BRAZIL BIRDING TRIP REPORT
2007 Brazil Scouting Trip
We had a very successful scouting trip to Brazil. We visited Cristolino Lodge in the southern Amazon Basin, the Pantanal, the SE Atlantic Forest in Itatiaia National Park and in forest reserves near Ubatuba, and Iguazu Falls National Park. As a result of this visit, we expect to be offering a birding tour to the SE Atlantic Forests (Itatiaia and Ubatuba) and the Pantanal in late August 2008.
Our stay at Cristolino Lodge was less successful in terms of birding than we had expected because we relied on a volunteer guide who was less capable than hoped for. Most volunteer guides there have been excellent, but ours was a disappointment. Nevertheless, we did see some good birds. Among the endemics and specialty birds we saw at Cristolino were White-bearded Hermit, Black-girdled Barbet, Red-necked Aracari, Curl-crested Aracari, Chestnut-throated Spinetail, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Spix's Woodcreeper, Curve-billed Scythebill, Glossy Antshrike, Spot-winged Antshrike, Cinereous Antshrike, Pygmy Antwren, Blackish Antbird, White-browed Antbird, Black-faced Antbird, Band-tailed Antbird, Spangled Cotinga, Red-headed Manakin, White-crowned Manakin, Flame-crested Manakin, Amazonian Tyrannulet, Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Little Ground-Tyrant, Red-billed Pied Tanager, Yellow-backed Tanager, White-winged Shrike-Tanager, White-lored Euphonia, White-vented Euphonia, Rufous-bellied Euphonia, Black-faced Dacnis, Yellow-bellied Dacnis, Red-capped Cardinal, and Olive Oropendola.. We also saw a variety of interesting mammals, including Neotropical Otter, a Giant Otter that had caught a quite large fish, Brown Capuchin Monkey, White-whiskered Spider Monkey, and Red-handed Howler Monkey. Cristolino Lodge is a great birding locale and we hope to offer a tour there sometime in future.
Specialty and endemic birds we saw in the Pantanal included Greater Rhea, Plumbeous Ibis, Chaco Chachalaca, Hyacinth Macaw, Golden-collared Macaw, Mato Grosso Antbird, Red-crested Cardinal, Yellow-billed Cardinal, and Unicolored Blackbird. We also saw and photographed numerous other fascinating birds including Jabiru, Capped Heron, Whistling Heron, Southern Screamer, White-faced Whistling Duck, the very difficult to see Rufous-sided Crake, Picui Ground-Dove, Little Cuckoo, Band-tailed Nighthawk, Toco Toucan, Pale-crested Woodpecker, Campo Flicker, Helmeted Manakin, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Purplish Jay, Hooded Tanager, Red-crested Finch, Scarlet-breasted Blackbird, and Chopi Blackbird. We also saw large numbers of Black Caimans lounging along the edges of remaining standing water still present at end of dry season as well as a variety of mammals such as Marsh Deer, Red-brocket Deer, Sulphur Anteater, Crab-eating Fox, and Black Howler Monkeys.
In the SE Atlantic Forest we visited Ubatuba, Pereque area, and Itatiaia National Park. At Pereque our main target bird was the highly endangered Black-hooded Antwren, and we enjoyed great looks of this bird as well as obtaining several photos of it. Other endemics and specialty birds we saw included Dusky-legged Guan, Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Saw-billed Hermit, Dusky-throated Hermit, Sombre Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Saffron Toucanet, Spotted Piculet, Araucaria Tit-Spinetail, Chestnut-throated Spinetail, Pallid Spinetail, Itatiaia Thistletail, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Rufous Cachalote, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Unicolored Antwren, Ferruginous Antbird, Bertoni's Antbird, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Ochre-rumped Antbird, Scaled Antbird, Blue Manakin, Pin-tailed Manakin, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Drab-breasted Bamboo-Tyrant, Fork-tailed Tody-Tyrant, Yellow-lored Tody-Tyrant, Gray-hooded Attila, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Rufous-headed Tanager, Olive-green Tanager, Brazilian Tanager, Azure-shouldered Tanager, Golden-chevroned Tanager, Diademed Tanager, Green-headed Tanager, Red-necked Tanager, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Gilt-edged Tanager, Bay-chested Warbling-Finch, Red-rumped Warbling-Finch, and Buffy-fronted Seedeater. We missed some birds but feel we had great success given that we were there at the beginning of rainy season and had steady rains 2 of the 3 days we were at Itatiaia.
We spent the last 3 days birding near Iguazu Falls on both the Brazil and Argentina sides.The falls offer spectacular scenary on both sides. Birding within the national park is limited now on the Brazil side because the best trails have been taken over by concessionaires who charge exhorbitant entrance fees. Hence, we spent most of our birding time on the Argentina side. We did see some notable birds on the Brazil side, including Great Dusky Swift soaring near the falls, great looks at male and female White-shouldered Fire-eye along a trail set aside for adventure tourists, and Plush-crested Jay near the parking area adjacent to the falls.
On the Argentina side we did some birding along a back road near our hotel and within the national park itself. We felt our guide was inadequate, which limited our birding success. We nevertheless did see some good birds during a day and a half of birding, including Blue-winged Parrotlet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Dark-billed Cuckoo, Guira Cuckoo, great photo ops of a Toco Toucan, Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, White-spotted Woodpecker, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Spot-backed Antshrike, Rufous-winged Antwren, White-bearded Manakin, Blue Manakin, Long-tailed Tyrant, Green-backed Becard, Rufous-bellied Thrush, Chivi Vireo, Guira Tanager, Sayaca Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, and Green-headed Tanager. We stopped for lunch at a small restaurant with several hummingbird feeders in the gardens. There we saw and photographed Planalto Hermit, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Gilded Sapphire, Versicolored Emerald, and Glittering-throated Emerald.