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CHECKLIST

PANTANAL

green-slate

BRAZIL
LOCALE

Area (ha):187,818
# Species:448
# Excl Vagrants:448
# Endemics:2
# Near Endemics:7
Species/100 ha:0.2
Habitat: Seasonal wetlands, river, tropical dry forest, scrub

ABOUT THE BIRDING

The Pantanal covers an area half the size of France, three-fifths of which is in Brazil. The wetlands expands and contracts in area with the seasonal rains. The rainy season is October to April with peak rains in March. The dry season is from May through September. The Pantanal is heavily visited by Brazilian tourists and families during July and is most crowded then. September is the driest month, when waters have receded to only scattered permanent pools. This situation tends to concentrate wildlife and birds around those pools, which makes September a good month for birding. October marks the beginning of the rainy season, and it's a great month to visit. New vegetation begins appearing and birds begin nesting once the rains arrive. By March much of the Pantanal is under water and is accessible only by boat.

The best lodges and fazendas (ranches) are located in the northern part of the Pantanal, south of Cuiaba. Even there, accommodations vary from the rustic Pousada do Pixsaim to the more comfortable Pousada das Araras and Fazenda Santa Tereza. Accommodations available to tours based out of Campo Grande are more basic lodges or bush camps offering netted communal huts or tents.

Because of the seasonal flooding, most of the Pantanal is unsuitable for agriculture. As a result, the region is largely unspoiled and teems with wildlife and birds. Perhaps the most sought after bird in the Pantanal is the endangered Hyacinth Macaw, a beautiful blue macaw that is still reliably seen on birding tours. Other sought-after birds include Greater Rhea, Maguari Stork, Jabiru, Harpy Eagle, Bare-faced Curassow, Golden-collared Macaw, Peach-fronted Parakeet, Nacunda Nighthawk, Scissor-tailed Nightjar, Helmeted Manakin, Common and Greater Thornbird, Yellow-billed Cardinal, and Scarlet-headed Blackbird. In addition to birds, the Pantanal is home to a variety of mammals, including the Jaguar which is regularly seen by visitors.

LOCATION OF SITE

The Pantanal is located in southwestern Brazil plus neighboring Bolivia and Paraguay. It can be accessed from Cuiaba in the north, Campo Grande in the southeast, or Corumba in the southwest. Since the Pantanal is a substantial distance from the coast, most people except the most budget-minded take domestic flights from Sao Paulo or Rio de Janeiro.

OTHER LOCALES