Birding Trips and Conservation

Our birding groups in action One of the more enjoyable ways to help preserve nature is visit them. Tourism lets countries earn income by leaving their wilderness intact. It may even encourage governments to set aside more area as parks and reserves. Tourism revenues can justify funding for anti-poaching enforcement and other critical protection measures. Tourism could be a tool for conservation once what was considered a liability of underdeveloped land is now seen as a tourists attraction. Bird habitat is becoming highly valued by the economic forces-that-be. The Pantanal Bird Club believes that responsible ecotourism as “birding trips” could be structured such to be compatible with conservation interest and serves the local economy as well.

Much more basic research needs to be performed in the Neotropics, research in conservation biology is obviously essential in securing a bright future for this region and its ecosystems. Focusing this need, the Pantanal Bird Club Conservation Fund permits to award small grants to local students/researchers for bird conservation work in the region. This fund is basically benefit from private donations and profit from PBC’s birding trips.

Our tours visit same places, stay at same lodges, eat at same restaurants, walk same trails where all birding tour companies from the United States or United Kingdom offer their tours. A local English-speaking naturalists guide all of our birding tours. They carry same equipment: a spotting telescope, tape recorder and microphone to bring rare animals into view, and a powerful spotlight for night viewing. In addition, we provide checklists of the birds, mammals, reptiles and amphibians of each area we tour, with common English and Latin names. These help tour participants not just keep track, but also learn the animals they see. As our tour leaders live in the place you are visiting or go there frequently (not only once a year), they are familiar with local avifauna. In fact, we have "spots", or know home ranges, for many of the animals our clients want to see. If they are not calling, we can play the tapes we've previously recorded in the same place and often pull them into view. With all our staff living in Brazil we can negotiate better rates with local suppliers, and we have an agreement of free-expenses for our guides and drivers. You do not need to pay all expenses of your tour leader (e.g. air tickets, hotels, etc). This means you can take the same birding tours, visiting the same for substantially less expense.

All of the tours are escorted by our small, yet professional team of leaders, whose main priority is to ensure you have the best possible experience in each destination.

All of our team have extensive tour guiding experience and we have built up a reputation for helping everyone to see alll the birds and wildlife on offer, to the point that on most tours, if you participate fully, everyone sees just about everything! Do not get caught in the trap of going on a tour that claims to see a world record number of birds only to find that this is a combined group total where many birds were missed by most or just glimpsed by a few people.

Normally, a tour operator plans a trip and should sell a minimum numbers of participants, otherwise the trip is cancelled or the tour fee is increased. To make the tour fee attractive (costs will be split between participants, especially the leader’s expenses) normally the group is limited to 14 participants (and they insist in call this "a small group"). Normally these tours have two guides (this means double expense to be paid by the participants), the only problem with this kind of tours is the “lucky half” see everything and the other "unlucky half" miss everything. But at the end, the whole group saw everything, an enormous birdlist came out from the tour. But honestly, I do not would like to be in the “unlucky half” of any trip.

Our fixed departure tour to the Pantanal is confirmed with only TWO participants at same rate of a group quotation price is a revolutionary way of planning a trip. Instead of planning a trip and try to sell it until the group is completed, we open the tour and sell it to interested people, if we have only one couple participant, our tour is confirmed and tour fee remnants the same. Magic? Not at all, as we have special agreement with local suppliers, we do not need to pay our leader’s expenses and also have better rates with accommodations and car rentals. In this case, the leader will guide this tour because he likes birding and we believe the word-of-mouth marketing is the best in birding. Indeed, we believe birdwatching is a kind of fellowship. And we are proud to show our birds to any people who want to visit our backyard. And even, if we do not make any money with it, the pleasure of birding is worthwhile.

You can add to your enjoyment of birds and make a real contribution to bird conservation by joining our birding trips. Check out what some people who came with us in our birding trips have to say in their Tour Testimonials.

Mato Grosso: Pantanal, Cerrado and Amazon rainforest

Even in a country renowned for its diversity of habitats and avifauna, the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso stands out as incredibly diverse. From the vast marshes of the Pantanal to the scenic and spectacular cerrado country of the Chapada dos Guimarães to the amazingly rich Amazonian rainforest at Alta Floresta, Mato Grosso has something for everyone.

The Pantanal Bird Club offers different birding trips in Mato Grosso, that could be combined as pre or post tours, with fixed departures every month on the dry season (July-October).

