The bell bird, known as the pajaro campana in Spanish and the guyra campana in Guarani, is the national bird of Paraguay. Its call once rang through the Atlantic Forests of Mbaracayu and Itapua but is now quite rare as the species is under threat of extinction due to loss of habitat. Pajaro Campana, one of Paraguay’s most well known harp songs (composed by Carlos Talavera and played by Felix Perez Cardozo on the harp), was inspired by the bell bird’s distinctive call.
Behaving like an Animal
In Guarani, animals are commonly referenced when describing human behavior. This derives from a rural tradition of living in close proximity with nature. You can learn a lot about animals by paying attention to this peculiarity of Paraguayan culture.
Aguara: Nickname for someone who is either very intelligent or very smelly, both characteristics of the Aguara Guazu (Maned Wolf).
Alonsito: Nickname for a man who is helping to rear another man’s offspring, a fate which often befalls the Hornero (Ovenbird), also known as an Alonsito.
Pira kutu: Used to describe someone who is falling asleep, head bobbing like a fish (pira) on a hook (kutu).
Paraguayan Nature Conservation Organizations
Unfortunately much of the country’s flora and fauna are increasingly under threat due to the pressures of a growing population, large scale agriculture, cattle grazing, as well as poaching, and illegal logging. Paraguay has the most rapid rate of deforestation in all of South America. The resulting natural habitat destruction has pushed several animals onto the endangered species list including the giant anteater, giant armadillo, maned wolf, giant river otter, tapir, jaguar, and marsh deer. The following is a list of organizations dedicated to studying and protecting Paraguay’s flora and fauna.
Guyra Paraguay: www.guyraparaguay.org
Fauna Paraguay: www.faunaparaguay.com
Fundacion Moises Bertoni: www.mbertoni.org.py
Paraguay Silvestre: www.paraguaysilvestre.org.py
Desde El Chaco: www.desdelchaco.org.py
Alter Vida: www.altervida.org.py
A Todo Pulmon – Paraguay Respira: www. atodopulmon. org