The ‘notes’ format has been slightly changed, all sites are collected within the state name and not in regions as before; orientation map below. Details for each state can be found below, in alphabetical order. I have deliberately not enhanced these pages with photographs to make it easier to copy and print.
|Me and Jeremy at Santa Virginia, São Paulo © Elis Simpson|
I know there is plenty of forest with good birding accessible by car from Cruzeiro do Sul but I have had no personal experience with this.
The best but most expensive place to stay is the Quilombo Parque hotel in União dos Palmares. It is pleasantly situated with plenty of birds in the grounds, including Seven-colored tanager Tangara fastuosa. It takes at least 50 minutes to get to the reserve from the hotel.
The road to the IBAMA reserve, near Fazenda Bananeiras, is very bad and you will need four-wheel drive if there has been any rain. Take a dirt road to the right off the BR-104 (signposted Fazenda Serra Nova), 700m north of the entrance to Murici. The way is complicated, with many tracks to the right and left. Keep to the “main” road. At a T junction with another “main” dirt road, turn left. Ask for Estreito and then Bananeiras. There is a small dam on the left at Bananeiras. The reserve is up the hill after the hamlet, forking left near the top. There is a chain (unlocked when we were there and no guard) at the entrance, 16.4km from the asphalt. The forest remnant along the left of the road before the reserve is good for Long-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania watertonii, Pinto’s Spinetail Synallaxis infuscata and Smoky-fronted Tody-flycatcher Poecilotriccus fumifrons. Look inside the reserve for the local specialities: Scalloped Antbird Myrmeciza ruficauda, Orange-bellied Antwren Terenura sicki, Alagoas Tyrannulet Phylloscartes ceciliae, Alagoas Antwren Myrmotherula snowi and Alagoas foliage-gleaner Philydor novaesi (in order of increasing difficulty).
There is another bit of good forest, slightly lower, beside the telecom tower on the left of the BR-101, 16km north of the junction with the BR-104.
The Sonho Meu hotel near Porto Grande continues cheap and pleasant. There is primary forest behind the hotel with a long trail but when we were there in December it was strangely devoid of bird life. The hotel told us that VENT tours spend more time at Sonho Meu than at Serra do Navio so we probably were unlucky with the time of year. In the secondary forest along the access road to the hotel and along the railway line we had Guianan Slaty-antshrike Thamnophilus punctatus and Yellow-throated Flycatcher Conopias parva.
As one leaves Porto Grande on the road to Macapá, before the large sand pits on the right, a road to the right will take you into a slash pine plantation interspersed with campina and woodland remnants. Here we saw Dusky Antbird Cercomacra tyrannina, Pale-bellied Mourner Rhytipterna immunda and Black Manakin Xenopipo atronitens.
In February 2012 Derek Kverno added the following update to the information above:
The road from Macapá to Porto Grande is tarmac and was in excellent condition as of February 2012. Hotel Sonho Meu in Porto Grande is no longer open, I heard from several sources, and I didn’t spend time there looking for it as the weather was clear and I wanted to get to Serra do Navio as quickly as possible (it’s a 4-5 hour drive from Macapá). The road to Serra do Navio was packed dirt and relatively wide. I travelled it during the rainy season in a small Fiat at 40 to 50 kph (there are cars for rent at the Localiza booth in the airport in Macapá), and there also were other smaller cars making the trip without hesitation. Accommodation in Serra do Navio is limited and often full of miners. I stayed at the relatively expensive Pousada Santa Barbara (96-3321-1139). Buses also leave from Macapá to Serra do Navio, and informal kombis, or private shared vans, shuttle passengers from Porto Grande to Serra do Navio.
Just before entering the town of Serra do Navio, there is a forested road to the left that winds down to the river and a balneário, or bathing area. The road descends past a water treatment facility and a small neighbourhood and then turns to the right and passes the Capuchinbird lek on the left. Beyond the lek there is now a large clearing, where they are building a community centre that is likely to disrupt the Capuchinbirds. Along the forested road there are also a few trails heading back up the hill through the forest that the locals use as short cuts. There’s another forested trail heading from the house at the balneário that follows the river upstream, which the residents will happily let you bird. I didn’t nearly rack up all the specialities that Jeremy saw in 2000, but my short visit was productive, including Capuchinbird Perissocephalus tricolor, Rufous-Bellied Antwren Myrmotherula guttata, White-Fronted Manakin Lepidothrix serena, Black-Headed Antbird Schistocichla rufifrons, Green Aracari Pteroglossus viridis, Chestnut Woodpecker Celeus elegans, and Black Nunbird Monasa atra.
Manaus is probably the best centre for birding in Brazilian Amazonia so far as number of species is concerned. Situated where the Rivers Solimões and Negro join to form the Amazon it covers three distinct biogeographical regions: the area east of the Negro, the interfluvium between the Solimões and the Negro, and the area south of the Solimões / Amazon. Furthermore the BR-174 north to Venezuela gives quick access to the extreme north of Brazil.
In Manaus itself the grounds of the Hotel Tropical , recommended by Forrester; are worth a visit if you have time to kill. Another option if you have a morning available before a flight is to take a taxi to the ferry to Careiro (“Balsa” on Forrester’s map), cross the river (you pass over the famous meeting of the waters of the Negro and the Solimões) and walk the road south [in September 2004 we saw from the air that the road has now been paved; the birding along the road may well have deteriorated].
A marvellous trip from Manaus is to spend a few days on a river boat. The first destination (or a day trip) might be Marchantaria, an island close to Manaus in the Rio Solimões with a number of specialist species for this habitat (Olive-spotted Hummingbird Leucippus chlorocercus, Zimmer’s Woodcreeper Xiphorhyncus necopinus, Dark-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis albigularis, White-bellied Spinetail Synallaxis propinqua, Red-and-white Spinetail Certhiaxis mustelina, Parker´s Spinetail Cranioleuca vulpecula, Scaled Spinetail Cranioleuca muelleri, Castelnau’s Antshrike Thamnophilus cryptoleucus, Black-and-white Antbird Myrmochanes hemileucus, Brownish Elaenia Elaenia pelzelni, River Tyrannulet Serpophaga hypoleuca, Riverside Tyrant Knipolegus orenocensis and Pearly-breasted Conebill Conirostrum margaritae). The Anavilhanas archipelago on the Rio Negro is about five hours from Manaus and is good for flooded igapó forest specialists like Blackish-grey Antshrike Thamnophilus nigrocinereus, Klage’s Antwren Myrmotherula klagesi, Leaden Antwren Myrmotherula assimilis, Ash-breasted Antbird Myrmoborus lugubris and Snethlage’s Tody-tyrant Hemitriccus minor. Our boat was the Iguana with room for up to eight passengers. The food was excellent and we had a launch for visiting the flooded forest. The boat can be arranged through Birding Brazil.
The BR-174 north from Manaus crosses a number of valleys with Mauritia palms. Look for Point-tailed Palmcreeper Berlepschia rikeri and Sulphury Flycatcher Tyrannopsis sulphurea in these.
At km 44 on the BR-174, just north of the police post, there is an interesting campina (white sand) area. Opposite the INPA sign on the right there is a track where you can park your car away from the road and in the campinarana (white sand forest) along this track there are Spotted Puffbird Bucco tamatia, Guianan Slaty-antshrike Thamnophilus punctatus and Yellow-crested Manakin Heterocercus flavivertex. The track to the campina starts at the INPA sign. First there is about 300m of campinarana with Guianan Slaty-antshrike again, Saffron-crested Tyrant-manakin Neopelma chrysocephalum and Black Manakin Xenopipo atronitens. In the campina itself, a sandy area with low, bushy trees along a track to the right, you will find Bronzy Jacamar Galbula leucogastra and Pelzeln’s Tody-tyrant Hemitriccus inornatus, until recently only known from a single 19th-century specimen from northwest Brazil. [In 2005 the campina to the right of the road was closed off by a locked gate. The INPA office that holds the key is located on the left (as you travel north) immediately before the police checkpoint just south of the campinas. There was free access to the campina on the left of the road]
Dawn from the INPA tower on the ZF-2 road at km 50 on the BR-174 is a magnificent experience. You need permission from INPA (Birding Brazil can arrange this). In 2005 charges for visiting the tower were R$40 per person plus a per group fee of R$50 for the guide that you are supposed to take. The track to the tower is to the left, 15km from the BR-174, after the remains of a house and fences with fruit trees. Take the side trail, which will not be obvious in the dark; the track itself can be knee deep in muddy water.
To the right (going north) of the BR-174, at km 85, we found a new road with little traffic through good terra firme forest.
Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge
This recently (2007) opened lodge lies immediately opposite the Anavilhanas archipelago, on the right (west) bank of the Rio Negro, close to the village of Novo Airão. The lodge provides transportation from Manaus, which is c.3 hours away by road, as part of its package. Accommodation is spacious and relatively luxurious, with good food to boot, and being close to a small town it has a constant electricity supply. Birds right around the lodge include the pallens form of Snethlage’s Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus minor (probably a good split), Yellow-crested Manakin (common) Heterocercus flavivertex, White-winged Potoo Nyctibius leucopterus and Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata. The owner, Augusto (English-speaking), is keen to attract birders and plans to construct a tower in the not too distant future. Despite only having been open a few months, at the time of our visit (December 2007), the lodge was receiving plenty of non-birding custom, so it would certainly be advisable to book in advance.
The lodge, of course, makes a fine base to visit the Anavilhanas archipelago and virtually all of the key specialties (Zimmer’s Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus kienerii, Ash-breasted Antbird Myrmoborus lugubris, Leaden Myrmotherula assimilis, Klages’ M. klagesi and Cherrie’s M. cherriei Antwrens, etc.) of the islands can be found on a relatively short boat ride from the lodge. In addition, by boat one can also visit várzea forest in an igarapé on the west bank of the Negro, c.15 minutes downstream of the lodge. Andrew Whittaker has discovered Chestnut-headed Nunlet Nonnula amaurocephala in this area, but we were unsuccessful in finding it, despite using playback. We did see several Fiery Topaz Topaza pyra.
Birding the sandy-belt terra firme on the road into the lodge, and surrounding trails, despite appearing somewhat ‘scrappy’, is also worthwhile. Rio Negro Gnatcatcher Polioptila facilis and Spot-backed Antwren Herpsilochmus dorsimaculatus are regular constituents of mixed flocks, Pompadour Cotinga Xipholena punicea is frequently seen along the entrance road, Brown-banded Puffbird Notharchus ordii can be found close to the first igarapé downstream of the lodge, we had a couple of sightings of Bar-bellied Woodcreeper Hylexetastes stresemanni, whilst hordes of Festive Parrots Amazona festiva overfly the area at dusk. A reasonable selection of understorey Thamnophilidae includes White-cheeked Gymnopithys leucaspis and Yellow-browed Antbirds Hypocnemis hypoxantha. At least 300 species have been found in the area to date, despite very few ornithological visitors.
These notes were submitted by Guy Kirwan.
Situated in the Madeira–Purus interfluvium, south of the Amazon, Tupana Lodge offers relatively basic but not inexpensive accommodation at the edge of the agricultural frontier on the road from Manaus to Porto Velho. It takes roughly four hours to reach the lodge from Manaus, including ferry crossings. The accommodation is simple but clean and adequate; power is supplied by a generator. An interesting feature is the ‘upstairs deck’ above the rooms and dining area, which permits reasonable views of the surrounding canopy. Early-morning watches, especially, produced reasonably regular sightings of Kawall’s Amazon Amazona kawalli, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet Touit huetii, Short-tailed Parrot Graydidascalus brachyurus, Chestnut-capped Bucco macrodactylus and White-necked Puffbirds Notharcus hyperrhynchus, many tanagers (including the rare Dotted Tanager Tangara varia), White-browed Purpletuft Iodopleura isabellae, Chestnut Celeus elegans jumana and Scaly-breasted Woodpeckers C. grammicus, a pair of White-browed Hawks Leucopternis kuhli, Curl-crested Aracari Pteroglossus beauharnaesii, as well as two undescribed species, one a new Hemitriccus, the other an Herpsilochmus both are being described by Mario Cohn-Haft. Black Antbird Cercomacra serva and Peruvian Warbling Antbird Hypocnemis peruviana are also common around the lodge clearing.
The lodge has a very long trail system covering many tens of kms, although there are only a handful of different trails that you can easily cover. December is probably a relatively quiet time, compared to July or August, in terms of song, but large mixed-species flocks, which frequently contained Citron-bellied Attila Attila citriniventris, were regularly encountered fairly close the lodge (as at Anavilhanas Jungle Lodge, there are plans to build a tower at this locality). Obligate ant-following antbirds are a major feature: White-throated Antbird Gymnopithys salvini seemed common in terra firme with many small palms, as was the ‘unscaled’ form of Scale-backed Antbird Hylophylax poecilinotus. Less frequently encountered were Sooty Antbird Myrmeciza fortis and Hairy-crested Antbird Rhegmatorhina melanosticta. There is tape of Red-billed Ground Cuckoo Neomorphus pucheranii from this locality. Elegant Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus elegans was very common, and Hoffmann’s Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes hoffmannsi was seen a couple of times during our six-day visit. Pearly Antshrike Megastictus margaritatus was a reasonably common constituent of the midstorey, especially in areas with palms, but the vocally different form of Undulated Antshrike Frederickena unduligera here never came to playback (always singing from some distance off).
These notes were submitted by Guy Kirwan.
Andrew Whittaker has added the following birds to the site list: From platform – Pompador, Purple-breasted and Spangled Cotinga, White-throated Tinamou, Starred Wood-Quail, Humaita Antbird, Reddish-winged Bare-eye (uncommon), Glossy-backed Becard, Brown-banded Puffbird, Rufous Potoo, Bar-bellied Woodcreeper, Pavonine Quetzal, Cinnamon Tyrant, Guianan Gnatcatcher and Chestnut-shouldered Antwren.
Andrew is working on a list for the site and requests that any birders visiting send him their observations for inclusion in a forthcoming publication. firstname.lastname@example.org
The Parque Ecológico Lajes, just north of the town, is an interesting site with a number of unusual birds for Amazonia. [However in 2005 it was closed, though some of the species could be seen from the road]
At the north end of the garden outside the wall, there is a tree with red flowers where a pair of Crimson Topaz hummingbirds Topaza pella spend most of the day (in September 2004, however, it was absent). In the nearby undergrowth look for lower Amazonian Antbird Cercomacra laeta and Black-throated Antbird Myrmeciza atrothorax. In the Mauritia palms along the wall we saw Moriche Oriole Icterus chrysocephalus.
Inside the park there is a trail which passes through open, rocky campina (Green-tailed Goldenthroat Polytmus theresiae, Rufous-crowned Elaenia Elaenia ruficeps, Red-shouldered Tanager Tachyphonus phoenicius and White-naped Seedeater Dolospingus fringilloides) and then low woodland on sandy soil (Black Manakin Xenopipo atronitens and Bronzy Jacamar Galbula leucogastra). The trail then enters taller forest where you can find Pale-bellied Mourner Rhytipterna immunda and, if you are lucky, Guianan Cock-of-the-rock Rupicola rupicola.
The Iracema Falls Hotel, just north of the Parque Ecológico Lajes, is probably the best place to stay in Presidente Figueiredo, though the place is laid out like a concentration camp. There is good birding in the morning along the hotel driveway. If you choose not to stay at the hotel you can still visit the grounds. The official opening times for visitors are 8am to 4pm, but by prior arrangement you can organise earlier entry for no extra charge (day rate is R$5 per person).
At the Caverna do Maruaga, on the road to the hydroelectric dam at Balbina there is an area of excellent terra firme forest but in September 2004 (when the site was officially closed to visitors for repairs) we found very few birds there. This area used to be a stake-out for Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock but we were told that trapping has now made them very scarce.
São Gabriel da Cachoeira
Rico flies here from Manaus twice a week. There are several birding areas in good forest. Opposite the town, on the right bank of the Rio Negro, just below the waterfall, there is an excellent trail through seasonally flooded igapó and then terra firme forest (the Trilha dos Índios). Twenty minutes downstream by boat, also on the right bank, there is a long terra firme forest trail, starting opposite the village of the Tapajós Indians. On these trails you can find a wealth of antbirds such as Undulated Antshrike Frederickena unduligera, Pearly Antshrike Megastictus margaritatus, Yellow-throated Antwren Myrmotherula ambigua, Amazonas Antbird Percnostola minor, Gray-bellied Antbird Myrmeciza pelzelni, White-plumed Antbird Pithys albifrons, Bicolored Antbird Gymnopithys leucaspis and Chestnut-crested Antbird Rhegmatorhina cristata. The rare Fiery-tailed Awlbill Avocettula recurvirostris has been seen on the Tapajós trail.
On the left bank, opposite the Ilha dos Reis, there is a beautiful, long, winding igarapé (creek) which is a good place to go by boat in the afternoon, as is the Igarapé Acatanum, also on the left bank, half an hour above the waterfall.
The road to Camanaus (São Gabriel’s river port) runs through forest on sandy soil. One kilometre after the access road to the airport there is dirt road to the right, leading to the Tapajós Indian village. Here you will find campina specialists like Cherrie’s Antwren Myrmotherula cherriei and Brown-headed Greenlet Hylophilus brunneiceps. At about km 35 on the main road, two kilometres before Camanaus, there is another dirt road leading to the river with taller forest. Here we found among many other species Black-faced Hawk Leucopternis melanops, Gilded Barbet Capito auratus and a very cooperative White-lored Tyrannulet Ornithion inerme which came down to eye level to be photographed.
