South-east Brazil - May 31st – June 14th 2005

Published by Ian Hodgson and John van der Dol (serradostucanos AT

Participants: John Beugg, John Van der Dol, Keith Ellis, Ian Hodgson, Paul Howe, Jim Law, Clive Moore, Trevor Morgan, Alan & Sandy Roman, Sheila Seed and Chris Solly


From the wooded basin long narrow strips of forest ran out in various directions like the arms of an octopus, one pair embracing the slopes of Ytaioa, another much broader belt extending along a valley which cut through the ridge of hills on the south side at right angles, and was lost to sight beyond: far away in the west and south and north distant mountains appeared, not in regular ranges, but in groups or singly, or looking like blue banked-up clouds on the horizon.

W.H.Hudson, Green Mansions.

May 31st Our trip began eventfully, not least of all in the case, literally, of Robert Clark. Robert had taken the trouble to be born in Australia in order to avoid ever meeting us, but as he supped a doubtless very pleasant cup of coffee, his luggage was appropriated by yours truly and taken to be checked in for Rio, quite probably not what he had in mind. Fortunately it was realised that a lonely-looking trolley that remained at check-in as we were leaving should not, after all, have been removed from its position outside the coffee shop upstairs. Having got ourselves on the correct flight, despite Air France’s efforts to send us off an hour later than booked, we left Heathrow and a relieved and remarkably philosophical Robert and departed for Paris, settling down just 40 minutes later. It was past midnight as we climbed into the night sky once again, with Paris glittering below, and after a 10½ hour flight we landed soon after dawn and stepped out into a bright early Rio morning, where we piled into a waiting van with some relief. It had been a good flight, including a pleasant vegetable risotto, a passable Syrah and some Camembert, and most of us (including those who never sleep on planes, ever) slept pretty well. All this helped to quell the disappointment of being unable to avail ourselves of the ‘curried currency’, advertised on the immigration form.

Heading north from the airport along roads and flyovers intertwined like spaghetti, it was obvious that this was no Third World country. Patches of open grass with Southern Lapwings and Cattle Tyrants helped to relieve the urban harshness, somehow made a good deal worse by the faces grinning impossibly from roadside hoardings. Crossing Rio harbour along the long arm of its spectacular road bridge brought flocks of frigatebirds and herons, a Snowy-crowned Tern and two South American Terns, but the bright, open view reverted to a jumbled, rusting corrugated shoreline of shipyards, a naval base and a fishing harbour, with great tankers lying inert offshore, followed by half-finished, shambolic suburbs, with little concession to style or grace. Although trees now dotted the open spaces in between the dwellings it was some time before the graffiti-clad buildings began to mix and soften with any permanence into the gentler countryside beyond, where patient horses ambled through patches of tall grass and sugar cane in carelessly erected enclosures.

The countryside took on a totally different feel as we turned away from the coast and headed inland. Here was open farmland, well-appointed ranching country; serious farming with none of the opportunistic impermanent feel of the coastal strip. The land steadily became hillier as we passed through patches of early morning mist and the rugged outline of Tres Picos NP came into view beyond Cachoeiras de Macacu, the last settlement before our destination, with a more than slight Pyrenean feel to its broad streets in the bright morning light. We came upon the lodge suddenly, passing through its wrought-iron gates, down a slope and across a river bridge to the façade that was familiar to us from our pre-trip drooling over the Serra dos Tucanos website.

After a warm greeting from Andy and Cristina, our hosts for the next two weeks, we set up ‘scopes to watch the comings and goings of tanagers and hummingbirds at the bananas and hanging feeders across the lawn from our vantage point on the patio, with the occasional feeding flock passing through the trees above the lodge creating an interesting and sometimes confusing diversion. For some of us, this was a first visit to South America, but even for those who had been before, the birds we were dealing with were clearly different to those we had met before, though at least the families were better known. Some birds became quickly familiar: Masked Water-tyrant, dashing for insects over the lawn, Bananaquit, ever-present at the feeders, and Yellow-lored Tody-flycatcher, a clean-cut yellow and black flycatcher that greeted us every morning of our stay. Amid coffee, a lunch that should have warned us of the enthusiasm of the lodge’s catering staff, and much chatter, the afternoon passed all too quickly and dusk crept over us, with fireflies dancing in the darkness, not long after 5.30.

