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Série com a Maria-faceira (Syrigma sibilatrix) - Series with the Whistling Heron - 10- 02-2009 - IMG_3995

Maria-faceira (Syrigma sibilatrix), fotografada em Brasília, Brasil.

Classe: Aves

Ordem: Ciconiformes

Família: Ardeidae

Nome científico: Syrigma sibilatrix

Nome vulgar: Maria-faceira

Categoria: Vulnerável

Mede 53 cm. Tem face azul-clara, bico róseo. Habita campos secos, arrozais, lugares pouco alagados. Anda a passos largos e bem calculados, como se observasse um perigo ou uma oportunidade. Espécie insentívora. Faz ninhos sobre as árvores, ou arbustos, em ilhas, e põe ovos levemente manchados. Muito diferente das outras espécies de família. Sua voz é um sibilo melodioso repetido sem pressa, que é emitido com o bico largamente aberto e o pescoço esticado.

completamente insetívora, vivendo longe da água, nos cerrados abertos e campos limpos formados após a baixa das águas (foto). Os casais permanecem juntos a maior parte do tempo, mantendo contato em vôo com um chamado especial, um sibilo melodioso e longo. O som produzido é semelhante ao de maria-fumaças de brinquedo. No final da tarde, desloca-se para dormir pousada em árvores altas, geralmente em terreno seco. No início da manhã seguinte retorna ao local de alimentação, onde permanece no solo a maior parte do tempo, caçando os insetos em caminhadas lentas. Sua batida de asas é muito característica, por ser de baixa amplitude e alta velocidade, dando a impressão que voa somente com o deslocamento da ponta extrema da asa.

O nome comum está ligado às cores espetaculares da cabeça. As cores do juvenil são mais esmaecidas, mas, fora isso, é idêntico aos adultos.

Reproduz-se também em casais isolados, sem formar colônias.

Mede 53 cm. Face azul - clara, bico róseo.

Habita campoa secos, arrozais, lugares pouco alagados.

Ocorre do Rio de Janeiro e Minas Gerais à Argentina, Paraguai e Bolívia, também na Venezuela e Colômbia.

Andam a passos largos e bem calculados, como se observassem um perigo ou uma oportunidade.

Insentívora, caça também insetos no seco.

Fazem ninhos sobre as árvores, ou arbustos, em ilhas, ovos levemente manchados.

Muito diferente das outras espécies de família. A sua voz é um sibilo melodioso repetido sem pressa "i,i,i"; que é emitido com o bico largamente aberto e o pescoço esticado.


A text, in english, from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia:

The Whistling Heron, Syrigma sibilatrix, is a medium-sized, often terrestrial heron of South America. There are two subspecies, the southern S. s. sibilatrix and the northern S. s. fostersmithi.


The Whistling Heron measures 53 to 64 cm in length and weighs 521 to 546 g. The southern subspecies is bigger but has a shorter bill in proportion to the body.[1]

The overall impression of standing birds is gray, with flying birds showing conspicuous white rear parts (lower back, belly, and tail). In both subspecies, adults' upperparts except the lower back are blue-gray.[1][2] The feathers of the sides of head, sides of the neck, breast, and scapular area are basically white but are stained gold to buff, perhaps by the powder down typical of herons or by secretions of the preen gland; the color varies from bird to bird. In the nominate subspecies, the crown and crest (separate plumes up to 4 cm long on the nape) are black and the upper wing coverts are cinnamon-colored; the crown and crest are slate-gray and the upper wing coverts are honey-colored (or "chamois"[2]) in fostersmithi.[1] The bill is pink with blue to violet at the base and the distal third black, the legs are greenish and rather short, and there is a fairly big area of bare bluish skin around the eye.[1][2]

Juveniles have the same overall pattern but are duller than adults, with the crown lighter, the breast light gray, and the throat and sides unstained white.[1][2] Chicks are undescribed.[1]

The bird is named for its most common call, a "loud, flute-like whistled kleeer-er"[2] or "a high, reedy, complaining whistle, often doubled or uttered in a ser[ies], wueeee, wueeee,.…, easily imitated" [3] or "a distinctive, characteristic, far-carrying, melodious whistle" that "can be rendered 'kee, kee, kee.'"[1] It may also give "a slow, drawn-out whistle" when taking off.[1] The alarm call is a harsh quah-h-h.[2]

Unlike other herons, in flight it has fast, duck-like wingbeats and usually does not retract its neck fully.[1]

Range and habitat

The subspecies fostersmithi inhabits the Llanos and the Orinoco basin of Colombia and Venezuela. There are no breeding records "yet" from Colombia.[1][2] The subspecies sibilatrix inhabits eastern Bolivia, Paraguay, western and southern Brazil, Uruguay, Chile, and northeastern Argentina. Recent records suggest that it may be expanding its range northward and eastward in Brazil. It makes seasonal movements at least in northeastern Venezuela, where it does not occur from November to January, but remains all year in other areas, such as Buenos Aires Province, Argentina.[1]