The road north from São Gabriel to Cucuí, on the Venezuelan border, is said to have had good birding but the forest on either side of the road has been cleared and we found no good habitat. At km 5 there is a marshy area with many bushes with the same red flowers as at the Parque Ecológico Lajes at Presidente Figueiredo. We were assured that Fiery Topaz Topaza pyra is a cert here but it never appeared for us on two visits. On the Cucuí road we got as far as the equator (at about km 30) and found no good forest accessible from the road. I have been told that there is a good trail at km 51 but it may no longer exist.
The place to stay in São Gabriel is the Hotel Wuapés (cheap, damp but clean). Eat at Dona Íris’ restaurant, just along the road. She serves freshly fried potato crisps as a starter. Excellent cheap Indian handicrafts can be bought at the FOIRN shop in town. Sr. José, the caretaker of the now defunct King’s Island Hotel, was our boatman and a taxi driver, Barbosinha, took us to the road sites. Both very dependable.
This sleepy town on the Rio Madeira is half an hour’s flight by Rico from Manaus (or at least 24 hours by a daily boat). It has some very special birds, notably Brown-chested Barbet Capito brunneipectus, White-breasted Antbird Rhegmatorhina hoffmannsi, Pale-faced Antbird Skutchia borbae, Hoffman’s Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes hoffmannsi and Buff-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus (Hemitriccus?) senex.
A curious situation has arisen at Borba where access to the birding sites is for all practical purposes controlled by a local taxidriver, Natan (tel.512-12020), the owner of one of the most decrepit cars I have ever travelled in. The best forest is in an Indian reserve on the other side of the Rio Mapiá, at the end of the only road out of Borba, 25 km south of the town. To get official permission to enter the reserve would be difficult if not impossible. Natan uses the services of Sr. Barroso, a local would-be politician (14 votes in the last election), whose wife is Indian. Barrroso has a leaky boat and uses the community’s outboard motor to ferry birders across the river and get permission from the Indians to enter the forest. Natan and Barroso charge exorbitantly by Amazonian standards (R$120 and R$50 per day respectively – about US$40 / 17) for doing very little but it would be a hassle with the risk of problems to try to do it cheaper. There is also a singular lack of vehicles in Borba with the exception of motor-bikes which replace cars for most people. We had difficulty in getting from the airport to the hotel because neither of the two taxis in Borba was available when we arrived.
There are three trail systems in the Indian reserve, all through magnificent terra firme forest (as usual in this habitat the birds are sparse and difficult to see). One trail, Santo António, is a few minutes downstream. The other two, Velhacada and São Raimundo, are ten and thirty minutes upstream. We walked all day on Santo António twice and São Raimundo once but much to our chagrin never found an antswarm. Most other birders have had better luck. The trails are very faint and easy to lose. Be sure to take a compass and if you lose the trail, bushwack northwest till you hit a trail or the river.
Buff-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher is readily found in the dense vegetation along the river.
Just before reaching Barroso’s house, near the Rio Mapiá, there is a long logging trail to the left through disturbed but still adequate terra firme forest. One can spend a day here.
A few kilometres out of town there is a dirt road to the left with a sign to to the INCRA settlement at Puxurizal. After a few kilometres you pass a church and a public telephone with a satellite dish. Two kilometres later turn right and then right again at a T-junction (Natan knows all this). The road then passes through a two kilometres or so of good terra firme forest with excellent views of the canopy. We found a fruiting tree here which was busy every afternoon. Along this road we saw, inter alia, Dusky Parrot Pionus fuscus, Brown-banded Puffbird Notharchus ordii, Brown-chested Barbet Capito brunneipectus, Sclater’s Antwren Myrmotherula sclateri, Rufous-tailed Xenops Xenops milleri, Hoffman’s Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes hoffmannsi, the transitivus subspecies of Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus (with a very different song from amazonus) and Blue-backed Tanager Cyanicterus cyanicterus.
The Lana’s Bella Hotel (tel. 512-1114) is simple but good. On request and at a small extra charge they will serve a lavish early breakfast at 4:30 am.
The Reserva Natural Palmarí is located in the extreme west of Brazil overlooking the Rio Javarí, with Peru on the opposite bank. The lodge is owned and run by Colombians and most of the visitors get here via Bogotá, Colombia, but one can also fly from Manaus.
The lodge is reached by a three hour boat ride from the twin towns of Tabatinga (Brazil) and Leticia (Colombia). It is simple, without electricity (though they will run a small generator if you need to charge batteries) but with plumbing. The food is simple but good. There is a fairly extensive trail system in terra firme forest behind the lodge and through várzea and terra firme forest along the river. One can also cross the river to at least one trail in Peru, which leads to an ox-bow lake. After three or four days one would begin to repeat the trails but by no means the birds. A 35 m high canopy platform has been built in an emergent in the terra firme forest and a Colombian instructor will help you get up to it by rope at US$20 a time. You can either climb using special tools to grip the rope or they will pull you up.
The bird list can be seen at http://www.palmari.org/. Some local specialities are Rio Suno Antwren Myrmotherula sunensis, Black-tailed Antbird Myrmoborus melanurus (both these species only recently recorded in Brazil by Andy Whittaker and Kevin Zimmer), Gray Wren Thryothorus griseus (a bird with a small range and until recently almost unknown in life), Red-crowned Parakeet Pyrrhura roseifrons (a recent split from Painted Parakeet Pyrrhura picta) and Field Guides promise to show clients three species new to science. You can see that it’s all happening at Palmarí!
Closed to the public in May 1999 but now open again (January 2001). The access road is not at all bad for birding and one could easily see banded cotinga Cotinga maculata here (we didn’t!). The Pataxó indians have taken possession of the area around the park entrance and are most importunate. The climb up to the peak is worth doing with a good view from the top but as a birding destination I do not rate Monte Pascoal highly. Ricardo Parrini has found black-tailed leaftosser Sclererus caudacutus here.
This is perhaps the most reliable site for banded cotinga Cotinga maculata (in Nov 2001 we saw a fine male and a probable female), which in general appears to be an order of magnitude less common than white-winged cotinga Xipholena atropurpurea. The reserves mentioned by Forrester now have different names, CEPLAC and Estação Veracruz. The latter is open to visitors and in 2001 we were able to get permission to enter early and bird the main track (the old road to Cabrália). There is a “canopy” tower but it is not high enough nor well placed and the main view from it is over farmland.
Just off the BR-101, south of Itabuna. For some good birding at the R.P.P.N. Serra Bonita, a private reserve, take the road to Jacarecí, passing the supermarkets Cesto do Povo and Super Sacolão (Km 0). Bear left after c.400m. After a speed bump and small shop (Km 10.2), turn left, opposite a bridge. A large sign has recently been installed. The track up to the telecomm. tower (Km 16.1) is rough and in wet weather slippery; it passes through good secondary growth. On 29 April 1999 four or five Pink-legged Graveteiro Acrobatornis fonsecai were building a nest practically at eye level in the trees by the access road to the research centre (Km 14.9 – 1.2km before the tower). We also saw Acrobatornis lower down and it can be seen in the cacau plantations along the Jacarecí road, but high up in the canopy. Golden-capped parakeet Aratinga auricapilla is fairly common in these plantations. Keith and Marlis Sneden report that Plumbeous Antvireo Dysithamnus plumbeus is common in the reserve.
Serra Bonita now has a web site http://www.serrabonita.org.br/ and very comfortable, reasonably priced accomodation is available in the reserve. The e-mail address is email@example.com and the telephone number (73) 3283 0652.
Serra das Lontras
BirdLife has recently bought land in these hills, north of Camacã. The habitat is mainly “cabruca”, plantations of cacau trees with tall forest trees left for shade, but there are forest remnants on the tops of the ridges. Pink-legged Graveteiro Acrobatornis fonsecai and Bahia Tyrannulet Phylloscartes beckeri are here, as is an undescribed Heliobletus Treehunter.
To get to the site take the BR-101 north from Camacã. After about 20 km you reach a road off to the left, signposted to Jussari. Opposite this road turn right onto a dirt road to Itatingui. At the end of the village of Itatingui take a rough track to the right to the fazenda de Doutora Katira. Keep asking for the ‘fazenda de Dotoura Katira.’ Leave the car at the fazenda and walk up a steep trail, through cabruca and then, near the ridge, secondary growth.
We did not find particularly good habitat here and I have since learnt that the Fazenda Orion (1° 11′S 39° 23′W) and the Fazenda Elza (15° 12′S 39° 24′W) are better.
There is a simple accomodation at the Pousada Fazenda Liberdade about 1 km north of the turning to Itatingui.
There is a bird list for Serra das Lontras in Cotinga 24.
This small town, 18 km north of Itabuna, is a popular stake-out for Pink-legged Graveteiro Acrobatornis fonsecai. Leave your car or stay at the Pousada do Bosque and look for the bird in the cacau plantation opposite.Una
White-winged potoo Nyctibius leucopterus, Bahia antwren Herpsilochmus pileatus (not to be confused with caatinga antwren – Ridgely and Tudor’s pileated antwren –Herpilochmus sellowi, a recent split) and Bahia black and tan tamarins are found here. The potoo responds fairly readily to playback. Look for it along the main track, about 400m inside the gate of the IBAMA reserve. Permission to visit the reserve is obtainable from the director, Saturnino de Souza (tel. (073)-236-2166. Next door there is a private reserve, EcoParque (tel. (073)-634-2179), with a canopy walkway, where the potoo has also been found. I have not visited either of these two sites.
In 1995 Stresemann’s bristlefront Merulaxis stresemanni was seen near the reserve at the Fazenda Jueirana, the first sighting since the species was described. Subsequent attempts to find it have been in vain.
Turn left off the BR 101 into the centre of Ubaitaba and drive back along the river bank, passing under the BR 101. The dirt federal BR 030 highway along the Maraú peninsular is dirt, very rough and in wet weather will require 4 x 4 drive. The c.60km to the beach at Saquaira takes almost 3 hours. An alternative is to drive to Itacaré (asphalt all the way), take the ferry across the Rio de Contas, and drive 34km (1 hr) to Saquaíra. There is fine accommodation here at the Pousada Maraú firstname.lastname@example.org in an idyllic setting on the beach. Look for black-faced tanager Schistochlamys melanopis and capped seedeater Sporophila bouvreuil in bushes in the sandy grasslands on the long straight before Maraú. There is good restinga forest along the northern access road from the BR 030 to the town of Maraú, where in January 2001 there were several pairs of Bahia antwren Herpsilochmus pileatus. 14km north of Saquaíra, on the road to Campinho (carry straight on at the right turn to Barra Grande) there are tidal mud flats surrounded by mangroves. They begin to dry out one and a half hours before low water. In January 2001 there were eight species of shorebirds here. It appeared an ideal place to find little wood-rail Aramides mangle but I was unsuccessful.
Take the asphalt road from Travessão to Camamú and 500m before Orojó turn right. There is fairly good forest 13km along this dirt road. Bahia antwren Herpsilochmus pileatus is common and we saw several white-winged cotinga Xipholena atropurpurea. The type specimen of Stresemann’s bristlefront Merulaxis stresemanni was collected very near here. Who knows, you may be lucky!
The maps in the Sargeant / Wall trip report are excellent. Logging of the wet forest started in May 1999 but was then stopped, probably by IBAMA. The logging created a number of excellent access trails but by July 2002 these were becoming very overgrown and some will soon be impassable. In July 2002 Arthur and I saw Hook-billed Hermit Glaucis dohrnii in the dry forest, a most unusual habitat for this little known species.
The Hotel Solar continues to be excellent value — R$15 (US$5) in 2002 for dinner, bed and breakfast.
São Francisco do Conde
This is (or was) a stakeout for little wood-rail Aramides mangle. Where the road from Candeias to São Francisco do Conde is joined by the road from Santo Amaro there is a bus shelter beside a rough track. Follow this track to where it ends in mangroves beside the river. This was a reliable place for the wood-rail but in recent years it appears to have been replaced by clapper rail Rallus longirostris which John Wall did not see but which was common in 2001. We did not see the wood-rail but did find some other interesting birds here, such as plain-bellied emerald Amazilia leucogaster, rufous-winged antshrike Thamnophilus torquatus and cinereous-breasted spinetail Synallaxis hypospodia. Half way along the track turn right down to mud flats with waders.
In November 2001 we found a new site for fringe-backed fire-eye Pyriglena atra, about 100km from the site near Estãncia, Sergipe. Look for a conspicuous telecommunications tower at Km 20 on the BR-101 (20 km south of the Bahia / Sergipe state border). The birds were in a forest remnant on the other side of the road. We found them there again in March 2004.
Access is much easier now than when Forrester was here. The BR-110 north from Alagoinhas is pot-holed but fast and there is a reasonable pousada in the town, the Hotel Bomfim, run by four elderly women. The stakeout for Pectoral Antwren Herpsilochmus pectoralis on the road to Canudos still exists, in good caatinga 20km from Jeremoabo. In March 2004 we found several pairs.
The best place to see Lear’s macaw Anodorhynchus leari is the Fazenda Toureiro, 29 km further on towards Canudos. The manager Zé Hilton and his wife Damiana will show you the macaws which spend most of the day here, arriving from their roosting site near Canudos at about 8:00am. A small tip is very gratefully received.
The macaws roost in cliffs at the Fazenda Serra Branca, owned by Sr. Otávio, the owner of the São Lázaro petrol station in Jeremoabo. In March 2004 we were unable to go to Serra Branca because the river was in flood but Sr. Otávio very kindly provided a guide to take us to his two other fazendas near Jeremoabo where we found, inter alia, several Great Xenops Megaxenops parnaguae and Pectoral Antwren Herpsilochmus pectoralis.
This beautiful region, with highly diverse habitats, is described in detail, with a list of birds, in an article by Ricardo Parrini et al. in Cotinga 11.
An excellent place to stay is the pousada “Casa da Geléia” run by José Carlos and Lia (www.casadageleia.com.br ,tel/fax 075-3334-1151, e-mail email@example.com), in the road behind the petrol station, as you enter the town. José Carlos speaks English, they have a big garden and have had 14 different species of hummingbird at their feeders, including, occasionally, the rare (in Brazil) Brown Violetear Colibri delphinae. Lia provides early breakfast on a tray or a sumptuous feast at 8:00 am. She will also cook dinner by prior arrangement.
There are several good areas to bird near Lençois. One is the trail over the mountains to Capão which starts at the top of the town, opposite the hotel Portal Lençois. In the campo rupestre (dry montane scrub on rocks) look for the Sincorá Antwren Formicivora grantsaui. A little further up this trail there are two patches of humid gallery forest, locally called mata de grota, and in the second of these, in March 2004, I recorded a tapaculo with a slow song, probably a member of the Scytalopus speluncae / novacapitalis complex which is presently being studied by several ornithologists.
Another good area is the road to Remanso. Take the road out of town, zeroing the odometer at the petrol station. At 3.9km turn right off the main road. At the first fork you can bear left through secondary growth to Capitinga and the BR 242 (said to be good for Rufous Nightjar Caprimulgus rufus). Bearing right at this fork and left at the next takes you to a fazenda; keep up to the left, avoiding the buildings, and drive down to the lake along a track which leads to a pump house beside a clump of bamboos. This is a good place for marsh and water birds. [In 2001 acess to this lake was closed] Bearing right at the second fork puts you on the road to the village of Remanso (c.25km from Lençois). The road passes through some good forest, with tracks leading off it. When you get to a cross roads, about 3km from Remanso, turn left (the track straight ahead is barely driveable but good for birding). In the open areas before the village there is Little Nightjar Caprimulgus parvulus.About 1km after the village fork left (the right fork goes to a farm house). This track is very overgrown but leads to good forest beside the “marimbús” (the local name for the extensive wetlands all along this valley). The marimbús are well worth visiting by boat, which can be arranged in Remanso or through Lentour in Lençois.
At Km 2.5 on the road from Lençois to the BR 242 (9.2km from the petrol station) there is a track to the left called Toalhas. I have not birded this.
At the BR 242 turn left. There is a track to the right after c.200m which is birded by the Field Guides groups. Further on (1.7km from the junction) there is a dirt road to the right to Usina Velha. This goes down the hill through reasonable secondary growth and after 2.5km crosses the Rio Mucugezinho. This looks a good place for a picnic or swim.
Continuing west along the BR 242, 11.2km from the Lençois junction, the road crosses a bridge with a sign “Divisa Lençois / Palmeiras”. 1.3km after this bridge (just after the Morro do Pai Inâcio first comes into view) there is a dirt track to the left, leading down to a house in some mango trees. This is the start of an excellent trail back to Lençois which takes about four hours. You can take the Seabra bus from Lençois to the start of the trail. At the start of this trail, in March 2004, we found an immature male Sincorá Antwren.
The Morro do Pai Inácio is a good place to see Hooded Visorbearer Augastes lumachella and Pale-throated Serra-Finch Embernagra longicauda. This is a much more convenient and dependable site than Morro do Chapéu for these two endemics. I am told the visorbearer can be found near the car park but I have had better luck at the plateau on the right, half way up the path to the top (the view from which is spectacular). In November 2001 we found several Band-winged Nightjars Caprimulgus longirostris on this plateau.Palmeiras
18km after the Pai Inácio turn left to Palmeiras. Drive through the town (54km from Lençois) and after 2.2km turn right to Tejuco and Lavrinha. Leave your car at the bridge and walk up the hill, at first through dry gallery forest and then through caatinga. All the caatinga species are here, including Broad-tipped Hermit Phaethornis gounellei, Red-shouldered Spinetail Gyalophylax hellmayri and San Francisco Sparrow Arremon franciscanus. Great Xenops Megaxenops parnaguae is common, but is not easy to see without playback.
