Monday, July 26, 2010

The Uirapuru

The Guarani people of the Amazon tell of a handsome young warrior, whose love was sought by all the maidens of his tribe.
And who was treacherously murdered by a rival for their affections.
When they went to prepare his body for burial, they found it gone.
He’d been transformed into a bird that filled the forest with song, but disappeared when approached.
The uirapuru.
They say that when the uirapuru sings, the sound of its notes is so beautiful that all the other birds of the forest stop singing - and listen.
Only in part.
Because the uirapuru really does exist.
But is seldom seen, and rarely heard.
It's a shy creature with coloring that blends in with that of the forest.
And it sings only at dawn, and at sunset, and for little more than two weeks in any given year.
Those two weeks are the period in which the bird is building his nest.
He’s singing out of love, hoping to attract a mate.
All Brazilians know about the uirapuru...
...but few have been fortunate enough to hear its voice in nature.
The people who live in the Amazon jungle are constantly on the lookout for uirapuru feathers on the forest floor.
The possession of one is thought to bring good luck to both men and women.
But especially to women.
Who are said to use them to capture the passion of their loved ones – forever.
Click here to listen the song of the uirapuru:

Leighton - Monday


  1. Oh, Leighton, thank you for this. My next book takes place in Paraguay, where the same bird is (used to be?) found. His call appears, very very briefly, in my story, but of course, I never actually heard it, just read about it. You have given me a chance to hear it for myself. WOW! What a gift.

  2. Hi Annamaria,
    Boy, are you well informed!
    I didn't think anyone but Brazilians knew about the uirapuru.
    And I thought those little creatures lived only in the Amazon region.
    One thing I'd check though:
    As you know, Guarani is one of the official languages of Paraguay, and this is a Guarani legend.
    So is it possible that the Guarani people who lived in Paraguay had the legend without having the bird in their own forests?
    I really don't know the answer to that question.
    I'm just speculating.

  3. Oh dear, you can hear that that bird grew up in Brazil and not Denmark. Wonderful tune!

  4. It sounds like a samba variation on the theme from "Close Encounters Of The Third Kind."


  5. The uirapuru is just like human males. He throws out his line to the first female he encounters, she ignores him, and he tries the same line on the next female in his line of sight. Finally, someone falls for it.

    Instead of inviting the female to see his etchings, he invites he to evaluate his nest-making skills.


  6. Hmmm Beth: That's a sweeping statement! ALL human males do this? :}

  7. I didn't use the word "all", Stan, and I am too old to have known any men who had any place they could take a girl. In my day, the guys I knew were in college and working two jobs to pay tuition. So was I, for that matter.

    My observations about the dating game all come from television after 1973.


  8. Hi Leighton,

    What a romantic little bird!

    Brazilians seem to believe wishes do come true.
    I wonder how many other countries believe in good luck and wishes.


  9. I didn't quite get the lyrics, but I loved the tune...


  10. I haven't lost all my bird identification chops--it is a Wren, with the characteristic short tail.

    Nice story, nice song.

  11. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  12. Heitor Villalobos wrote an astonishing symphonic poem about this legend, which he oped Diaghilev would have choreographed for the Ballet Russe. Alas! It was not to be!