It occurs at altitudes up to 500 m (with a sight record from 2300 m[3]) in seasonally flooded savanna, often in drier grassy situations than other herons, but also in a wide variety of open waterlogged or shallowly submerged terrain. Because it roosts in trees, it particularly likes regions where open areas are mixed with woodlots. It has no objection to human-altered habitats such as pastures and roadsides, and it often perches on fenceposts.[1]

Although patchily distributed, it is common in many areas, with no population considered vulnerable. It benefits from deforestation and some agriculture.[1] As a successful heron of dry tropical country, it has been compared to two species originating in the Old World: the Cattle Egret and the Black-headed Heron.[4]



This species eats any small dryland and marsh animals it can catch, or even pirate[1] (as from an Aplomado Falcon in one reported incident[4]). It often holds still[1][2][3] but also walks very slowly[4] and may use more active techniques, even running after prey or catching flying insects (notably dragonflies[3]) from a standing position.[1] It may allow humans to approach fairly closely rather than leave a good feeding spot.[1] It typically feeds alone or in pairs, but is sometimes seen in groups up to 100,[2] especially before roosting for the night.[1]


In a courtship display, the birds fly back and forth and glide in circles. A captive pair displayed by raising their plumes.[1]

This species nests alone, unlike most herons, which nest in colonies. It may nest in mature trees such as araucarias or exotic trees.[1]. One nest in Argentina was loosely built of sticks about 4m up in a eucalyptus.[3] The eggs are pale blue and speckled, about 4.7 × 3.6 cm, and the normal clutch is three or four. Incubation lasts about 28 days, and young fledge 42 days after hatching. Egg survival has been measured at 28% and nestling survival at 40%; storms that destroy nests are an important cause of losses. Based on observations of family groups, only two young normally fledge. Unlike most heron species, Whistling Herons care for young after leaving the nest; juveniles beg for food by hissing with their wings drooped.[1]


Skeletal resemblances to the night herons have led to a debate about whether the Whistling Heron is related to them, but since the 1980s it has been at least provisionally considered a relative of the genus Egretta, with little doubt that it belongs in a genus of its own.[1][5]

Cultural significance

Indigenous peoples formerly used its neck plumes as trade items, though not so heavily as to reduce populations.[1]


* BirdLife International (2004). Syrigma sibilatrix. 2006 IUCN Red List of Threatened Species. IUCN 2006. Retrieved on 02 April 2007. Database entry includes justification for why this species is of least concern

1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x Kushlan, James A.; Hancock, James. A (2005). Herons. Oxford University Press, pp. 208–214. ISBN 0-19-854981-4. Retrieved on 2007-04-01.

2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Hilty, Steven L.; Brown, William L. (1986). A Guide to the Birds of Colombia. Princeton University Press, p. 66. ISBN 0-691-08371-1. Retrieved on 2007-04-01.

3. ^ a b c d e Hilty, Steven L. (2003). Birds of Venezuela. Princeton University Press, p. 213–214. ISBN 0-691-09250-8. Retrieved on 2007-04-03.

4. ^ a b c Kushlan, James A.; Hancock, James A.; Pinowski, J.; Pinowska, B. (1982). "Behavior of Whistling and Capped Herons in the Seasonal Savannas of Venezuela and Argentina" (pdf). Condor 84: pp. 255–260. Retrieved on 2007-04-03.

5. ^ Remsen, J. V., Jr.; C. D. Cadena; A. Jaramillo; M. Nores; J. F. Pacheco; M. B. Robbins; T. S. Schulenberg; F. G. Stiles; D. F. Stotz; K. J. Zimmer. A classification of the bird species of South America [Version 2007-04-05]. American Ornithologists' Union. Retrieved on 2007-04-09.


Another text, in english, from heron.html

Whistling Heron (Syrigma sibilatrix), photographed at the City's Park (Parque da Cidade), in Brasília, Brazil.

Whistling Heron (Syrigma sibilatrix)

There are two subspecies of Whistling Heron, S. s. sibilatrix found in Bolivia, SE Brazil and NE Argentina and S. s. fostersmithi found in E Colombia and Venezuela which is smaller and paler.

It is quite distinctive with its red bill with black tip, its blue bare skin around the eyes, its golden neck and its blue-grey back.

Whistling Heron, Brazil, Sept 2000 - click for larger image It gets its name from the rather melodious whistle that it makes in contrast to the coarse calls of most herons.

It feeds during the day on grasshoppers, frogs, eels, etc. and is probably less dependant on water for its food than any other heron.

The Brazilians call it "Maria-faceira" or "Mary the coquette".


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Taken on February 10, 2009