Continuing along this road, which is rough but driveable, you pass by some spectacular mountains and then reach patches of cerrado habitat, called “gerais” locally. The best gerais we found were about 38km from Palmeiras, after Guiné. Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant Euscarthmus rufomarginatus is common here. After a further 37km you get to Mucugê.
The “campos rupestres” and cerrado on the road from Mucugê to Andaraí and along the two access roads to Igatu are worth visiting
Humid forest at 1000m elevation. Turn right from Lençois onto the BR 242 and after 34km turn left (at an electrical substation) onto the BA 142 to Wagner, Utinga, and Bonito. At Bonito take the road to Morro do Chapéu; 2.2km from the roundabout at the end of Bonito turn right onto a dirt road. After a further 5.8km there is a green gate on the left (Fazenda da Mata Doida). There is good birding both on the road and along the track into the forest on the other side of the gate. The site is about 132km from Lençois.
The national park with a cable car to a waterfall at the bottom is spectacular. In the park and in the forest remnant behind the IBAMA headquarters (between Ubajara and Tianguá) we saw hooded gnateater (Conopophaga roberti) and buff-breasted tody-tyrant (Hemitriccus mirandae). There is good caatinga west of Tianguá, near the Piauí border, where we found the normal specialities of this habitat, including broad-tipped hermit (Phaethornis gounellei) and great xenops (Megaxenops parnaguae).Baturité
These 800m high hills south of Fortaleza have some interesting birds. In the private forest behind the Hotel Remanso can be found Gould’s toucanet (Selenidera gouldii), buff-breasted tody-tyrant (Hemitriccus mirandae) and the distinctive race of rufous gnateater, Conopophaga lineata cearae.Chapada do Araripe
This is the mecca for the Araripe manakin Antilophia bokermanni. The type locality for the species, the Nascente do Farias near the town of Barbalha, has changed radically since I was there in 1998. It was then a simple swimming and picnic spot but is now being developed as a huge leisure complex, Arajara Park – a sort of tropical Wet ´n´ Wild. A new road from Barbalha to Crato has been built, giving access to the park. The manakins are in the trees along the two streams that flow from the spring at the foot of the hill and appear unperturbed by living on a building site. However, we found only female plumaged birds here. The owner of the Arajara Park, Dna. Fabiola, let us look for the manakins in the valley of the Nascente do Céu, behind her house, but there were only female plumaged birds there as well. Eventually we found a magnificent adult male further along the escarpment. The best plan is to make enquiries at the Arajara Park and get information and permission from the owners of the land you will have to cross to find the birds.
Above Barbalha there is good caatinga, where we had the usual species for this habitat, including red-shouldered spinetail Gyalophylax hellmayri. Take the road out of town up the hill, towards Jardim. 14,5 km from the turning to Caldas and the Hotel das Fontes there is an IBAMA protected area. Bird the side road to the right.
Above Crato there is dry forest, with white-browed guan Penelope jacucaca, rufous nightjar Caprimulgus rufus, tawny piculet Picumnus fulvescens and ash-throated casiornis Casiornis fusca. Take the road up the hill and turn right, sign-posted to Nova Olinda. There is a track to the right after 1.8km. If you go straight on instead of turning right to Nova Olinda, you soon come to an IBAMA compound on the left. On the opposite side of the road there is a disused airfield. In the dry forest along the runway we found the guan and a number of caatinga species, such as white-browed antpitta Hylopezus ochroleucus, caatinga (formerly pileated) antwren Herpsilochmus sellowi (alongside black-capped antwren H. atricapillus) and great xenops Megaxenops parnaguae.
The best time of year to see birds in Brasilia is June – August. For forest birds the best place is the Brasilia National Park, around the Piscina Velha (Old Swimming Pool) and on the Trilha da Capivara (Capivara Trail). Here you can see Russet-mantled Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla dimidiata, Helmeted Manakin Antilophia galeata, Black-goggled Tanager Trichothraupis melanops, White-striped, White-bellied and Flavescent Warbler Basileuterus leucophrys, B. hypoleucus and B. flaveolus and Saffron-billed Sparrow Arremon flavirostris. In the swimming pool car park there are some thorn trees which fruit in March and April and attract many birds. The park opens at 08:00 am. It is very crowded at weekends.
For cerrado species visit the Parque Ecológico Dom Bosco, also known as the Ermida Dom Bosco, at the end of the Lago Sul (Southern Lake), which opens at 07:00 am. Here you will find White-eared and Spot-backed Puffbird Nystalus chacuru and N. maculatus, Rufous-winged Antshrike Thamnophilus torquatus, Black-throated Saltator Saltatricula atricollis, White-rumped Tanager Cypsnagra hirundinacea, etc.
Other options are the Jardim Botânico de Brasília (Brasilia Botanical Garden) which has some cerrado and opens at 6:30 am., the Parque Olhos D’Água, at the end of the Asa Norte (Northern Wing), and the Parque da Cidade (City Park). At these sites you will find common birds, like Buff-breasted Wren Cantorchilus leucotis and Blackish Rail Pardirallus nigricans (Parque Olhos D’Água – early in the morning) but occasionally something more interesting turns up such as Whistling Heron Sirygma sibilatrix, Buff-necked Ibis Theristicus caudatus, Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis or Curl-crested Jay Cyanocorax cristatellus.
Nothing much has changed since Forrester’s day. To get there, drive north from Linhares along the BR 101, pass through the town of Sooretama, pass the entrance to the Reserva Natural da Vale do Rio Doce and after a few more kms turn left at a sign to IBAMA, Reserva de Sooretama (this is not the IBAMA post beside the BR 101 where it cuts through the forest). In December 2004 a gate was installed at the beginning of the road across the reserve to restrict access to the day time, from 6:00am to 6:00pm. I do not know whether it is possible to get permission to go in outside this period.
You need permission to visit the reserve and recently this has not always been forthcoming or is subject to conditions and restrictions. Write to Sr. Eliton Lima, Diretor da Reserva Biológica de Sooretama, at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. There is no longer accommodation available in the IBAMA compound.
Reserva Natural da Vale do Rio Doce (“Linhares”)
Since the Companhia do Vale do Rio Doce (CVRD) was privatised it has invested heavily in this reserve. There is a visitors’ centre, a hotel and more than 100km of good tracks through the forest. The CVRD has also taken over the administration of Sooretama. Rooms at the hotel cost from R$110 (US$38) per double room with air conditioning but without private bathroom to R$220 (US$75) for a very comfortable double room with private bathroom (both prices include full board for two people). The cheaper rooms are only available for groups. There is an additional charge of US$30 / person / day to enter the reserve, in your own vehicle with a guide, whether you are staying at the hotel or elsewhere. If you decide not stay in the CVRD hotel you will find cheaper accomodation in the town of Linhares, 30 km to the south.
Birding is better at Linhares than Sooretama because of the much better access to the forest and because poachers are kept out. In three visits to Sooretama I have never seen the Red-billed Curassow Crax blumenbachii but have had it regularly at Linhares. However, some birds, such as Plumbeous Antvireo Dysithamnus plumbeus and Striated Softtail Thripophaga macroura, are easier to find at Sooretama. Write to firstname.lastname@example.org (tel. (27)-3371-9797 or 3371-9799) for accomodation or permission to enter the reserve.
Santa Tereza (“Nova Lombardia”)
To get permission to visit the reserve send an e-mail to the Diretor, Reserva Biológica Augusto Ruschi (the new name of the reserve) at email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org or just turn up at at the admin building (“Warden’s house” on Forrester’s map) and chance your luck at getting permission on the spot. This has worked for me. Forrester’s directions to get to the reserve are a little inaccurate: replace “take the Colatina road out of town” by “at the end of the one-way street through town (in the Colatina direction), where it becomes two-way, turn right up a cobbled ramp behind the bus station and…”. There is no longer a humming bird reserve at Ruschi’s house. The feeders were transferred to the Museo Mello Leitão, in town, but the last time I saw them they were not being filled regularly. In December 2000 there was a disastrous flood in Santa Tereza and the situation is probably even worse now.
The reserve is a good place to see Wied’s tyrant-manakin Neopelma aurifrons, from which the Serra do Mar tyrant-manakin Neopelma chrysolophum has recently been split.
Conceição do Castelo
The only way to see what appears to be the last surviving population of six cherry-throated tanagers Nemosia rourei is to visit the Fazenda Pindobas IV with the two biologists employed there, Ana Cristina Venturini and Pedro Rogério de Paz. They charge US$200 per day plus expenses, and will pick you up at Vitória airport. Write to them at email@example.com. The tanagers are becoming increasingly difficult to find. So far most people have seen the birds on the first day, one group saw them on the second, and in January 2001 we didn’t see them at all. There are a number of other interesting Atlantic Forest species in these forest remnants, particularly cinnamon-vented piha Lipaugus lanioides.
Vargem Alta / Caetês
The Hotel Fazenda Monte Verde, 31 km north of the town of Vargem Alta, has a steep 4 km trail through good Atlantic forest.
A few kms from here a second site has recently been discovered for Cherry-throated Tanager Nemosia rourei in forest at Caetês. Keith and Marlis Sneden have provided the following instructions on how to get there:
In the village of Castelinho, located 6.2 km south of the Hotel Monte Verde, going south, turn off to the right onto a dirt road. A public telephone is located at the turn-off. The dirt road veers downhill to the right, goes across a wooden bridge and passes by a sawmill before it goes uphill along the right side of a valley and enters forest. Follow the dirt road until you see a locked gate on the right, immediately before a bridge over the river, approx. 2.5 km from the paved road [note that about 100 m before this gate there is another gate with a house at the end of the driveway]. A track behind the locked gate passes through forest for about 3 km. The gate mentioned for the site for Cherry-throated Tanager is about 2 km from the locked gate. There is nobody at the site whom one can ask for permission to enter but be warned there have been reports of birders having unpleasant altercations and even being threatened with violence by people who, though not the owners, believe they are entitled to limit access.
There is an interesting article on this site on the Neotropical Bird Club website.
Parque Nacional das Emas
Permission to stay at the park headquarters must be obtained from IBAMA. (tel. (64) 6341704). The Fundação Emas firstname.lastname@example.org , an NGO concerned with the conservation of the park, can tell you how to go about this. Visitors must be accompanied by a guide at all times. We hired Celeste email@example.com for R$50 (US$25) per day plus her car expenses to come to the park from her home in Mineiros. Celeste knew her way around the park well, had a fair knowledge about the wildlife and, very kindly, bought all the provisions for us in advance and did the cooking.
The park headquarters now has a telephone: (64) 6341704.
White-winged nightjar Caprimulgus candicans can readily be found along the road north from the park headquarters, in cerrado with short grass and no trees. It perches 30-50cm above ground on plants or anthills. We found two pairs of large-billed antwren Herpsilochmus longirostris in gallery forest near the southwest corner of the park.
The pfrimeri race of white-eared parakeet Pyrrhura leucotis is common along the first 10km of the road from Nova Roma to Iaciara. This beautiful little parakeet surely deserves to be split on the basis of its distinctive plumage and disjunct population. Brazilian black-tyrant Knipolegus franciscanus occurs in the same semi-deciduous woodland along the rocky hills that adjoin the road. The Hotel Sampaio in Nova Roma is simple but hospitable.
There are no notes for this state. If you feel you can contribute please feel free to send details to either Jeremy Minns firstname.lastname@example.org or myself email@example.com.
Chapada dos Guimarães
See Forrester for a good map and description of the sites. We found excellent cerrado along the road to Água Fria. The forest on the road to the radar station is narrow but had quite a lot of birds. Access to the Véu da Noiva area is now controlled with a gatehouse and entry fee and you cannot get in before 8am. The birding tour groups stay at the Pousada Laura Vicunha and bird the gallery forest below the pousada.
Serra das Araras
I have never visited this site, famous for its Harpy Eagle nest. Gail Mackiernan reports that in September 2003 the nest was active, the pair were adding sticks and the male roosting every night nearby. To get there you should contact the Pantanal Bird Club http://www.geocities.com/TheTropics/Cabana/6292/ .
Once again Forrester provides excellent maps and information. There is now a selection of accommodation in Poconé, on the way out of town at the start of the Transpantaneira. In Pixaim the best place to stay is the Hotel Fazenda Santa Tereza, on the right 500m after crossing the river. Their boat trip on the Rio Pixaim is a must. From the boat we saw, amongst many other things, undulated tinamou Crypturellus undulatus, agami heron Agamia agami, boat-billed heron Cochlearius cochlearius, blue-throated piping guan Pipile cumanensis, sungrebe Heliornis fulica, bare-faced curassow Crax fasciolata and giant otter Pteronura brasiliensis.
Other good places to stay or visit are said to be the Fazenda Pouso Alegre, at km 42 on the Transpantaneira, where Hyacinth macaws Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus roost and nest, and the Reserva Ecológica Jaguar, 45km south Pixaim, which has dry forest behind the pousada. The big fishing hotel in Porto Jofre looked very unattractive.
Vila Bela da Santíssima Trindade
The former capital of the state of Mato Grosso, Vila Bela lies close to the border with Bolivia, 550 km west of Cuiabá. The area is notable for its rare seedeaters: in March 2003 we found flocks of Black-and-tawny Seedeater Sporophila nigrorufa and occasional individuals of Rufous-rumped Seedeater S. hypochroma, Dark-throated Seedeater S. ruficollis and Plumbeous Seedeater S. plumbea. The best area was between km 53 and 60 on the road from Pontes e Lacerda. Natterer collected around Vila Bela for three years and there is an extensive list of species for the area. However, we found it difficult to find any remaining good habitat and spent little time here. One place we did visit was the Cascata, a reserve with a splendid waterfall at the foot of the nearby Serra de Ricardo Franco. We found very few birds there. As we were leaving Vila Bela we were told of a road running from Vila Bela to the top of the Serra de Ricardo Franco. We did not try this but it might just be the place to find the near-mythical Cone-billed Tanager Conothraupis mesoleuca, the only specimen of which was collected at “Juruena”, a vague reference to an area probably located 100 km to the east of Vila Bela.
The best place to stay is the cheap Hotel Bela Vila, at the entrance to the town.
Alta Floresta / Cristalino Jungle Lodge
This is certainly the best lodge for birders in Brazilian Amazonia with more than 550 bird species in the vicinity and comfortable accommodation. The Hotel Floresta Amazônica, on the edge of the town, has good birding in the hotel grounds and adjacent forest fragment but the real attraction is their Cristalino Jungle Lodge on a tributary of the Rio Teles Pires / Tapajós, a one hour drive and half hour boat ride from Alta Floresta. The trail system is extensive, with access to some trails from the lodge itself and others after a short boat trip. One can spend a week at the lodge and bird a new trail every morning. A tower has recently been built with observation platforms at 20, 30 and 50 m, giving magnificent views of the canopy.
I was last there in April 2003, the first time I have been at the Cristalino in the rainy season. Parts of the riverside trails are usually flooded at this time and the birds remain mostly silent though species like Zigzag Heron can be easier to see. The hotel recommends May and June as the best season, when the rains have mostly stopped but the smoke from ranchers turning forest into cattle pasture has not yet become a problem. This is also a fantastic time for butterfly enthusiasts. I suspect that late September / early October may also be a good time, when the first rain has put out the fires and many birds are nesting.
The bird list published by Kevin Zimmer and others in Ornithological Monographs No. 48 has been updated and is available on the Cristalino’s web site at http://www.fah.com.br. Bret Whitney has published an article on Alta Floresta and the Cristalino in Cotinga 7 and on http://www.worldtwitch.vitualave.net/brazil_bird_reports.htm#trips you will find trip reports by people who have spent time there.
Mato Grosso do Sul
Hotels have improved a lot since Forrester’s day. Find the road that runs north from the town into the Pantanal, towards Barra Mansa and Tupaceretã. This passes through typical drier Pantanal habitat. At Km 33 there is a gate and a trail into dry forest. Undulated Tinamou Crypturellus undulatus can be seen easily here. You can also find golden-collared macaw Propyrrhura auricollis, blaze-winged parakeet Pyrrhura devillei, Mato Grosso antbird Cercomacra melanaria, white-lored spinetail Synallaxis albilora, cinereous-breasted spinetail Synallaxis hypospodia, rusty-backed spinetail Cranioleuca vulpina, grey-crested cacholote Pseudoseisura unirufa (a recent split), great rufous woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes major and saffron-billed sparrow Arremon flavirostris.
The luxury hotel Refúgio Ecológico Caiman is very expensive but delightful. Birding is first class – lots of hyacinth macaws – but it is however difficult to get into the field on your own.
Passo da Lontra
100km after Miranda a dirt road loops round to the right and eventually reaches Corumbá, passing through Pantanal wetlands on the way. Where it crosses the Rio Miranda at Passo da Lontra there are several fishing hotels. Birding is excellent along this road, both on foot and from the car, with much same the species as at Aquidauana. Hyacinth macaw Anodorhyncus hyacinthinus can be seen at the Fazenda Santa Clara but this hotel now overcharges for inferior accommodation. The owner was, however, quite willing to let us bird there. The Pousada Arara Azul firstname.lastname@example.org , about 40km further along this road looked attractive.
Here again there are now decent hotels. Urucum, mentioned by Forrester, is a mountain to the north of the road, just before Corumbá. The main road up is impossible to bird, with large manganese ore trucks passing every few minutes, but we did find a quieter road to the right at the foot of the mountain with green-cheeked parakeet Pyrrhura molinae, Bolivian slaty-antshrike Thamnophilus sticturus, a disjunct population of white-backed fire-eye Pyriglena leuconota and fawn-breasted wren Thryothorus guarayanus.
