I have just returned back from a wonderful trip to the Pantanal in Brazil. This is arguably the top wildlife watching and photography location of all of South America. The diversity and relative ease of photography of many birds, reptiles and mammals is amazing. I hope you will enjoy my photos from this very special place – a bit of a break from my normal Africa-oriented photos!
This photo is of the iconic Toco Toucan – one of my favourite birds. Such strange and endearing creatures! The Toco Toucan is the biggest of all toucans and its bill (beak) is the largest in proportion to its body size amongst all birds, making up a staggering 30-50% of its body surface area. There is a bit of speculation as to why the size of the bill is so large. Recent research suggests one of its purposes is to regulate the toucan’s temperature – in fact it is one of the most efficient heat radiators in the animal kingdom. The bill also helps during feeding and may also be used to intimidate other birds. Despite the fact that the bill looks enormous, it only accounts for about 1/20th of the bird’s weight – nature is a clever engineer.
I photographed this handsome specimen at a lodge along the Transpantaneira road – the only road that crosses the Pantanal. It was on a low branch, allowing for eye level photography. The challenge was to get a shot where the bill was perfectly perpendicular to the lens – these toucans do tend to move around quite a lot!
Tech Specs: Canon 7D Mark II | Canon EF 200-400 f4 IS USM Extender 1.4x @560mm | f5.6 | 1/400s | ISO 2500