ITATIAIA NATIONAL PARK
|# Excl Vagrants:||268|
|# Near Endemics:||6|
|Habitat: SE Atlantic forest, highland scrub|
ABOUT THE BIRDING
Itatiaia National Park is a ruggedly beautiful region of lush forests, lakes, rivers, waterfalls, alpine meadows, and both primary and secondary Atlantic Rainforest. Though just 70 miles from the Atlantic Ocean, the park covers a broad range of elevations rising to 9100 ft. This range in altitudes contributes to a most diverse variety of habitats from lower elevation forest to alpine meadows surrounded by granite cliffs. The park is the number one birding destination in southeastern Brazil, and with good reason. The main section of the park offers excellent birding along trails and roads through the forest.
Excellent birding can usually be found near the hotels (Hotel do Ype and Hotel Simon). Regularly seen birds include Dusky-legged Guan, Red-breasted Toucan, Saffron Toucanet, Pallid Spinetail, Gray-capped Tyrannulet, and Swallow-tailed Cotinga. Hummingbird feeders near the hotels attract Frilled Coquette and other species.
There are few trails in the park. The best is the Tres Picos Trail, which provides access to the forest interior where some good birds can be found. One possibility is the Slaty Bristlefront, a tapaculo that is always hard to see. Other good birds include White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Black-billed Scythebill, White-bearded Antshrike, Rufous Gnateater, Fork-tailed Tody-Tyrant, Large-headed Flatbill, and Brown Tanager. The secretive Such's Antthrush is found in the forest but difficult to see.
The Agulhas Negras road into the highlands is on the far side of the park. It gives access to higher elevation habitat where some specialty birds are found. Notable among these are White-rumped Hawk, Rufous-thighed Hawk, Araucaria Tit-Spinetail, Itatiaia Thistletail, Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Black-and-gold Cotinga, Black-capped Piprites, Brown-breasted Bamboo-Tyrant, Shear-tailed Gray-Tyrant, Diademed Tanager, Gray-throated Warbling-Finch, and Bay-chested Warbling-Finch.
LOCATION OF SITE
Itatiaia National Park is located on the Itatiaia Massif between Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo, some 95 miles from the former and 160 miles from the latter.