I couldn’t believe my eyes when I saw them sitting up high in a tree – two of them – basking in the sunset. My husband and I were taking a leisurely evening walk around our Asuncion neighborhood, when suddenly we heard a very strange, yet familiar-sounding loud noise. We started looking up in the trees searching for the culprit, but our efforts proved futile. Until we came across a security guard who was calmly sipping his terreré on his sidewalk stool. He pointed us towards another tree, exclaiming
There are two big birds up there, they look like ‘Cerro Porteno’!
His description was priceless and so charmingly simple. Cerro Porteno is one of the biggest football clubs in Paraguay and he was referring to their jersey colors resembling those of the ‘big birds’. As we continued to walk closer, we finally, saw them – two majestic red and blue parrots sitting up high in a tree. And my jaw dropped … I couldn’t believe what I was seeing!
How I wish I had my camera with me to capture that beautiful moment. They were cracking some type of shell with either nuts of fruits inside. It was loud – the sound of them cracking the hard shells from the heights of the trees and the subsequent thump of the shells onto the sidewalk. The two of them looked so romantic up there, in a world of their own. I’m not sure what type of parrots they were, but they were big, possibly Scarlet Macaws. Parrots mate for life and you will typically see two of them together, as was the case in our romantic encounter.
It was straight out of a Paraguayan Tourism promotion, us casually walking along the street and spotting two of the most beautiful and majestic birds in the world. To dampen the mood a bit, I’m told that it’s very unusual to see these parrots in the city, and my mother-in-law is convinced they escaped from someone’s house. But I choose to stick to my more romanticized version of the story.
Paraguay is so rich in nature, and the variety of birds you will see, even in Asuncion, is astounding. I am awoken every morning by a symphony of bird songs in our own backyard. Though I have not done it myself, I’m told that this is one of the best countries to go bird watching. I would love to see a Tucan one day, which you can come upon out in the countryside…
The Pajaro Campana – the bell bird – is the national bird of Paraguay, so famous that there is even one of the most well-known Paraguayan Polka songs written for it. Please listen to this version by renown Paraguayan harpist and composer Luis Bordon. It’s one of my favorites!
Bird watching is becoming increasingly popular for tourism here. Fauna Paraguay offers some tours, which you can have a look at here.
Sitting under the trees at El Café de Acá, drinking a café con leche. It’s one of the coolest cafés I have come across in Asuncion so far.