These programs with length of a week let you go to the top birding spots to enjoy at maximum your stay with the best use of the time and taking advantage of our local knowledge and experience. Profit goes to the Pantanal Bird Club's Conservation Fund.

Hyacinth Macaws as seen in our tours

The Best of the Pantanal: Birds & Jaguars : For many years we offered a tour to the Pantanal for only four nights, and always we were on a hurry to see the local specialties, not counting the mammals and other wildlife. The Pantanal is so spectacular that deserves a full program, a tour which will visit all major habitats and give participants the chance to witness this amazing environment. During the dry season (July-October) our tour to the pantanal will cover the area dramatically, the Transpantaneira is the only road to penetrate deep into the Pantanal, crossing a wide range of habitats: dry grasslands and open scrub in the north gradually give way to large semi-deciduous forests and extensive swamps. This habitat gradient means that each lodge along the road has its own distinctive wildlife offering, it thus makes sense to stay at three widely separated lodges: there is easily enough excitement for one to two weeks. This tour is a perfect combination of bird and mammal watching providing an exciting selection of birds plus the thrill of searching for the majestic Jaguar. One of these locations is based at the best habitat to see jaguars, indeed every single tour we took there in 2010 saw a jaguar or two. Hyacinth macaws, golden-collared macaw, Mato Grosso antbird, white-lored spinetail, fawn-breasted wren, jabiru, large-billed antwren, helmeted manakin, great rufous woodcreeper, plumbeous ibis, rufous casiornis, long-tailed ground-dove, pale-crested woodpecker are some birds we are going to see during our stay. No other tour operator offers a full week program just in the pantanal, this is not a low budget, low level tour - its simply The Best of the Pantanal!.

Jabirus as seen in our tours Pantanal & Chapada : The ecological region designated the Pantanal is the low elevation region of Mato Grosso and Mato Grosso do Sul in the basin of the Rio Paraguai, a southward-flowing river of little gradient which crosses Paraguay, joins the Parana, and empties eastward at Buenos Aires. The numbers of birds, even in the rainy season is impressive. All specialties are resident and include Jabiru, Plumbeous Ibis, Southern Screamer, Hyacinth & Golden-collared Macaws, Long-tailed Ground-Dove, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Mato Grosso Antbird, White-lored Spinetail, Helmeted Manakin, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Fawn-breasted Wren. While the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, lies at the western edge of the Brazilian central plateau, surrounded by cerrado (savanna-like) vegetation with some semi-deciduous Amazonian forest that support a number of species not found in the Pantanal such as collared crescentchest, blue-winged macaw, chapada flycatcher, white-rumped & white-banded tanagers, curl-crested jay, white-backed fire-eye, pectoral sparrow and many more.

Snorkeling eyeball to eyeball with tropical fish Natural History Journey to Waterworld : During the rainy season, rivers overflow and – together with fish and other aquatic wildlife – disperse across the plain to inundate 25-75% of the Pantanal. The flooded area can be ten times larger than the world’s most famous wetland, Florida’s Everglades, and 15 times the size of the best-known wetland for watching wildlife, Botswana’s Okavango Delta. Water level rise by up to 5m, soil nutrient levels increase and aquatic vegetation blooms. Dry land is at a premium, and higher areas hold concentrations of terrestrial mammals. But this “waterworld” must to be sense in a whole experience, not just from outside as an observer but from inside as a participant, and nothing is more insider than snorkeling in crystal clear streams fully packed with tropical fish and freshwater stingrays. Can you imagine this experience? Dozens of fish around while you gently float down the stream. It is not our imagination, just outside the pantanal in the Serra Azul, the small town of Bom Jardim is located in a limestone mountain hills, there are many caves, waterfalls and some incredibly clear rivers surrounded by lush forest, where it’s possible to see hundreds of fish eyeball to eyeball.

Curl-crested Aracari as seen in our tours

Southern Amazonia Birding Immersion : At north of Mato Grosso State in the southern Amazonia, lies the region of Alta Floresta, an example of pristine Terra Firme forest. The Cristalino Reserve is one of the highlights birding spots of Brazil and South America. The geographic location in the headwaters of the Tapajós river contributes greatly to its ornithological importance because the river separates different populations of many forest birds. There are few places, even in the deepest recesses of Amazonia, where one can experience such undisturbed wilderness. The built of a tower allows spectacular views of canopy species, this is the only tower in southern Brazilian Amazonia. Specialties in the area include Zig Zag Heron, Brazilian Tinamou, White-browed Hawk, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Red-throated Piping-Guan, Razor-billed Curassow, Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, Kawall’s Amazon, Crimsom-bellied Parakeet, Blue-cheeked Jacamar, Rufous-necked & Brown-banded Puffbirds, Black-girdlet Barbet, Red-necked Aracari, Gould’s Toucanet, Pavonine Quetzal, Peruvian Recurvebill, Chesnut-throated Spinetail, Glossy Antshrike, Manu Antbird, Sclater’s Antwren, Bare-eyed Antbird, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Purple-throated Cotinga, Snow-capped Manakin, Musician & Tooth-billed Wrens, Paradise & Green-and-Gold Tanagers; and many more.

