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.
Few countries in the Americas hold more mystique and intrigue than the massive nation of Brazil. No feature on the continent of South America is more recognizable, more written about, or more wistfully contemplated than the mighty Amazon River. Despite this amazing river’s nearly 4000 miles of length, remarkably few ports of access exist. In fact, the entirety of the Amazon Basin, some 2,800,000 sq. miles (!), represents the largest contiguous area of intact rain forest, and least populated area, in the entire Western Hemisphere. No wonder the draw of the Amazon is irresistible to the nature-loving explorer in all of us! This tour is centred in the heart of the basin, in the states of Amazonas and Para, where we will access the entire suite of micro-habitats in the region. From the white water river islands and flooded varzea forests of the Amazonas and Negro river systems, across hilly terra firme, we will spend time in boats, and afoot, searching out the Amazon Basin’s most spectacular and iconic bird species. Wildlife possibilities range from Tapir and Pink River Dolphin to the elusive Jaguar. This tour is an in-depth exploration of the best Amazon birding has to offer.
Harpy and Crested Eagles, Black-faced & White Hawks, Lined Forest Falcon, Dark-winged & Grey-winged Trumpeter, Grey, Variegated & Rusty Tinamou, Little Chachalaca, Black Curassow, White-crested, Spix’s & Marail Guan, Horned Screamer, Azure Gallinule, Hoatzin, White-winged & Rufous Potoo, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Red-and-green Macaw, Scarlet-shouldered & Sapphire-rumped Parrotlet, Crimson-bellied, Santarem, Golden, Golden-winged & Tui Parakeet, Festive Amazon, Vulturine, Short-tailed, Caica, Dusky, Orange-cheeked, Black-headed & Red-fan Parrot, Guianan Puffbird, Guianan & Amazonian Trogon, Green-tailed & Paradise Jacamar, Black-spotted & Brown-chested Barbet, Red-necked & Green Aracari, Guianan & Gould’s Toucanet, Scaly-breasted, Red-necked, Golden-collared & Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Varzea Piculet, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Crimson Fruitcrow, Purple-breasted & Guianan Red Cotinga, Capuchinbird, Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, Glossy-backed Becard, Spangled & Pompadour Cotinga, Natterer’s Slaty, Saturnine, Cinereous, Castelnau’s, Glossy, Blackish-grey & Spot-winged Antshrike, Ash-winged, Pygmy, Spot-backed, Brown-bellied, Rufous-bellied, Long-winged, Klages’s, Leaden, White-eyed, Sclater’s, Ihering’s & Grey Antwren, Guianan Warbling, Willis’s, Black-and-white, Black-headed, White-plumed, Ash-breasted, Black-faced, Chestnut-crested, Ferruginous-backed, Rufous-faced, Harlequin & Xingu Scale-backed Antbird, Pale-faced Bare-eye, Alta Floresta, Variegated & Spotted Antpitta, Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Long-billed, Zimmer’s, Red-billed, Ocellated, Uniform, Hoffmanns’s & Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper, Curve-billed Scythebill, Cinnamon-crested & White-crested Spadebill, Fiery-tailed Awlbill, Crimson Topaz, Black-eared Fairy, Racket-tailed Coquette, Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Parker’s, Red-and-white, White-bellied & chances for Scaled Spinetail, Lesser Hornero, Brownish Elaenia, Pearly-breasted Conebill, White-eyed Attila, Screaming Piha, Tiny & Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin, White-throated, White-fronted, Black, Snow-capped, Flame-crested & Yellow-crested Manakin, Wing-banded Wren, Masked Yellowthroat, Guianan & Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Guianan Tyrannulet, Painted Tody-Flycatcher (Tody-Tyrant), Pelzeln’s, Zimmer’s & Snethlage’s Tody-Tyrant, Short-tailed & Double-banded Pygmy Tyrant, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Rose-breasted Chat, Red-billed Pied Tanager, Fulvous Shrike-Tanager, Paradise, Flame-crested, Fulvous-crested and Spotted Tanager, Golden-sided Euphonia, Blue-black (Rothschild’s) & Yellow-green Grosbeak
Brazilian Tapir, Giant Otter, chances for Pink River Dolphin & Jaguar
lowland rain forest, varzea, terra firme forest, Campina forest, white-water & black-water river islands, rivers
warm to hot and humid
moderate pace, some longer walks
Day 1: Arrivals Manaus
Upon arriving in the city of Manaus you will be transferred to our comfortable hotel in the city overlooking the spectacular Rio Negro. Here you will be met for a welcome dinner by your tour leader from Rockjumper Birding Tours with time to talk through some of the exciting Brazil birding adventures to come! Early arrivals can enjoy some productive birding and photography around the hotel.
