Brazil - a week at REGUA - February 1st - 9th 2014

Published by Peter Friedmann (psf AT

Participants: Peter Friedmann, Bridget Friedmann, Leonardo Pimentel


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Red-Cowled Cardinal
Red-Cowled Cardinal
Dusky-legged Guan
Dusky-legged Guan
3-toed Jacamar
3-toed Jacamar
Streamer-tailed tyrant
Streamer-tailed tyrant
Black and White Hawk Eagle
Black and White Hawk Eagle
Chestnut-backed ant shrike
Chestnut-backed ant shrike

We spent a marvellous week at REGUA - the Reserva Ecologica do Guapiasu. We had been allocated a lovely spacious room with a large veranda, facing across the tree tops of the woods around the wetlands, and with the Serra dos Orgaos Hills forming a wonderful backdrop. After settling in we looked around the gardens and were pleased to find many humming bird feeders with swallow-tailed hummers, black Jacobins and glittering–throated emeralds. We ate some meals and all breakfasts in the Guest House (Pousada), but lunches were down in the office/admin block with the volunteers. The food was always a tasty mix of different vegetables, salads and usually a meat, sometimes a pasta or other probably “typical” Brazilian dish. In the evenings before supper at the Pousada, the girls preparing the supper would bring out a large jug of Caipirrinha and we would sit and drink and wind down with whoever was staying and always with Kameliya - a volunteer in the research programmes, assigned to look after us. There were two guides: Adelai with little English and Leonardo, a part-time Vet with excellent English.

Sunday Feb 2nd – Adelai, collected us after a 6 a.m. breakfast to take us on the “Green Trail”. This involved pausing at the bottom of the diveway from the Pousada to check out the common potoo roosting on a dead tree nearly at the admin building gate. We had a 15 minute drive through open savannah and woods to the foot of the trail which led steadily up the hill. The morning was spent walking up the trail seeing many birds in the different flocks that went through. Adelai was very knowledgeable of the bird calls, where one was likely to see particular species and in being able to mimic there calls by whistling. If ever his whistles failed to elicit responses he would play the tape of the song. During the morning we saw 55 species most of which were new for us. There were many varieties of tanager including ruby-crowned, flame-crested, rufous-headed, yellow-backed, green-headed and red-necked tanagers, several antbirds and antwrens, many flycatchers and white-bearded, blue and pin-tailed manakins.

The afternoons were terribly hot (38 – 40 celsius) and we rested and pottered near the house, always having a dip in the nearly tepid swimming pool.

Monday Feb 3rd – Adelai collected us for a 6.30 start to the Val de Nort trail. Again, the drive to the start of the trail was across rather open farm land, fields and lightly wooded slopes. We stopped the car for great views in the early morning sun of a pair of Campo Flickers. As we walked up the hillside track we got good views of Rufous-capped Motmot, a glimpse of black-chested trogon and reasonable views of lesser and olivaceous woodcreepers, yellow-eared woodpecker, black-goggled -tanager, streak-capped and white-flanked ant-wrens, crested becard, cliff-flycatcher, white-eyed foliage gleaner and scale-throated hermit.

Tuesday Feb 4th – We were collected by Leonardo Pimentel, the other professional guide, to go around the lakes and wetlands in the grounds of REGUA. Leo speaks English pretty well which means more enjoyable communications. Like Adelai, he is amazing on the bird songs and identities. We start at dawn by the waters edge and see rufescent tiger heron, black-crowned night heron, capped herons and several others. As we go round the trails his ears and eyes pick up all sorts of things: lemon chested greenlet, eye-ringed tody tyrant, yellow-lored tody flycatcher, long-billed wren, scaled antbird, sooretama slaty antshrike.

Wednesday Feb 5th: very early start for the trip over to Soumidouro. Then a 2.5 hr drive past Carno into very different terrain – hot dry forests and open countryside. A tremendous haul of birds including Blue-winged MacCaws, white-eyed parakeet, white-tailed hawk, Toco Toucan. We climb up thru the backstreets of Carno to a track on which we start with three-toed jacamars – 3 or 4 pairs, surucua trogon, rufous-headed tanager, campo troupial. We then get out into hot dry open scrubland for amazing sightings of firewood gatherers and their nests, streamer-tailed tyrants displaying, red-legged seriemas. We then head up into a bit of National Park in the outskirts of Teresopolis for orange-eyed thornbird, rufous-capped spinetail, gold-chevroned and brassy breasted tanagers – to name but a few.

Thursday Feb 6th: The 4x4 trail - for which we should have been in a 4x4. The way up while it’s cool is pretty productive including burnished buff and white-bellied tanagers, blond-crested woodie, and black-capped foliage gleaner. The way down in the heat was dead quiet and our pre-occupation is more about whether we’ll have the stamina to make it back.