The Parque Estadual (State Park) do Ibitipoca, 50km northwest of Juiz de Fora, is reached by a rough road that must be impassable in wet weather to anything other than four wheel drive vehicles. The park is situated at an altitude of 1400m and consists of a strange high altitude cerrado, with trees covered in old man’s beard, montane grassland and rocky hillsides. The scenery is spectacular and the park is popular with hikers. In March there was not much bird activity but we did see blue-winged macaw Propyrrhura maracana, Hellmayr’s pipit Anthus hellmayri, stripe-tailed yellow-finch Sicalis citrina and heard maned wolf Chrysocyon brachyurus, which is apparently a common scavenger around the camping site. Below the park there are forest remnants with typical Atlantic Forest species. Interestingly, we found both golden-crowned warbler Basileuterus culicivorus and white-bellied warbler Basileuterus hypoleucus together. On the outskirts of the small town of Conceição de Ibitipoca there is a marsh with plenty of bird life, including the wetland form of red-eyed thornbird Phacellodomus erythrophthalmus ferrugineigula – a certain split – at the north limit of its range.
The Pousada Tangará is excellent.
This is another attractive site that is fun to bird but does not offer anything special for listers. The colonial town itself is beautiful and a popular tourist destination. Avoid it at the weekend. The Serra de São Josá rises up to the north of the town and conceals a quiet and peaceful valley of cerrado which can be reached on foot from the town. Walk west from the town centre and after about 1km, at a small triangular cobbled “praça”, there is a gate with a no admittance sign and a smaller entrance to the left of it. The trail up the serra starts here.
On the way to the start of the trail you will pass the Pousada Arco Iris, run by two ladies who provide comfortable accommodation and two breakfasts, a good one at 5:30 am and a superb one after birding.
Take the road from Itacarambi to Manga and +/- 3km from Itacarambi turn right, signposted “Porto da Balsa para Mocambinho”. The road after the ferry is through degraded caatinga with plenty of birds, including white-browed guan Penelope jacucaca, Bahian nighthawk Chordeiles vieilliardi (beside the river at dusk) and greater wagtail-tyrant Stigmatura budytoides. 7.8km from the ferry there is a bridge on the left over the main irrigation canal, leading to the town of Mocambinho. Continue along the right side of the main canal and at the third sluice / concrete block, 1.4km after bridge, turn right and follow the small branch canal. After 4.1km cross the canal and continue along the right bank. After a further 0.6km you reach the forest. Turn left and after 0.8km there is a trail through the forest, with a longwinded No Entry sign (white-browed antpitta Hylopezus ochroleucus, great xenops Megaxenops parnaguae, ash-throated casiornis Casiornis fusca and San Francisco sparrow Arremon franciscanus).
Others have found Brazilian black-tyrant Knipolegus franciscanus and Snethlage’s woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes franciscanus in dry forest at Fazenda Olhos d’Água, near Itacarambi, owned by Sr. José de Paula, one of the owners of the tomato extract plant on the right, just before Itacarambi. José de Paula sold most of the fazenda and retained a small part and the name Fazenda Olhos d’Água. The part with forest is now called Fazenda Nossa Senhora Aparecida and is owned by Sr. José Roberto. Coming from Januária, the entrance is on the left, 1km after a sign saying “Itacarambi 5km”. Open dry forest with very little understorey and not many birds. We had yellow-billed cuckoo Coccyzus americanus and Snethlage’s woodcreeper, but not Brazilian black-tyrant.
Parque Nacional Cavernas do Peruaçu
About 40km from Januária and 15 km from Itacarambi, turn left to Fabião I and continue up a very rough dirt road through a valley. At first there is excellent semi-deciduous forest with Snethlage’s woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes franciscanus, ash-throated casiornis Casiornis fusca, Reiser’s tyrannulet Phyllomyias reiseri and San Francisco Sparrow Arremon franciscanus. On emerging from the valley there is good caatinga. On the path to right, just where the forest changes to caatinga, we had great xenops Megaxenops parnaguae and San Francisco sparrow, with the other more common caatinga species. Unfortunately, in February 2002 we found that this recently created national park is now closed to the public. The local IBAMA manager, who found us inside the park, told us that permission to visit is obtainable only from IBAMA in Brasília.
If you get permission to visit Peruaçu, it would be more convenient to stay in Itacarambi, where one or two hotels have recently opened, than in Januária.
The bridge over the rio São Francisco is a convenient place to see Bahia nighthawk Chordeiles vielliardi at dusk. From the north end of the bridge a road runs upstream along the left bank of the river, through riverine vegetation mixed with farmland.
Minas Gerais tyrannulet Phylloscartes roquettei can be seen between Pirapora and Várzea da Palma. Just after the Km 11 sign, turn left onto a dirt road that leads to a sand dredger (“draga”) at Rio das Velhas. After 5km road the road crosses a small stream (Córrego dos Ovos). Look for the tyrannulet in the canopy of trees near the bridge and rufous-capped nunlet Nonnula ruficapilla and chestnut-capped foliage-gleaner Hylocryptus rectirostris in the adjacent gallery woodland. Continuing along the same road, there is a farm yard (where the Minas Gerais tyrannulet was also found in February 2002). Fork left after the farm to some wetland. Fork right to get to the river. At dusk there are Bahia nighthawks Chordeiles vieilliardi along both these tracks.
Serra da Canastra
Be aware that the only way from the upper to the lower part of the park is through São Roque de Minas. There is no trail from the top to the bottom of the Casca d’Anta waterfall.
In recent years the Brazilian mergansers Mergus octosetaceus have been found more often along the river below the Casca d’Anta than above the waterfall. Carefully scan every stretch of the river visible from the road upstream from Vargem Bonita or from tracks down to the river. The mergansers have also been seen from the bridges over the larger tributaries of the Rio São Francisco. The Brasilia tapaculo Scytalopus novacapitalis is a cinch if you have a tape. One appeared within seconds when we played back at Forrester’s “G” and we heard it often in clumps of vegetation in the upper park. The rare ochre-breasted pipit Anthus nattereri is found in the upper park alongside Hellmayr’s pipit Anthus hellmayri. Care must be taken not to confuse these two very similar species.
There is a wetland area before the ferry on the road from Passos to São João Batista do Glória. In May 2001 this had white-faced whistling-duck Dendrocygna viduata, Brazilian duck Amazonetta brasiliensis and masked duck Oxyura dominica. From São João an extremely rough but scenic road leads over the Serra de Babilônia to Casca d’Anta and São Roque de Minas. The longer route through Piumhi is much easier and quicker.
An updated and annotated version of Forrester’s list has been published by Luís Fábio Silveira in Cotinga 10.
Serra do Cipó
4km after Hotel Chapeu do Sol there is a rough trail up the hill. Look for the Cipó canastero Asthenes luizae among rocks on the plateau. Hyacinth visorbearer Augastes scutatus and pale-throated serra-finch Embernagra longicauda and stripe-tailed yellow-finch Sicalis citrina are readily found here.
Three-toed jacamar Jacamaralcyon tridactyla can be seen easily in the Parque Estadual Fernão Dias. Coming from Belo Horizonte, turn right off the Rodovia Fernão Dias (the main road from BH to São Paulo) in Contagem (15km from BH), immediately before the Carrefour hypermarket. Follow the road up and then down hill, with several curves. About 500m, after a Shell station on the left, bear left at a roundabout, towards some eucalyptus trees. The park entrance is immediately behind the PUC-MG building (if you get lost, ask for the PUC). Inside the park entrance, take the road to the right to a children’s playground and then follow the road to the left down to the bottom of the hill and then, almost immediately, take a steep path to right. The birds are in trees above the earth bank in a gully, to the right.
[Seven jacamars were there in March 2009].
Comment from Bob French Dec 2009: I visited the Contagem site in early July 2009. First, I had a hard time finding the park. (Never found the Shell Station). As noted, asking for the PUC does work, but as my Portuguese is limited even this took a while. The park was closed, with a sign saying it was only open on weekends and holidays (I think it said for security reasons). I don’t know if this is seasonal. [However I was able to gain access]. The childrens playground seemed overgrown and derelict. I THINK I found the correct road down the hill, but there was no obvious path at the bottom of the hill. I eventually found a short path about halfway down the road (halfway to where it joins another road going back up to the other end of the park) This path went steeply down a short distance to a “T” which sort of looked like a place birders may have stood and looked for jacamars. I don’t know if this was the spot, but in any event saw no jacamars, but I didn’t stay too long as I was afraid of getting locked into the park as it was near 5PM.
Fred Tavares from Belo Horizonte has commented: One important detail about the area is that it is not safe there, as it is located very close to a favela and there are not enough people working in the park to guarantee your safety… even the park staff advice you not to go to some areas because it is not safe. And the Jacamar site is in one of those unsafe areas.
If anyone can add anything to these site notes, or clarify the details, then please let Rick Simpson know: email@example.com
This is a fishing lodge in a fine position overlooking the rapids of the Salto do Thaimaçu on the Rio São Benedito, 160 km from Alta Floresta. The owner, Carlos Arroyo, is now keen to attract birders and has opened up four good trails in terra firme forest and campinarana (low forest on white sand). The pousada also has a camp on the Rio Cururu, 40 minutes drive away, where there is good birding along the access road and on the river. Carlos intends to open trails here too. Arthur and I were the first birders to visit the lodge.
The main attraction at Thaimaçu is the recently described Bald Parrot Pionopsitta aurantiocephala. In April 2003 a flock of the parrots came to a fruiting tree near the lodge every afternoon and we heard them on most days in the forest. The campinarana is full of manakins; we saw Red-headed, White-crowned, Snow-capped, Fiery-capped and Flame-crested Manakin (Pipra rubrocapilla, P. pipra, P. nattereri, Machaeropterus pyrocephalus, Heterocercus linteatus) and Cinnamon Tyrant Neopipo cinnamomea. We missed Black Manakin Xenopipo atronitens but it must be there. At the Rio Cururu I recorded two pairs of Yellow-browed Antbird Hypocnemis hypoxantha, presumably a range extension for the disjunct population of the lower Tapajós / Xingu interfluvium. Brown-throated Parakeet Aratinga pertinax and Brown Jacamar Brachygalba lugubris look very different from the plates shown for the local subspecies in Handbook of the Birds of the World. I am sure that there are many new things to be found in this practically unbirded territory.
The hotel can be reached by chartered light plane from Cuiabá and Alta Floresta or by road from Alta Floresta (four bumpy hours in the pousada’s pick-up). The home page is www.thaimacu.com.br.
The Floresta Nacional (FLONA) de Tapajós is administered by IBAMA for the controlled exploitation of timber. A permit to visit is easily arranged by going to the IBAMA office in Santarém (current cost is R$3 per person per day). There are two roads into the forest, one at km 67 and the other at km 83, off the asphalt road south from Santarém.
There is a 45 m high canopy tower at base 67. Entering the forest at km 67, you eventually reach a fork in the road. Keep right and right again through a gate (sometimes) locked until you reach a point where you can’t drive any further. The tower lies off on a trail 150 m to the right. If the gate (which is easily bypassed on foot) is locked, it is only c.0.5 km to walk from there to the tower.
At both bases the forest is excellent for birding, provide you stay away from where they are actively logging. A bird list for the FLONA is available on the web in Henriques et al., Ornitologia Neotropical 14 (2003).
Between Santarém and Alter do Chão, 30 km to the west on the bank of the Tapajós , there is an area of campina, similar to cerrado. There are many hotels in Alter do Chão.
In 2000 we hired one of the many boats along the river-front at Santarém for R$90 (US$45) for the day. On the Ilha do Igarapé-açu, in front of Santarém, between the Tapajós and the Amazon, we saw Lesser Hornero Furnarius minor. We would have seen more if our boat had had a canoe to enable us to land more easily.
I am grateful to Guy Kirwan for updating the notes for Santarém to November 2005.
Parque Nacional da Amazônia
The last part of the road from Santarém to Itaituba is terrible. Do not drive, but fly. It is possible to drive from Cuiabá to Itaituba but until the final 800km of dirt road are paved this section will take 1-2 days in dry weather and a week in wet, in a four wheel drive vehicle. Arrangements to stay in the park (R$20/US$15 per person per night in 2000) should be made with the park director, Sr. Salles, who lives in Itaituba (tel. 091-518-3242). He will arrange for a married couple to guide, clean, cook and wash clothes (R$60 per day) and for a hired pick-up (R$130 per day incl. driver – the driver stays at the park and you feed him). The accommodation at Uruá, on a bluff above the River Tapajós, is simple but adequate. There is a generator. Shopping is done before you leave Itaituba, 1 ½ hours drive from the park. Take plenty of bottled water as the Tapajós is polluted by mercury.
The trails are as per Forrester, with the addition of a new excellent 5km loop, starting and finishing at Uruá. Get to know the morototó, a tree looking not unlike a cecropia. When fruiting it is a magnet for tanagers, aracaris, cotingas, white-crested guan Penelope pileata and brown-chested barbet Capito brunneipectus. We found harlequin antbird Rhegmatorhina berlepschi on two occasions on the Uruá trail but dipped both visits on pale-faced antbird Scutchia borbae, which has however been seen along the Capelinha trail. There is an annotated bird list for the park by David Oren in Ornithological Monographs No. 48.
This is a magnicent and little known birding destination, with hundreds of kilometers of good roads in pristine forest. The Floresta Nacional de Carajás (FLONA) is nominally administered by IBAMA but the Companhia do Vale do Rio Doce holds the mining concession and calls the shots. The FLONA is one third of the size of Belgium and in this area there are four large mines, for iron, manganese, copper and gold. The iron ore deposits are the largest in the world.
To visit Carajás you need permission from both IBAMA and the CVRD. Write to Joraci José Grigolo (aka Gaucho) firstname.lastname@example.org of the CVRD security department. Joraci is a forest guard who is assigned as minder to visiting birders. He has become an accomplished guide and he will make the arrangements for your visit.
If you arrive by road (700 km from Belém; 9 hours on a surprisingly good road) you will need the IBAMA authorisation to enter the FLONA and drive to the “núcleo urbano”, the manicured company town, 25km into the forest, where the mine management lives. There are two hotels here, the Cedro and the Jatobá. The Cedro (tel. (94) 3328-2124 and 3328-1570) is the more expensive and has a restaurant. In 2005 the Jatobá (tel. (94) 3328-2184) cost R$45 (US$18) / person / night for a double room with breakfast. Both hotels supply pack lunches.
If you arrive by air you can hire a car at the airport, which is inside the FLONA, and drive to the núcleo urbano but you will need the IBAMA authorisation and the CVRD minder to get into the rest of the reserve.
There is reasonable birding along the track to the left just inside the entrance to the FLONA, which runs along the Rio Parauapebas. There is also a track between the airport and the núcleo urbano and another, down to a reservoir, between the núcleo urbano and the iron mine. To obtain access to the main part of the forest, however, you have to pass a second gatehouse, into the iron mine, 12km from the núcleo urbano.
Once past the iron mine one enters a huge tract of terra firme forest and even in a week one can barely scrape the surface of the site’s potential. The most accessible birding areas are the road to the copper mine at Salobo and a side road to Igarapé Águas Claras, off the road to the gold mine at Igarapé Bahia. Carajás is hilly and there are several escarpments where one has fine views over the canopy. Where the iron ore is at the surface the forest is replaced by “canga”, a low, bushy vegetation with many birds typical of cerrado.
Carajás is perhaps most noteworthy for its cotingas, with a unique Brazilian population of White Bellbird Procnias alba. We regularly saw White-browed Purpletuft Iodopleura isabellae, even around the hotel, Spangled Cotinga Cotinga cayana and White-tailed Cotinga Xipholena lamellipennis, with the occasional Purple-breasted Cotinga Cotinga cotinga. Other interesting species here are Pearly Parakeet Pyrrhura lepida (formerly P. perlata), Rufous-necked Puffbird Malacoptila rufa, Rufous-capped Nunlet Nonnula ruficapilla, Black-bellied Gnateater Conopophaga melanogaster, “Concolor” Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes certhia concolor, Peruvian Recurvebill Simoxenops ucayalae, Black-and-white Tody-Tyrant Poecilotriccus capitalis, Black-chested Tyrant Poecilotriccus andrei, Opal-crowned Manakin Pipra iris, Blackish Peewee Contopus nigrescens and Guianan Gnatcatcher Polioptila guianensis. Joraci knows where to find these species.
There is a bird list for Carajás in Cotinga 27
I strongly recommend making a tour of the iron mine. Joraci will show you around in a couple of hours.
In 2005 Arthur and I visited the Goeldi Museum’s scientific station at Caxiuanã with a group, following an ornithological congress in Belém. Caxiuanã is visited by some birding tour groups but it does not seem possible to go there as an individual. From Belém one flies or takes an overnight boat to Breves and from there another boat (10 hours) to Caxiuanã. There is an excellent 55 m canopy tower but the trail system is limited. Golden parakeet Guarouba guaruba is seen regularly. See the web site at http://www.museu-goeldi.br/ecfpn/info.html.)
There are no notes for this state. If you feel you can contribute please feel free to send details to either Jeremy Minns email@example.com or myself firstname.lastname@example.org.
Estrada da Graciosa
Turn left off the main BR116 at the signpost, 390 km from São Paulo and 35 km before Curitiba. At the start the road is flat with areas for grassland species (Lesser Grass-finch Emberizoides ypiranganus, and Great Pampa-finch Embernagra platensis, for example). After 3 km there is a turning to the right signposted to Quatro Barras which is said to be good. After a further 4 km, just where the road drops down the serra, turn right and double back along a rough but driveable track. Pass some semi-demolished buildings on your left and you should find Canebrake Ground-creeper Clibanornis dendrocolaptoides without difficulty, especially if you play a tape. If you don’t have a tape, watch out for a series of loud “crek” notes.
