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Brazil: South-East Atlantic Forest

This tour explores one of the most beautiful and diverse areas on Earth, the threatened Atlantic Forest of South-East Brazil. Taking you to the best corners available to find close to 100 Brazilian endemics and 200 Atlantic Forest specialties, this is certainly one of South America’s most rewarding birding tours. Rarities like Red-billed Curassow, Cherry-throated Tanager, Brazilian Laniisoma, Grey-winged Cotinga, Black-hooded Antwren, and Helmeted Woodpecker are all in the script!

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Price: $

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Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

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Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

TBD

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

TBD

Group Size Limit:

6

Deposit: $

TBD

Add a Title

Price: $

TBD

Leaders:

Add a Title

Single Room Supplement: $

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Group Size Limit:

Deposit: $

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Accommodation:

Comfortable hotels throughout.

Walking difficulty:

Mostly easy, but there are a few long trails in the forest with ups and downs to be taken at birding pace (e.g. REGUA and Pico da Caledônia).

Tour cost includes:

All accommodation, main meals, drinking water, internal flights (as stated in itinerary), overland transport, tips to local drivers and guides, travel permits, entrance fees, and guide fees.

Tour cost excludes:

Flights before and after the tour start/end, visa, travel insurance, tips to tour leaders, laundry, drinks, and other items of a personal nature.

Day 1: Arrivals at Vitória Airport (VIX) in the morning. Late morning birding for Pygmy Nightjar before transferring to VALE Reserve with a stop at Augusto Ruschi Marine Station for Minute Hermit and Geoffrey’s Marmoset. Late afternoon at VALE for first attempts at Red-billed Curassow and Red-browed Amazon. Night in Linhares.


Day 2: Full day of birding in the lowland forest at VALE Reserve. We will search for the Critically Endangered endemic Red-billed Curassow, along with East Brazilian Pygmy Owl, Ochre-marked and White-eared Parakeets, Red-browed Amazon, “Reichenowi’s” Blue-headed Parrot, Plumbeous Antvireo, Silvery-flanked Antwren, Sooretama Slaty Antshrike, Black-headed Berryeater, and the recently-split White-bellied Tanager. Other interesting species at VALE include Solitary Tinamou, Yellow-legged Tinamou, “Atlantic Black-breasted” Ringed Woodpecker, Cream-coloured and Yellow-throated Woodpeckers, Black-necked Araçari, Blue-winged Macaw, Orange-winged and Southern Mealy Amazons, Southern White-fringed and Rusty-backed Antwrens, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Cinereous Mourner, Black-capped Becard, and Yellow-green Grosbeak. Night in Linhares.


Day 3: Early transfer south to the hills of Santa Teresa. Rest of the morning in hilly forest looking for endemics like Wied’s Tyrant-Manakin, Serra Antwren, White-bibbed Antbird, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Grey-hooded Attila, Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher, Cinnamon-vented Piha, Pin-tailed Manakin, Gilt-edged Tanager, and several other Atlantic Forest specialties such as Mantled Hawk, Spot-billed Toucanet, Blue Manakin, Bare-throated Bellbird, and the rare Russet-winged Spadebill. This site is still quite good for sightings of both Black and Ornate Hawk-Eagles, and sometimes Golden-tailed Parrotlet. Later, we’ll check in at our lovely guesthouse for a feast of hummingbirds. Over ten species are usually on the feeders, including the amazing Frilled Coquette, Amethyst Woodstar, Planalto Hermit, Scale-throated Hermit, and White-vented Violetear. Night in Santa Teresa.


Day 4: Breakfast at Vita Verde to enjoy some more hummingbirds, plus hopefully both East Brazilian Chachalaca and Slaty-breasted Wood Rail visiting the garden. We will then drive south to Águia Branca Reserve and Natureza Eco Lodge, where we will be birding for the rest of the day. Here, we hope to find the most-wanted Swallow-tailed Cotinga and several other Atlantic Forest specialties like Saffron Toucanet, Robust Woodpecker, White-throated and Scaled Woodcreepers, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Ferruginous Antbird, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, Cryptic Antthrush, Spotted Bamboowren, White-breasted Tapaculo, Cinnamon-vented Piha, Half-collared Sparrow, and some chances to find the rare Rio de Janeiro Antbird, the uncommon Long-tailed Potoo, and our first shot at the superb Giant Antshrike. Night at Natureza Eco Lodge.


