One of the more distinctive birds we saw in the Atlantic Forest portion of the trip was the red-legged seriema, a three-foot-tall bird that looks something like a cross between a crane and a cuckoo. It’s got a big long neck, a red beak to go with its red legs, and tufts of feathers growing out of its face. What’s not to love? So on our way back from the Pico de Caledonia excursion, Glenn and Andy took us to a ranch-like area with open fields, where a red-legged seriema or two have been reliably found in the past. And, sure enough, one came running at us from way up on a hilltop—seriemas prefer running to flying, and they can cover a lot of ground in a hurry. Once it got fairly close to us, it spent some time just posing and looking around, and we got plenty of photos. As far as bird photography goes, it was a rare can’t-miss opportunity.
Here’s a more-or-less full-body shot of the seriema:
The seriema has a very loud and distinctive call. I tried to capture that on video, but ended up shooting five or six video clips in which the bird refused to open its mouth even once. Here’s a short clip in which the bird calls a bit at the beginning, then spends the rest of the 33 seconds just looking around.
Next: We leave the Atlantic Forest and fly across the country to the Pantanal, where photographing birds—and reptiles and jaguars—is much easier.