Flock This Way: Fun Facts on Our Caribbean Birds  

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Keel-billed toucan

Most Corpus Christi visitors and locals will undoubtedly meet the city’s brown grackles, gray pigeons, and white seagulls at some time or another, but in Caribbean Journey, they’ll be much more impressed with the colorful red, green, orange, blue, and gold birds waiting inside. These birds’ festive tropical colors and melodic songs are helping us bring the vibrant sights and sounds of the Caribbean jungle to South Texas starting this May 13.

Birds of a feather may flock together, but several different exotic avian species will share the air in Caribbean Journey, with many of them even being allowed to freely fly around the jungle. You may hear these birds before you even see them, being surrounded by their bright songs and calls from the moment you enter Caribbean Journey. Look about and you can find these frequent flyers winging from tree to tree in the natural sunlight of the jungle exhibit.

Scarlet ibises

Among your new Caribbean feathered friends is the scarlet ibis, a wading bird boasting bright red plumage that makes it hard to miss. Like its relative the white ibis, the scarlet ibis has a slender, curved beak which it uses to forage for food in shallow water. Another unique-looking bird, the black-necked stilt, can also be found in Caribbean Journey. True to its name, this bird has dark coloring running up its back and past its neck, and strides through its wetland habitat on tall stilt-like legs in search of food. Among all birds, only the flamingo has a longer leg-to-body size ratio than the black-necked stilt. Also foraging in the water is the sunbittern. This brown and black bird may seem plain until it spreads its wings, revealing large and beautiful eyespots, which it uses for mating displays and to scare away predators. Along the jungle pathway, you can catch sight of other bright bird species. Keep an eye out for golden-colored saffron finches, green and white canary-winged parakeets, and blue-grey tanagers, adorned in shades of sapphire. The red-capped cardinal adds yet another touch of color to this rainbow collection of bird species.  The blue-crowned motmot, a bright blue, green, and gold bird with a black eyemask is a particular standout. Despite this bird’s beautiful plumage, you may be most fixated by its long tennis racket-shaped tail, which it can swing back and forth like a clock pendulum.

Near the Mayan Ruins you can also meet Lola, the keel-billed toucan. The toucan may be most known as the mascot for the cereal Froot Loops, but Lola prefers only natural fruit in her diet. The toucan’s large and colorful bill, made of lightweight bone and protein called keratin, can be used in the wild to help reach and tear apart fruit. Also perched nearby are two timeless symbols of the Caribbean, the blue-and-gold macaw and the scarlet macaw.

Surrounded by these beautiful Caribbean birds and their majestic sounds, you just may believe you’ve been magically transported to the actual jungles of the Caribbean. So if the everyday sight of seagulls or pigeons ever becomes dull, know you can also always brighten things up by visiting their multicolored Caribbean cousins, right here in Corpus Christi.

Learn more about our other high-flying Caribbean Journey species, touching down this May 13.