Day 2: Museu da Amazonia & Ramal do Pau Rosa
The botanical garden of Manaus, Museu da Amazonia is a fantastic introduction to Amazonian birding, especially since it borders with the extensive Adolfo Ducke forest reserve. The 42m tall observation tower is a great place to start the early morning. From the top we’ll be scanning the canopy and sky for macaws, toucans, trogons, raptors, flycatchers and cotingas. One of our first Guianan shield specialties that we might get include Guianan Toucanet, Guianan Puffbird, Caica and Dusky Parrots, Guianan Tyrannulet, Guianan Woodcreeper and Guianan Gnatcatcher. Hopefully we also get some eye-level views of mixed-species flocks that pass by.
These canopy flocks can be very productive holding species such as Ash-winged and Spot-backed Antwren, the lovely Painted Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-throated Flycatcher, Todd’s Sirystes, Glossy-backed and Pink-throated Becard, Lemon-chested and Buff-cheeked Greenlet, Yellow-green Grosbeak, Short-billed Honeycreeper, Yellow-backed Tanager, Golden-bellied and Golden-sided Euphonia, Red-billed Pied, Flame-crested, Fulvous-crested Tanager, Turquoise, Paradise and Opal-rumped and maybe even the rare Dotted Tanager! In terms of colourful cotingas we will have chances for the Spangled, Pompadour and even Purple-breasted!
In the afternoon we will visit Ramal do Pau Rosa north of Manaus. It is a good area to search for fruiting trees that might attract prize birds such as Purple-breasted Cotinga, Capuchinbird and Guianan Red Cotinga! The mixed secondary forest and edge habitats can be very productive with species including Crimson Topaz, Golden-spangled Piculet, Yellow-throated, Yellow-tufted and Golden-collared Woodpecker, Black-spotted Barbet, Green and Black-necked Aracari, Black-throated Antshrike, Northern Slaty Antshrike, Guianan Warbling Antbird, Black-headed, Rufous-throated and Black-throated Antbird, Spotted Antpitta, Cinnamon-throated and Red-billed Woodcreeper, McConnell’s Flycatcher, Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, White-crested Spadebill, White-throated Manakin and many more.
Day 3: Terra firme forests of Manaus
Today on our Brazil birding tour, we make an early start to the vast tracts of terra firme (never flooded) forests near Manaus. Our plans today will depend primarily on which species we need to search for, but are likely to include an array of attractive and interesting species such as the very special Black Curassow, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Red-and-green and Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Crimson Topaz, Guianan Toucanet, Bronzy Jacamar, Curve-billed Scythebill, Golden-collared Woodpecker, Glossy-backed Becard, Pompadour Cotinga, Guianan Red Cotinga, Capuchinbird, Guianan Gnatcatcher, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Blue-backed and Dotted Tanager, spectacular White-plumed and Rufous-throated Antbird, Guianan Slaty Antshrike, Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin, White-naped Seedeater and even a remote chance for the recently re-discovered Pelzeln’s Tody-Tyrant.