Cone-billed Tanager and Cerrado specialties

Cooc-tailed Tyrant as seen in our tours

Cerrado Specialties: Emas NP & Chapada dos Guimaraes NP This tour concentrates in explore two diferent National Parks which contain the largest cerrado habitat with all its gradients. Emas National Park protects some of Brazil’s best remaining campos limpos(grasslands of cerrado), as well as gallery forest. Rarities such as Cone-billed Tanager (rediscovered in our tour), Crowned Eagle, White-winged Nightjar, Bearded Tachuri, Marsh Seedeater, share the area with Greater Rhea, Red-legged Seriema, Spotted & Lesser Nothura, Dwarf Tinamou, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Yellow-faced Parrot, Campo Miner, Planalto Foliage-gleaner, Collared Crescent-chest, Sharp-tailed Grass-Tyrant, Cock-tailed and Streamer-tailed Tyrants, White-striped Warbler, Black-masked Finch, Chesnut Seedeater as well as what is probably the best variety of large mammals in South America: Giant Anteater, Puma, Pampas & Marsh Deers, Capybara, Giant, Nine-banded & Six-banded Armadillos, Maned Wolf, Brazilian Tapir, Hoary Fox and many more. Indeed, the rolling tree-dotted savanna grasslands are somewhat reminescent of Africa. Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park, situated at the edge of the Brazilian Central Plateau, has several rock formations and cliffs with Amazonian influence in the forest and cerrado specialties in the open country. Both of each places are worth a visit separately, but together are dinamite, the perfect combination!

Safari style tours in Brazil: Mammals Safari & Camping Mobile Safari

South American Big Five

Mammals of Central Brazil: A Safari in search of South American "Big Five": This tour focuses in a unique region of South America where wildlife is still abundant and easy to see, this is why the name: Safari Brazil. From the lowlands of the Pantanal to the endless grasslands of Emas NP, we will look for South American "Big Five". It is hard to say what experience is more impressive in the wild: see the elusive Jaguar along a riverbank, the odd-looking Giant Anteater digging termite mounts with its long claws in an endless grassland environment, a family of Giant Otters chasing fish in a pristine river; the heavy weight Brazilian Tapir on its nocturnal routine, or even the long-legged Maned Wolf on its solitary hunt through the grasslands looking for food. Now, imagine all these scenes in one single tour, the South American “Big Five”, the most sought after mammals in this continent dominated by birds. And birds will be seen as well, not just “little brown jobs” or skulkers, but huge Greater Rheas, odd-looking Red-legged Seriemas, world’s largest Hyacinth Macaw, flocks of Blues-and-yellow Macaw, colorful parrots, all three South American storks, all five South American kingfishers, Sunbittern, Bare-faced Curassow, Brazilian endemic Chesnut-bellied Guan, several kind of egrets, herons, raptors and many, many more.

Pantanal Discovery: Barge & Jeep Safari

Pantanal Discovery: Barge & Jeep Safari: This safari is perfect for adventurous travellers, allowing guests the closest possible encounters with wildlife on one of the greatest rivers in Brazil. This thrilling experience traverses the Pantanal, through the heart of it and along the Cuiaba's shoreline, floating past more than a thousand Yacare caiman on the way! Each night is spent in our exclusive barge on the banks of the Cuiaba River, finishing 200km downstream and many adventures away from the start. Encounters with animals, whether on boats, open safari vehicle or on foot, are up close and awe-inspiring. Support vehicles and staff assist guests and set up bed tents each day. One of the most exciting ways to safari in Brazil, for guests with a sense of adventure. Abundant up close wildlife viewing; spectacular birding. A wonderful sense of being close to nature in the heart of the the Pantanal.

