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PICO CALEDONIA

BRAZIL
LOCALE

Altitude (m):1900-2200
# Species*:77
# Excl Vagrants*:77
# Endemics*:15
# Near Endemics*:1
*Based on partial or incomplete data.
Habitat: High elevation forest, scrub

ABOUT THE BIRDING

Pico Caledonia is the highest peak in the area at 7300 ft. It's possible to reach nearly the top of this mountain with a suitable 4-wheel-drive vehicle. Without 4-wheel-drive one has to walk the last stretch of road to the top. The drive up the mountain is only worthwhile on clear days, as the mountain can get fogged in especially during rainy season. An early start is advisable as the mist often starts rolling in by mid-morning.Theprimary target bird is the endangered Gray-winged Cotinga, a rarity found only at higher elevations. There are no guarantees of seeing the bird, but this is one of the few places it can be found. It's best seen scanning the Elfin forest treetops from the peak, so if the mist comes in, it's not likely to be found.

Other notable birds found on the mountain include Biscutate Swift, Plovercrest, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Mouse-colored Tapaculo, Serra-do-mar Tyrannulet, Blue-billed Black-Tyrant, Velvety Black-Tyrant, Shear-tailed Grey Tyrant, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Diademed Tanager,Brassy-breasted Tanager, and Bay-chested Warbling-Finch . It's possible to find Itatiaia Thistletail as well. This species is found on the summit, and one's passport is needed to pass through the gate owned by Petrobas. Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Chicli Spinetail, Rufous-capped Antshrike, Dusky-tailed Antbird, and Red-legged Seriema can be found at lower elevations on the mountain.

Another nearby birding destination is Serra dos Orgaos National Park. The lower elevations of the park are often crowded with tourists, but birding can be good higher up. The road up to the dam goes through some good forest. The best birding is along the Pedra do Sino Trail leading gradually up the mountain several thousand feet in elevation gain. The first part of the trail goes through evergreen and bamboo forest, eventually leading up into stunted trees at higher elevation. Birds regularly seen include Pallid Spinetail, Hooded Berryeater, White-browed Foliage-Gleaner, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Sharpbill, Black-and-gold Cotinga, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Blue-billed Black Tyrant, Shear-tailed Gray Tyrant, Diademed Tanager, Brassy-breasted Tanager, and Green-winged Saltator. Above about 5000 ft it's also possible to find Gray-winged Cotinga.

LOCATION OF SITE

Pico Caledonia is the highest peak in the Serra Orgaos mountain range. It's located about 4 miles north of Nova Friburgo along RJ-116.

OTHER LOCALES