Day 5: Day visit to Reserva Kaetés, the newly acquired area protecting the stunning and Critically Endangered Cherry-throated Tanager. We will be accompanying the ornithologists involved in the successful conservation project for the species, having great chances during that day to see the resident family group or even a nest. Other species to look for at Kaetés include Hooded Berryeater, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Ochre-rumped Antbird, Cryptic Antthrush, Spot-billed Toucanet, Oustalet’s Tyrannulet, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Brassy-breasted Tanager, and others. In the evening, we will wait for the impressive Long-trained Nightjar to show up, with fingers crossed for breathtaking views. We also have chances for Rusty-barred Owl. Night at Natureza Eco Lodge.


Day 6: We can revisit either Kaetés or Águia Branca in the early morning if necessary before continuing on to Guapiaçu Reserve (REGUA) in the state of Rio de Janeiro. In some nearby open habitat, we can look for Ash-throated Crake and the adorable Streamer-tailed Tyrant, then as dusk falls, we stand an excellent chance of seeing the stupendous Giant Snipe. Overnight at REGUA.


Day 7: Morning on REGUA’s forest trail in the beautiful foothill forest of Serra dos Órgãos. Here, at lower elevations, we hope to find the uncommon White-necked Hawk, Rufous-capped Motmot, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Pale-browed Treehunter, Unicoloured and Salvadori’s Antwrens, Scaled Antbird, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant, Southern Antpipit, Grey-hooded and Ochre-bellied Flycatchers, Pin-tailed Manakin, and, hopefully, the rare endemic Brazilian Laniisoma (REGUA being probably the best site for this species). In the afternoon, we will move uphill to the town of Nova Friburgo, where we should bird different forest sites over 1000 m above sea level, having more chances for Brazilian Laniisoma and seeking more Atlantic Forest jewels like Scale-throated Hermit, Brazilian Ruby, Mantled Hawk, the uncommon White-bearded Antshrike, Bertoni’s Antbird, White-browed Foliage-gleaner, Slaty Bristlefront, Bare-throated Bellbird, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Chestnut-headed Tanager, and others. Night in Nova Friburgo.


Day 8: This morning, we will bird at Pico da Caledônia, the famous site at which to look for the rare and localised endemic Grey-winged Cotinga. Birding at Caledônia is usually very productive, and we expect to see several endemics and other amazing species such as Black-and-gold Cotinga, Rufous-tailed Antbird, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Large-tailed Antshrike, Rufous-tailed Antthrush, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Blue-billed and Velvety Black Tyrants, Shear-tailed Grey Tyrant, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, Serra do Mar Tyrant-Manakin, Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Cinnamon Tanager, the stunning Diademed and Brassy-breasted Tanagers, Thick-billed Saltator, more chances of Swallow-tailed Cotinga, and our first shot at Green-crowned Plovercrest. In the afternoon, we will make a round trip out to the town of Carmo, where great views of Three-toed Jacamar might be another good candidate for the bird of the day. We may also see Serra Antwren, Hangnest Tody-Tyrant, and Grey-eyed Greenlet before returning to our accommodation. Night in Nova Friburgo.


Day 9: We will have another chance for Brazilian Laniisoma before departing south towards the famous Itatiaia National Park, the first national park in Brazil. In the yard and feeders of the very nice Hotel do Ypê, we should see Dusky-legged Guan (loads of them!), Brazilian Ruby, White-throated Hummingbird, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Plain and Maroon-bellied Parakeets, Green-headed, Golden-chevroned, and Olive-green Tanagers, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, plus chances for large raptors like Black Hawk-Eagle and Mantled Hawk. Walking the beautiful forest of Itatiaia provides for great birding; here, we hope to find Blue-winged Macaw, Scaly-headed Parrot, Green-billed Toucan, Saffron Toucanet, Orange-eyed Thornbird, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Black-billed Scythebill, Scaled Woodcreeper, Tufted Antshrike, White-shouldered Fire-eye, White-bibbed, Ferruginous, and Ochre-rumped Antbirds, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, Rufous Gnateater, Slaty Bristlefront, Fork-tailed Tody-Tyrant, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Brown Tanager, and, depending on bamboo seeds, chances for Buffy-fronted and Temminck’s Seedeaters. In the evening, we can look for the impressive Tawny-browed Owl. Night at Hotel do Ypê.