Atlantic Rainforest: Intervales, Itatiaia NP and Ubatuba

Violet-capped Woodnymph as seen in our tour

Atlantic Rainforest: Intervales, Itatiaia NP & Ubatuba Long isolated from Amazonia by the dry brushlands of central Brazil (left in the wake of receding glaciers during the last ice age), the avifauna of southeast Brazil has radiated in a myriad of directions. Today there are more than 170 species of endemics that are found nowhere else in the world. This truly is a must destination for birders. As one moves south in the Atlantic Forest of the southeast, there is a significant change in the bird life as numerous species are replaced by their southern, sister-species. The Serra do Mar, with its steep, forest-cloaked mountains, offers some of the most pristine montane forest left in Brazil. Although weather is often clear and spring-like, it is also quite likely that we’ll hit some rain spawned by moist sea breezes rising against the wall of the serra. Seeking to avoid the rush of too many localities, we have settled on just three main stops—all offering world-class birding and with great accommodations in close proximity to the best birding spots. All three spots are well-known for its avian riches and for sheltering a large number of endemics and endangered species of the Atlantic Forest biome.

Northeastern Brazil: Caatinga and Atlantic Rainforest

Araripe Manakin as seen in our tour

Northeastern Brazil : is a land of stark contrast. Its immense, arid interior is dominated by a unique habitat known as caatinga, an association of thorn scrub, columnar cacti, and huge terrestrial bromeliads. This region harbors an endemic avifauna that includes some of the least known and most endangered species of birds on the South American continent. Foremost among them is the Lear’s Macaw, just rediscovered in 1978, with fewer than 200 remaining in the wild. Although the chance to bird the caatinga would alone be worth the trip, it is only half the attraction of the first part of our tour. We will also look for the recently described Araripe Manakin, in southern Ceara. A constelation of “Mega birds” to be seen, including the “real Mega’’ Great Xenops ( Megaxenops parnague). Northeast Brazil includes also the last remants of the highly fragmented Atlantic coastal forests, home to numerous endangered endemics and which arguably rank as the most critically endangered area of biodiversity in South America. Rare, restricted, endemics and recently discovered birds are included in its checklist. Our tour visit several areas looking for all specialties.

Iguazu Falls

Green-headed Tanager as seen in our tours

Iguazu Falls : IGUAZU FALLS, the biggest in the world, are surrounded by subtropical Atlantic rainforest which supports some rare birds restricted to south Brazil, northeast Argentina and east Paraguay. This tour will visit both sides of the falls and also a day trip to Urugua-í State Park, with less visitors that the famous falls but equal impressive avifauna. Particular specialities of this site include Black-fronted Piping-Guan, Ochre-collared Piculet, Helmeted Woodpecker, São Paulo Tyrannulet. Brazilian and Argentinian parks are a top bird watching destination as well. Five members of the toucan family are regularly seen: Toco and Red-breasted Toucans, Chestnut-eared Araçari, Saffron and Spot-billed Toucanets. A dazzling array of other rare and colorful species can also be seen.

Iberá Marshes

Strange-tailed Tyrant as seen in our tours

Ibera Marshes : IBERA MARSHES is a must destination for every birder in South America. Located only couple of hours driving from Iguazu Falls the Ibera Marshes are known as the Argentinian pantanal and contains rivers, reedbeds, lagoons, Yatay palm groves, dry scrub and gallery forest which supports approximately 300 species including a superb assortment of rare and scarce tyrants and seedeaters such as Strange-tailed Tyrant, Yellow Cardinal, Brown Cacholote, Lark-like Brush-Finch, Cream-backed Woodpecker, Spectacled Tyrant, Black-and-white Monjita, Saffron-cowled Blackbird, Marsh, Narosky, Gray-and-chesnut and Chesnut Seedeaters, Scimitar-billed Woodcreeper and many other good birds. If you are planning a visit to Iguazu falls, think twice and combine it with this superb area.