Day 4: INPA canopy tower to Preseident Figueiredo
Today is our second opportunity to be high in the canopy with a birds-eye-view over the richest forest in the world, as dawn breaks and the rain forest comes to life. The INPA tower has become the premier canopy access in this vast region. Birding opportunities from the tower, and on the surrounding forest trail system, are nothing lesser than superb. On a good morning with decent weather, we can expect a sizeable host of the following species: Spix’s Guan, Black-faced Hawk, White Hawk, Lined Forest Falcon, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Black-eared Fairy, Racquet-tailed Coquette, Pied Puffbird, Golden-collared and Yellow-throated Woodpeckers, Golden-winged Parakeet, Dusky and Red-fan Parrots, Yellow-billed Jacamar, Ash-winged, Pygmy, and Spot-backed Antwrens, Variegated and Spotted Antpitta, Olive-green Tyrannulet, Glossy-backed Becard, Spangled and Pompadour Cotinga, Guianan Gnatcatcher, Slaty-capped Shrike Vireo, Flame-crested, Fulvous-crested, Opal-rumped and Spotted Tanagers. Other species less frequently encountered, but certainly possible include Harpy or Crested Eagle, Fiery-tailed Awlbill, Curve-billed Scythebill, Crimson Fruitcrow, and both Dotted and Blue-backed Tanagers. Again incredible birding possibilities today! Once satisfied with our experience on the property, we will continue north to the lovely Iracema Falls Hotel, near Presidente Figuereido where we will be based for the upcoming nights of our Brazil birding tour.
Day 5: Lajes reserve & Iracema Falls
Being farther north of the Amazon, this area boasts a list of species very obviously influenced by the Guianan shield geology on which it is situated. Not only will we focus on the impressive variety of parrots, manakins, and cotingas that have evolved around the shield, but we will spend time birding some good Campina forests, as well. These special, depleted white sand forests are equally interesting, harbouring several species only found in very specific habitat. At the hotel grounds we have chances to find such gems as Little Chachlaca, the stunning Crimson Topaz, Amazonian Motmot, Red-and-green Macaw, Rothschild’s Grosbeak, Epaulet Oriole, Red-rumped Cacique and Green Oropendola. We’ll also explore the Lajes Reserve and surrounding properties where the owners are quite amenable to visiting birders. Some of the special species we will focus on include Green-tailed Goldenthroat, White-barred Piculet, Spotted Puffbird, Guiana Red Cotinga, Purple-breasted Cotinga, Capuchinbird, Dusky Purpletuft, Bronzy Jacamar, Golden-spangled Piculet, Painted Parakeet, Blue-and-Yellow and Scarlet Macaws, Black-crested, Northern Slaty- and Amazonian Antshrikes, Rufous-bellied Antwren, Willis’s, Dusky, Black-throated, and Rufous-throated Antbirds, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Rufous-crowned Elaenia, McConell’s Flycatcher, Guianan Tyrannulet, Short-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant, Pelzeln’s Tody-Tyrant, Pale-bellied Mourner, Saffron-crested Tyrant Manakin, White-fronted, Golden-headed, Red-headed, Black and Yellow-crested Manakins, Buff-cheeked Greenlet, Paradise and Opal-rumped Tanagers, Golden-sided and Plumbeous Euphonias, White-naped and Wing-barred Seedeaters, and Yellow-green Grosbeak, among others!
Day 6: Iracema Falls to Mari Mari
After some final morning target birding at Iracema Falls we will continue to Mari Mari for the afternoon. This property has an accessible lek of Guianan Cock-of-the-rock and a spectacular display of these mind-blowing cotingas will hopefully be the star attraction for the afternoon. Depending on how much time is left we might explore the property grounds that provide great birding. Night birding nearby might produce Tawny-bellied Screech Owl and the much sought-after White-winged Potoo!
Day 7: Tucumanduba & Mari Mari
Today we have several options for great birding at Mari Mari and surrounding areas. Tucumanduba is a possibility but we might also try other sites further east. Today’s plan actually largely depends on the species that have eluded us so far on our Brazil birding tour, especially those targets inhabiting Campina and white sand forest, but of course we’ll also search for other missed species in the general area. Another visit to the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock lek is also among the options.
Day 8: Mari Mari to Manaus
This morning is our last chance to catch up with localized species that we may have missed thus far. There are a few very fine patches of accessible habitat as we head back south towards Manaus. While birding is our focus, it is important to note that there are some dozen monkey species, four species of cat, and many other fine mammal possibilities in the area. Giant Anteater is sometimes found in the sandy forest. It is one of the most remarkable creatures in all of South America!
