Brazil - Pantanal - The rainy season - February 21-23, 2008

Published by Paulo Boute (pauloboute AT

Participants: Paulo Boute (guide), Ria Defever, Chris Roelen and Chris Denner.


The Pantanal is the largest wetland in the world. Having two very distinct seasons: the rainy season & the dry one. The rainy season is from November to April and the dry season from May to October. Mostly bird reports are written following trips during the dry season. So, we hope this report will give a fuller picture of birding in the Pantanal during the rainy season.

Feb. 21st Arrival at the airport of Cuiaba at 05:30 pm. Transfer to the Piuval Lodge. Sunset was at 06:00 pm, which gave us the chance of seeing a couple of Pauraques. We arrived at the lodge by 07:30 pm. Dinner. Overnight.

Feb. 22nd Early breakfast at 05:30. We had this first meal sitting outside, where it was great to watch the sunrise & hear the morning chorus. This morning we did a very nice bird walk on the back road that takes us to the river. There are lots of birds on the water holes: Jabirus, Great & Snowy Egrets, Plumbeous & Buff-necked Ibis. A funny moment, was when we had three Campo Flickers “blocking” the road. Then, we reached a forest patch – No mosquitoes! Instead, one of the best birds of the morning – a Blue-Crowned Motmot! Then, we had a Buff-throated Woodcreeper and Black-fronted Nunbird. Soon after, we spent the longest time watching a single bird: A Chestnut-eared Aracari – which later had a second one coming by – Both were basking in the sun. Great looks through the LEICA Scope & time for some digital pictures too! Then, our walk produced: White-lored Spinetail, Saffron-billed Sparrow, Planalto Slaty Antshrike and a very cooperative Rufous-tailed Jacamar. (Some people quote it as a cross between a hummingbird & a kingfisher).

At the river edge, we found a lovely family of Southern Screamers and the always present Black-capped Donacobius. We took a boat ride, going up stream, where we had several Straited Herons flying in front of us. Then we stopped on a river edge enjoying the sounds of the birds (lots of Limpkins) & trying to catch a Piranha. We ended up only catching more birds: such a very tame pair of Yellow-billed Cardinals. After that, we returned to our lodge for a pleasant meal & nice siesta, whereupon we had a tropical rain shower. So, when we left for our afternoon car ride, we had very fresh air – no dust or smoke at all. On our way back to the Transpantaneira road we had several Little Blue Herons (adults and young ones) & a male Great Rhea. It was very interesting to bird along the road – Blue-fronted Parrots, Golden-collared & Hyacinth Macaws and our first Yellow-headed Caracara. We also made a stop at the house of a “campesino” where they harvested some cassava( manioc) & prepared for us with some free range chicken…It’s amazing how the local people can be so friendly! Return to the Lodge. Dinner. Check list track. Overnight.

Feb. 23rd. This morning we decided to explore the Pantanal by horses. It was very nice to be able to get so close to the birds: Yellowish Pipit, Wattled Jacana, White-faced + Black-bellied + Muscovy and Brazilian Ducks were everywhere. Then, we went through some forest patch where we had a a Red-billed Scythbill and another Rufuous-tailed Jacamar.

We returned to the lodge by 09:00 AM, and half hour later we were ready for a drive to the National Park of Chapada dos Guimarães. Where we got about noon for a nice meal at a typical restaurant on the village. (During the meal we had a rain shower). Our first stop was as the look out of the Penhasco Lodge. Where we had superb views of the Yellow-ridged Toucan – Possibly celebrating the end of the rain…Then, we went to Bridal’s veil, but a few minutes after leaving the village we had one of the best highlights of the trip: 6 (Six!) Red-and-Green Macaws drying themselves on a high branch right along the road. It was my largest flock ever for such birds in such situation – we had very long looks through the scope – On this “Wet and Wild” creatures. Then, we went for the Bridal’s veil, were we had a Swallow Flycatcher and a pair of Blue-winged Macaw flying in circles, offering great looks. Since we planned to avoid driving at night time we took the road back to Cuiaba. It was a nice & smooth drive watching the sunset. We arrived safely at the Hotel Diplomata , near the airport, where the next morning the clients took an early flight.