The forest, at about 900m, is almost untouched and quiet for recording. In the breeding season there are Bare-throated Bellbird Procnias nudicollis and Hooded Berryeater Carpornis cucullatus calling all over the place, Mouse-colored Tapaculo Scytalopus speluncae and White-breasted Tapaculo S. indigoticus side by side, Giant Antshrike Batara cinerea, Rufous-backed Antvireo Dysithamnus xanthopterus Pale-browed Treehunter Cichlocolaptes leucophrus Grey-capped Tyrannulet Phyllomyias griseocapilla Azure-shouldered Tanager Thraupis cyanoptera, Brassy-breasted Tanager Tangara desmaresti and lots more. There is plenty of bamboo and I see no reason why one shouldn’t find Purple-winged Ground-dove Claravis godefrida there. On my last visit Edson Endrogo found the rare Blackish-blue Seedeater Amaurospiza moesta.
There is also excellent birding lower down. Drive to the bottom of the serra and in São João da Graciosa fork right towards Morretes. In Porto de Cima, before Morretes, immediately after crossing a long, narrow bridge over the Rio Nhundiaquara, turn right and drive along the rough track that follows the river up into the forest. We drove up to about 300m. It was pissing with rain and we saw practically nothing but Parrini says in drier conditions the site is first class.
The best place for accommodation is probably Antonina (fork left in S. João da Graciosa).
The small range of the Wetland Tapaculo Scytalopus iraiensis is limited to a number of marshes in and near the city of Curitiba. Most of these are suffering from urban expansion and the type locality has been flooded by a dam.
Probably the best site is the Fazenda São Pedro in São José dos Pinhais, a neighbouring municipality to Curitiba. . To get there turn right off the BR-376 from Joinville at km 622.5 onto a small dirt track beside a wall with “ARGUS AVES” painted on it (coming from Curitiba you will have to drive several kms further on and make a “retorno”). After 1 km fork left and immediately right. After a further 1.5 km the gate of the Fazenda São Pedro is on the left. Ask at the house for permission to enter (the gate may be locked) and drive along a farm track for 1.5 km till you get to an open grassland. In July 2002 we found three tapaculos at the far end of the grassland which replied to playback of the song (posted on Worldtwitch (http://worldtwitch.virtualave.net/new_world.htm) ; the song is so like that of Mouse-coloured Tapaculo Scytalopus speluncae that the latter’s song would probably attract iraiensis) but they did not show. The birds would probably be more responsive later in the year.
In this grassland we found Sickle-winged Nightjar Eleothreptus anomalus, Sharp-tailed Tyrant Culicivora caudacuta, Long-tailed Reed-Finch Donacospiza albifrons and Lesser Grass-Finch Emberizoides ypiranganus.
The Baia de Guaratuba extends 25 km inland from the sea and is a well preserved area of mangroves and reed beds, bordered by flooded forest. This is excellent habitat for a large number of water birds and also for a few restricted range species like Paraná Antwren Formicivora (formerly Stymphalornis) acutirostris, Wren-like Rushbird Phleocryptes melanops and Many-colored Rush-Tyrant Tachuris rubrigastra, and species that are common further south but less common in the southeast like Unicolored Blackbird Agelaius cyanopus and Yellow-winged Blackbird Agelaius thilius.
To visit the bay you must hire a boat. The best place is the “marina do Ananias”, telephone (0xx41) 442-2539, (the owner, Ananias Santos, is prefeito (mayor) of Guaratuba), 4 km north of the bus station (“rodoviária”), past the airport. In August 2002 the cost was R$130 (US$43) for the day. Ask for Jorge to drive your boat as he is used to taking Marcos Bornschein and Bianca Reinert, who discovered the antwren, to work with the birds. The Portuguese names for the species are “bicudinho” (Paraná Antwren), “bate-bico” (Wren-like Rushbird) and “papa-piri” (Many-colored Rush-Tyrant). All three can readily be found in the reed beds (“pirizais”) in the bay, about half an hour from the marina. The antwren is also common in reeds and long grass near the water throughout the bay area.
At the “ponte”, where the pipe carrying Guaratuba’s water supply crosses the river, an hour from the marina, you will find Kaempfer’s Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus kaempferi in the forest along the right bank and Paraná Antwren in the grass and reeds by the bridge.
It is quicker and cheaper to look for the antwren by car—see under Garuva—but you will need a boat for the rushbird and rush-tyrant.
The R.P.P.N. Frei Caneca is a private reserve owned by the Usina Colônia sugar mill with excellent montane forest. The four Murici specialities, Orange-bellied Antwren Terenura sicki, Alagoas Tyrannulet Phylloscartes ceciliae, Alagoas Antwren Myrmotherula snowi and Alagoas Foliage-gleaner Philydor novaesi, are all here. Other interesting birds are Scalloped Antbird Myrmeciza ruficauda and Buff-breasted Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus mirandae.
To get permission to visit the reserve write to Dr. José Alves Siqueira email@example.com at the Federal University of the Valley of the São Francisco (UNIVASF). To get there take the road from Palmares to Garanhuns. A few kms after Jaqueira there is an asphalt road to the right, signposted “Usina Colônia”.
At the gatehouse ask for Zezito, Dango or Nice. If they are not there, get directions to the reserve or, better still, get a friendly motorcyclist to take you there. The reserve is 9 km from the Usina up a steep dirt road and you will need four-wheel drive, especially if there has been any rain. There is accomodation for visitors in a well furnished house but you must take all your own food. The wife of the the reserve guard will do the cooking and her husband will accompany you into the forest.
Stigmatura is an interesting genus. The two species, greater and lesser wagtail-tyrant, Stigmatura budytoides and S. napensis, have main populations in the chaco and riverine vegetation along the Amazon respectively and small, disjunct, sympatric populations in NE Brazil. We found both species (and pygmy nightjar Caprimulgus hirundinaceus) in very degraded caatinga near Lagoa Grande, which is 58km northeast of Petrolina. The two species of wagtail-tyrant were sometimes in the same bush. Lesser is smaller and browner than greater and forages lower. The local race Stigmatura n. bahiae is probably a separate species from its Amazonian relative Stigmatura n. napensis; their habitats and vocalizations are very different.
Fernando de Noronha
This island, 400 km off the northeast coast of Brazil, boasts two endemics: Noronha Elaenia Elaenia ridleyana (considered by some a subspecies of Large Elaenia E. spectabilis) and Noronha Vireo Vireo gracilirostris. Both species are common. Ten species of seabird nest in the archipelago: Red-billed and White-tailed Tropicbird Phaethon aethereus and P. lepturus, Masked, Red-footed and Brown Booby Sula dactylatra, S. sula and S. leucogaster, Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens, Sooty Tern Sterna fuscata, Brown and Black Noddy Anous stolidus and A. minutus and White Tern Gygis alba. All these except Red-billed Tropicbird are easy to see, though the main concentration of Masked Booby is on the Rasa and Sela Gineta islands and you will need a boat to see them at close range. The main island is infested with Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis, Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata and House Sparrow Passer domesticus and that is it, so far as birds are concerned, except for waders in migration and vagrants (in 1999 a White Spoonbill Platalea leucorodia, spent a few weeks on the island, the first record of this species for Brazil). Josivan Rabêlo da Silva (aka Bam), an IBAMA park guard, is very friendly and helpful and will take birders to the offshore nesting colonies which can be reached on foot at low tide.
The beaches and skin and scuba diving are superb.
There are daily flights to the island from Recife. A tourist tax of R$23 (US$8) per day is charged. There is a wide choice of pousadas and bed and breakfast accomodation at fairly exorbitant prices. I paid R$240 per day for two rooms for three people in a B&B. The main island is about 17 km long and a beach buggy is convenient to get around. We hired one for R$80 per day. The only crime on the island is theft of petrol so take care!
Parque de Sete Cidades
This National Park is situated near Piripirí, on the BR-343 main road from Teresina to Fortaleza. It is most famous for its extraordinary rock formations but there is also good cerrado birding for the species typical of this habit. There is a pleasant hotel just outside the park.
Serra de Capivara
This national park with extensive primary caatinga is perhaps too remote for dedicated listers but for those with wider interests the scenery is magnificent and there are literally hundreds of archaeological sites with 6-12,000 year old rock paintings. The sites are widely scattered and one drives and walks long distances to see a representative sample. The park is administered by IBAMA but all the investment in an excellent system of roads, trails, walkways and signs has been carried out by the Fundação Museu do Homem Americano, an NGO run by Niéde Guidon, a French archaeologist who has worked here for over 30 years. Dr. Guidon believes that three of the sites are the oldest in the Americas, with evidence of human occupation dating back 50,000 years. However, although the museum and all the literature you will find there treat this claim as fact, few archaeologists accept it. So much so that neither an article in National Geographic in December 2000 nor a recent BBC programme on the early peoples of the Americas even mentioned the Serra da Capivara.
The park contains one of the largest areas of primary caatinga left in Brazil and all the caatinga specialities are here. The following Brazilian endemics have been recorded: Yellow-legged Tinamou Crypturellus noctivagus, White-browed Guan Penelope jacucaca, Caatinga Parakeet Aratinga cactorum, Pygmy Nightjar Caprimulgus hirundinaceus, Broad-tipped Hermit Phaethornis gounellei, Spot-backed Puffbird Nystalus maculatus, Spotted Piculet Picumnus pygmaeus, Ochraceous Piculet Picumnus limae, Silvery-cheeked Antshrike Sakesphorus cristatus, Caatinga Antwren Herpsilochmus sellowi, White-browed Antpitta Hylopezus ochroleucus, Red-shouldered Spinetail Gyalophylax hellmayri, Great Xenops Megaxenops parnaguae, White-naped Jay Cyanocorax cyanopogon, Gray-eyed Greenlet Hylophilus amaurocephalus, Scarlet-throated Tanager Sericossypha loricata, White-throated Seedeater Sporophila albogularis and Red-cowled Cardinal Paroaria dominicana.
To get to the park fly or bus to Petrolina and then take a 5 ½ hour bus ride to São Raimundo Nonato. There is no accomodation in the park which is some distance from São Raimundo and one stays at the Hotel Serra da Capivara firstname.lastname@example.org on the edge of the town. The manager of the hotel, Girleide Oliveira, will organise a guide (obligatory) and a car. In July 2003 the guide cost R$35 (c.US$12 – about to increase to R$45) per day and the car R$0.75 / km. We drove 450 kms in four days. Although the cost is on the high side I strongly recommend this site for those with the time and inclination to get to know the caatinga. The best time to visit is November–March, after the rains have (hopefully) started and the birds are breeding.
Rio de Janeiro
Teresópolis – Parque Nacional da Serra Dos Orgãos
You can enter the park between 8:00 and 17:00. In July 1999 the cost for six people to camp one night on the Trilha da Pedra do Sino, leaving the car at the barragem (dam) was R$70 (US$35).
The road up to the dam (about 2km) runs through good forest. Leave the car at the dam (altitude 1100m – 3,600ft). The walk to the first camp site at 1900m (6,200ft) takes three hours, without stopping. The second camp site is at 2100m (6,900ft) after a further 1 1/2 hours. There is excellent forest all the way up to the first camp site, the trees becoming lower as you get higher. Near the second camp site you get above the tree line.
Hooded Berry-eater Carpornis cucullatus occurs up to about 1500m, Black-and-Gold Tijuca atra and Swallow-tailed Cotinga Phibalura flavirostris from 1500m to 1800m, and Gray-winged Cotinga Tijuca condita from 1800m upwards. Recently the most reliable place for Gray-winged Cotinga has been on the hillside opposite the first camp site.
The lower part of the park is also open to visitors, the entrance being on the right about one third of the way up the “serra” from Rio to Teresópolis. The habitat is good but the trails are short and there is a lot of noise from the road. The avifauna here is lowland, very different from that of the high elevations of the park.
Teresópolis – Garrafão
The place where Ricardo Parrini and a few others saw the kinglet calyptura Calyptura cristata in 1996 (no one has seen it since) is just before you get to Teresópolis, coming up the serra from Rio. 200m after the “Garrafão” petrol station, at a sharp left curve, turn right off the main road onto a rough track. Wind down the hill for about 500m. The calyptura was seen at a fork where the main track goes straight ahead and a paved track goes steeply down the hill to the right. This latter track goes through some good forest where there is a dusky-throated hermit Phaethornis squalidus lek.
Carmo / Sumidouro
Carmo is a reliable site for three-toed jacamar Jacamaralcyon tridactyla and Rio de Janeiro antbird Cercomacra brasiliana. Take the road from Além Paraiba (on the Rio de Janeiro / Minas Gerais state border, where the BR 116 crosses the Rio Paraíba do Sul) to Carmo. Just as you get to Carmo, there is a petrol station on the left. Take the dirt road to the left, beside the petrol station. After 2.5km, when you get to a place with forest on both sides of the road, look for the jacamars. A good way to see them is by walking along the track to the right, just after the patch of forest, playing a tape to them from the hillside.
5.2km further on there is a wooden gate on the left. Rio de Janeiro Antbird can be found in the thick vegetation just before the gate and the jacamar is here too.
The two species can also be found at Sumidouro.
Reserva Ecológica de Guapi-açu – REGUA
REGUA (Reserva Ecológica de Guapi Açu http://www.regua.co.uk – there is a bird list on the website) is a non-governmental conservation project with a mission to save the forests in the catchment of the Guapi Açu River basin. There is another website possibly more directed to birders at http://www.guapiassubirdlodge.com/index.html. Being only about 2 hours drive from the airport in Rio de Janeiro (where you can usually arrange to be picked up by a vehicle from the reserve if you do not have your own vehicle), REGUA is a good point to start a trip to Southeast Brazil, especially for anyone who is unfamiliar with the avifauna. The reserve supports a wide variety of Atlantic forest birds, including rarities such as Golden-tailed Touit surdus and Brown-backed Parrotlets T. melanonotus, Salvadori’s Antwren Myrmotherula minor, White-bearded Antshrike Biatas nigropectus and Spotted Bamboo-wren Psilorhampus guttatus (though some of these are difficult to find).
The lodge at REGUA is extremely comfortable, and has an excellent bird library, including ten volumes of It overlooks a wetland where a good selection of waterbirds occur, including Giant Snipe Gallinago undulata (though not easy to see) and Pulsatrix koeniswaldiana can be found easily around the lodge and office. Whilst there is regenerating forest nearby, the best trails are those that go to the waterfall (green trail) and the elfin forest trail (the red trail, which goes up steeply off the green trail, to c.950m). You need transport to reach the beginning of these trails, which is provided free by the reserve if you are staying there (or you can drive yourself). The green trail passes through regenerating forest but supports a great variety of species, including many Atlantic forest endemics. It is also an excellent place to find Shrike-like Cotinga (Elegant Mourner) Laniisoma elegans. To do the red trail properly, you need to plan for a whole day since it is a long, tough walk. However, the walk is well worthwhile since there are many mid to higher altitude species, including Blue-bellied Parrot Triclaria malachitacea.
REGUA can also arrange excursions using their vehicles to visit birding sites in the vicinity to look for species such as Gray-winged Cotinga Tijuca condita and Itatiaia Thistletail Oreophylax moreirae (Caledonia peak, which can only easily be reached by 4WD), Three-toed Jacamar Jacamaralcyon tridactyla and Rio de Janeiro Antbird Cercomacra brasiliana (near Sumidouro) and Restinga Antwren Formicivora littoralis (near the coast). Instead of hiking up the red trail to look for higher altitude species, you can arrange to visit forest at 1200m around the house of David Miller, an orchid expert. Here you find Black-and-Gold Cotinga Tijuca atra, Giant Antshrike Batara cinerea, Rufous-backed Antvireo Dysithamnus xanthopterus and many more. You can arrange for a guide from REGUA to accompany you on your trips.
TO GET TO REGUA from Rio de Janeiro City. Either go over the Rio-Niteroi bridge, passing Itaboraí on the road to Nova Friburgo. At the Schincariol brewery (on left) turn sharp left at a police check point onto the road to Guapi Mirim. After 2km, at Funchal, immediately before a petrol station turn right. Or, if you come straight from the airport, follow the directions to Petropolis, then left to Teresopolis and finally at Guapimirim-Parada Modelo turn right and follow the sign for Cachoeiras de Macacu. At Km 32 by the disused petrol station (on right) turn left. Follow this all weather dirt road for 11.3km and at a fork with a number of signs pointing right to Guapi Açu and a Hotel Fazenda, bear left, cross a river bridge and continue along the road, turning 90deg to the left instead of straight on where there is an obvious junction 600 meters after the bridge. After another 500m along this straight section of road, you cross a small bridge. Turn right immediately after this bridge, passing a gate. This is the road that leads up to the lodge, first passing the REGUA office (on the right) and the houses where some staff live (also on the right). To make enquiries about staying at the reserve, contact Nicholas Locke, the reserve manager, at email@example.com (0055) 21 2745 3998 or 22 2533 3603.
[we are grateful to Frank Lambert for writing these notes]
I can add little to Forrester’s coverage of this site. For a time the Maromba (“Jeep”) trail was overgrown and practically impassable but it is now reported to be cleared. You need written permission to walk it. The Hotel do Ypê is the best place the stay, though a little expensive, and they will obtain the permission required for the Maromba trail. Gail Mackiernan recently recommended the Hotel Donati which is also well located and may be cheaper. In any event, stay at a hotel in the park; there is cheaper accommodation in the town but you will have to pay each time you enter the park and may have difficulty getting in before 8:00 am.
Shrike-like Cotinga Laniisoma elegans has been seen along the access road to the Hotel Repouso. Red-and-White Crake Laterallus leucopyrrhus (not on Forrester’s list) has been found in the marsh just above the town (outside the park).
