Mark Pretti Nature Tours, L.L.C.

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Southeast Brazil and Iguazu Falls

August 15 - 26, 2017 

Extending from northeast Brazil to northeast Argentina, the Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, is one of the most biodiverse regions on Earth.  With only about 10% of the original forest remaining, it is also one of the most threatened.  Composed of a mosaic of broadleaf evergreen forest, dry tropical forest, and high altitudes dominated by grasses and shrubs, it harbors not only high species diversity but exceptional endemism.  Of the approximately 700 bird species, an astonishing 199 are endemic, and among the 264 species of mammals, 72 are found only there.  On this journey we値l immerse ourselves in some of the finest remaining examples of intact Atlantic Forest. 

We begin at the Reserva Ecologica de Guapiassu (REGUA) at the base of the Serra dos Orgaos.  Here we値l enjoy a comfortable lodge, a nice diversity of trails, a restored wetland, and an active conservation program.  During our five days here, we may find over 200 species of birds.  In the Atlantic Forest, even the more common birds are spectacular, and we may see maroon-bellied parakeet, black-throated and Surucua trogons, rufous-capped motmot, crescent-chested puffbird, spot-billed toucanet, plain-winged, lesser, and white-throated woodcreepers, blue manakin, black-cheeked gnateater, gray-headed tody-flycatcher, streamer-tailed tyrant, and numerous tanagers (golden-chevroned, Brazilian, green-headed, ruby-crowned, black-goggled).  In the wetlands, we should find white-cheeked pintail, masked duck, capped heron, yellow-browed tyrant, white-headed marsh-tyrant, masked water-tyrant, chestnut-capped blackbird, and perhaps some of the elusive species such as rufous-sided and ash-throated crakes or blackish rail.  More difficult, but certainly possible, are giant snipe, bare-throated bellbird, and rufous-capped antthrush.  In addition to the birds, REGUA is rich in mammals (about 60 species, most of which are bats), and we may see some, including capybara, brown capuchin monkey, white-tufted-ear marmoset, common long-tongued bat, and brown-throated three-toed sloth.

From REGUA, we値l make two day trips to Serra Dos Orgaos National Park.  Here, in excellent evergreen forest, we値l look for mantled and white-necked hawks, yellow-green grosbeak, pale-browed treehunter, chestnut-crowned becard, buff-fronted foliage-gleaner, white-throated spadebill, white-barred piculet, hooded berryeater, Brazilian antthrush, and others.  Mixed flocks at the higher elevations, where bamboos and epiphytes are typical of the cloudforest-like habitat, include rufous-backed antvireo, rufous-crowned greenlet, pallid spinetail, sharp-billed treehunter, and others.

We then spend three nights at Serra Dos Tucanos Lodge, well-known for its fruit feeders that attract maroon-bellied and plain parakeets, colorful tanagers (including green-headed and ruby-crowned as well as blue dacnis and green honeycreeper), several thrushes, and blue-naped chlorophonias.  Their hummingbird feeders bring in saw-billed hermit, sombre hummingbird, black jacobin, and others.  We値l have a day to enjoy the lodge, its feeders, and the trails where we値l look for Surucua trogon, spot-breasted and plain antvireos, blond-crested woodpecker, scaled antbird, sharp-tailed streamcreeper, long-tailed tyrant, channel-billed toucan, and one of the most beautiful birds I致e ever seen, the pin-tailed manakin.

We値l also make day trips to higher elevations where we値l experience a different suite of birds including velvety and blue-billed black-tyrants, yellow-legged thrush, bay-chested warbling-finch, rufous-capped and Spix痴 spinetails, orange-eyed thornbird, red-legged seriema, brassy-breasted tanager, black-and-gold cotinga, dusky-tailed and rufous-tailed antbirds, swallow-tailed cotinga, mottle-cheeked tyrannulet, diademed tanager, shear-tailed gray-tyrant, variable antshrike, and more.

We finish the trips at Iguazu Falls where we値l stay in the park at the luxurious Hotel das Cataratas on the Brazilian side.  The world class spectacle of the falls will be a dramatic setting in which to look for Toco toucan, plush-crested jay, blond-crested, yellow-fronted, and robust woodpeckers, ochre-collared piculet, rufous-winged antwren, rusty-margined guan, southern antpipit, and one of the rarer birds of the area, black-fronted piping-guan.  Our views of the falls will be unforgettable and highlighted by the hundreds of great dusky swifts clinging to the cliffs and flying near the rushing water.  


Led by naturalist and bird guide Mark Pretti and local guides, the cost will be about $4000 per person, double occupancy, and will include all lodging, meals, guides and ground transportation from Rio de Janeiro.  It does not include the round-trip flight from Rio to Iguazu Falls. Limited to 8 participants.

Detailed itinerary and references available upon request.

Pin-tailed Manakin and Iguazu Falls by Larry Vaughn and Misty Vaughn


Last updated: September 11, 2016.