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.
Throughout this tour you will be based at a comfortable and beautifully located eco-lodge, situated in the 57,000 hectare Tres Picos State Park only a relatively short distance from Rio de Janeiro. Here you will explore the numerous mosaics of trails around the lodge grounds and take short drives to explore several other habitats and elevations surrounding the reserve. You will also visit the nearby Serra Dos Orgaos National Park that holds a number of special birds.
Some of the avian gems that will be sought during this tour include Three-toed Jacamar, spectacular Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Saffron and Spot-billed Toucanets, Green-crowned Plovercrest, Saw-billed Hermit, Black-billed Scythebill, Giant, Tufted & White-bearded Antshrikes, Blond-crested and Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Black-and-gold and Grey-winged Cotinga and Brazilian Laniisoma. The area is also home to a massive variety of endemic tanagers and the beautiful Brazilian, Rufous-headed, Red-necked, Green-headed, Gilt-edged, Brassy-breasted, Golden-chevroned, Azure-shouldered and Olive-green can all be seen on this tour. Plenty of rarer and difficult to see endemics and specials are also found in this area and possibilities include Slaty Bristlefront, Spotted Bamboowren, White-breasted Tapaculo, Variegated Antpitta, Rufous-tailed and Cryptic Antthrush and Blue-bellied Parrot.
This will be a very comfortably paced tour with no long drives! On some days you will have packed lunches, while on others you will return to the lodge for lunch. There will be ample time to unwind and to enjoy birding from the lodge grounds or even while relaxing by the natural swimming pool. Fruit trays and hummingbird-feeders placed throughout the grounds attract a variety of parakeets, hummingbirds and tanagers and are also excellent an excellent place to see Dusky-legged Guan. Birds are confiding and photographic opportunities are excellent. This tour captures the best of Brazil’s Atlantic Rainforest endemic bird species, and after a week of birding you can expect to have seen around 250+ bird species, including around 80 Atlantic Rainforest endemics!
Three-toed Jacamar, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Saffron Toucanet, Green-crowned Plovercrest, Saw-billed Hermit, Black-billed Scythebill, Giant, Large-tailed, Tufted, Spot-backed & White-bearded Antshrike, Blond-crested and Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Grey-winged & Black-and-gold Cotinga, Brazilian, Green-headed, Red-necked, Olive-green, Brassy-breasted, Gilt-edged, Azure-shouldered, Rufous-headed, Diademed, Fawn-breasted and Golden-chevroned Tanager,Brazilian Laniisoma, Dusky-legged Guan, Blue-bellied Parrot, Sharpbill, Serra do Mar Tyrant-Manakin, Pin-tailed Manakin, Hooded Berryeater, Bare-throated Bellbird, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, Mouse-colored and White-breasted Tapaculo, Spotted Bamboowren, Slaty Bristlefront, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Variegated Antpitta, Cryptic and Rufous-tailed Antthrush, White-bibbed Antbird, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Sharp-billed & Pale-browed Treehunter, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Itatiaia Spinetail, Plain and Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Buff-bellied Puffbird, Surucua Trogon, Brazilian Ruby, Black Jacobin, Slaty-breasted Wood Rail, Spot-winged Wood Quail and Red-legged Seriema
Brown Howler Monkey, Black Capuchin, Guianan Squirrel
rainforest trails, grasslands, Cerrado woodlands, rivers and wetlands
warm to hot and humid
relaxed pace, undemanding walks, short drives
hummingbird feeders and bird fruit trays at the lodge
Day 1: Rio de Janeiro to our accommodation
After arriving in Rio de Janeiro you will be met by your local leader and transferred to your accommodation for a 7-night stay. Passing the coastline, you might see your first Neotropic Cormorant, Brown Booby, Magnificent Frigatebird or Kelp Gull. The lodge is located in the 57 000 hectare Tres Picos State Park and the gardens are filled with birds attracted to the variety of flowers and numerous feeders.
In the afternoon, you will look around the gardens and begin your initial exploration of the surrounding trails. More than 150 species have been recorded within the lodge grounds, of which over 60 are endemic to the Atlantic Rainforest! Some of the birds that can be expected include Brown Tinamou, Dusky-legged Guan, Spot-winged Wood Quail, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Scale-throated Hermit, Green-crowned Plovercrest, Violet-capped Woodnymph, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Black-throated and Surucua Trogons, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Grey-bellied and Pallid Spinetails, White-browed and White-collared Foliage-gleaners, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, the amazing Black-billed Scythebill, White-throated, Scaled, Olivaceous and Lesser Woodcreepers, Rufous Gnateater, Blue and Pin-tailed Manakins, Grey-hooded Flycatcher, Drab-breasted Bamboo Tyrant, White-rimmed Warbler, Fawn-breasted and Azure-shouldered Tanagers, Uniform Finch and Green-winged Saltator.