HIGHLIGHTS; Magnificent Frigatebird, Cocoi Heron, Black Hawk-eagle, Southern Lapwing, South American Tern, Snowy-crowned Tern, Ruddy Ground-dove, Plain Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Guira Cuckoo, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Saw-billed Hermit, Sombre Hummingbird, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Brazilian Ruby, White-barred Piculet, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Streak-capped Antwren, Sepia-capped Flycatcher, Grey-capped Tyrannulet, Yellow-lored Tody-flycatcher, Masked Water-tyrant, Cattle Tyrant, Great Kiskadee, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Social Flycatcher, Tropical kingbird, Chestnut-crowned Becard, Grey-breasted Martin, Blue-and-White Swallow, Southern rough-winged Swallow, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Rufous-bellied Thrush, Masked Yellowthroat, Bananaquit, Yellow-backed Tanager, Flame-crested Tanager, Ruby-crowned Tanager, Brazilian Tanager, Sayaca Tanager, Golden-chevroned Tanager, Palm Tanager, Violaceous Euphonia, Orange-bellied Euphonia, Green-headed Tanager, Red-necked Tanager, Burnished-buff Tanager, Blue Dacnis, Green Honeycreeper, Buff-throated Saltator, Crested Oropendola.

June 1st Andy had not recovered from a mystery affliction that had left him exhausted, so we faced the prospect of a day on the trails around the lodge, armed only with his recently-published field guide and the usual impressive reserves of enthusiasm. Undaunted, like school kids let loose in a sweetshop, but with no restriction on the number allowed into the shop at any one time, we set off up the hill, adding Bat Falcon, Southern Caracara and a huge swarm of swifts overhead before we were swallowed up by the forest.

The useful thing about The Hitch-hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is that it has the words DON’T PANIC! printed in large friendly letters on the cover. It occurred to us that all field guides to South America might benefit from such a simple attribute, as we agonised over foliage-gleaners, antwrens that looked nothing like the depictions in the book, woodcreepers that all looked brown and streaky, grovelling ground-dwelling things that refused to show at all and patches of vegetation that failed to look anything like the directions (if we were lucky) that were being pointed out by whoever had found a ‘what’s this thing?’ that sounded hugely interesting if only we could see it.

However, in the nature of these things, we gradually settled into the required mental state to cope with this sort of birding - partly meditative, partly philosophical and wholly engrossed in the merest movement. By the end of the day we had amassed an impressive list that included a superb female Giant Antshrike that hove into view in the scrub opposite as we sat on the patio, several species of furnarid, some confusing flycatchers, a couple of marmosets for the lucky few and a growing familiarity with the birds we were likely to encounter. All by ourselves!

Although the sun shone through a few times, today was largely cloudy, though it rained only very late in the afternoon, and then only briefly. The lodge is situated at 400m, and is thus cooler than the coast, warm and humid by day after a cool night, necessitating a sheet and blanket for sleeping.

Not for the first time on the trip, we retired, with the emphasis on the tired, after a hearty evening meal (and a hearty lunch and a not-exactly minimal breakfast) well pleased with our efforts.

HIGHLIGHTS: Crested (Southern) Caracara, Bat Falcon, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Squirrel Cuckoo, Spot-billed Toucanet, Sharp-billed Treehunter, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, Black-capped Foliage-gleaner, Scaled Woodcreeper, Lesser Woodcreeper, Giant Antshrike, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Plain Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Tropical Pewee, Pale-breasted Thrush, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia

June 2nd Up at 6am for morning exercise, fags, coffee and another excellent breakfast, depending upon individual preference, a still ailing Andy drove us a short way up the hill to the start of the CEDAE Trail, a broad access track created by the local water company that starts at 600m altitude. A chilly wind blew up the valley and we willed the sun to come up as we walked along in the shadow of the high forest-clad hills above us. Activity gained pace very soon after it did so and in welcome warmth we added Surucua Trogon, Black-goggled Tanager and White-eyed Foliage-gleaner as we followed the river down the slope. Feeding flocks were frequently seen moving up or down the trail, but the most spectacular of all swarmed above us where the river crosses the trail near the house where the dog and cat live. You know the one. This single flock consisted mostly of Olive-green Tanagers, but also contained Black-tailed Tityra, Sharpbill and Flame-crested and Rufous-headed Tanagers, with Red-crowned Ant-tanagers in the forest below. Undoubtedly, though, the most impressive bird of the morning was a White-throated Woodcreeper that was thrashing a substantial bromeliad half to bits in a successful attempt to extract a centipede for its breakfast, no doubt amongst other things, but that’s probably enough woodcreepery culinary detail to be going on with.

Returning to the lodge for another Bacchanalian lunch, we headed out on the loop trail over the hillside opposite, and the dead-end trail to the west. Initially very quiet, with only a spadebill for some of the party, we eventually added Spot-backed Antshrike, devouring a large beetle on the forest floor and a female Black-cheeked Gnateater before heading back to the lodge, where we found Andy had returned from hospital having been placed on a drip for a couple of hours, still clearly finding things hard going but hoping to be fit for the following day. We whiled away the time either side of our evening meal looking at Jupiter and its moons, looking forward to spreading our wings.