Day 9: Rio Ariaú to Novo Airão
For the morning we have an exciting canoe trip scheduled to the blackwater ecosystem of the Rio Ariaú west of Manaus. It is a great introduction to riverine avifauna and some specialties such as Horned Screamer, Slate-coloured Hawk and Slender-billed Kite might be easier to see today than later on in the tour. The so-called Igapó species are confined to these permanently flooded forests and we’ll do our best to see as many of them as we can during our Brazil birding tour. If we find a good stand of Moriche palm trees (Mauritia sp.) we will certainly try for specialties such as Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Sulphury Flycatcher and Moriche Oriole. In the afternoon we will be transferred to our lodge in Novo Airão and we might pick up some birds of interest along the way.
Days 10 & 11: Anavilhanas archipelago
Over the next two days of our Brazil birding tour, we will continue to spend our time exploring the scenic black waters of the Rio Negro. Here we have the opportunity to access a wonderful variety of habitats including black water varzea, and our only chance to bird the black water river islands and the hilly terra firme forests on the west bank of the Rio Negro. Due to its incredible volume and length, the Rio Negro itself acts as a significant bio-geographical divider, separating species present on its west bank, from species east of the Rio Negro where we’ve been thus far. It’s a perfect example of how diversity has evolved in the Amazon!
Wildlife viewing during this portion of the tour will be outstanding as well, with a high probability of encountering the iconic Pink River Dolphin and charismatic Giant Otter! We will be in boats and on foot, searching for the likes of Orinoco Goose, Crestless and Razor-billed Curassows, Sand-colored, Short-tailed, and Band-tailed Nighthawks, Blackish Nightjar, Great and Common Potoo, Amazonian and Blue-crowned Trogon, Green-and-rufous and American Pygmy Kingfisher, Chestnut-capped Puffbird, Green-tailed Jacamar, Lettered and Ivory-billed Aracari, Varzea Piculet, Scale-breasted, Chestnut and Ringed Woodpecker, Orange-cheeked and Black-headed Parrot, Glossy, Blackish-grey, and Spot-winged Antshrike, Cherrie’s, Klage’s and Leaden Antwren, Riparian, Ash-breasted, Black-chinned, Black-faced, Spot-winged and Chestnut-crested Antbird, Short-billed Leaftosser, Spot-throated, Long-tailed and White-chinned Woodcreeper, Wing-banded, Pale-legged and Lesser Hornero, Amazonian Inezia, Snethlage’s Tody-Tyrant, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Wire-tailed Manakin, Varzea Schiffornis and both Grey-chested and Brown-headed Greenlets amongst others. Despite having already spent over a week in the area, we will encounter a staggering number of new birds by simply crossing the Rio Negro!
Day 12: Anavilhanas archipelago to Manaus
The full morning will be spent searching for specific targets that we still might need. Most probably we will be birding the terra firme forest on the west bank of the Rio Negro because this habitat is highest in biodiversity and holds many species including rare and difficult-to-get ones. In the afternoon we’ll travel back to Manaus with possibly some stops along the way. Optionally we could do some owling at Museu da Amazonia in case we haven’t seen all of our possible nocturnal targets.
Day 13: Solimões River islands
Among the most noteworthy of microhabitats to be found in the Amazon basin, perhaps the most radically specialized bird species are those that evolved to reside only on the river islands of the Amazon and its tributaries. Today will be dedicated, entirely, to searching out many of these fascinating species. The many specialities of these islands, which prefer further-specialized habitats (short willow stands vs. tall Cecropia trees, for example) will require us to navigate a few accesses and perhaps visit multiple islands today.
Of the many birds we hope to encounter, particularly noteworthy species include Festive and Short-tailed Parrots, Tui Parakeet, Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Parker’s, Red-and-white and White-bellied Spinetail, Brownish Elaenia, Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant, Riverside Tyrannulet, ‘Island’ Fuscous Flycatcher of the race fuscatior, Castelnau’s Antshrike, Black-and-white Antbird and Pearly-breasted Conebill. Such species as the very rare Scaled Spinetail will be possible only if water levels allow us access.