If you want to visit the Agulhas Negras road only, it is closer and cheaper to stay in the Hotel Thomaz in Itamonte than in Itatiaia.
This attractive colonial town (with excellent restaurants) lies between Ubatuba and Perequê. The birds are similar to those found in Ubatuba.
There is interesting lowland forest at Patrimônio, a village on the road from Ubatuba, about 14km before Parati. Turn right up a steep hill, signposted to Condomínio Laranjeiras and Trindade and at the top of the hill fork left to Laranjeiras. Just before the gatehouse of this millionaire beach development there is a dirt road to the left. This is one of the few places in the area that is fairly reliable for Salvadori’s Antwren Myrmotherula minor. Cinnamon-vented Piha Lipaugus lanioides is fairly common.
The upper part of the road over the Serra do Mar from Parati to Cunha is unsurfaced and may be difficult in wet weather. It passes through good montane forest.
There is a bird list for Parati in Cotinga 24.
Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina
This fairly new national park has some excellent montane habitat but much of it is occupied by small holdings and pine plantations and has been seriously degraded. The Casa da Bocaina http://www.casadabocaina.com.br/, however, is set in pristine primary forest and is well worth a visit. The pousada is simple (no electricity) but comfortable and the couple who run in, Walter and Luciana, are most hospitable. The pousada is open intermittently, usually at long weekends, and is an hour and a half’s drive over rough roads from Barra Mansa, on the motorway from Rio to São Paulo.
The best site for the black-hooded antwren Formicivora erythronotos is near the town of Perequê, between Paratí and Angra dos Reis. Turn inland off the BR-101 into the town of Perequê (first town west of the nuclear power station). Drive up the main street till the end of the asphalt (1.4 km) and turn right. Continue for several blocks and turn left immediately after the football pitch (“Campo da Gringa”) on the left (1km). Drive along a dirt road for 2.1km where there is a gate set back on the right hand side. 20 meters past this Rick Simpson found a pair of antwrens in Jan 2009 [Two singing males March 2009 plus white-bellied seedeater Sporophila leucoptera and orange-eyed thornbird Phacellodomus erythrophthalmus]. 1.3km further on, just after the river bends away from the road, he found another pair. Gunnar Engblom saw this pair again a few days later.
The ‘traditional’ spot for the antwrens is a further 4 kms along the road. After the third bridge there is an open shed on the right with a dirt track to the left in front of it; the site is 200m further along the main road, through a barbed wire gate on the right, with a big tree on the edge of the road (three different becards nest in this tree). In October 1998 we found six pairs of the antwren here and also a nest of Buff-throated Purpletuft Iodopleura pipra. There are plenty of other good lowland forest species around.
Restinga antwren Formicivora littoralis is easily found in restinga scrub beside the road that runs parallel to the beach, a little inland from the Praia da Maçambaba, east of Praia Seca (near Araruama). 7km from the edge of the town of Praia Seca there is a marsh and lagoon where a variety of other species can also be found.
Rio Grande do Norte
There are no notes for this state. If you feel you can contribute please feel free to send details to either Jeremy Minns firstname.lastname@example.org or myself email@example.com.
Rio Grande do Sul
Bom Jesus / Vacaria
There is a dam on the road from São Joaquim, soon after the state boundary, with Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris, Yellow-billed Pintail Anas georgica, Brazilian Duck Amazonetta brasiliensis and Sooty Swift Cypseloides fumigatus. In the marshy area around the dam there was Plumbeous Rail Rallus sanguinolentus, Straight-billed Reedhaunter Limnornis rectirostris, Firewood-gatherer Anumbius annumbi, Lesser Grass-finch Emberizoides ypiranganus and Saffron-cowled Blackbird Xanthopsar flavus. We heard Freckle-breasted Thornbird Phacellodomus striaticollis soon after, and began to see Black-and-white Monjita Heteroxolmis dominicana and Azure Jay Cyanocorax caeruleus regularly. From this point in the trip almost every pond or marsh had something of interest.
In the town of Vacaria we were fortunate to see a flock of 200+ Red-spectacled Parrots Amazona pretrei, a species that was once common in Rio Grande do Sul but is now quite difficult to find.
P. N. Aparados da Serra
I myself have not been into the park which closes for two days a week and on the other days opens only at 8:00 am. The view of the canyon is said to be spectacular. Red-spectacled Parrot Amazona pretrei, Long-tufted Screech-owl Otus sanctaecatarinae, Mottled Piculet Picumnus nebulosus , Wetland Tapaculo Scytalopus iraiensis (a recently discovered new site for this species), Long-tailed Cinclodes Cinclodes pabsti, Araucaria Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura setaria, Straight-billed Reedhaunter Limnornis rectirostris, Black-and-white Monjita Heteroxolmis dominicana, Long-tailed Reed-Finch Donacospiza albifrons, Black-and-rufous Warbling-Finch Poospiza nigrorufa, Lesser Grass-Finch Emberizoides ypiranganus, Black-bellied Seedeater Sporophila melanogaster, Glaucous-blue Grosbeak Passerina glaucocaerulea, Saffron-cowled Blackbird Xanthopsar flavus, Brown-and-yellow Marshbird Pseudoleistes virescens are all found in the park. Many of these species can be seen in the areas around it.
São Francisco de Paula
Mentioned in Forrester under Aparados da Serra National Park, which I have not visited. The Hotel Veraneio Hampel is not expensive and has its own private forest. There is good birding here and along the track down the hill from the hotel which bends round to the left and eventually joins the main road. Interesting birds here were Long-tufted Screech-owl Otus sanctaecatarinae, Mottled Piculet Picumnus nebulosus , Greenish Tyrannulet Phyllomyias virescens, Brown-breasted Bamboo-tyrant Hemitriccus obsoletus, Green-chinned Euphonia Euphonia chalybea and Chestnut-headed Tanager Pyrrhocoma ruficeps.
A few kilometres along the road towards Aparados da Serra is the FLONA (Floresta Nacional) de São Francisco de Paula. We called here especially to see Araucaria Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura setaria which we had failed to find at the Veraneio Hampel. At the office we got permission to bird in the reserve and found the tit-spinetail without difficulty on the edge of the arauacarias.
Capão da Canoa
As mentioned in Forrester’s book, this is a prime sea-watching location. Drive down through the town to the beach road and turn right, keep going until you reach the pier. Entrance to the pier is R$2,50 (June 2010). If there is an onshore wind the birding can be very good with birds coming quite close. In June 2010 Rick Simpson reported that on his first day there the wind was obliquely onshore and there were many Yellow-nosed Albatrosses Thalassarche chlororhynchos , some White-chinned Petrels Procellaria aequinoctialis and a few Brown Skuas Stercorarius antarcticus around. However the next day the wind was offshore and there was nothing much to see.
The road from Capivari is now paved all the way to São José do Norte at the end of the peninsula where the ferry leaves for Rio Grande. The main entrance to the Lagoa do Peixe is 18km south of Mostardas, signposted to Praia Farol. The road passes through grassland and dunes before reaching the beach, along which you can drive till you reach the channel where the lagoon meets the sea. Excellent for seabirds and waders. If it is wet this track can be very tricky in an ordinary car.
In December 2002 a gale was blowing off the sea and we were able to see a number of normally offshore sea birds from the beach, including Black-browed Albatross Thalassarche melanophris, White-chinned Petrel Procellaria aequinoctialis, Sooty Shearwater Puffinus griseus and Parasitic and Pomarine Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus and S. pomarinus.
There is a second access to the Lagoa do Peixe further south, the one mentioned by Forrester. Turn left 1.2km south of the centre of Tavares (where the southern access road to Tavares joins the main road); turn right at a pine plantation and then left before a long house; carry straight on to the lagoon. There is no access from here to the ocean beach.
In Mostardas itself if you pass through the town along the main dual carriageway and keep going, the road turns to a dirt track, and gets very slippery when wet, however with care it is possible to reach the beach along this track. At first it passes through uninteresting pine plantations, but becomes more natural woodland then emerges into a marsh area with some extensive reed beds on the left. Here Many-coloured Rush-Tyrants Tachuris rubrigastra can be found along with other reed dwelling birds. Long-winged Harriers quarter the marshes.
You can also get to Mostardas from the south, taking the ferry from Rio Grande to São José do Norte which is 150 km south of Tavares. There is a good ocean beach at São José but you won’t see anything there which you can’t see at Lagoa do Peixe. The habitat is uninteresting and I do not recommend this route. However, of interest is a small group os South American Sea Lions Otaria flavescens that spend much of their time loafing on, and swimming around, the end of a huge protecting wall at the point where the Lagoa dos Patos enters the sea. They appear on the northern arm of the entranceat 32°.18′ 57”S, 52°.07′ 52″W. They are really approachable, but one has to clamber over the rocks and concrete barriers to see them well.
About 13.5 km going north from Tavares at the division between the municipal areas of Tavares and Mostardas, there is a turn to the left signposted to Rincão Farol. Again it is a dirt road and difficult when wet. This road passes through farmland and marshy areas until it reaches Lagoa Mostardas on the left which is well worth a look.
As an alternative to staying in Mostardas there is accommodation in Tavares. In June 2010 Rick Simpson stayed at the Hotel Parque da Lagoa R$70-90.00 per night for a couple; www.hotelparquedalagoa.com.br run by Batista who also has a Landrover. He does trips out to some of the places inaccessible by ordinary car, and also knows all the local land owners and has access to places that would be off limits otherwise, however he is not a bird guide. At the time of Rick’s stay he was charging R$400 a day for up to 5 people. If you are alone or a couple this can be quite expensive, but for a group it is well worth the price and you will see more birds without the worry of getting bogged down or stuck in the sand.
As the road to Rio Grande leaves Pelotas it passes through extensive wetlands which are full of birds. Most of the species listed by Forrester for Taim can be found here. In June 2010 Rick Simpson reported that the road is being developed to become dual carriageway, however, despite the heavy roadworks there continues to be many birds in the surrounding marshes, the problem is finding somewhere convenient and safe to stop.
At Quinta there is a large, built up roundabout, the first road to the right leading to Taim and the next to Rio Grande. Shortly after the roundabout, on the road to Rio Grande, you come to a prison (”penitenciária”). The dirt road to the right, 400 metres before the prison, runs for miles through good wetlands and eventually emerges onto the road to Taim.
The marshes around the town are well worth exploring. A good entry point is along the railway line crossed by the road to Cassino. Bay-capped Wren-Spinetail Spartonoica maluroides is found here and recently Dot-winged Crake Porzana spiloptera was sighted, a bird rarely seen in Brazil.
Jürgen Lehnert JWELehnert@aol.com reports that in September 2003 he chartered a 13 metre fishing boat in Rio Grande for a pelagic trip. The boat took him 30 miles off the coast and he saw many sea birds: Magellanic Penguin Spheniscus magellanicus, Black-browed and Yellow-nosed Albatrosses Thalassarche melanophris and T. chlororhynchos, Southern Giant Petrel Macronectes giganteus, White-chinned and Spectacled Petrels Procellaria aequinoctialis and P. conspicillata, Cape Petrel Daption capense, Great and Manx Shearwater Puffinus gravis and P. puffinus, Wilson’s Storm-Petrel Oceanites oceanicus, Subantarctic and Chilean Skua Catharacta antarctica and C. chilensis, Parasitic Jaeger Stercorarius parasiticus, Brown-hooded Gull Larus maculipennis, Royal Tern Sterna maxima and South American Tern Sterna hirundinacea. Most of the birds were at least 12 miles from the coast. The owner of the boat is Dino Maiato (tel. 9971-1531) and Jürgen paid R$500 (c. US$170) for the trip, including a lot of fresh fish for chumming. The boat left from Seção da Barra, 2 km from Rio Grande towards the southern jetty, and the trip took 10 hours, starting at 3:00 am. Dino suggested that the best time to go out would be January to March, when the sea is calmer and birds are still plentiful.
The Hotel Atlântico in this pleasant beach resort is a good base for Taim and Rio Grande. The ocean beach is busy with motor traffic (a short cut to Rio Grande) but is worth a visit for its gulls and terns.
The 82km drive from Cassino takes about an hour.
The bird life here is abundant. The drawback is that much of the birding is along a causeway carrying the busy main road south. You can get away from the main road by taking a dirt road to the left, near the IBAMA headquarters (“Ecological Station” on Forrester’s map), which passes through good wetlands.
The Lagoa Mangueira, south of Taim, is worth a visit. Turn left after the petrol station at Curral Alto (131km from Casino).
Santana da Boa Vista
The bridge over the Rio Camaquã, a few kilometres south of Santana da Boa Vista on the road from Pelotas to Caçapava do Sul, is a stake-out for Red-spectacled Parrot Amazona pretrei. There is a pousada near the bridge and I recommend spending the night at the pousada and birding from the bridge which gives a good view over gallery woodland with plenty of birds.
Between São Borja and Uruguaiana the BR 472 runs through extensive wetlands (unfortunately now in the process of being drained) with large numbers of waterfowl, waders, ibis, raptors etc.
Most of the espinilho parkland, described by Forrester, is now preserved in a new state park. Though this is good news for conservation it is bad for birders as access to the reserve is obtainable only through the state environment secretariat in Porto Alegre. However, all the specialities can be found in an area reached through the Fazenda Santo Ângelo. Look for a group of grain silos on the left (travelling south), 11km before the town of Barra do Quaraí. The manager of the fazenda gave us permission to visit the espinilho but we later found he was not in fact the owner, whose foreman found us there but graciously invited us to stay as long as we wanted.
Pakaas Palafitas Lodge
This new lodge, near Guajará-Mirim, overlooks the meeting of the black water of the Rio Pacaás Novos and the white water of the Rio Mamoré, with Bolivia on the far bank. It has just been included in Victor Emmanuel’s programme and the first group will go there in June 2003. Andy Whittaker carried out a bird survey in July 2002 and found 367 species to which we added a further 39 in March 2003. Noteworthy are Brazilian Tinamou Crypturellus strigulosus, Zigzag Heron Zebrilus undulatus, Orinoco Goose Neochen jubata, the new forest-falcon being described by Andy, Crimson-bellied Parakeet Pyrrhura perlata, Chestnut Jacamar Galbalcyrhynchus purusianus, Black-girdled Barbet Capito dayi, White-breasted Antbird Rhegmatorhina hoffmannsi, Subtropical Doradito Pseudocolopteryx acutipennis, the very rare Buff-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum senex, Black Manakin Xenopipo atronitens, Tooth-billed Wren Odontorchilus cinereus, Scarlet Tanager Piranga olivacea, Pearly-breasted Conebill Conirostrum margaritae, Slate-coloured Seedeater Sporophila schistacea and Lesson’s Seedeater Sporophila bouvronides.
The lodge has extensive boardwalks, totalling 2 ½ km, through riverine vegetation and ending in an oxbow lake. Otherwise there is little birding habitat nearby. The options are to make boat trips along the two rivers, from which one or two trails are accessible, and to the river islands, or drive 20 km to excellent forest which can be birded from the road. To get to this forest turn right at the lodge gate and right at a fork with a green cross.
The lodge itself is an immense, semicircular, concrete structure on high columns with a thatched roof, impressive from the water but more like a building site when one arrives at the back. The accomodation is in extremely comfortable chalets, also on stilts, connected to the main building by boardwalks. The food was poor when we visited but the owner has since advised us that they have a new chef.
Few birders will arrive here independently by road but for those that do, turn left at the roundabout as one enters Guajará-Mirim (with a petrol station, the IBAMA office and a football stadium on three of the corners). Follow this road for 6.2 km until the tarmac turns left to the airport at an overgrown roundabout. Here go straight ahead on a dirt road for 6.7 km where you will come to the Pakaas gatehouse on the right. The lodge is 6 km from the gate. There are plenty of cheaper hotels in Guajará-Mirim but they are 20 km further from the forest and do not have their own boats.
We drove from Manaus to Boa Vista, destroyed the steering alignment of the hired car in potholes and wore out two new tyres in 6000km. which we had to pay for.
Boa Vista, the state capital, is a well laid out city and a good centre for birding. There are now plenty of hotels but hotel accomodation outside Boa Vista is sparse. The Quatro Rodas map of Roraima is very small scale. You can buy a large scale map from the Instituto Brasileiro de Geografia e Estatística (IBGE) shop just off the main square in Boa Vista. This map is eccentric – it marks fazendas and Indian villages but not small towns – but useful.
The Ilha São José, mentioned by Forrester, is 20km, not 10km upstream, almost an hour in a boat. The wetlands across the river are only accessible by boat. We did not explore these, merely passing through on the way back from Ilha São José. A few kms along the BR-401 to Bonfim there is a nice little pond and marsh where we found a pair of Spotted Puffbirds Bucco tamatia at a termite nest and Sulphury Flycatchers Tyrannopsis sulphurea in the Mauritia palms.
An excellent area not covered by Forrester is along the RR-319 road which runs northeast from the BR-174, just north of Boa Vista. In the savanna we saw White-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus cayennensis (probably), Grassland Yellow-finch Sicalis luteola and Eastern Meadowlark Sturnella magna. Just after the ferry over the Rio Uraricoera there is a short road to the right, along the river, where we found Streak-headed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes souleyetii, Rio Branco Antbird Cercomacra carbonaria and four pairs of Hoary-throated Spinetail Poecilurus kollari. In the marsh along the RR-319 we found other local specialties: Crested Bobwhite Colinus cristatus, Double-striped Thick-knee Burhinus bistriatus and Bicoloured Wren Campylorhynchus griseus. Near Contão, which we never reached because of floods, we saw White-bellied Piculet Picumnus spilogaster Streak-headed Woodcreeper again and Yellow Oriole Icterus nigrogularis. Contão itself is the place for Sun Parakeet Aratinga solstitialis and Pale-eyed Pygmy-tyrant Atalotriccus pilaris.
