The National Bird of Brazil is not the Toco toucan. Nor the harpy Eagle, the hyacinth macaw, or the Jabiru stork.
The National Bird is slightly bigger than our American robin, in fact it’s in the same genus: turdus (thrushes). The National Bird of this mega diverse country that contains about 1,832 bird species is the unassuming rufous- bellied thrush. A brownish thrush with a reddish wash underneath.
I was pretty sure that I would see this bird sometime on the 15 days of my birding tour. But I didn’t expect to see it on my first day in Cuiabá. I was walking from my airport hotel around the corner to get some currency at the local bank. When on a wall appeared Brazil’s national bird! Well that was easy!
Why such a drab bird in nation full of amazingly colorful birds? Well the answer may be in the thrush’s melodious dawn song that the Brazilians love so much. Maybe it is a harbinger of the upcomming rains. The National Bird of Costa Rica is the even less impressive clay-colored thrush but it is it’s music not its appearance than endears it to Costa Rican’s and so maybe to all Brazilians. Maybe the rufous-bellied thrush is singing about the upcoming life-giving rains.
There is more that meets the eye with the National Bird of Brazil. This thrush teaches us to listen and not just look.