Day 10: Day trip to another splendid birding site, the Agulhas Negras Road at the top of Itatiaia National Park. We will be birding humid montane forest from 1600-2450m elevation, including some paramo-like habitat. Our focus will be on the rare Black-capped Piprites and endemics like Green-crowned Plovercrest, Itatiaia Spinetail, Speckle-breasted Antpitta (this form a potential split), Buff-throated Warbling Finch, and the tiny Grey-backed Tachuri, but the birding here should also deliver more chances for Rufous-tailed Antbird, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Large-tailed Antshirke, Rufous-tailed Antthrush, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, Serra do Mar Tyrant Manakin, Velvety Black Tyrant, the tricky Brown-breasted Bamboo Tyrant, Olivaceous Elaenia, Greenish Tyrannulet, Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Thick-billed Saltator, Diademed and Brassy-breasted Tanagers, and others. Doing well at Agulhas Negras, we might finish the day at lower Itatiaia for a first attempt at Atlantic Royal Flycatcher, and more chances for tough ones like Cryptic Antthrush and Fork-tailed Tody-Tyrant. Owling after dusk can target Black-capped Screech Owl and Tawny-browed Owl again if required. Night at Hotel do Ypê.


Day 11: Early morning drive to the southern coast of Rio to bird the rich valley of Mambucaba, home of the restricted and Endangered Black-hooded Antwren. Besides the Antwren, a couple of hours birding in this area will offer good chances for other uncommon species: Buff-bellied Puffbird, the rare endemic Buff-throated Purpletuft, and São Paulo Tyrannulet are important to see here. Several other targets include Saw-billed Hermit, Yellow-fronted, Yellow-throated, and Yellow-eared Woodpeckers, Pale-browed Treehunter, Unicoloured Antwren, Scaled and Squamate Antbirds, Spot-backed Antshrike, Rufous-capped Antthrush, White-bearded Manakin, Riverbank Warbler, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Brazilian and Red-necked Tanagers, Violaceous Euphonia, and more. From Mambucaba, we keep heading south towards Ubatuba, stopping again for more chances at Buff-bellied Puffbird, Buff-throated Purpletuft, the rare Salvadori’s Antwren, and “Bahia” Dusky Leaftosser. Night in Ubatuba.


Day 12: Full day of lowland forest birding in Ubatuba. In the morning, we will visit the nice Fazenda Angelim, another good area in which to look for the endemics Buff-throated Purpletuft and Salvadori’s Antwren. Bamboo clumps here contain Spotted Bamboowren, Ochre-rumped and Bertoni’s Antbirds, Uniform Finch, Sooty Grassquit, and the uncommon Temminck’s and Buffy-fronted Seedeaters (depending on seeds for the finches and seedeaters). We can also expect more chances for White-necked Hawk, Spot-backed Antshrike, Rufous-margined and Unicoloured Antwrens, Squamate Antbird, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Slaty Bristlefront, Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant, São Paulo Tyrannulet, Riverbank Warbler, Red-necked Tanager, and many others. In the afternoon, it is time to enjoy the amazing Sitio Folha Seca, with some of the best hummingbird and fruit feeders in the world! We will emjoy a high density of hummers, including the hefty Saw-billed Hermit, Brazilian Ruby, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Black Jacobin, Versicoloured and Glittering-throated Emeralds, White-chinned Sapphire, Black-throated Mango, and the stunning Festive Coquette. In addition, the fruit feeder usually attracts Violaceous and Chestnut-bellied Euphonias, Green-headed, Red-necked, Brazilian, Ruby-crowned, and Azure-shouldered Tanagers, and, with patience, eventually Blond-crested Woodpecker! At dusk, we can try for Black-capped Screech Owl if it is still needed. Night in Ubatuba.


