ALTA FLORESTA & CRISTOLINO RIVER
|# Excl Vagrants:||579|
|# Near Endemics:||12|
|Habitat: Amazonia, varzea forest, terra firme forest|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
The base for birding the southern Amazon is Cristolino Lodge, located along the Cristolino River. The lodge features two canopy towers, a variety of trails through terra firme (never flooded) forest along with a steeper trail up to rocky outcrops known locally as serra, and river access into varzea (seasonally flooded) forest. Over 600 species of birds have been recorded in the area. Since many species are uncommon or occur sporadically, not everything can be seen in a visit lasting just a few days.
Birding by boat along the rivers is relaxing and extremely rewarding. Birds such as Red-throated Piping-Guan, Razor-billed Curassow, Bare-faced Curassow, Bronzy Jacamar, Glossy Antshrike, Bare-eyed Antbird, Black-spotted Bare-eye, White-chinned Woodcreeper, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Flame-crowned Manakin are regularly encountered. Mammals are also regularly seen, including Giant Otter, which is most often seen rather far up river from the lodge.
Birding trails through forest is much more challenging but can be quite rewarding. Notable possibilities include Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, Rufous-necked Puffbird, Rufous-capped Nunlet, Red-necked Woodpecker, White-eyed Antwren, Rufous-winged Antwren, Para Foliage-gleaner, Zimmer's Tody-Tyrant, Cinnamon-crested Spadebill, and White-crested Spadebill. Bamboo specialists include Amazonian Antshrike, Striated Antbird, Manu Antbird, Dusky-cheeked Foliage-gleaner, Large-headed Flatbill, Dusky-tailed Flatbill, and Rose-breasted Chat. A steep trail up into serra habitat may produce Brown-banded Puffbird, Spotted Puffbird, Natterer's Slaty-Antshrike, White-fringed Antwren, Rufous Casiornis, Brown-crested Flycatcher, and White-browed Purpletuft. The rare Fiery-tailed Awlbill is also possible to be seen in this habitat.
The lodge features two 50m tall canopy towers, offering a chance to view canopy birds from a high observation perch. Possibilities include Black-girdled Barbet, Lettered Aracari, Curl-crested Aracari, Red-necked Aracari, Gould's Toucanet, Ringed Woodpecker, Cream-colored Woodpecker, the recently described Kawall's Parrot, Red-fan Parrot, and Pompadour Cotinga. Also possible are sightings of the locally rare Black-necked Aracari in early mornings especially. Sometimes a mixed flock passes through near the towers, giving canopy views of species such as Bar-breasted Piculet, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Tooth-billed Wren, Red-billed Pied Tanager, and Yellow-shouldered Grosbeak. Soaring raptors that may be seen from the towers include Gray-headed Kite, Double-toothed Kite, White-browed Hawk, and perhaps rarer species such as Crested Eagle and Harpy Eagle.
LOCATION OF SITE
Cristolino Lodge is reached by a flight from Cuiaba to Alta Floresta followed by motorboat transfer along the Cristolino River into rainforest of the southern Amazon Basin.