We found some accessible white sand forest beside the BR-174 a few kilometers south of Mucajái. The Parque Nacional do Viruá (Forrester’s Rio Anaua Biological Reserve) is probably well worth a visit though we were unable to bird there because of torrential rain. The entrance is from the BR-210 (174), 48km southwest of Caracaraí (where there are simple hotels). Yapacana Antbird Myrmeciza disjuncta has recently been found in the park, the second site for this species in Brazil.
A very good site is near Garuva, 30km before Joinville. Zero your odometer at the bus station (“rodoviária”), head south (towards Guaratuba) and almost immediately turn left (east) at the main cross roads in Garuva. Drive straight as a die out of town (not bearing left with the “main” road). At km 15.5 there is a marsh where we saw Paraná Antwren Formicivora (formerly Stymphalornis) acutirostris and Restinga Tyrannulet Phylloscartes kronei.
At km 17 there is another marsh where we saw the antwrens again and also had Spotted Bamboowren Psilorhamphus guttatus and Three-striped Flycatcher Conopias trivirgata. This is a good place to see forest birds with a scope as there are trees scattered about in the marsh and the forest edge is close. At km 26.3, turn left off the main road, doubling back somewhat, and at km 28.9 turn right over a low bridge over the Rio Cubatão. At km 31.6 a road loops up to the left through the forest to avoid a soft patch on the main road and you can walk this. In all we saw or heard 129 species in one morning, including Saw-billed Hermit Ramphodon naevius, Sombre Hummingbird Aphantochroa cirrhochloris, Crescent-chested Puffbird Malacoptila striata, Spot-backed Antshrike Hypoedaleus guttatus, Squamate Antbird Myrmeciza squamosa, São Paulo Tyrannulet Phylloscartes paulistus and Yellow-lored Tody-flycatcher Todirostrum poliocephalum, to mention only some of the endemics.
Kaempfer’s Tody-tyrant was rediscovered by Mark Pearman at Salto do Piraí, near Joinville. The following is adapted from Joe Tobias’ notes for the site.
From Joinville drive 10km southwest to Vila Nova. After a further 1,5km, at some rice paddies, turn right to Salto do Piraí (11km). After Piraí village cross a river and then left over another river and then right at a T junction and aim for the waterfall. Opposite the second house after the turn-off to the waterfall there is a gate through an ornamental garden, 50m from the river. Cross the river and go up a path c.40m to an area just before a tiny stream, with cecropias and shrubs on either side of a broad, grassy path. Kaempfer’s crosses here several times a day.
Kaempfer’s Tody-Tyrant can also be seen at the Reserva Volta Velha, near Itapoá. From Garuva take the road towards Guaratuba and turn right to Itapoá at a police post, after about 25km. When the road reaches the sea drive through tacky seaside developments, keeping as near the sea as possible, till you get to a house with “Pousada Volta Velha” painted on the bare wall (19km from the Garuva / Guaratuba road). Turn inland and pass a prominent high pink apartment block “Residencial Paraty”. After 3km you reach a bridge with a sign “Reserva Volta Velha”. Cross an open, grassy area with the pousada buildings round it and bear left at a small cattle corral. After a palm plantation you reach excellent restinga forest. White-breasted Tapaculo Scytalopus indigoticus is in the bushes near the forest edge. We found Kaempfer’s after 1.2 km, just before the track through the forest reaches the river, and again about 300 m further on. Restinga Tyrannulet Phylloscartes kronei is here and Helmeted Woodpecker Dryocopus galeatus has also been seen in the reserve.
The person in charge of the reserve is a friendly young man with a limp called Luiz Carlos. The pousada itself is normally only open for groups but we were able to sleep there although no breakfast was provided. Speak to Ana Maria, the owner’s daughter – tel (47) 9972-9070 (mobile) or 449-5104. She probably speaks English. If accomodation at the pousada is not possible Nil’s Hotel in the centre of Itapoá is open all the year.
As one drives south Field Flicker Colaptes campestris campestroides, the southern form of Campo Flicker Colaptes campestris, starts to appear here, as does Chimango Caracara Milvago chimango. In the town we saw Long-tailed Cinclodes Cinclodes pabsti for the first time, and then again beside the road to Bom Jesus.
São Paulo City
Although some birds can be seen in Ibirapuera Park, the campus of the University of São Paulo and the Guarapiranga reservoir, by far the best place to bird within the city limits is the Núcleo Pedra Grande of the Parque Estadual da Serra da Cantareira, which is situated on the hills to the north, near the Horto Florestal. Unfortunately it is open to the public only on weekends from 8:00am.
The forest in this large park is well preserved and it is, rather surprisingly seeing it overlooks the city, an excellent place for medium elevation Atlantic Forest species. For instance, I have seldom failed to see solitary tinamou Tinamus solitarius, a bird that has usually been hunted out in less well preserved areas, and this is one of the few reliable sites in this part of Brazil for southern bristle-tyrant Phylloscartes eximius. There is a high concentration of brown howler Alouatta fusca and masked titi monkeys Callicebus personatus. The drawback is that the park lies directly under the flight path to the international airport at Guarulhos, which makes the site hopeless for recording. Another option in the Parque Estadual da Serra da Cantareira is reached through the neighbouring city of Guarulhos (see below). At this site a public road cuts through the park so there is no limitation on access but it is a little tricky to find.
To get to the Serra da Cantareira via Guarulhos, take the Marginal do Tiete east from the centre of São Paulo and then the flyover to the left signposted to Guarulhos and Rod. Fernão Dias (this is the second of two flyovers and is reached from the right hand lane of the express carriageway; do not take the first flyover signposted Via Dutra which starts in the left hand lane). Take the exit to Guarulhos (not the earlier exit to Av. Guarulhos) and cross back over the expressway. Take the fourth road to the right (Av. Antônio de Sousa), turn left at the end (R. Lídio F. de Santana) and then right onto the Av. Monteiro Lobato. After 1 km turn left at traffic lights onto the Av. Otávio Braga de Mesquita. Follow this for 4.2 km till you reach a square, the Praça Oito de Dezembro. Go round the square and take the Av. Silvestre Pires de Freitas. After 2.6 km take a dirt road to the right, just after a petrol station, with a small sign, Estrada dos Veigas. After a few hundred metres take the right fork. After 5 km you will be in good habitat.
This site is close to São Paulo’s international airport at Guarulhos (on leaving the airport follow signs to Av. Monteiro Lobato and then turn right onto Av. Otávio Braga de Mesquita). However, be warned: this is a public area on the edge of a big city and is not 100% safe. Take a minimum of valuables and if you have any problems hand over everything without question.
This is the site of the discovery in 2004 of what was at first thought to be a new population of Paraná Antwren Formicivora (formerly Stymphalornis)acutirostris. It then transpired that there are significant plumage differences between the two populations and the Biritiba-Mirim birds are being described as a separate species São Paulo Antwren Formicivora sp. nov.
The site is about an hour’s drive from São Paulo’s Guarulhos International airport. Take the Rodovia Ayrton Senna from the airport towards Rio and exit to Mogi das Cruzes. Follow the signs to Biritiba-Mirim and Salesópolis. As you leave Mogi das Cruzes you will come to a set of lights at a fork in the road, Biritiba-Mirim and Salesópolis to the right, to the left César de Souza. Take the fork to the left. You will pass a set of lights, some rail tracks and then arrive at a roundabout. Turn right here. (About half a mile from the roundabout along this road, you will see some gravel piles and workings on your right. Opposite there is a good marsh which has Rufous-sided Crake Laterallus melanophaius, American Purple Gallinule Porphyrio martinica, Yellow-browed Tyrant Satrapa icterophrys, and Chestnut-capped Blackbird Chrysomus ruficapillus among other common marsh birds.)
Follow this road for a couple of kms until you reach the antwren site. You will recognize it as it is just after a sharp left hand bend (with a track leading off to the right) and the first house on the left, number 6030, has a wall and entrance being built (Jan 2009) (if the asphalt turns to dirt you have missed it!). Look for the antbirds in the typha (cattails or bullrushes) in the marsh opposite the house. They respond readily to playback of the song of Paraná Antwren (formerly Stymphalornis) acutirostris. The marsh here has recently become desgraded and fenced off. Access is still possible and the owner is not against birders entering. Proper access is being negotiated with the owner.
The track from the bend is good birding; sadly this is now been fenced off too. There are Red-eyed Thornbirds Phacellodomus ferrugineigula, Dusky-tailed Antbirds Drymophila malura, Orange-headed Thlypopsis sordida and Cinnamon Tanagers Schistochlamys ruficapillus, Rufous-capped Thamnophilus ruficapillus and Large-tailed Antshrikes Mackenziaena leachii and much more besides.
At less than two hours drive from the centre of São Paulo, the restinga forest along the coast makes a good day trip. Take the Rodovia dos Imigrantes and/or the Via Anchieta down the Serra do Mar escarpment towards Santos and at the bottom take the dual carriageway southwest to Itanhaém and Peruibe. After about 50km the road crosses the river Itanhaém. 9km after the bridge turn off to the right at a signpost to Jd. Bopiranga / Jd. S. Fernando and drive inland along a sandy road for about 5km, when you get to two small bridges, where there is good birding. Although the forest along the road is somewhat degraded by smallholdings, the area is quiet and has a wealth of lowland species. Dante Buzzetti, whose local patch this is, has had over 230 here.
At the end of the road turn right onto a rather bigger but still unsurfaced road. After a few hundred meters you come to a small group of houses on the left with one house opposite. A track runs into the forest along the left hand fence of this last house, as you face it.
If you turn left at the end of the sandy instead of right, after 2km there is a private road off to the right with a locked gate. On the right hand corner there is a school and opposite the school a small shop and bar. The shopkeeper has the key to the gate and will open it with a little persuasion (we drank a few bottles of his beer). Drive along the private road till you reach a marshy area and a bridge over a small river. A number of red-tailed parrots Amazona brasiliensis roost here regularly, arriving in the early evening.
Estação Biológica de Boracéia
This is the University of São Paulo’s field station, mentioned by Forrester under “Serra do Mar”. In the past it has been fairly simple for birders to get permission to visit the reserve but recently, since August 2006, the university has required that requests by birders be supported by a “recognised professional ornithologist” and “adequately explain the purpose of the proposed visit.” I do not know anyone who has done this and I suspect that permission will not easily be forthcoming. The person to approach is Prof. Dr. Mario de Vivo, Museu de Zoologia, Universidade de São Paulo, tel (11) 6165-8146, firstname.lastname@example.org .
If you do get permission, the accommodation is fully furnished and equipped and you need only take sleeping bag, towel, food and drink.
From São Paulo city or airport take the Rodovia Ayrton Senna (NOT the Via Dutra) towards Rio de Janeiro. Take the exit to Mogi das Cruzes. In Mogi follow the signs to Salesópolis. 3km after Biritiba Mirim (22km from Mogi), turn right onto the dirt road to the São Paulo Water Board (SABESP) treatment plant at Casa Grande. After 22km you get to the SABESP barrier, where you leave a copy of your authorisation, and after a further 9km you arrive at the reserve headquarters. This site is at an altitude of 825m at the top of the Serra do Mar. It lies in SABESP’s water catchment area and the forest is undisturbed and quiet, with practically no road traffic but the occasional plane as it lies under the route from Rio to São Paulo. Bird the main road, the side road to the right just after the second bridge and the forest trails behind the bunk house. There is also a trail along the power pylons directly in front of the bunk house. This is the best site that I know for russet-winged spadebill Platyrinchus leucoryphus and hooded berryeater Carpornis cucullatus. The site list, prepared by Doug Stotz, has purple-winged ground-dove Claravis godefrida, golden-tailed parrotlet Touit surda, blue-bellied parrot Triclaria malachitacea, nine different tyrannulets, brown tanager Orchesticus abeillei and many other good things.
Campos do Jordão
A resort town in the mountains of the Serra da Mantiqueira, 2 ½ hours drive from São Paulo by the Rodovia dos Trabalhadores and Rodovia Carvalho Pinto. From Rio take the Via Dutra till just past Taubaté and then follow the signs.
There are two excellent birding sites here: the road to the Pedra do Baú and the Horto Florestal. For the former, drive to the end of the dual carriageway through the centre of town and then look for a sign to the left. The Pedra do Baú, a rocky mountain, is 25km from Campos. The last 10km of the road are dirt and the habitat is similar to the lower part of the Agulhas Negras road at Itatiaia with the same species. Araucaria Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura setaria and Black-capped Piprites Piprites pileatus are much more common here than at Itatiaia. Hellmayr’s Pipit Anthus hellmayri is readily seen on the grassy hillside when the Pedra do Baú first comes into view.
To get to the Horto Florestal carry straight on through the centre of town and follow the signs for about 10km. On the way you pass the Hotel Vale Verde (fax (12) 262-3123) which is reasonably priced and comfortable. Ask for Dona Regina.
Another excellent place to stay is the Pousada 3 Pinheiros www.pousada3pinheiros.com.br It is run by an ex-pat Dutchman, Frank, who is a keen bird photographer. One of the big attractions of the pousada is that Frank provides feeders for the birds, the star visitor being the Plovercrest which can be difficult to find elsewhere. He also regularly has Red-ruffed Fruit-Crow among a very impressive garden list. To get there, from the main road in town, follow signs to the ‘Palácio’. Go to the top of the long hill and at the top you’ll find a small roundabout at the entrance to the Palácio, bear right here and then take the first right after a few hundred metres. Follow the road and after about 200m look on the right hand side for a small sign, low down, to the pousada take this dirt track and turn immediately right onto another dirt track. The pousada is about 100m on the left hand side.
There is a small entrance fee to the Horto. In the open park vegetation it is fairly easy to see montane species such as Araucaria Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura setaria, Sharp-billed Treehunter Heliobletus contaminatus, Scaled Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes squamatus, Black-capped Piprites Piprites pileatus and White-crested Tyrannulet Serpophaga subcristata but the main attraction is the flocks of Vinaceous Parrot Amazona vinacea which gather here in the evening. Red-ruffed Fruitcrow Pyroderus scutatus is also seen regularly in the Horto Florestal.
200-300m before you get to the Horto a dirt road turns off to the right. This road climbs up to 2000m and is good for Rusty-barred Owl Strix hylophila and Long-trained Nightjar Macropsalis creagra, though lately the latter has been more difficult to see. Lesser Grass-Finch Emberizoides ypiranganus is sometimes found on the hillside.
Turn inland at Praia Dura (km 69 on the Rio / Santos road, c.30 minutes from Caraguatatuba and 25 minutes from Ubatuba, 900m west of the two bridges (side-by-side, one closed) over the Rio Escuro). After 400m fork left, keeping on the asphalt. After about 3km the road drops down a hill and there is a longish straight. Half way along the straight (3,8km from the Rio / Santos), turn right onto a dirt road at a sign “Caminhada ao Pico” with exhortations against leaving litter, etc. (in October 2000 the sign was no longer there, though the post still was).
Leave your car at the bridge over the river. Take the second track to the right after the bridge, signposted “propriedade privada; não entre”. After about 500m there is a ford and then an open area with scattered trees which is surprisingly good for forest edge species. On the right side, in the bamboos along the river, there are 2-3 pairs of fork-tailed tody-tyrant Hemitriccus furcatus. A track along the left side of the open area enters secondary forest; fork left after 200m, cross a natural earth bridge over a stream, between bamboo clumps, and cross the other branch of the stream. The trail winds through forest for about 300m and then crosses the river. In the next stretch of forest, c.200m after the river, I have had russet-winged spadebill Platyrinchus leucoryphus and others have had royal flycatcher Onychorhyncus coronatus.
The trail up to the Pico do Corcovado starts 100m before the ford. It crosses the river and then a small stream and goes through good primary forest. The hike to the top takes 3-4 hours. Russet-winged spadebill can be found just after the only steep climb downhill, near the beginning of the trail.
(“Dry Leaf”. This is also the technical name in Portuguese for the floating shot that Ronaldinho Gaucho dropped over the England goalkeeper’s head in the 2002 World Cup)
Turn inland at Praia Dura and instead of forking left to Corcovado after 400m, fork right along the dirt road. Pass the camping site, cross a bridge and fork left at a small bar and shop now being demolished (June 2009). Continue straight ahead, passing a number of houses and one cross road and then some open fields. The road gets much worse, with a steep hill to the right and secondary forest to the left. Where the road leaves the hill, about 3km from the bar, there is a disused earth quarry (Spotted bamboo-wren Psilorhamphus guttatus here in the glaechenia bracken). A very rough trail starts at the quarry and leads to a xuxu (squash) patch (Fork-tailed Tody-tyrant). Continuing along the road from the quarry you pass through a short patch of good forest (Slaty Bristle-front Merulaxis ater and forest birds in general).
Before you reach the quarry you will see on the left a house with a sign “Sítio Capigaba Obiru – Folha Seca”. The owner, Jonas d’Abronzo, maintains several feeding bottles and bird tables. He has had twenty two species of hummingbird at the feeders and when Arthur and I were there for the first time recently we saw Saw-billed Hermit Ramphodon naevius, Black Jacobin Melanotrochilus fuscus, Festive Coquette Lophornis chalybeus, Violet-capped Woodnymph Thalurania glaucopis, White-chinned Sapphire Hylocharis cyanus, Glittering-throated Emerald Amazilia fimbriata and Sombre Hummingbird Aphantochroa cirrochloris at the feeders and Reddish Hermit Phaethornis ruber in the road outside. A pair of Black-legged Dacnis Dacnis nigripes was there in September. Jonas welcomes visiting birders. Black Jacobin Melanotrochilus fuscus is a common summer visitor as is Black-throated Mango Anthracothorax nigricollis. Brazilian Ruby Clytolaema rubricauda and Versicoloured Emerald Amazilia versicolor are regular residents. This winter (2009) there has been a regular Rufous-breasted Hermit Glaucis hirsutus visiting the flowering shrubs in the garden, this is at the southern limit of this bird’s range.
