South America - Brazil - Mato Grosso do Sul


Mato Grosso do Sul is one of the Central-Western states of Brazil. Its total area of 357,125 sq kms. Neighboring Brazilian states are (from north clockwise) Mato Grosso, Goiás, Minas Gerais, São Paulo and Paraná. It also borders the countries of Paraguay, to the southwest, and Bolivia, to the west. The economy of the state is largely based on agriculture and cattle-raising. Crossed in the south by the Tropic of Capricorn, Mato Grosso do Sul generally has a warm, sometimes hot, and humid climate, and is crossed by numerous tributaries of the Paraná River.

Emerald Toucanet Aulacorhynchus prasinus ©Sara Jenner Wildfoot

The name Mato Grosso do Sul literally means ‘Thick Bushes of the South’ in Portuguese, a name inherited from its northern neighbour state of Mato Grosso, of which it was part until the 1970s. It is not uncommon for people to mistakenly refer to Mato Grosso do Sul as simply ‘Mato Grosso’.

Great Kishkadee Pitangus sulphuratus ©Sara Jenner Wildfoot

The state is also famous for its natural beauty, and is a major destination for domestic and international tourism. The Pantanal lowlands cover 12 municipalities and presents an enormous variety of flora and fauna, with forests, natural sand banks, savannahs, open pasture, fields and bushes. The city Bonito, in the mountain of Bodoquena, has prehistoric caves, natural rivers, waterfalls, swimming pools and the Blue Lake cave. The highest elevation is the 1,065 m high Morro Grande.

White-whiskered Spider-Monkey Ateles marginatus ©Sara Jenner Wildfoot

South Pantanal is an ecological paradise in the heart of Brazil. It is the largest flooded lowland on the planet and the third largest environmental reserve in the world. Its ecological importance is immense, since it is home to one of the richest ecosystems ever found, with periodically flooded seasonal forests. It displays the largest concentration of neo-tropical fauna, including several endangered species – mammals, reptiles and fish – and it also serves as habitat for an enormous variety of native birds, as well as those migrating from other areas in the Americas. The Pantanal is one of the best places in Brazil for flora and fauna observation. It has a total area of 230,000 sq kms. To the North, there are the Paracis, Azul and Roncador mountains. To the East, the Maracaju Mountain Range. To the South, the Dodoquena Mountain Range. And, to the West, the Paraguayan and Bolivian swamps.

Crimson Topaz Topaza pella  ©Sara Jenner Wildfoot

Mato Grosso do Sul has humid subtropical and tropical climates. The average annual rainfall is 1471mm. January is the warmest month, with mean maximum of 34 °C (93.2 °F) and minimum of 24 °C (75.2 °F) and more rain; July experiences the coldest temperatures, with mean maximum of 25 °C (77 °F) and minimum of -2,0 °C (28 °F) and sun.

The ‘cerrado’ landscape of much of the state is characterized by extensive savanna formations crossed by gallery forests and stream valleys. Cerrado includes various types of vegetation. Humid fields and ‘buriti’ palm paths are found where the water table is near the surface.

Black-faced Parrot ratinga nenday ©Sara Jenner Wildfoot

Alpine pastures occur at higher altitudes and forests on more fertile soils. The cerrado trees have characteristic twisted trunks covered by a thick bark, and leaves which are usually broad and rigid. Many herbaceous plants have extensive roots to store water and nutrients. The plant's thick bark and roots serve as adaptations for the periodic fires which sweep the cerrado landscape. The adaptations protect the plants from destruction and make them capable of sprouting again after the fire.

 

Text Source:             Fatbirder

Photo Source:          Wildfoot        

Map Source:             Google Maps


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Checklist of birds for South America - Brazil - Mato Grosso do Sul
Birding hotspots for South America - Brazil - Mato Grosso do Sul