Southern Brazil

Chilean Flamingos as seen in our tours

Southern Brazil Specialties : CURITIBA will be our jumping-off spot for exploring the southern Atlantic Forest habitats of Paraná state. Among the numerous specialties that we will search for here are Yellow-legged and Solitary tinamous, Blue-bellied and Red-capped parrots, Ochre-collared Piculet, Canebrake Ground-creeper, Pale-browed Treehunter, Red-eyed Thornbird, Spot-backed and Giant antshrikes, Squamate Antbird, White-breasted Tapaculo, Spotted Bamboowren, Hooded Berryeater, Bare-throated Bellbird, Azure-shouldered and Black-backed tanagers, and many more. Open habitats may yield Lesser Grass-Finch and the recently described Wetland Tapaculo. We’ll also visit marshes and restinga woodlands in Santa Catarina state in search of the unique and recently described Marsh Antwren, as well as the highly localized Unicolored Antwren, Squamate Antbird, Restinga Tyrannulet, and Kaempfer’s Tody-Tyrant. While RIO GRANDE DO SUL is a different world of strange araucaria forests, high plateau grasslands and marshes, and scenically spectacular canyons. The birds are equally unique, with such specialties as Plumbeous Rail, Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Vinaceous-breasted Parrot, Long-tufted Screech-Owl, Mottled Piculet, Araucaria Tit-Spinetail, Straight-billed Reedhaunter, Black-and-white Monjita, Azure Jay, Chestnut-backed Tanager and Saffron-cowled Blackbird representing just a few of the many highlights that await us in Rio Grande do Sul.

Kaempfer's Woodpecker and the Araguaia river endemics

Kaempfer's Woodpecker, seen in our tours

Araguaia endemics : The rediscovery of the Kaempfer's Woodpecker (Celeus obrieni) was the most exciting news from Brazil in 2006. One of Brazil’s most enigmatic birds has reappeared after an absence of 80 years, this species had not been observed since its initial discovery in 1926. The news of the rediscovery has delighted conservationists in the region and gives hope for other "lost" birds feared extinct in South America. Kaempfer's Woodpecker was found by Brazilian ornithologist Advaldo do Prado whilst surveying in the Tocantins region of Central Brazil. A male adult was mist-netted in late October 2006 but nothing else could be done, especially because the voice was not recorded, and the shadow of this bird not be a valid species (for long time it was said it could be a hybrid) was still possible. We participated in the first expedition after the mist-netting and guess what? Our guide Braulio A. Carlos was the first person to find the bird in the wild and recorded the voice and found a territory quiet reliable to see this beautiful woodpecker. We are running a tour, which will be focus in this species and also other restricted Brazilian endemics which are found only along the mighty Araguaia river. Kaempfer's Woodpecker, Bananal Antbird, Araguaia Spinetail, Crimson-fronted Cardinal and even a yet undescribed new Certhiaxis spinetail are waiting for you there, if this is not enough to convince you also possible are the endemics Glossy Antshrike, Tail-banded Hornero, Planalto Slaty Antshrike, White-naped Jay, Scarlet-throated Tanager and White-crested Guan, Orinoco Goose, Azure Gallinule, Hyacinth Macaw, Point-tailed Palm-creeper, odd-looking subspecies ochraceus of Blond-crested Woodpecker, River-sided Tyrant subspecies xinguensis, hundreds of Hoatzin, Amazonian Inezia, Black Skimmer, Collared Crescent-chest, White-fringed Antwren and many more.

Southern Amazonia: Carajás

Black-chested Tyrant, seen in our tours. This photo made by Kevin Zimmer

Carajás : Carajás is located in southern Amazonia, inside the Floresta Nacional de Carajás, between the Xingú and Tocantins rivers in the Serra dos Carajás which rises abruptly out of the lowlands. Carajás is hilly and there are several escarpments where one has fine views over the canopy. Carajás is a superb birding destination harboring some very special and little known birds such as Pearly and Painted Parakeets, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, Vulturine, White-bellied, Short-tailed, and Red-fan Parrots are all possible. Carajás also has a reputation of being very good for cotingas (White Bellbird, White-browed Purpletuft, Spangled Cotinga, White-tailed Cotinga and Purple-breasted Cotinga are possible) and has made news in the last few years when the Black-chested Tyrant was found in the area. Also possible in the area are the newly described Cryptic Forest Falcon and a new subspecies of Strong-billed Woodcreeper (considered by some as a separate species, Carajás Woodcreeper). We will also be looking for Brazilian Tinamou, many raptors (including Orange-breasted Falcon and Harpy Eagle), White-crested Guan, Razor-billed Curassow, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Fiery-tailed Awlbill, Blue-cheeked Jacamar, Rufous-necked and Collared Puffbirds, Rufous-capped Nunlet, Gould’s Toucanet, Red-necked Aracari, Peruvian Recurvebill, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Pará Foliage-gleaner, Wing-banded Antbird, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Black-bellied Gnateater, Black-and-white Tody-Tyrant, Snethlage's Tody-Tyrant, Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant, Blackish Pewee, Opal-crowned Manakin, Guianan Gnatcatcher, Red-billed Pied-Tanager and many others. The potential for interesting discoveries is still high. We will also keep our eyes open for Jaguars, Puma (we saw a beautiful one in 2005 crossing the road right in front of us) and several species of primates (including the Red-handed Howler Monkey) which are still present in the large forest reserve.