Of course, being in a boat on the river we plan to pick up a good number of waterbirds and riparian corridor species. Some of the many birds we may encounter today include Undulated Tinamou, Muscovy Duck, Black-collared Hawk, Snail Kite, Grey-breasted Crake, Azure Gallinule, Large-billed Tern, Hoatzin, Little Cuckoo, Greater Ani, Nacunda Nighthawk, Ladder-tailed Nightjar, Ringed, Amazon, and Green Kingfisher, Little, Spot-breasted and Cream-colored Woodpecker, Long-billed and Zimmer’s Woodcreeper, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Black-backed Water Tyrant, White-eyed Attila, Hooded and Orange-headed Tanager, Bicolored Conebill, Lined Seedeater, Oriole Blackbird, Orange-backed Troupial, and Solitary Black Cacique. Today’s all-day boat excursion offers unforgettable scenery, as well as the opportunity to see Black Caiman and with luck, Pink River Dolphin!
Day 14: Manaus to Tupana Lodge
Today we will travel to Tupana which lies 150km south of Manaus. We’ll do roadside birding where possible and make several stops at productive birding sites along the way. Depending on our time of arrival at the lodge we might still have some hours to explore the nearby trails or just hang out at the lodge deck.
Days 15 & 16: Tupana Lodge
Over the next few days on our Brazil birding tour, we will explore the rich forests and other nearby habitats of Tupana and surrounds. The area is situated in the Purus-Madeira interfluvium south of the Amazon, so again we can expect a set of new and exciting species. The lodge deck is a great place to scan for canopy birds and species that we’ll be looking for include Scarlet Macaw, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, Kawall’s Amazon, Brown-banded, Chestnut-capped and White-necked Puffbird, Golden-collared Toucanet, Ivory-billed and Curl-crested Aracari, White-browed Hawk, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, White-browed Purpletuft, Pompadour, Purple-breasted and Spangled Cotinga, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Bar-breasted Piculet, Yellow-tufted, Chestnut and Scaly-breasted Woodpeckers, to name a few. The extensive trail system provides excellent birding in fantastic terra firme forest and the list of bird species possible along these trails is just incredible.
Some of the specialties include Inambari Gnatcatcher, Curve-billed Scythebill (the subspecies here is a probable split, Tupana Scythebill), the newly described Predicted Antwren, and even a yet undescribed species of Hemitriccus tody-tyrant! Tupana is also known for its high density of obligate ant-followers including species such as Reddish-winged Bare-eye, White-throated, Hairy-crested, Black-faced and Sooty Antbird and even the ultra-rare Red-billed Ground Cuckoo which has been reported from the area! Mixed-species canopy flocks can hold stunners such as Gilded Barbet, Citron-bellied Attila, Chestnut-shouldered and Sclater’s Antwren, Inambari Woodcreeper, Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Yellow-throated Flycatcher, Wing-barred Piprites and Rufous-tailed Xenops. Other fantastic species that we might see during our hikes include Humaita Antbird, Pearly and Undulated Antshrike, Fiery Topaz, Pavonine Quetzal, Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Rufous-necked Puffbird, Starred Wood Quail, Rufous and White-winged Potoo, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Ringed Antpipit, Amazonian Royal Flycatcher, Cinnamon Neopipo, Elegant and Hoffmann’s Woodcreeper, and even the rare Bar-bellied Woodcreeper! A canoe trip along the nearby Tupana River can also be arranged, especially if we want to rest our legs a little bit from all the exciting forest interior birding!
Day 17: Tupana Lodge to Manaus & departure
In the morning we will have further time to bird in the vicinity of the lodge. We head back to Manaus this afternoon where the tour will end for some, while those continuing onto our Amazonia National Park extension will have an afternoon to rest before we fly to Itaituba tomorrow morning.
What our clients say about tours to Brazil
- 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
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