their throat, lores, and shoulders. The wings start with a paler shade of their head, but gradually grow darker towards the edges; tails are dark blue as well.
Much of their lower back is covered in a vibrant shade of yellow, while the underparts are shaded in range of blue as well. Unlike most tanagers, both sexes of this specie appear identical, displaying no dimorphism in plumage or size.
15. King Vulture
Scientific name: Sarcoramphus papa
Length: 67-81 centimeters (26-32 inches)
Body mass: 3.4 kilograms
Wingspan: 1.2-2 meters (4-7 feet)
Lifespan: 30 years
Endemic to Central and South America, the King Vultures are the largest of all the New World Vultures. In Brazil, these scavengers dwell in the Amazon Basin, where they’re often outnumbered by the Greater Yellow-headed Vultures.
The adults of this species display minimal dimorphism, possessing identical plumages and little difference in size.
A majority of their plumage is buff-colored, including their whole underbody and half of the upperbody. The lower half, including their wings and tail, is black. Their face is greyish, with an orangish-yellow throat patch, red eye rings, and orange wattles over their grey, orange-tipped bills.
16. Ornate Hawk-eagle
Scientific name: Spizaetus ornatus
Length: 50-68 centimeters (22-27 inches)
Body mass: 2.6-4.1 kilograms in males; 3.2-4.7 kilograms in females
Wingspan: 1.1-1.4 meters (3.6-4.5 feet)
Lifespan: 12-15 years
Belonging to the Booted Eagle subfamily (Aquilinae), the Ornate Hawk-eagles are fairly large raptors found in all of the tropical Americas. Within Brazil, you can easily spot them in Santa Catarina, Rio Grande du Sol, and Parana.
While both sexes of this species appear identical, they show dimorphism in size, with the females being 13% larger than their male counterparts in general.
The face of these birds is rufous-brown in color, with a black forehead and broad black crest on top. The throat and mantle are colored similarly, save for a vertical white stripe running on their mid-throat.
The rest of their underbody is heavily barred with black and white, while the back, wings, and tail are all black. You can also find black and white bars on their undertail feathers.
17. Spectacled Owl
Scientific name: Pulsatrix perspicillata
Length: 41-52 centimeters (16-20 inches)
Body mass: 453 grams – 1.07 kilogram in males; 680 grams – 1.25 kilograms in females
Wingspan: 31-37 centimeters (12-14 inches)
Lifespan: 25-30 years
Named after the unique face pattern that lends them a bespectacled look, the Spectacled Owls native to the forests of Brazil, Paraguay, Argentina, Mexico, and Trinidad. You can also find them in parts of Central America.
Much like other raptors, both sexes of these owls are identical in appearance, and display a reverse dimorphism in size, with the females being the larger and heavier sex.
Their head and upperparts are dark, blackish brown in color, while the undersides are unmarked and pale buff-colored. Their brow markings range between white and yellowish in color, standing out from the rest of their dark face. Their large eyes have yellow irises, just like many other night owls.
18. Brazilian Tanager
Scientific name: Ramphocelus bresilius
Length: 18 centimeters (7.1 inches)
Body mass: 28-35 grams
Wingspan: 25-30 centimeters (10-12 inches)
Lifespan: 4-5 years
Although named after their nativity in eastern Brazil, the Brazilian Tanagers are also found in Argentina. These heavy-billed birds have a wide range of habitats and have a stable population, although in some areas, their numbers are dwindling due to the pet bird trade.
The adult Brazilian Tanagers are highly sexually dimorphic, with the males possessing mainly bright red plumage. Their mantle is darker, and the wings and tail are black. Their lower mandible also has a white base, which is absent in females.
The females, on the other hand, are much drabber and browner, with their face, back, wings, and tail, all being brown, combined with dull orange undersides. Both sexes have brown irises, dark bills, feet, and legs.
19. Greater Rhea
Scientific name: Rhea americana
Length: 1.5 meters (4.9 feet)
Body mass: 20-27 kilograms
Lifespan: 30-40 years
The Greater Rheas are one of the two extant rheas (also referred to as South American Ostriches) of the world, and are endemic to Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and Argentina. Having five subspecies, the population of this species is considered near-threatened by the IUCN.
Both sexes of the adult Greater Rheas are identical in plumage but show variation in their size, with the males being the larger sex.
Much like the ostriches and emus, these birds also have small heads, long necks, stocky bodies, and long, powerful legs. Their overall plumage is colored in different shades of grey and is the darkest around the base of their neck and underbody.
Their feet end in thick, heavily-padded toes, none of which face the hindside. While these flightless birds do have substantially long wings, they’re only used in maintaining balance while running and in courtship displays.
20. Bare-faced Curassow
Scientific name: Crax fasciolata
Length: 82-92 centimeters (32-36 inches)
Body mass: 2.5-3 kilograms
Lifespan: 22-24 years
Belonging to the family of the Guans and Chachalacas, the Bare-faced Curassows are a vulnerable curassow species that find a home in the southeastern regions of the Amazon Basin. Within Brazil, you can spot these birds in Pantanal and Cerrado.
The adult Bare-faced Curassows are strongly sexually dimorphic. The males have an iridescent black head and neck, with a bunch of curly black feathers adorned as a crest atop their head. There’s a bright yellow bare skin patch around their bills. The females also possess a black head; only their crest contains black and white-barred feathers, and they lack the yellow patch.
The back, wings, and tail of both sexes are black, with cream-colored underbody. However, while the upperparts of females are marked with white bars, in the males, they’re purely black.