Minas Gerais: Mountain and Dry forest endemics and rarities

Hyacinth Visorbearer as seen in our tour

Mountain endemics SERRA DO CIPÓ NP, is part of the enormous Espinhaco Mountain Range that rises from the south Minas Gerais all the way up to the north, for 800 miles to the State of Bahia. Located in the center of the state of Minas Gerais, about 100 km northeast of Belo Horizonte, the Serra do Cipo National Park, created on 1984, holds a fragile ecosystem covered with wonderful flowery fields. Most of the park vegetation is cerrado forest and grassy highlands, but the small river valleys are lush and ferny and contain a number of unique orchids. The highlands, together with an arm of the Serra do Espinhaco, divide the water basins of the Sao Francisco and Doce Rivers. It doesn't matter the time you come, the Cipó will surprise you with different species of flowers in every season. Increasing its floral beauty, water springs, waterfalls and streams are part of the natural landscape. For birdwatchers, Serra do Cipó is the most reliable site for several endemics such as Cipo Canastero, Gray-backed Tachuri, Hyacinth Visorbearer and Pale-throated Sierra-Finch. Other specialties are Cinereous Warbling-Finch, Yellow-billed Blue-Finch, Velvety Black-Tyrant, Horned Sungem, Hellmayr's Pipit, Firewood Gatherer, Cinnamon Tanager and many others. CARAÇA Natural Park, was originally the site of a seminary school built in the 1700s, the impressive building with a tall steeple in the center was converted into rooms for guests some years ago and sits approximately 1,200 meters above sea level. Rich highland Atlantic forest is found at lower elevations, with grassland and mountainous habitats somewhat reminiscent of Cipo above the seminary. The spectacular beauty of the reserve is surpassed only by the abundant diversity of wildlife living within it. Four primate species occur here as well as several bird species such as Serra Antwren, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Dusky-tailed, Ochre-rumped & Scalloped Antbirds, Shear-tailed Gray-Tyrant, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, Crowned Eagle, Highland Elaenia and many more. While SERRA DA CANASTRA NP is one of the major and largest reserves of Cerrado (savanna) in the State of Minas Gerais. Located 350 km away from Belo Horizonte, it covers an area of 75,525 hectares and a perimeter of 173 km. The Park was created to protect the headwaters of the São Francisco River, one of the most important hydrologic systems of Brazil, and to protect the native flora and fauna of Southern Brazil. Birders from all over the world do visit Serra da Canastra in search of rarities such as Brazilian Merganser, Brasilia Tapaculo and Golden-capped Parakeet, to name just a few.

São Francisco Sparrow as seen in our tour

Dry Forest endemics This tour focuses on a unique region of central Brazil that is little-known to birders, but which harbor a number of special birds with very limited distributions. This tour concentrates on the dry (deciduous) forests of northern Minas Gerais. The deciduous forests of South America have received little attention from biologists or birders compared to the more glamorous rainforests of the Amazon basin, but they have a higher degree of endemism, and are considered to be more at risk. The northern portion of the state of Minas Gerais still contains large expanses of dry forest, and here we’ll seek out some of the most localized and rarest of Brazil’s birds. Amid a landscape dominated by swollen-trunked bombax trees and bizarre rock formations that include cavernous grottos and towering spires, we will search for such specialties as White-bellied Nothura, White-browed Guan, Caatinga Antwren, Golden-capped and Caatinga parakeets, the newly described Bahia Nighthawk, Spot-backed Puffbird, Moustached and Wagler’s Woodcreepers, Great Xenops, Henna-capped Foliage-gleaner, Silvery-cheeked Antshrike, Black-bellied Antwren, White-browed Antpitta, Reiser’s Tyrannulet, Minas Gerais Tyrannulet, Caatinga Black-Tyrant, White-naped Jay, Long-billed Wren, Forbes’s Blackbird, Ultramarine Grosbeak, and the beautiful and recently described São Francisco Sparrow. Tall Caatinga habitats near Januaria hold Caatinga Cacholote, Campo Troupial, Red-cowled Cardinal, Caatinga Wagtail-tyrant, and White-bellied Nothura. Our time in this region will not be restricted to rarities; indeed, these dry forests are incredibly “birdy,” and the lack of foliage should make birds easy to see.


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