Got my eyes on you ~

Rothschild's peacock pheasant

Rothschild’s peacock pheasant

This peacock pheasant looks nearly spherical because of its position, my camera angle, and the fact that its feathers are probably plumped up as well. This was an open enclosure, so some of the pheasants were down on the walkway. People don’t seem to alarm them much; after all, zoo visitors are constantly walking through their home. After this shot, birds will fly away from this blog for awhile and I’ll turn to other things.

Spangled cotinga ~

Spangled cotinga

Spangled cotinga

This little tropical fellow (only the males boast the brilliant turquoise-and-jade plumage) has a most excellent name. The word cotinga comes via French from the Tupi, an indigenous people living in what is now Brazil. (Interestingly, Tupi is also the name of a software program for 2D animation whose logo is very reminiscent of cotinga plumage.) There are several other species of cotinga, too, all of them gorgeous and apparently much sought out by bird-watchers.

Some good news: Wikipedia says that the spangled cotinga is “not considered to be threatened because of its wide distribution.” It lives in the rainforest canopy, however, so I hope this status continues despite deforestation, which does threaten some other cotinga species (again, according to Wikipedia). No bird species should be lost if it can possibly be helped—but especially not such a beautiful one.

White-faced whistling duck ~

White-faced whistling duck

White-faced whistling duck

I probably shouldn’t post something this blurry, but I liked the spunkiness of this lovely duck. He/she lives in a walk-through room in the Denver Zoo bird house, with roommates that include members of several other bird species and even a couple of sloths slung like bundles of rags high in the branches of a tree.

A mammal menagerie ~

 

Of all the animals I saw at the Denver Zoo (and I didn’t get around the entire zoo), only the eland was bold enough to stand right at the front of its enclosure, getting a great deal of pleasure from rubbing its chin and neck against the scratching post and the enclosure cable. The okapi, with its gentle-looking eyes, beautiful brown coat, and modernist black-and-white legs, is one of my favorites. In-between shots, this one was munching grass. A check of Wikipedia reveals that okapis, which are endangered, are quite solitary, are most closely related to giraffes, and are “generally tranquil.” This female seemed pretty unperturbed at my presence.