The hummingbird feeders are always buzzing with activity and include gems such as Black Jacobin, White-throated Hummingbird and Violet-capped Woodnymph. Maroon-bellied Parakeets and Scaly-headed Parrots might give themselves away with a raucous call flying overhead, Brazilian Antthrush, Ochre-rumped and Bertoni’s Antbirds may be seen skulking in the undergrowth, and Spot-billed Toucanets could be observed from the trees around the lodge, whilst during the breeding season Bare-throated Bellbirds can be heard and seen clanging away throughout the day!
The bird feeders teem with colourful activity and offer great photographic opportunities, with species including Spot-billed and Saffron Toucanets, Rufous-bellied Thrush, Dusky-legged Guan, and a whole host of tanagers such as Burnished-buff, Golden-chevroned, Ruby-crowned and Brassy-breasted, plus Orange-bellied and Chestnut-bellied Euphonias and Blue-naped Chlorophonia.
Day 2: High altitude excursion to Pico de Caladonia
You will spend the entire day afield, taking a packed lunch along with you. After a short drive to access the higher elevations you will be walking a trail at an altitude of approximately 1 600 metres. As we gain altitude we will see a change in habitat, small stunted trees surrounded by bamboo and other low vegetation provide the first areas in which we hope to see Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Diademed Tanager, Blue-billed Black Tyrant and Rufous-tailed Antbird. Flowering plants could reveal the recently split Green-crowned Plovercrest, while other sought-after specialities are the appropriately named Giant Antshrike, Serra do Mar Tyrant-Manakin and the outrageously patterned Swallow-tailed Cotinga, to name but a few. Tanagers are also well represented here and include the eye-searing Brazilian, Azure-shouldered, Fawn-breasted and vibrant Chestnut-headed Tanager.
Other exciting species may include White-tailed Hawk or Aplomado Falcon cruising overhead, Plumbeous Pigeon, Blue-billed and Velvety Black Tyrant, or Yellow-legged Thrush, while inside the forest you can search for Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Large-tailed and Rufous-capped Antshrikes, Rufous-capped and Pallid Spinetails in denser vine tangles, the often vocal White-shouldered Fire-eye, Dusky-tailed Antbird, White-rimmed Warbler and Thick-billed Saltator. Mixed flocks will be sifted through for Sharp-billed Treehunter, Black-billed Scythebill, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Olivaceous Elaenia and Green-winged Saltator.
As we walk further uphill we begin to enter goof habitat for the rare and endemic Grey-winged Cotinga, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, Swallow-tailed Cotinga and Black-and-gold Cotinga. We shall also try for Brazilian Antthrush and Mouse-colored Tapaculo in this area. Almost at the summit, we hope to encounter the rare and endemic Itatiaia Thistletail.
Day 3: Lodge grounds + Blue Circular & Orchid Garden Trail
Today on our Brazil bird safari, we spend a full day in the Lodge grounds walking the Blue Circular Trail and the Orchid Garden Trail. These two trails offer fantastic birding through primary and secondary forest as well as native bamboo, giving us the chance of seeing many Atlantic forest endemics without even leaving the lodge grounds! During the course of the day we hope to see some of the following species: Brown Tinamou, Dusky-legged Guan, Spot-winged Wood Quail, Black Hawk-Eagle, Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Barred Forest Falcon, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Scale-throated Hermit, White-throated Hummingbird, Green-crowned Plovercrest, Black-throated Trogon, Saffron and Spot-billed Toucanets, Yellow-eared and Yellow-browed Woodpeckers, Rufous-capped, Pallid, Grey-bellied and Chicli Spinetails, White-browed, White-collared, Buff-browed and Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaners, White-throated, Lesser, Scaled and Olivaceous Woodcreepers, Black-billed Scythebill, Giant and Variable Antshrike, Star-throated Antwren, Bertoni’s, Ochre-rumped and Dusky-tailed Antbirds, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Rufous-tailed and Cryptic Antthrushes, Rufous Gnateater, Spotted Bamboowren, White-breasted Tapaculo, Grey-capped Tyrannulet, Grey-hooded Flycatcher, Drab-breasted Bamboo Tyrant, Grey-hooded Attila, Bare-throated Bellbird, Sharpbill, Greenish Schiffornis, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Yellow-legged Thrush, White-rimmed Warbler, Half-collared Sparrow, Chestnut-headed, Black-goggled, Ruby-crowned, Azure-shouldered, Golden-chevroned, Fawn-breasted, Brassy-breasted and Burnished-buff Tanagers, Uniform Finch and Green-winged Saltator.
Within the lodge grounds, we are fortunate enough to have Long-trained Nightjars, Pauraque, Short-tailed Nighthawk, Tropical Screech Owl, Rusty-barred Owl, Striped Owl and various other night birds yet to be discovered! During the course of the week, we will go out searching for various species on 2 or 3 nights.
