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Meet The National Bird of Paraguay, The Bare-Throated Bellbird

Welcome to the heart of South America: Paraguay! A land of rich biodiversity and stunning landscapes. Now, what if I told you this country also hosts a bird with one of the loudest bird calls ever recorded?

Meet the Bare-throated Bellbird, a fascinating creature whose vocal abilities will leave you astounded.

Quick Info About The Bare-Throated Bellbird

Scientific Name:Procnias nudicollis
Average Size:9.8-11.8 inches (25-30 cm)
Average Wingspan:20-24 inches (51-61 cm)
Average Weight:0.44-0.66 lbs (200-300g)
Average Lifespan:Up to 15 years
Geographical Range:Eastern Paraguay, Brazil, Northern Argentina
Habitat:Tropical and subtropical rainforests
Conservation Status:Near Threatened (IUCN Red List)

Meet The Bare-Throated Bellbird, National Bird of Paraguay

The Bare-throated Bellbird sports a striking appearance, with males having a nearly all-white plumage contrasted by a bald, black head and throat. The females are a duller greenish color. This bird is known for its sexual dimorphism, as the males are the ones with a more vibrant appearance, especially during the breeding season.

Their call is nothing short of astonishing, sounding like a metallic hammer striking an anvil. In fact, it’s one of the loudest bird calls, capable of being heard up to half a mile away.

These birds predominantly eat fruits, making them essential for seed dispersal in their habitat. They are hunted by larger birds of prey and some mammals, but their loud call can often deter potential predators. They play an important role in maintaining the health of their ecosystem by facilitating the growth of new plants through seed dispersal.

Paraguay Bare-Throated Bellbird 1Source: Wikimedia Commons

Where Does The Bare-Throated Bellbird Live?

The Bare-throated Bellbird thrives in tropical and subtropical rainforests, particularly in higher altitudes. These altitudes range from 600 to 1,800 meters, allowing them to escape the heat of the lowlands.

They are most commonly found in the eastern parts of Paraguay, but their range extends into northern Argentina and parts of Brazil as well.

Why and When Did The Bare-Throated Bellbird Become The National Bird of Paraguay?

The Bare-throated Bellbird holds significant cultural and ecological value in Paraguay. It symbolizes the unspoiled beauty and richness of the Paraguayan wilderness. Its loud call is often associated with the ‘voice of the forest,’ reminding people of the intricate and fascinating biodiversity that resides within the nation’s borders.

The bird was officially designated as the national bird due to its striking features and its importance in local ecosystems as a seed disperser. No known controversies or debates surround its designation, making it a unifying symbol for Paraguayans who take pride in their country’s natural heritage.

Paraguay Bare-Throated Bellbird-2Source: Wikimedia Commons

Where is The Bare-Throated Bellbird Featured in Paraguay?

As of now, the Bare-throated Bellbird doesn’t appear on Paraguay’s national flag or banknotes. However, it has a strong presence in local folklore and is often featured in educational materials about Paraguayan wildlife.

Its likeness is also seen in various forms of artwork and cultural exhibitions. While not an ‘official’ emblem in governmental use, its cultural significance makes it a point of interest for tourists and nature enthusiasts alike.

Names of The Bare-Throated Bellbird

The Bare-throated Bellbird is primarily known by this name in English-speaking regions, but it also goes by other titles. Its scientific name is Procnias nudicollis. In Spanish-speaking areas like Paraguay, it’s commonly referred to as “Mbororó.”

Among indigenous communities, the bird has specific names that often relate to its distinctive call or appearance.

Is The Bare-Throated Bellbird Endangered?

According to the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN), the Bare-throated Bellbird is currently categorized as “Near Threatened.” The main threats to its existence include habitat loss due to deforestation and the illegal pet trade.

On a brighter note, the bird is protected by law in Paraguay, and several reserves have been established to provide sanctuary for this and other endangered species.

Local and international NGOs are working on conservation efforts, including reforestation and community education to help preserve this national treasure.

Paraguay Bare-Throated Bellbird 3Source: Wikimedia Commons

Interesting Facts About The Bare-Throated Bellbird

  1. Unforgettable Call: One of the most distinctive features of the Bare-throated Bellbird is its call, which can be heard up to a kilometer away.
  2. Sexual Dimorphism: The males are strikingly white, while females are green, allowing them to blend in with foliage and go unnoticed.
  3. Seed Disperser: This bird plays a crucial role in maintaining the health of forests by dispersing seeds.
  4. Culinary Preferences: The Bare-throated Bellbird is fond of fruits and is particularly instrumental in the dispersal of mistletoe seeds.
  5. Cultural Importance: Beyond being the national bird, its call is often imitated in indigenous music and ceremonies.
  6. Role in Literature and Art: Due to its cultural importance, the Bare-throated Bellbird often appears in Paraguayan literature and art, symbolizing freedom and the beauty of the natural world.

Other Beautiful Birds Native To Paraguay

  • Red-winged Tinamou (Rhynchotus rufescens): Known for its distinct reddish-brown feathers and a melodic, haunting call.
  • Blue-throated Piping Guan (Pipile cumanensis): A striking bird with a blue throat and white plumage, frequently found in forested areas.
  • Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco): Famous for its large, colorful beak, this bird is one of the most iconic in South America.
  • Chaco Chachalaca (Ortalis canicollis): Commonly found in the Chaco region, it is known for its loud call, especially during the early morning.
  • Glittering-bellied Emerald (Chlorostilbon lucidus): This hummingbird species showcases stunning green plumage and a fast, agile flight.

What Is Another National Animal of Paraguay?

In addition to the Bare-throated Bellbird, the Pampas Fox is another national symbol of Paraguay. Known scientifically as Lycalopex gymnocercus, this fox species is native to the grasslands of South America. It represents the wild, untamed beauty of Paraguay’s landscapes and is also a subject of local folklore and myths.

Frequently Asked Questions

Why is the Bare-Throated Bellbird considered vulnerable?

The main threats include habitat loss due to deforestation and the illegal pet trade. Conservation efforts are ongoing to help protect this unique species.

Is it illegal to keep a Bare-Throated Bellbird as a pet in Paraguay?

Yes, it is illegal to keep this bird as a pet. It is a protected species in Paraguay.

How can one differentiate between a male and female Bare-Throated Bellbird?

The males are predominantly white with a bare blue throat, while the females have green plumage, allowing them to blend in with the forest foliage.

Are there any reserves or national parks in Paraguay where I can see the Bare-Throated Bellbird?

Yes, there are several, including the San Rafael National Park and the Mbaracayú Forest Natural Reserve.

What does the Bare-Throated Bellbird eat?

It primarily eats fruits and plays a significant role in seed dispersal, especially for mistletoe.

Other National Symbols of Paraguay

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