APARADOS DA SERRA
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|# Near Endemics:
|Habitat: Grassland, scrub, Araucaria forest, canyons
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Aparados da Serra National Park protects 10,200 hectares of grassland and scrub habitat interspersed with Araucaria Pine Forest. Araucarias are ancient umbrella-shaped conifers restricted to the southern hemisphere and found only on higher plateaus. Some of the last well-preserved areas of this forest are in the park, which is home to several species of endangered plants and birds. The topography includes high plateaus and cliffs dropping to the coastal plain below. Its most spectacular feature is the Itaimbezinho Canyon, a very scenic area and the main tourist attraction in the park. The canyon is about 4 miles long, 650 ft wide, and 2400 ft deep. Several relatively short trails lead from the visitor center, and a longer trail leads to the canyon bottom. The Araucaria forests and grasslands are on the plateaus above the canyon, while the slopes and canyon bottom support subtropical SE Atlantic Forest characteristic of coastal lowlands. Thus, the park represents a convergence zone between these biozones.
Birding is done along roads into the park and on the various easy trails near the visitor center. The most important target bird is the endangered Red-spectacled Parrot, which is lives in Araucaria forest habitats. The parrot forms flocks of several hundred birds during non-breeding season from March through August and begins nesting in September. Another target species is the Araucaria Tit-Spinetail, which is also a specialist species of Araucaria forests. Other birds of special interest include Vinaceous-breasted Parrot, Mottled Piculet, Long-tailed Cinclodes, Striolated Tit-Spinetail, Black-and-white Monjita, Azure Jay, Black-bellied Seedeater, Lesser Grass-Finch, Black-and-rufous Warbling-Finch, and Buff-throated Warbling-Finch.
Roadsides en route to the park offer opportunities to see several interesting birds of uncultivated grassland and marshes. Notable species include Spotted Nothura, Red-legged Seriema, Long-tailed Cinclodes, Chicli (Spix's) Spinetail, Straight-billed Reedhaunter, Long-tailed Reed-Finch, Brown-and-yellow Marshbird, and Saffron-cowled Blackbird. These are all range-restricted specialties found only in extreme southern Brazil.
LOCATION OF SITE
Aparados da Serra National Park is located along the coastal escarpment in southeastern Brazil on the boundary between Rio Grande do Sul and Santa Catarina States. It's reached by driving north and then east from Porto Alegre toward Sao Francisco de Paula and then continuing northward from there. It's about 125 miles from Porto Alegre and about 55 miles from Sao Francisco de Paula. The last 11 miles are unpaved road.