The Cerrado in Watercolor

Explore the biodiversity of the Brazilian savanna in scientific illustrations.

By Museu do Cerrado

Extremely diverse and important, the Brazilian savannah is worthy of a painting. Actually, not one but several! The waters that flow so much through it have been used to watercolor some representatives of this biome, hoping to open our eyes to its different forms of beauty, which, perhaps precisely because they are neglected and looked at with disinterest, are increasingly threatened. We can only keep what we know, and it's easier to know what we admire. This exhibition is a small attempt to contribute to that. Long live the Cerrado!

Martim Pescador Grande - Megaceryle torquata (2018-09-17) by Pedro Henrique VogeleyMuseu do Cerrado

The Ringed Kingfisher

The ringed kingfisher feeds on fish, which it catches with its long beak when it dives from a height. It stays on a perch or hovers in the air while assessing the right moment to dive.

This is the largest species of kingfisher in the Americas. It nests in ravines, generally on riverbanks, where it digs a tunnel up to 2 meters deep with a cavity at the end, where the nest is located.    

Tucano Toco - Ramphasto toco (2019-06-18) by Pedro Henrique VogeleyMuseu do Cerrado

The Giant Toucan

It is the largest and best known of the toucan species. They like both forests and more open areas of savannah, being typical of the Atlantic Forest, the Cerrado and some regions of the Amazon Rainforest. It lives in pairs or small groups...    

... and it feeds mainly on fruits and insects, but it can also attack nests and prey on other birds' eggs and chicks. Its large, colorful beak can help control your body temperature, exposing it to the sun for warmth, for example.

Ipê Verde - Cybistax Antisyphillitica (2017-11-14) by Pedro Henrique VogeleyMuseu do Cerrado


The cybistax is a lesser known member of the bignoniaceae family (Bignoniaceae). Found infrequently, it is a native tree characteristic of the Cerrado, with a twisted trunk and thick bark, which, together with its color and less abundant flowers, distinguishes it from the rest of the bignoniaceae.

Its bark and leaf have phytotherapeutic properties against syphilis, even possessing larvicidal effect against Aedes aegypti.

Pica Pau Branco - Melanerpes candidus (2018-06-08) by Pedro Henrique VogeleyMuseu do Cerrado

White Woodpecker

Also known as Birro, due to its strong, anasalike call, the White Woodpecker lives in groups of 6 to 10 individuals and has a preference for rural areas or sparse scrubland, having some tolerance for urban and rural areas.

Borboleta Estaladeira - Hamadryas feronia (2018-06-26) by Pedro Henrique VogeleyMuseu do Cerrado

Red Cracker

So-called because of the snapping (stridulation) sound it can make with its wings. Males are quite competitive and even aggressive, and use sound to mark dominance over food sources or females of the same species.

It is also notable for keeping its wings spread in the resting position, unlike most butterfly species.

They do this to camouflage themselves with the patterns on their wings against the bark of the trees. It is very common and has a wide distribution, even occurring in North America.

Cachorro Vinagre - Speothos venaticus (2018-05-01) by Pedro Henrique VogeleyMuseu do Cerrado

Bush Dog

A rare species of canid that is very sociable, resident in family groups of up to 10 individuals. It is a predator of small and medium mammals, and at home in water, possessing interdigital membranes that help it swim better.

It is in a fragile state of conservation, notably in the Cerrado and the Atlantic Forest, mainly due to habitat degradation and diseases transmitted by domestic animals and road deaths.

Gavião Peneira - Elanus leucurus (2019-01-28) by Pedro Henrique VogeleyMuseu do Cerrado

White-Tailed Kite

A predator of small rodents and lizards that uses a technique commonly called "sifting", which consists of hovering in the air (on average 30 meters from the ground) examining the ground for prey, then diving to catch it.

It has a preference for field areas, or forest formations permeated by open areas, as that is where it best gets a view of its prey on the ground.

Orelha de Pau - Pycnoporos sanguineus (2017-12-04) by Pedro Henrique VogeleyMuseu do Cerrado

Orange Shelf Fungus

This kind of fungus is quite common and eye-catching. It is from the same phylum as mushrooms (Basidiomycota) that grow on dead tree trunks and have the important ecological role of decomposing organic matter from wood, recycling its nutrients.  


Alma de Gato - Piaya cayana (2018-04-13) by Pedro Henrique VogeleyMuseu do Cerrado

Squirrel Cuckoo

 So-called thanks to its agile way of moving around in the treetops, leaping from one branch to another with the help of a long tail that keeps its balance while looking for caterpillars or other insects, which make up most of its diet.

Cobra de Vidro - Ophiodes sp. (2018-10-13) by Pedro Henrique VogeleyMuseu do Cerrado

Striped Worm Lizard

The striped worm actually belongs to the lizard suborder and not the snake suborder, and although it looks like a snake, it is a legless lizard. They are fossorial, crawling between layers of organic matter and catching insects and arachnids.

In this mixed technique illustration (watercolor and India ink), some details of the animal stand out, showing it is a lizard and not a snake.   

Credits: Story

Museu do Cerrado
Director General: Rosângela Azevedo Corrêa
Technical Director: Bruno Corrêa
Content Editor:  João Felipe de Santana
Illustration and text: Pedro Henrique Vogeley Cerqueira

Pedro Henrique Vogeley Cerqueira - A Cerratense at heart and biologist by training at the University of Brasilia, Pedro uses scientific illustration to unite art and science in an appreciation of the Cerrado. His intention is to take advantage of the beauty and richness of its unique fauna and flora, so often neglected, to spread knowledge and generate awareness, interest, and affinity.

Credits: All media
The story featured may in some cases have been created by an independent third party and may not always represent the views of the institutions, listed below, who have supplied the content.
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