Thursday, January 19, 2012

Flora Fauna of Uruguay - 2010

The Uruguay Post issued the stamp of spring  series, features flora fauna on September 30, 2010.The species depicted are Pata de Vaca, Hornero, Pirincho, and Mburucuya which are found in Uruguay.
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Bauhinia forficata, commonly known as Pata de Vaca, is a species of flowering tree in the pea family, Fabaceae, that is native to Brazil and Peru..Pata de vaca is a small tree that grows 5-9 m tall. Its leaves are 7-10 cm long and shaped like a cow’s hoof, which is distinctive to the Bauhinia genus.
It produces large, drooping white flowers and a brown seed pod resembling that of mimosa. It can be found in the rainforests and tropical parts of Peru and Brazil, as well as in tropical zones of Asia, eastern Paraguay, and northeastern Argentina.
It is a highly regarded treatment for diabetes, even being called “vegetable insulin.” As such, it is used in South America to help balance blood sugar levels and to alleviate other symptoms of diabetes (such as polyuria, kidney disorders, and other urinary problems).
Pata de vaca leaves and tea bags are common items on pharmacy shelves in South America; traditionally, a leaf tea (standard infusion) is drunk after each meal to help balance sugar levels..

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Furnarius rufus or The Rufous Hornero is a large ovenbird with a square tail and a straight bill. The plumage is overall reddish brown with a dull brown crown and a whitish throat. Both sexes look alike, and juvenile birds are slightly paler below. 
Rufous Horneros feed on insects and other arthropods obtained by foraging on the ground while walking.They sometimes also feed on human waste, such as bread crumbs.
Also known as the Red Ovenbird, it is a common species of second-growth scrub, pastures and agricultural land, and the species is often seen near areas of human inhabitation. Its range includes south eastern and southern Brazil, Bolivia, Paraguay, Uruguay and northern and central Argentina.
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Guira guira or  The Guira Cuckoo  is a social, non-parasitic cuckoo found widely in open and semi-open habitats of eastern and southern Brazil, Uruguay, Paraguay, Bolivia, and north-eastern Argentina. It is monotypic within the genus Guira,.
It has whitish-buff underparts and rump, dark brownish upperparts, a broadly white-tipped dark tail that is relatively long, an orange-rufous crest, bare yellow ocular-skin (commonly fades in captivity), and a relatively heavy, orange-yellow bill. It is generally rather shaggy-looking and has a total length of approximately 34 cm .
Guira guira is arboreal, but can frequently be seen on the ground, usually in flocks of 6 to 18 individuals. It is sometimes seen with other birds such as the Smooth-billed Ani (Crotophaga ani) whose behaviour is similar.
Guira guira is a bird of open habitats and therefore has expanded its range on human-altered wooded areas, being found even in suburban parks and gardens. It feeds on large arthropods, frogs, eggs, small birds (especially nestlings) and small mammals such as mice.

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Passiflora caerulea,  or the Common Passion Flower, is a vine native to South America (Argentina, Paraguay, where it is widely known as the Mburucuy√° , Uruguay and Brazil). It is popular with gardeners because of its intricate, scented flowers that have an almost plastic-looking appearance.In tropical climates, it will flower all year round.
A woody vine capable of growing to 15–20 m high where supporting trees are available. The leaves are alternate, palmately five-lobed like a spread hand (sometimes three or seven lobes), 10–18 cm long and wide. The base of each leaf has a flagellate-twining tendril 5–10 cm long, which twines around supporting vegetation to hold the plant up.
The flower is complex, about 10 cm in diameter, with the five sepals and petals similar in appearance, whitish in colour, surmounted by a corona of blue or violet filaments, then five greenish-yellow stamens and three purple stigmas.
image The fruit is an oval orange-yellow berry 6 cm long by 4 cm in diameter, containing numerous seeds; it is eaten, and the seeds spread by mammals and birds. (Photo taken from Wikipedia)

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