Friday Feb 7th: More of the Green trail with Adelai. The way up is good with spot-billed toucanet (responding to the amazing deep, bark-like call), thrush-like woodcreeper, pin-tailed mannakin, white-throated spadebill. The high point of the walk develops towards the top where we came upon a young black vulture who seemed injured or anyway unable to fly. So the bird hopped and ran ahead of us stopping for rest each time we stopped to look at something. After at least 500metres of this, we reached a spot where the path emerged from the trees into the sunlight. The vulture stood on the open sunny path but we were 10M behind it in the shade. Adelai suddenly pointed out a raptor high in the sky as a black and white hawk eagle. Between him looking down to tell us and our looking up the bird came zooming in at full speed, having seen the vulture and heading for his breakfast. At the last second the raptor saw us and pulled out of the dive to perch in a tree across the clearing. He sat there for a good 5 minutes looking between us and the prey, and allowing some great photography – then he must have thought “OK, I’ll be back” and headed off out into the blue.

In the evening at dusk, Adelai took us off to a meadow a few kilometres away to search for Giant Snipe and Scissor-Tailed Nightjars. After some play-back of the 2 calls of the Giant Snipe – the flight song and the ground song, they suddenly started responding. He was able to localise the sound and we crept towards it. He shone his huge LED searchlight onto a patch of ground 20 feet in front of us and whispered “Look through the binoculars” – and there in the beam was a marvellous giant snipe sitting quietly. We crept slowly forward to within 10 feet, allowing me to get some great photos. Then we moved to another part of the meadow where a wall of tall sedge-like reeds confronted us – he shone the beam over the hedge and we could see several scissor-tailed night jars in flight, beautifully visible in the beam.

Saturday Feb 8th – our last day at REGUA – we pottered about on our own, going down early to the lake side and had a great view of a rather young Rufous-sided crake preening itself in the first rays of the sun, while black-capped donacobius, pied water tyrants, yellow-chinned spinetails, capped herons and many other birds that like water, were all around us. After a relaxing day we packed up in preparation for moving on the next day. Overall a fabulous stay with 215 species of birds in a week.

Special thanks to Nicholas and his wife Raquel for making us so at home and to Kamliya for her quiet but effective organisation.

