Andy Foster was one of the best bird guides I’ve ever had. His knowledge of the birds is extensive, and his skills in finding them and getting his group onto them are excellent. Couple this with seemingly inexhaustible energy and unfailing good humour, and you have a close to ideal bird guide.
On this post-tour amazon birding extension we have four full days to explore the environs of our lodge located in pristine forest. During our time here we will be birding a variety of habitats, including primary tropical forest, mixed savanna with granite outcrops, wetland, and seasonally flooded forest. These habitats are accessed by exploring the almost thirteen miles of networked trails on foot and cruising the river by boat. The Cristalino River Basin is truly legendary, with a comprehensive bird list of nearly 600 species. Cristalino lodge has two fantastic canopy towers for birding that we will visit multiple times. Combined with a phenomenal number of localised and endemic specialties (due in part to the areas isolation through two large adjacent river barriers), this is an absolute bird and wildlife heaven. This is a highly recommended addition to our Brazil – Birds & Wildlife of the Pantanal & Cerrado tour for anyone wishing to maximize their time in this vast and beautiful country!
Cryptic Forest Falcon, Zigzag & Agami Heron, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Razor-billed Curassow, Red-fan Parrot, Kawall’s Amazon, Crimson-bellied & Santarem Parakeet, Collared, Rufous-necked and Brown-banded Puffbird, Paradise Jacamar, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Gould’s Toucanet, Black-girdled Barbet, Pavonine Quetzal, Glossy Antshrike, Bare-eyed Antbird, Xingu Scale-backed Antbird, Curve-billed Scythebill, Tooth-billed Wren, Snow-capped, Flame-crested & Fiery-capped Manakin, Alta Floresta Antpitta, Scaled Ground Cuckoo (rare), Pompadour & Spangled Cotinga, Curl-crested & Red-necked Aracari, Channel-billed & White-throated Toucan, Long-billed Woodcreeper, Amazonian Umbrellabird, White-browed Hawk, Harpy & Crested Eagle (both rare, but frequently seen from the towers).
Red-nosed Bearded Saki, White-cheeked Spider Monkey, Southern Tamandua, Giant River Otter, Paca, Red Brocket Deer, Collared Peccary, Brazilian Tapir
rainforest trails and canopy, primary tropical forest, mixed savanna with granite outcrops, wetland, and seasonally flooded forest
warm to hot and humid
moderate pace, undemanding walks
Day 1: Cuiaba to Alta Floresta and transfer to Cristalino
Today we board a short flight from Cuiaba to Alta Floresta. Upon arrival, we will then transfer to the eco-friendly Cristalino Jungle Lodge, where we will settle in for a comfortable five night stay in this oasis of the Brazilian Amazon – the world’s largest continuous tropical rainforest!
Days 2 to 5: Cristalino area
The Cristalino River Basin is truly legendary, with a comprehensive bird list of nearly six hundred species! Combined with a phenomenal number of localised and endemic specialties (due in part to the areas’ isolation by two large adjacent river barriers), this is an absolute bird and wildlife heaven.
We have three full days of our Amazon birding tour to explore the environs of our lodge located in pristine forest. The garden normally has blooming Cecropias, which attract toucans, aracaris, parrots and fruitcrows. During our time here we will cover a variety of habitats, including primary tropical forest, mixed savanna with granite outcrops, wetland and seasonally flooded forest. These habitats are accessed by exploring the almost thirteen miles of networked trails on foot and cruising the river by boat.
We will endeavour to search out a myriad of fantastic species, with some of our primary targets being the poorly known Cryptic Forest Falcon, brilliant Red-fan Parrot and Kawall’s Amazon, Paradise Jacamar, Amazonian Royal Flycatcher, Glossy Antshrike, Tooth-billed Wren, the crepuscular Collared and Rufous-necked Puffbirds, Amazonian Pygmy-owl, Gould’s Toucanet and the glittering Pavonine Quetzal. Army ant swarms are also a feature of this region, and congregations of ants often attract a fine selection of lower-story specialties that may include Xingu Scale-backed and Bare-eyed Antbirds, Curve-billed Scythebill, Alta Floresta Antpitta and perhaps the very rare Scaled Ground Cuckoo. The noisy songs of Marbled Wood Quail can often be heard ringing through the forest, as can the screeches of White-bellied Parrots. During our Amazon birding tour, we will also spend time targeting some very difficult species such as the reclusive Zigzag Heron and fantastic Razor-billed Curassow.
Just a few minutes’ walk from the lodge is a spectacular 50metre (150 foot) canopy tower that emerges above the trees, offering a sensational view of the surrounding forest. Canopy specialties are most easy to observe from this elevated position, and some of the birds we will be keeping an eye out for include the vivid Pompadour Cotinga, Curl-crested Aracari, Long-billed Woodcreeper, Black-girdled Barbet, Brown-banded Puffbird, the bizarre Amazonian Umbrellabird and a kaleidoscope of colourful tanagers and parrots. Impressive Blue-and Yellow, Red-and-green and Scarlet Macaws in flight are a common sight from the towers. Although very scarce, we may be fortunate enough to see the massive Harpy Eagle and a host of other resident raptors on our Amazon birding tour.
There is also an excellent selection of South American mammals to be found here, and we will maximize our efforts to see the huge Capybara, Southern Tamandua, several species of opossum, Giant River Otter, Brazilian Agouti, the sleek Tayra and the delicately patterned Paca. If conditions are good we will visit a mammal clay lick with a screened viewing platform from where we may find Red Brocket, Collared Peccary and even the charismatic Brazilian Tapir. Perhaps most impressive is the selection of no less than seven primate species in the area, including Night Monkey, Dusky Titi Monkey, Brown Capuchin, Red-handed Howler Monkey, White-Whiskered Spider Monkey and the endemic Red-Nosed Bearded Saki Monkey, all of which are often seen in the surrounding forest. After sorting through the profusion of tyrant-flycatchers, hummingbirds, manakins and antbirds, we will have a chance to enjoy the floating deck in front of our lodge – ideal for swimming and wildlife viewing – before venturing out at night in search of nightjars as well as Crested, Tawny-bellied Screech and the very attractive Black-banded Owl.
Day 6: Cristalino to Cuiaba via Alta Floresta
After some final birding and breakfast, we catch the short flight from Alta Floresta to Cuiaba where our Brazilian adventure will conclude.
What our clients say about tours to Brazil
- JC, Brazil – Atlantic Coastal Forest
A fantastic inaugural tour of the Manaus area. As usual, rainforest birding presented its challenges, especially all those skulkers, the names of which invariably begin with ant-! However, our brilliant leader, Forrest Rowland, and his equally brilliant offsider and local guide, Brad, showed endless patience trying to get everyone to see as many species as possible – with almost 500 spp seen in 17 days! We visited a variety of habitats in addition to terra firme forest, including varzea, campinarana and riverine islands, each with a different suite of birds. The trip went off without a hitch with efficient van and boat transport, comfortable accommodation and delicious local food.SL, Brazil – Manaus
Rockjumper Birding Tours again handled everything with professionalism. Serra dos Tucanos Lodge and its setting were beautiful. Andy was an expert guide and helped everyone see the birds, and yet he had a great sense of humour so that every outing and checklist session was fun. I also enjoyed hearing him answer questions about other aspects of living in Brazil as we travelled to our hiking spots. Super tour! – PHPH, Serra dos Tucanos 2014
Rich Lindie was excellent and very helpful. His knowledge of the birds & wildlife of Brazil was phenomenal; in addition he told us much about other areas of the world. [W]e … had a great time.EL, Pantanal Cerrado and Amazon Rainforest Ext