Victor Castanho lived his dream of observing the uirapuru bird species during an expedition last year. In love with birds since childhood, Victor replaced traditional fairy tales and heroes with legends from the forest. And, among so many stories of Brazilian avifauna, that of the uirapuru-real stands out in the memory of the young observer.
“As a child, I heard the most diverse versions of the myths surrounding the bird, as well as the most varied songs talking about it. I have always imagined what it would be like to see uirapuru live ”, he says.
The desire to observe the species was so strong that Victor wondered: “Would the song hypnotize me? Would the whole forest be silent when the bird started to sing? Could it be that the effect of that song was so powerful? ”.
Motivated by the unknown, the biology student at Columbia University in New York embarked on an expedition in the Amazon last year. That was when the answers to the questions came up, during a trail, in the surroundings of Presidente Figueiredo (AM). “I remember well when I heard that almost perfect symphony, emitted by the uirapuru. When I heard those notes and that rhythm, my heart started beating very fast and my arms started to shake ”, he says.
“I finally saw what I always read in books. When I finally observed the uirapuru I was paralyzed, trying to understand if it was a mirage or if it was real. Could that be the famous king of the forest? ”
Exclusive and rare
At 12 centimeters and just over 20 grams, the uirapuru parades through the woods the brownish brown plumage, which in the forest understory appears to be extremely orange.
Exclusive to the Amazon rainforest, the species lives alone or in couples. In the reproductive period, male and female build the nest with dry leaves and, according to reports by Helmut Sick, look for spaces in trees with large colonies of ants to ensure the protection of the structure.
“Regarding the conservation status, there is no reliable statistical data on the true situation of the uirapuru, since the last survey published by IUCN was prepared in 2008”, warns Victor, who highlights the changes in the forest over the years.
“Com certeza com os incêndios e o desmatamento desenfreado essa espécie está sofrendo bastante. Eles não são adaptados a grandes voos, então não conseguem escapar de situações de ameaça”, completa.
O estudante explica ainda que há oito subespécies reconhecidas de uirapuru. “Elas se divergem no padrão do canto e da plumagem, o que faz com que essa espécie seja, de fato, uma ‘orquestra’ inteira”.
No entanto, Victor destaca uma pesquisa de 2016 conduzida por brasileiros que analisaram 515 indivíduos em museus e 146 gravações de voz. “E chegaram a conclusão de que é possível separar o uirapuru em pelo menos seis espécies distintas. Então há muita pesquisa a ser feita”, finaliza.