Parque da Cidade, Brasilia: January 6, 2012

On occasion, I bring my camera to the Parque da Cidade in Brasilia to spend a few hours in the morning photographing birds (I carry it around discreetly in a plastic shopping bag for safety). While I’m walking or jogging there during the week, I also keep a watchful eye on the birds that reside in the park, sometimes noting an unusual bird passing through, such as Aplomado Falcon, Buff-Necked Ibis, and Whistling Heron. As far as birding patches go, it’s a productive site with a nice variety of Cerrado species that I don’t often see elsewhere, such as Gray Monjita, Firewood Gatherer, and White Woodpecker, the latter of which I was finally able to photograph today as a group of four or five birds were foraging garrulously with a mixed flock.

What originally drew my attention to the same mixed flock from a considerable distance away was the sight of a pair of stunning red and white birds, colored unlike any other bird in the region. The Ridgely-Tudor field guide for the Birds of Central Brazil doesn’t include the Red-Cowled Cardinal, but there was simply no mistaking the identification of these gorgeous birds or confusing them with the Red-Crested Cardinal, which is localized to the Pantanal in Brazil. The Cornell Lab of Ornithology includes Brasilia at the far western end of the distribution of this Brazilian endemic, but there’s a chance that the birds were released from captivity, as cardinals in general are popular here in the caged bird trade.

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