Meet the Birds of Rio

by | Apr 16th, 2011 | 6:12PM | Filed under: Movies

Rio is the story of Blu, a mild-mannered parrot (Jesse Eisenberg) raised in domestic comfort in Minnesota. Blu becomes a feathered fish out of water when he’s brought to Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, to mate with Jewel (Anne Hathaway), one of the few remaining females of their rare and endangered species. Naturally a series of misadventures during Rio’s Carnival puts Blu and Jewel on the run Defiant Ones-style–along the way they meet up with a variety of singing, dancing, and wise-cracking critters, both avian and other. (Including Tracy Morgan as a drooling bulldog.)

From the creative team behind the Ice Age franchise and filled with bright colors, samba music and the usual silly cartoon humor, Rio is an inoffensively cute family flick–one of those the kids will probably have more fun with than adults, but adults won’t mind sitting through.

One of the film’s best bits is the colorful array of birds on parade. So here’s some information about the fictional birds of Rio and their real-life counterparts.

Rio is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from redbox.

Blu and Jewel

Voiced By: Jesse Eisenberg (The Social Network, Solitary Man, Zombieland) and Anne Hathaway (Alice in Wonderland, Love & Other Drugs)

Species: Spix’s Macaws

In Rio We Learn: My dad used to say, “put your brain in a blue-jay and it’d fly backwards.” Well, put Jesse Eisenberg’s brain in a blue parrot and it turns into a dithering, feathered bundle of awkwardly amusing neuroses.

Real-Life Fact: As in the film, because of over trapping and their very specific nesting habits in northern Brazil, Spix’s Macaws are critically endangered and possibly extinct in the wild. The last Spix’s Macaw in the wild was last seen 11 years ago, and there are less than 100 in captivity.


Voiced By: (X-men Origins: Wolverine)

Species: Red-crested Cardinal

In Rio We Learn: Clearly has experience working with flighty, preening birds that screech, squawk and flap their wings as they jump around.

Real-Life Fact: Despite its similar appearance, the southern Brazilian bird isn’t part of the cardinal family we’re familiar with in North American backyards and sports stadiums.


Voiced By: Jamie Foxx (Valentine’s Day, Due Date, Law Abiding Citizen, The Soloist)

Species: Yellow Canary

In Rio We Learn: Much like a certain other famous cartoon canary, Jamie Foxx’s bird can sing, shake his tail feathers, look good in a bottle-cap hat and fears no puddy cats.

Real-Life Facts: Yes because of their delicate constitutions, canaries were once used in coal mines to detect methane or carbon monoxide. But no, the Canary Islands in Africa are not so named because the small yellow birds originated there–it’s the other way around. The birds are named for the Islands, which take their name from “canis,” Latin for “dog.” So technically canaries are “dog birds.”


Voiced By: George Lopez

Species: Toco Toucan

In Rio We Learn: Viva la difference! Rafael’s wife Eva (Bebel Gilberto) is a Keel-billed Toucan, not a Toco–hence her light-green bill.

Real-Life Fact: It may look like it’d tip the toucan over, but the southern Brazillian bird’s giant bill (proportionally the largest in the bird world) is actually very lightweight thanks to a composite construction that includes a tough outer shell and a foam-like interior filled with air spaces. That big bill not only comes in handy for peeling fruit and cracking seeds, but also acts as a thermal radiator to help cool the toucan down.


Voiced By: Jemaine Clement (Flight of the Conchords, Dinner for Schmucks)

Species: Sulphur-crested Cockatoo

In Rio We Learn: Even in the bird world, fame is a fickle, fleeting thing–and there’s nothing more dangerous than a faded, embittered star.

Real-Life Fact: The loud Australian birds can be headstrong, manipulative, and ill-tempered. They thrive in urban environments where in large numbers their noise and love of eating wood (including outdoor furniture and housing timber) makes them pests.

Rio is now available on DVD and Blu-ray from redbox.


More animated family fun from redbox:



7 Responses to “Meet the Birds of Rio”

    Posted on May 2, 2011 at 12:10 am

    Hmmm a very interesting flock of different kinds of birds 3 parrots a red Creasted Cardinal,A canary and a toucan

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Posted on July 13, 2011 at 3:55 pm

    I would like to know the name of the breed of bird within 0:44 of the movie, the brown and yellow birds with grey beaks and orange feathers upon their head’s.

    I have been searching for their breed for the past hour and haven’t even found a breed similar. Could you help me?

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Posted on August 1, 2011 at 3:16 pm

    this movie is realy good and i like playing it whith my sister. I also
    like the parrots and all the colourful birds,i am so exsited to get the film!

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Posted on August 4, 2011 at 8:59 pm

    This was the cutest movie I’ve ever seen! My sisters adored it!

  2. Erin
    Posted on August 12, 2011 at 9:04 pm

    Such a cute movie! My son wants to grow up to become a scientist that studies birds now!!! Must see movie!

    • Currently 5/5 Stars
    Posted on August 30, 2011 at 7:17 pm


  3. adrian
    Posted on October 19, 2011 at 12:43 am

    por que utilizar aves en la pelicula y por que se eligio a brazil como sitio de la pelicula