Minas Gerais: Mountain endemics and rarities

Yellow-billed Blue Finch as seen in our tours

Minas Gerais: Mountain Endemics and Rarities

Serra do Cipo NPSERRA 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.

Pseudobombax sp. flowerCARAÇA 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.

Serra da Canastra NPSERRA 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.

OUR TOURS : We run 09 days/08 nights birding tours, every month of the year limited to just 06 participants! Under request.

Minas Gerais: Mountain Endemics and Rarities, 09 Days / 08 Nights Itinerary

Cipo Canastero as seen in our toursDay 01 Arrival and reception at Belo Horizonte Airport. Transfer to Serra do Cipó NP. At our arrival birding the lodge surroundings. Among some usual birds we will see are Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Glittering-bellied Emerald, White Woodpecker, Campo Flicker, Rufous-collared Sparrow. After dinner chances for Band-winged Nightjar, Pauraque. (L,D)

Hyacinth Visorbearer, digiscoped in our tourDay 02 One full day in this unique habitat birding the highlands looking for the endemics Cipo Canastero, Hyacinth Visorbearer, Gray-backed Tachuri, Pale-throated Sierra Finch as well as Cinereous Warbling-Finch, Cinammon Tanager, Firewood Gatherer, Hellmayr's Pipit, Horned Sungem, Velvety Black-Tyrant, Yellow-billed Blue-Finch, Planalto Hermit, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, White-rumped & Gray Monjitas, Stripe-tailed Yellow-Finch, Hooded Siskin, Yellow-rumped Marshbird and many more. Dinner and checklist. (B,L,D)

Day 03 Whole morning birding the surroundings area around our hotel. Check out and lunch on route. We should arrive at the monastery by the end of the day. Dinner and checklist. After dinner, we will wait outside the monastery waiting for the Maned Wolves who come at night to be fed. (B,L,D)

Maned Wolf coming at nightDays 04 and 05 By now, we should already seen all mountain endemics and we will focus in the endemics an specialties from Atlantic Rainforest which are found around here, among them Serra Antwren, Gray-breasted Sabrewing, Brazilian Ruby, Ochre-rumped, Dusky-tailed & Scalloped Antbirds, Gray-bellied Spinetail, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Cinnamon-vented Piha, Shear-tailed Gray-Tyrant, Gray-eyed Greenlet, Swallow Flycatcher, White-breasted Tapaculo, Brassy-breasted & Gilt-edged Tanagers, Dusky-legged Guan and many more. Night outings promise Rusty-barred Owl, Tawny-browed Owl and even Ocellated Poorwill. (B,L,D)

Day 06 Today, we will travel overland to Serra da Canastra NP. Although the drive is quiet long, we will break it up with frequent birding stops. Lunch on route. We will arrive at Serra da Canastra in the late afternoon. (B,L,D)

Brazilian Merganser, as seen in our tourDays 07 and 08 Two full days to explore the cerrado, gallery forest and wild rivers which support three rare birds: Brazilian Merganser, Brasilia Tapaculo and Golden-capped Parakeet. Some other specialties are known to occur among them Cock-tailed Tyrant, Sharp-tailed Grass-Tyrant, Campo Miner, Black-masked Finch, Ochre-breasted Pipit, Dwarf Tinamou, Planalto Foliage-Gleaner, Helmeted Manakin and many more. (B,L,D)

Day 09 Early breakfast and last birding around. Check out of hotel. In the way back to Belo Horizonte International Airport, we will stop for a stakeout of the Three-toed Jacamar. End of the trip. (B,L)

INCLUDED: The tour fee includes all lodging, meals chosen from the regular menu from lunch on Day 01 to lunch on Day 09, all ground transportation, entrance fees, the services of a full time Pantanal Bird Club naturalist guide. Rates are based upon group tariffs.

NOT INCLUDED: Items not included are airfare to and from Brazil and the flights within the country. The tour price does not include any airport taxes (there is an approximately $9 tax at each Brazilian airport and the roughly $36 departure tax), visa fees, optional tips to bus drivers and cooks, laundry and other personal expenses, items not on the menu of included meals, beverages including mineral water, room service, gratuities for beverages, optional gratuities for hotel housekeepers and the customary end-of-the-tour gratuity for the naturalist guide.

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Rates, bookings or any question or extra information, please contact us at: birdclub@gmail.com

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