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Wonderful Animal World (#2): The Swifts of the Falls.

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Swifts nest on the rocks behind the waterfalls.

There are birds that have chosen the Iguazú Falls area as their natural habitat.

But none of them lives as deep inside them as the Swifts.

Swifts are birds similar to swallows and like them they have the gift of flying with great gravitation and agility, doing innumerable pirouettes and stunts in the air.

Acrobatic flights to locate the nests and rush across the water curtain of the Devil’s Throat.

They are great fliers.

Of the more than 80 species that live in the world, there is one that lives in Iguazú Falls.

And he has a very special ability.


The Gray-headed Swift or Cascading Swift.


The most surprising thing about this exhibition is the technique used to cross the imposing curtain of water.

The Gray-headed Swift or Cascading Swift has the unique ability to pierce the water curtain in a few seconds and disappear miraculously as if by magic.

It is a safe place, although very humid, to make their nests.

The nests are mud covered with moss where they lay one or two eggs.

It is a fascinating trick that they do to get to the rock wall hidden behind the waterfall.

It is like a David against Goliath, fearlessly facing the roar of the falls to reach their nests.

First they individualize with flight stunts the exact next of the nest.

Then they topple the wall of water at full speed, doing a kind of tailspin to cross it. It seems an act of magic.

They do not do these stunts for the sake of risk (take into account the violence of the water in its abrupt fall from so many meters high).

These kamikaze-style flights will drop you off exactly on the other side of the waterfall where your nests are located.

They do this to hide their nests in the rock and protect themselves from predators that do not know where the eggs or chicks are, and make their home inaccessible to any other animal.

The water curtain serves as a shield, stopping their predators.

In the early morning the swifts leave the waterfalls to go hunting, to catch insects.

They spend most of the day in flight gathering in large flocks in front of the Falls while hunting insects in the air.

At dusk is when the swifts return to the Falls meeting thousands before returning to perch crossing them.

Despite the precariousness in the construction of their nests, many chicks manage to survive.

The best places attract hundreds of Swifts where they are piled up for the best location, heat and protection.

The incessant roar of the water can be heard from miles away.

Swifts are not minimally disturbed by the noise of the Falls.

But for them it is like a relaxing music that helps them sleep.

Here they rest peacefully knowing that few predators will dare to face the fury of the water.

The greatest danger to their survival are the continuous dams that have been built in Brazilian territory on the upper part of the Iguazú river to regulate the water.

This means that in times of drought the Falls do not have as much water and that could severely affect the survival of these magnificent birds that contribute to beautifying the natural environment of the Iguazú Falls.

Lack of water upstream can pose a problem for swift habitat.



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