Brazil and Iguazu Falls
August 15 - 26,
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,
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
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
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
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.
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.
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.