Sertão das Cotias
1km east of the two bridges over the Rio Escuro, up a hill, there is a turning inland with a large signpost “Rio Escuro / Sertão das Cotias”. Drive along this road for 5.8km, passing a sign “Sertão das Cotias”. The road then climbs up through good forest (Bare-throated bellbird Procnias nudicollis) before dropping down to Ubatuba, meeting the Taubaté road beside the Elektro sub-station, 800m from the Ubatuba roundabout. The forest is 5km from the Taubaté road.
Trilha do Rio Ipiranga
To bird here you need authorisation from the director of the park, Sr. João Paulo (0xx12-3671-9159). (Do not enter the trail without permission; you will certainly be picked up by the guards and possibly handed over to the police; you will also make it difficult for others to get permission to bird there).
At the top of the serra from Ubatuba to Taubaté turn right to the Parque Estadual do Serra do Mar, Núcleo Santa Virginia. The trail starts at a locked gate by the bridge over the Rio Ipiranga. Pick up the key at the park headquarters, 2km after the bridge. After 3-4km of good secondary growth the trail enters excellent primary forest. I have never reached the end of it. You see a lot of birds here at 900m which are found at Itatiaia at much higher altitudes (for example, brown-breasted bamboo-tyrant Hemitriccus obsoletus, golden-winged cacique Cacicus chrysopterus, diademed tanager Stephanophorus diadematus).
Fazendas Capricôrnio and Angelim
Turn left off the road to Paratí, 4.1km after the roundabout on the Ubatuba / Taubaté road, signposted to Bairro Taquaral (in April 2001 this sign had disappeared; the turn-off is just before a large sign “Ônibus de Turismo a 200 metros” and then a roundabout signposted to “Perequê-Açu”). Turn right after 100m to Fazenda Angelim; go straight ahead and after 1.1km fork right to Fazenda Capricôrnio. Both fazendas are overgrown cacau plantations and are good places for seeing canopy species like São Paulo tyrannulet Phylloscartes paulistus and buff-throated purpletuft Iodopleura pipra in the tall trees scattered among the cacau. Salvadori’s antwren Myrmotherula minor is also there. If you fork left at the Fazenda Capricôrnio the road winds through forest / secondary growth for at least 2km (a tree stopped me when I went there) and looks promising.
For permission to visit the Fazenda Angelim contact the owners, Edna and Paul Grandjean Thomsen, tels. (11) 4727 4075 (home) and (11) 4727 1444 (office), fax (11) 4727 1281 and e-mail email@example.com.
About 20km east of Ubatuba the Rio / Santos crosses the Rio Prumirim. 500m before this bridge there is a dirt road inland. You can drive about 2km along this road and then continue on foot along a trail which leads through the forest and eventually gets to an Indian village.
Rancho Pica Pau.
This site is possibly the best place to look for Buff-throated Purpletuft. At the tops of trees around the open area especially behind the open shed near the rear of the property. Look for the birds on open branches and flitting across the clearing. Their flight is made in short rapid undulations. Listen too for their quiet but distinctive call. They do respond to playback and will come down quite low to investigate. A scope is recommended to see them well here.
There are a couple of short trails in the forest and there are Fork-tailed Tody-Tyrants in the bamboo stands at the forest edge.
Rancho Pica Pau lies next door to Fazenda Angelim and is accessed along a dirt road off the roundabout at Perequê Açu. Follow the dirt road over a bridge, bear left and immediately after a banana plantation on the left hand side (about 1km) there is a track to the left signposted to the Rancho Pica Pau. This is also a good place to stay on an accommodation only basis, or camping. Avoid weekends and holidays as the camp site can get a bit crowded. If you don’t stay at the Rancho then please contact someone in reception, they now ask a R$10.00 fee for birding the area.
Hípica as Gaivotas
About 40 km from Ubatuba on the road to Caraguatatuba, just after the Polícia Rodoviária and the resort development at Costa Verde Tabatinga, you come to the Praia da Mococa. On the right there is a gate leading to the Hípica As Gaivotas, (there is no sign at the gate now Jan 2010 – Rick Simpson) a horse riding establishment set in a large area of well preserved lowland forest. The gate is locked at night and to get in early you have to make arrangements with the man in charge who is eccentric but will let visitors bird the place. His son keeps the refreshment stall by the gate and also has a key. I have had fork-tailed tody-tyrant Hemitriccus furcatus and red-eyed thornbird Phacellodomus erythrophthalmus here. Spot-backed antshrike Hypoedaleus guttatus is common.
This state park is situated on the Serra do Mar, the 1,000m high escarpment that runs along the coast of southeast Brazil. The park is one of a complex of four adjacent reserves with a total area of more than 1,200km2 and is of great significance as it contains pristine forest over an altitudinal gradient from 20m to 1,095m. Only the upper part of the park is open to the public.
To get there take the Rodovia Castello Branco out of São Paulo and exit at Tatuí, continuing to Itapetininga and Capão Bonito. From here follow the signs to Parque Intervales, the last 25 km from Ribeirão Grande being on an all weather unpaved road. Accommodation is available at the park in four scattered buildings in the central area of the former “fazenda” and may be booked by telephone (015-3542-1245) or fax (015-3542-1511) or by e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org. In October 2009 the cost was R$35.00 per day meals at the restaurant run by an independent cooperative are R$15.00 each for lunch and dinner, breakfast is R$7.00. Breakfast is from 07.00hrs, if yu want an early breakfast it can be arranged in advance at a cost of R$30.00 extra per day.
The central area (the “Sede”) is surrounded by forest and has a short trail, the Caminho dos Lagos, through secondary growth. There is plenty of good birding here and the following species are all present: Rusty-barred Owl Strix Hylophila, Buff-fronted Owl Aegolius harrisii, White-breasted Tapaculo Scytalopus indigoticus, Giant Antshrike Batara cinerea, Large-tailed Antshrike Mackenziaena leachii, Red-eyed Thornbird Phacellodomus ferrugineigula, Swallow-tailed Cotinga Phibalura flavirostris (in October 2003 there were two active nests between reception and the restaurant), Red-ruffed Fruitcrow Pyroderus scutatus, Azure-shouldered Tanager Thraupis cyanoptera, Golden-chevroned Tanager Thraupis ornata, Olive-green Tanager Orthogonys chloricterus and Black-legged Dacnis Dacnis nigripes (in October 2003 we watched this species on three successive days in the banksia bushes near the restaurant).
All visitors leaving the Sede must be accompanied by a park guard at a cost of R$100 per day. When you make your reservation say that you are a birder and ask for Luiz or Agostino brothers who know the birds well and where to find them.
There are two main birding areas, Carmo and Barra Grande. The road to Carmo and beyond is a 20 km long dead end, with good forest all the way. At Carmo, about 9km away and 200m lower down, there is a small base for researchers. Two trails lead away on either side of the road, on one of which a group of Woolly Spider Monkey Brachyteles arachnoides is regularly seen. Birding along the road is excellent and provides a better view. The road continues after Carmo through superb forest for about 10 km. As far as Carmo it is passable without four wheel drive, when dry. After Carmo it deteriorates.
To get to Barra Grande one drives along 10 km of good dirt road outside the park. 3 km from the Sede there is a stake-out for Long-trained Nightjar Macropsalis forcipata. At Barra Grande there is another long track (four wheel drive often necessary) which peters out after 10-15 km (I have never been to the end), mainly through primary forest but with patches of secondary growth. The first part is especially good.
In addition to the species mentioned above, the following Atlantic Forest endemics and other interesting species occur in the upper part of the park: Solitary Tinamou Tinamus solitarius, Mantled Hawk Leucopternis polionotus, Black-fronted Piping-Guan Pipile jacutinga, Blue-bellied Parrot Triclaria malachitacea, Silky-tailed Nightjar Caprimulgus sericocaudatus, Rusty-breasted Nunlet Nonnula rubecula, Crescent-chested Puffbird Malacoptila striata, Saffron Toucanet Baillonius bailloni, Helmeted Woodpecker Dryocopus galeatus (rare), the southern form of Slaty Bristlefront Merulaxis ater, Tufted Antshrike Mackenziaena severa, White-bearded Antshrike Biatas nigropectus, Star-throated Antwren Myrmotherula gularis, Scaled Antbird Drymophila squamata, Squamate Antbird Myrmeciza squamosa, Such’s Antthrush Chamaeza meruloides, Speckle-breasted Antpitta Hylopezus nattereri, White-collared Foliage-Gleaner Anabazenops fuscus, Pale-browed Treehunter Cichlocolaptes leucophrus, Grey-capped Tyrannulet Phyllomyias griseocapilla, Oustalet’s Tyrannulet Phylloscartes oustaleti, Brown-breasted Bamboo-Tyrant Hemitriccus obsoletus (common at Barra Grande), “Atlantic” Royal Flycatcher Onychorhynchus coronatus swainsoni, Pin-tailed Manakin Ilicura militaris, Serra do Mar Tyrant-Manakin Neopelma chrysolophum, Hooded Berryeater Carpornis cucullata, Cinnamon-vented Piha Lipaugus lanioides (common at Carmo), Bare-throated Bellbird Procnias nudicollis (abundant), Brown Tanager Orchesticus abeillei, Buffy-fronted and Temminck’s Seedeater Sporophila frontalis and S. falcirostris (both abundant when the bamboo is flowering) and Golden-winged Cacique Cacicus chrysopterus.
Parque do Zizo
This private reserve is located at 700 m in excellent primary Atlantic forest, about 50 km from Intervales. The park has only recently been discovered by birders and the preliminary bird list is shorter than that of Intervales but there seems to be no reason why the species found at Intervales at higher elevations should not be found at Parque do Zizo. 26 Brazilian endemics have already been recorded, including Crescent-chested Puffbird Malacoptila striata, Salvadori’s Antwren Myrmotherula minor, Unicolored Antwren M. unicolor, Ochre-rumped Antbird Drymophila ochropyga, Squamate Antbird Myrmeciza squamosa, Black-cheeked Gnateater Conopophaga melanops, White-breasted Tapaculo Scytalopus indigoticus, Pale-browed Treehunter Cichlocolaptes leucophrus, Oustalet’s Tyrannulet Phylloscartes oustaleti, Hooded Berryeater Carpornis cucullata, Cinnamon-vented Piha Lipaugus lanioides.
The park was established by the Balboni family as a memorial to their brother Luiz who was killed in 1969 when he took up arms against the military dictatorship. There is comfortable accomodation and excellent food, prepared personally by Francisco Balboni, one of the owners. To visit the park you must reserve in advance by email to email@example.com.
To get to the park take the Rodovia Castelo Branco out of São Paulo and exit to the motorway to Sorocaba. Follow the signs to the Rodovia Raposo Tavares, and take this motorway round Sorocaba. Take exit 102B to Salto de Pirapora, Pilar do Sul and São Miguel Arcanjo. At the roundabout at the entrance to São Miguel Arcanjo turn left. Follow this asphalt road for 7 km and bear left when it turns to dirt. Follow this dirt road for 13 km, keeping always to the main drag, and then turn off it to the left (marked by a stone pillar). After a further 1.5 km you come to some charcoal burning ovens (carvoaria) on the right where you leave your car. Francisco will meet you here and drive you the final 6 km to the park. Detailed instructions to get there are available and it is worth getting a copy of these and taking them with you. The distance from São Paulo is 200 km and takes three hours. By arrangement Francisco will pick visitors up in Sorocaba or Itapetininga (reachable by bus from São Paulo) or in São Paulo itself. All birding at Parque do Zizo is done on foot. You can learn more about the park at www.parquedozizo.com.br.
There is a report on a quick visit to Parque do Zizo on Charlie Moore’s blog.
This is a cerrado site, just north of Rio Claro, 2 ½ hours drive from São Paulo. Leave your car at the toll station on the road from Itirapina to Brotas, walk back 200m, climb through the fence on the north side of the road and then walk through slash pine plantations for 20 mins [April 2009 Alan Greensmith reported that the pines had been cut down]. This unpromising beginning brings you to an open area with a railway line passing through it. The railway embankment gives good scope views over the surrounding cerrado and although the area is not large and traffic noise from the road is disturbing, the site has produced a number of interesting birds. As well as the usual cerrado species, lesser nothura Nothura minor, giant snipe Gallinago undulata, Stygian owl Asio stygius, bearded tachuri Polystictus pectoralis, ochre-breasted pipit Anthus nattereri and black-bellied seedeater Sporophila melanogaster have been seen here or nearby.
South-East Brazil Site Index
The town is located on the channel between the Ilha Comprida and the mainland. It is a reliable place for Red-tailed Parrot Amazona brasiliensis which can be found on Ilha Comprida or flying over the town in the evening. The nearby Ilha do Cardoso has excellent forest and is a a good site for species such as Black-headed Berryeater Carpornis melanocephala, Restinga Tyrannulet Phylloscartes kronei and Black-backed Tanager Tangara peruviana.
We found fringe-backed fire-eye Pyriglena atra in March 1998 and March 2004 between Santa Luzia do Itanhi and Crasto, in Sergipe, near the beginning of the Linha Verde.
Caseara and AraguacemaThese two localities on the right (Tocantins) bank of the Araguaia provide access not only to some of the Araguaia Valley specialities, most notably Crimson-fronted Cardinal Paoraria baeri, Bananal Antbird Cercomacra ferdinandi and Araguaia Spinetail Synallaxis simoni, but also a cross-section of Amazonian and Cerrado birds in close proximity to each other. The following is based on three visits to the area, in February 2001, September 2004 and January 2009.
Of the two, Caseara is better set up for birding visitors with more hotels (the best of which is probably the Pousada da Ilha) and restaurants, whereas Araguacema seems to be ‘dying on its feet’, with only one hotel open at the time of my recent visit. Apparently, the town is rather busier in the ‘high season’, July. A well-graded dirt road, passing primarily through cerrado but with some forest patches (with an interesting mix of species including the Brazilian endemics Scarlet-throated Tanager Compsothraupis loricata and Pale Baywing Agelaioides fringillarius), connects the two settlements. The bridge over the rio Caiapó makes a good break in the journey, with Purple-throated Fruitcrow Querula purpurata, Bare-faced Curassow Crax fasciolata and Sungrebe Heliornis fulica amongst the possibilities here.
Those searching primarily for the Araguaia specialities will find the Bananal Antbird easy along the road between Caseara and the ferry to the other side of the river (Pará). There are also chances for the cardinal, as well as Chestnut-bellied Guan Penelope ochrogaster, Ringed Woodpecker Celeus torquatus, Amazonian Inezia Inezia subflava, Smoky-fronted Tody-Flycatcher Poecilotriccus fumifrons, Grey-chested Greenlet Hylophilus semicinereus, Spotted Puffbird Bucco (=Nystactes) tamatia and Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus minimus along this road. At times this area can be very busy with seedeaters; there were many Lined Seedeaters Sporophila lineola during our January visit, as well as Great-billed Seed Finch S. maximiliani. However, the cardinal is probably better searched for along the river on the Pará bank, where you can also find the Araguaia Spinetail, although the latter is even more easily found by taking a boat to one of the islands (other species to look out for on the islands include Xenopsaris Xenopsaris albinucha, and Sand-coloured Nighthawk Chordeiles rupestris at dusk). Crimson-fronted Cardinal is also easily found at Araguacema, even in the town itself. Orinoco Goose Neochen jubata can be found along the river at Caesara, and should be present at Araguacema too (water levels were high, with few exposed sandbars, in January 2009).
The large area of cerrado beyond the ferry dock on the Pará side opposite Caseara holds some potential, with a good suite of species typical of the habitat all possible, despite this being well north. Particularly interesting are: Long-tailed Ground Dove Uropelia campestris, Checkered Woodpecker Picoides mixtus, Collared Crescentchest Melanopareia torquata, Capped Seedeater Sporophila bouvreil and Coal-crested Finch Charitospiza eucosma, as well as Bare-necked Fruitcrow Gymnoderus foetidus, Blue-winged Primolius maracana and Golden-collared Macaws P. auricollis.
Another possibility at Caseara is to bird the relatively recently created Cantão State Park, well signed off the road into the town. A bird list for the area, prepared by Dante Buzzetti, is available, but the regular opening times will mean that you miss the best hours of the day, and advance notice of your visit is needed, although this can be organised in Caseara itself.
Once at Araguacema, the avifauna becomes even more Amazonian in flavour (Spotted Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum maculatum was even present in the garden of our hotel), although most of the environs are, once again, cerrado. One interesting area to bird is the tall-forest fragments beside the road close to the small settlement of Senhor do Bonfim, where a good mix of cerrado and Amazonian birds are possible, including Brazilian Crypturellus strigulosus and Cinereous Tinamous C. cinereus, Hellmayr’s Parakeet Pyrrhura amazonum, Brown Jacamar Brachygalba lugubris, Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin Neopelma pallescens, and Blue-necked Tanager Tangara cyanicollis. Don’t ignore the Pará bank of the river, which demands more time than we could devote to it (just one extremely hot afternoon). Zigzag Heron Zebrilus undulatus was the best species we encountered here. The ferry crossing is not well signed, but lies at the south end of the town. Turn off left just beyond the garage at the very start of the town (before the roundabout with the turn to Senhor do Bonfim), and continue until the road becomes dirt (veering to the left); keep going until you reach the river.
These notes were kindly supplied by Guy Kirwan.