Day 13: Day transfer to Campos do Jordão in the Serra da Mantiqueira. In the early morning, up the hills next to Ubatuba, we will look for Orange-breasted Thornbird, Dusky-tailed Antbird, and Bare-throated Bellbird. By mid-morning, we will arrive at São José dos Campos for the endemic “São Paulo” Marsh Antwren before a two-hour drive to reach the Araucaria-filled montane forest in Campos do Jordão for an afternoon session. Our main target species, the threatened Vinaceous-breasted Amazon, will be coming to roost, so we hope to see them well! This is also a good backup area for Black-capped Piprites, Green-crowned Plovercrest, Rufous-tailed Antthrush, and Black-and-gold Cotinga. The evening includes an attempt for the unpredictable Buff-fronted Owl, with more chances for Rusty-barred Owl and Long-trained Nightjar. Night in Campos do Jordão.


Day 14: Day transfer to the Guaraú, on the coast south of São Paulo. Down the hills in the early morning, we will spend some time birding the rice paddies of Tremembé, an area that gathers many aquatic birds, migrants, and uncommon species. Here, we can look for Comb Duck, Southern and Rosy-billed Pochards, Snail Kite, Pinnated Bittern, Spotted and Plumbeous Rails, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Yellow-rumped Marshbird, Unicoloured Blackbird, Lined and White-bellied Seedeaters, and with luck, even Bearded Tachuri. We will then drive about four hours to reach good lowland forest near Itanhaém. Here, in the coastal zone, we will look for another threatened parrot: the endemic Red-tailed Amazon, which should show up later when going to roost. Other birds to search for in this lowland forest include “Ariel” Channel-billed Toucan, White-necked Hawk, Buff-bellied Puffbird, Unicoloured Antwren, the uncommon Black-headed Berryeater, Azure Jay, Long-billed Wren, and stunning Black-backed Tanager. Night in guesthouse in Guaraú.


Day 15: Morning birding in the lowland forests of Guaraú to search for any remaining targets, also visiting a nearby mangrove site that gives us an excellent chance for the uncommon Little Wood Rail.  Then, we drive from Guaraú up to our last destination, the fantastic and well-known Intervales State Park. Arriving for some late-afternoon birding, the park headquarters offer excellent chances of beauties like Red-and-white Crake, Solitary Tinamou, and Spot-winged Wood Quail (these three desirable species usually appear like clockwork at their respective feeders!), along with chances for Grey-throated Warbling Finch, the rare Black-legged Dacnis, Chestnut-backed Tanager, and Green-chinned Euphonia. Night at Intervales State Park.


Day 16-17: We will have two full days to explore this Atlantic Forest paradise with numerous perfect trails and dirt roads for birding. We should spend plenty of time along the famous Carmo Road and the beautiful Lajeado Trail to maximise our chances of finding our remaining target species, including some rarities like the much-wanted Helmeted Woodpecker. We will hope to see Brown Tinamou, Black-fronted Piping Guan, Purple-crowned Plovercrest, Dusky-throated Hermit, Sooty Swift, Long-trained Nightjar, Long-tufted Screech Owl, Rusty-barred Owl, Mantled Hawk, Black and Ornate Hawk-Eagles, maybe the rare Grey-bellied Hawk, Rufous-capped Motmot, Pavonine Cuckoo, Surucua and Black-throated Trogons, Green-billed Toucan, Saffron and Spot-billed Toucanets, Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Buff-bellied Puffbird, Robust and Yellow-browed Woodpeckers, Blue-bellied and Pileated Parrots, Scalloped Woodcreeper, Araucaria Tit-Spinetail, Grey-bellied Spinetail, Giant and White-bearded Antshrikes, Short-tailed Antthrush, White-breasted Tapaculo, Slaty Bristlefront, Spotted Bamboowren, Atlantic Royal Flycatcher, São Paulo, Oustalet’s, Bay-ringed, Greenish, and Grey-capped Tyrannulets, Brown-breasted Bamboo Tyrant, Southern Bristle Tyrant, Three-striped Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Attila, Russet-winged Spadebill, Sharpbill (one of the best places in the world to see this scarce oddity), Hooded Berryeater, Bare-throated Bellbird, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Cinnamon-vented Piha, Brown, Olive-green, Diademed, and Chestnut-backed Tanagers, Green-chinned Euphonia, Uniform Finch, Temminck’s and Buffy-fronted Seedeaters, and many more! Intervales is a true paradise for birding! Night at Intervales State Park.


Day 18: We will enjoy another whole morning of birding in Intervales on our last day before leaving the park after lunch for dropoff at São Paulo International Airport (GRU), where the tour ends this evening.