Species Lists

Dusky-legged Guan [sp]
White-faced Whistling Duck
Black-bellied Whistling Duck [sp]
Muscovy Duck
Brazilian Teal [sp]
Rufescent Tiger Heron [sp]
Black-crowned Night Heron [sp]
South American Striated Heron
Cattle Egret [sp]
Western Cattle Egret [group]
Great Egret [sp]
Capped Heron
Whistling Heron [sp]
Magnificent Frigatebird
Neotropical Cormorant [sp]
Turkey Vulture [sp]
Tropical Turkey Vulture
American Black Vulture
Southern Caracara
Yellow-headed Caracara [sp]
American Kestrel [sp]
Crane Hawk [sp]
Mantled Hawk
Savannah Hawk
Roadside Hawk [sp]
White-tailed Hawk [sp]
Zone-tailed Hawk
Black-and-white Hawk-eagle
Red-legged Seriema
Rufous-sided Crake [sp]
Ash-throated Crake [sp]
Purple Gallinule
Common Moorhen [sp]
Southern Lapwing (Central South America)
Wattled Jacana [sp]
Giant Snipe [sp]
Picazuro Pigeon [sp]
Ruddy Ground Dove [sp]
White-tipped Dove [sp]
Blue-winged Macaw
White-eyed Parakeet [sp]
Maroon-bellied Parakeet [sp]
Squirrel Cuckoo [sp]
Greater Ani
Smooth-billed Ani
Guira Cuckoo
Striped Cuckoo [sp]
Tawny-browed Owl
Burrowing Owl [sp]
Common Potoo [sp]
Pauraque [sp]
Scissor-tailed Nightjar [sp]
White-collared Swift [sp]
Grey-rumped Swift [sp]
Sick's Swift
Saw-billed Hermit
Scale-throated Hermit [sp]
Reddish Hermit [sp]
Swallow-tailed Hummingbird [sp]
Black Jacobin
Frilled Coquette
Glittering-bellied Emerald [sp]
Violet-capped Woodnymph
White-chinned Sapphire [sp]
Sapphire-spangled Emerald [sp]
Surucua Trogon [sp]
Masked Trogon [sp]
Black-throated Trogon [sp]
Rufous-capped Motmot
Spot-billed Toucanet
Channel-billed Toucan [sp]
Toco Toucan [sp]
White-barred Piculet [sp]
Yellow-throated Woodpecker [sp]
Campo Flicker [sp]
Blond-crested Woodpecker [sp]
Three-toed Jacamar
Rufous-tailed Jacamar [sp]
White-eared Puffbird [sp]
Crescent-chested Puffbird [sp]
Pin-tailed Manakin
White-bearded Manakin [group]
Blue Manakin
Chestnut-crowned Becard [sp]
White-winged Becard [sp]
Black-capped Becard [sp]
Crested Becard [sp]
Planalto Tyrannulet [sp]
Yellow-bellied Elaenia [sp]
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet [sp]
Yellow Tyrannulet [sp]
Southern Antpipit
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher [sp]
Sepia-capped Flycatcher [sp]
Eye-ringed Tody-tyrant
Hangnest Tody-tyrant [sp]
Eared Pygmy Tyrant
Grey-headed Tody-flycatcher
Common Tody-flycatcher [sp]
Yellow-olive Flycatcher [sp]
Yellow-breasted Flycatcher [sp]
White-throated Spadebill [sp]
Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher [group]
Cliff Flycatcher [sp]
Euler's Flycatcher [sp]
Lawrence's Flycatcher [group]
Crested Black-tyrant
White-rumped Monjita
Streamer-tailed Tyrant
Masked Water Tyrant [sp]
White-headed Marsh Tyrant
Long-tailed Tyrant [sp]
Cattle Tyrant [sp]
Piratic Flycatcher [sp]
Social Flycatcher [sp]
Great Kiskadee [sp]
Streaked Flycatcher [sp]
Boat-billed Flycatcher [sp]
Variegated Flycatcher [sp]
Tropical Kingbird [sp]
Fork-tailed Flycatcher [sp]
Greyish Mourner [sp]
Dusky-capped Flycatcher [sp]
Swainson's Flycatcher [sp]
Short-crested Flycatcher [sp]
Brown-crested Flycatcher [sp]
Grey-hooded Attila [sp]
Chestnut-backed Antshrike [sp]
Sooretama Slaty Antshrike
Spot-breasted Antvireo
Plain Antvireo [sp]
Star-throated Antwren
White-flanked Antwren [sp]
Unicoloured Antwren
Rufous-winged Antwren [sp]
Serra Antwren [sp]
Scaled Antbird
Streak-capped Antwren
Black-cheeked Gnateater [sp]
Band-tailed Hornero [sp]
Rufous Hornero [sp]
Rufous-capped Spinetail
Yellow-chinned Spinetail [sp]
Rufous-fronted Thornbird [group]
Orange-eyed Thornbird
Black-capped Foliage-gleaner
Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner [sp]
White-eyed Foliage-gleaner [sp]
Plain Xenops [sp]
Streaked Xenops [sp]
Thrush-like Woodcreeper
Olivaceous Woodcreeper [sp]
Lesser Woodcreeper [sp]
Rufous-browed Peppershrike [sp]
Red-eyed Vireo [sp]
Rufous-crowned Greenlet
Grey-eyed Greenlet
Lemon-chested Greenlet [sp]
Curl-crested Jay
Blue-and-white Swallow [sp]
Southern Rough-winged Swallow [sp]
Long-billed Wren [sp]
House Wren [sp]
Chalk-browed Mockingbird [sp]
Rufous-bellied Thrush [sp]
Pale-breasted Thrush [sp]
Creamy-bellied Thrush
House Sparrow [sp]
Tropical Parula [sp]
Golden-crowned Warbler [sp]
Red-rumped Cacique [sp]
Campo Troupial
Chopi Blackbird [sp]
Chestnut-capped Blackbird [sp]
Yellow-rumped Marshbird
Shiny Cowbird [sp]
White-browed Blackbird
Bananaquit [sp]
Saffron Finch [sp]
Blue-black Grassquit [sp]
Lined Seedeater
Yellow-bellied Seedeater [sp]
Double-collared Seedeater [sp]
White-bellied Seedeater [sp]
Sooty Grassquit [sp]
Pileated Finch [sp]
Red-cowled Cardinal
Hooded Tanager [sp]
Olive-green Tanager
Black-goggled Tanager
Flame-crested Tanager [sp]
Ruby-crowned Tanager
Brazilian Tanager [sp]
Sayaca Tanager [sp]
Golden-chevroned Tanager
Palm Tanager [sp]
White-bellied Tanager
Green-headed Tanager
Red-necked Tanager [sp]
Brassy-breasted Tanager
Burnished-buff Tanager [sp]
Swallow-tanager [sp]
Blue Dacnis [sp]
Red-legged Honeycreeper [sp]
Rufous-headed Tanager [sp]
Yellow-backed Tanager [sp]
Chestnut-vented Conebill [sp]
Red-crowned Ant Tanager [sp]
Violaceous Euphonia [sp]
Orange-bellied Euphonia [sp]
Chestnut-bellied Euphonia
Yellow-green Grosbeak [sp]
Buff-throated Saltator [sp]
Green-winged Saltator [sp]