Day 4: Wetlands excursion & lowland forest
Today on our Brazil bird safari, we visit a local wetland reserve called Reserva Ecologica de Guapi Acu. Established in 2002, this wetland restoration project has been successful in attracting an abundance of overwintering and breeding species. Some of these that should be seen here include Brazilian Teal, the furtive Masked Duck, Pied-billed Grebe, Whistling and Capped Herons, Grey-headed Kite, the stately Savanna Hawk, and the monotypic Limpkin. Amazon and Ringed Kingfishers are often quite conspicuous, while a little searching often yields a resident Green Kingfisher as well. Scanning through the reedbeds allows us the chance to find Yellow-chinned Spinetail, White-headed Marsh Tyrant and Chestnut-capped Blackbird.
The reserve also protects a large amount of lowland forest and employs rangers to protect this area from hunting. Birds that we will be searching for here include Rufous-capped Motmot (often giving itself away with a distinctive call), Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Long-billed Wren, hummingbirds such as Reddish Hermit and White-chinned Sapphire, Yellow-throated Woodpecker and Chestnut-backed Antshrike. Antwrens are often in good attendance, including White-flanked, Unicolored and Rufous-winged, although it might take more searching to find Crescent-chested Puffbird or the scarce Brazilian Laniisoma (Shrike-like Cotinga).
Day 5: Three-Toed Jacamar excursion
After breakfast this morning on our Brazil bird safari, the day will then be spent exploring new areas searching for one of the most sought-after birds of south-east Brazil, the endemic Three-toed Jacamar. Birding along the way you pass through a variety of habitats that can produce up to a 100 species for the day! Raptors are often abundant in the more open habitats and might include Plumbeous Kite, Bat and Laughing Falcons and Yellow-headed Caracara, plus the low flying Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture. If very lucky, a Red-legged Seriema may be seen sauntering across the grass. Blue-winged Macaw and White-eyed Parakeet can be observed perched on the treetops, while Striped Cuckoo are often heard before they are seen. The open grasslands and wetland edges can produce Long-tailed and Streamer-tailed Tyrants, Black-capped Donacobius, White-rumped and Tawny-headed Swallows, Wattled Jacana and Blackish Rail.
Other specialities besides the Three-toed Jacamar that will be searched for include the boldly-patterned White-eared Puffbird, Black-necked Aracari, noisy bands of Curl-crested Jay, and Firewood-gatherer (which builds massive stick nests). Additional species on this exciting day include Blue-winged Parrotlet, Hooded and Magpie Tanagers, Amethyst Woodstar, Planalto Hermit, Band-tailed Hornero, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Hooded Siskin and both Grey and White-rumped Monjitas, to name just a few!
Day 6: Cedae & Theodoro Trail
This morning on our Brazil bird safari, we drive for just over half an hour to reach the start of the Cedae Trail. We will spend much of the morning birding this great trail with an immense number of new species possible, including Plain Parakeet, Saw-billed Hermit, Black-throated Trogon, Rufous-capped Motmot, Buff-bellied Puffbird, Channel-billed Toucan, White-barred Piculet, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Plain-winged and Lesser Woodcreepers, Spot-backed Antshrike, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Spot-breasted and Plain Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, Ferruginous Antbird, Streak-capped Antwren, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Blue Manakin, Oustalet’s Tyrannulet, Eared Pygmy Tyrant, Black-tailed Tityra, Rufous-headed, Yellow-backed, Olive-green, Flame-crested, Green-headed and Red-necked Tanagers as well as Black-throated Grosbeak.
We will then take a short drive to the equally superb Theodoro Trail. Beginning at a slightly higher altitude than the Cedae Trail, this path offers wonderful birding through both primary and secondary forest. Variable Antshrike can often be located in the vine tangles by its distinctive voice, while Variegated Antpitta can sometimes be difficult to pinpoint. Other new birds that you might come across here include Streaked Xenops, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Black-capped and White-browed Foliage-gleaners, Scaled Woodcreeper, Greenish Schiffornis, Grey-hooded Flycatcher and the unique Sharpbill, which can often be located by its distinctive descending song.
Day 7: Macae de Cima & lodge trails
Only a 20-minute drive from the lodge is the Macae de Cima Trail. We can look forward to a gentle walk, but if the weather looks variable, our vehicle will stay relatively nearby. Along the trail we hope to add some new birds, as well as appreciate more views of some of the many species we have already seen, including Plumbeous Pigeon, Scale-throated Hermit, Brazilian Ruby, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Pallid Spinetail, Orange-eyed Thornbird, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Giant, Tufted and White-bearded Antshrikes, Bertoni’s and Ochre-rumped Antbirds, Black-and-gold Cotinga, Bare-throated Bellbird, Serra do Mar Tyrant-Manakin, Drab-breasted Bamboo Tyrant, White-rimmed Warbler, Azure-shouldered and Brassy-breasted Tanagers and Green-winged Saltator. After lunch we will return to the Lodge and search for any species we may still be missing in the area.
Day 8: Departure to Rio de Janeiro
After some early morning birding around the lodge grounds, you will depart this fabulous region and be transferred back to Rio de Janeiro International Airport for your flights home.
What our clients say about tours to Brazil
- SL, Brazil – Manaus
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
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
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.JC, Brazil – Atlantic Coastal Forest