Golden Macaw and Caxiuanã Reserve

Golden Macaw as seen in our tours

Belém is the starting point to anyone who wanted to visit Caxiuanã, it is here where we will look for one of the most spectacular parrots in the world; the Golden Parakeet, a gorgeous bird sporting the yellow and green of the Brazilian flag, a much fitting and hoped for end to our adventure. Other parrots that we may see include the strange Vulturine Parrot, Pearly and Golden-winged Parakeets, Orange-winged and Dusky Parrots and several macaws.

Caxiuanã is remote, located in the National Forest (Floresta Nacional – FLONA) of Caxiuanã, 400 km due west on a straight line from Belém close to the town of Melgaço on the Rio Pará, a black water river. The FLONA covers 330,000 ha of which 10% is under the responsibility of the Museum Goeldi of Belém. These some odd 33,000 ha are covered with pristine forest, are almost devoid of human interference and boast a tremendous diversity of plant and animal life. The Museum operates the Scientific Station Ferreira Penna deep into the heart of the FLONA. The station no longer receives tourists but we were granted permission to stay there since we are a group of serious natural history students, scientists and naturalists with an interest in increasing our knowledge about the bird life in the area. The station provides access to an otherwise inaccessible forested area of the lower Amazon. The station is very remote and the accommodations provided are fairly rustic, e.g. hot water is not available. The station has two observation towers, and a good system of accessible trails where we will look for birds of the forest interior. The trails in level terrain are ideal to locate and follow mixed flocks. They also make it easier to find ant swarms and see swarm specialists.

To reach the Station we will fly from Belém to Breves on a regional airline, META (not a partner of TAM) leaving at 8:00 a.m. The flight is of approximately 45 minutes. From Breves we will board a fairly comfortable river boat owned by the Scientific Station and travel to the Station for about 8 hours. The scenery on the way is beautiful and we will likely see we Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Capped, Cocoi and Striated Herons, Great and Snowy Egrets, Wattled Jacana, Yellow-billed and Large-billed Terns, Ringed Kingfisher and White-winged Swallow. We will arrive at the Station in time for some late afternoon birdwatching.

While birding from boats around the Station we may see Agami Heron, Least Bittern, Green Ibis, Crimson Topaz, Striped Woodcreeper, Glossy Antshrike, Black-chinned, Silvered and Dot-backed Antbirds, the elusive Snethlage’s Tody-Tyrant, Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Lesser Kiskadee, Chestnut-crowned Becard, Masked Tityra and Amazonian Oropendola.

The trails in level terrain are ideal to locate and follow mixed-species flocks of the forest interior. We will look for Spix’s Woodcreeper, Cinereous Antshrike, White-eyed, White-flanked, Long-winged, and Gray Antwrens, Rufous-rumped and Pará Foliage-gleaners, Tawny-crowned Greenlet and White-winged Shrike-Tanager. Ant swarms are fairly common and the trails make it easier to locate the swarms with the swarm specialists in attendance. We will try to find and see Spotted and Thrush-like Antpittas. We will also be looking for Natterer’s Slaty-Antshrike, Banded, Black-faced, Warbling and Spot-winged Antbirds, White-backed Fire-eye, Black-spotted Bare-eye and many others.

Caxiuanã is also excellent for many other great species like Harpy Eagle (seen with certain frequency), the elusive Dark-winged Trumpeter, Cryptic Forest Falcon, Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, the rare White-winged Potoo, Fiery-tailed Awlbill, Racket-tailed Coquette, White-necked Puffbird, Black-necked Aracari, Gould's Toucanet, Waved Woodpecker, the recently described Brigida’s Woodcreeper, Pygmy Antwren, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Yellow-margined, Ochre-bellied, and McConnell’s Flycatchers, White-eyed and Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrants, Slender-footed Tyrannulet, Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, Grey-crowned Flycatcher, Bright-rumped Attila. Flame-crested Manakin, White-tailed Cotinga, Guianan Red-Cotinga, Dusky-capped Greenlet, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Guianan Gnatcatcher, Red-billed Pied-Tanager and Blue-backed Tanagers, White-vented and Golden-sided Euphonias, Black-faced, and Blue Dacnis, and Green, Short-billed, Purple and Red-legged Honeycreepers.


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