HIGHLIGHTS: Black Jacobin, Surucua Trogon, Blonde-crested Woodpecker, Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner, White-eyed Foliage-gleaner, White-throated Woodcreeper, Spot-backed Antshrike, Blue Manakin, Oustalet’s Tyrannulet, Whiskered Flycatcher, Cliff Flycatcher, Grey-hooded Attila, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Black-tailed Tityra, Sharpbill, Yellow-legged Thrush, Creamy-bellied Thrush, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Golden-crowned Warbler, Rufous-headed Tanager, Olive-green Tanager, Black-goggled Tanager, Red-crowned Ant-tanager

June 3rd The morning saw Andy fit enough to take us on the lengthy drive beyond Nova Friburgo, settled by German and Swiss immigrants 380 years ago, and northward to a site for the very rare and local endemic Three-toed Jacamar. Passing the roadside Cliff Flycatchers and the entrance to the CEDAE Trail once again, we continued up the forested hill and past several eye catching advertising hoardings, the significance of which became clearer as we dropped down into the metropolis of Nova Friburgo, the outskirts of which featured a plethora of lingerie shops, apparently famous the world over. Well, famous enough to warrant generous comment every time we passed them, anyway.

Attracting little interest from its quarter of a million inhabitants as we drove through Nova Friburgo’s urban sprawl, we raised our profile somewhat by stopping briefly at a road bridge in the intriguingly named township of Conselheiro Paulino for a party of three Blue-winged Macaws, with Long-tailed Tyrant, Saffron Finch and Southern Beardless Tyrannulet also in view by the road. Although the open ranching country to the north hardly looked very promising, bare grass with a small pond and some scattered trees produced a host of new birds, including Yellow-browed Tyrant, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, White-tailed Hawk, White-rumped Monjita, Shiny Cowbird, Yellow-headed Caracara, Brown-chested Martin, Campo Flicker, Streamer-tailed Tyrant and Rufous and Tail-banded Horneros.

Not very much further on, having found Savannah Hawk, Yellow-eared Woodpecker and Magpie Tanager along more wooded portions of the same road, we stopped where it wound through wet, rank grassy fields with a lightly forested hillside above us and a huge granite buttress that loomed over the opposite side of the valley. This interlude, initially to look at a party of scruffy-headed Guira Cuckoos, produced another rush of new species in the line of trees close to us – Hepatic, Turquoise, Burnished-buff and Hooded Tanagers, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper and Chivvi Vireo – and it was some relief to pile into a bar in the neat little town of Duas Barras for a strong coffee, to catch our breath if nothing else.

The rolling hillsides and rough agriculture beyond Duas Barras continued to produce new birds whenever we stopped, with Common Thornbird, Orange-headed Tanager, Double-collared Seedeater, Blue-winged Parrotlet and White Woodpecker at an innocuous-looking patch of trees adjacent to a small allotment, a small party of White-rumped Swallows and then a Red-legged Seriema as we screeched to a halt to watch this bizarre bird strutting about on the grassy slope above, doing its best to emulate the elegant Secretarybird of similar situations in Africa.

After a party of Black-capped Donacobius at a wet valley floor, our luck continued as we stopped to take a break for lunch. Each of our stops thus far had immediately produced a rush of new birds and this was no different, as a large flock of Gilt-edged Tanagers flowed through the trees above us, accompanied by Bran-coloured Flycatcher, Scaled Woodcreeper, Green-winged Saltator, Planalto Tyrannulet and a Green-backed Becard, with a White-necked Hawk overhead and a Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper calling noisily from a tiny overgrown stream trickling from the forest edge into a field of rank grass by the roadside.

Beyond Sumidouro, with not a Japanese wrestler in sight, we stopped at a series of roadside allotments with pools and a river running through a broad valley floor, where Brazilian Teal, White-headed Marsh-tyrant, Giant Cowbird, White-eyed Parakeet and Planalto Hermit were all new, and a couple of superb Whistling Herons stood in a wet field a little further on.

We turned on to a subsidiary road through stands of tall vegetation that narrowed the road almost to single file dimensions as we wound our way uphill, eventually coming to a halt on a bend around a steep gully beneath high trees that recalled the Manu Road from Cusco over the Peruvian Andes. Though our quarry failed to show immediately, we did manage to identify Biscutate Swift (even if we had no idea what it means) and Black-chested Buzzard-eagle as we waited until, in response to Andy’s tape, one called from the ridge above us.

The Three-toed Jacamar is not the most beautiful bird in the world, and it isn’t even the most attractive of the jacamars, but it is undoubtedly one of the world’s rarest, and for that reason alone it was good to watch it perform, even though the appreciation of a bunch of committed birdwatchers was unlikely to have been of much consequence to its immediate, uncertain future. Perhaps it was the melancholy nature of this thought that encouraged us to sleep through most of the journey back to the lodge, even those who never sleep on planes, ever. Those who remained awake had the pleasure of seeing the Brazilian version of the game much loved by continentals – The First To Turn His Lights On Is Chicken!

Again, it had been a really good day, during which we had seen 101 species. Andy had proved his worth as a very good guide (if he needed to) and we took this as a reasonable reason to celebrate with a passable level of alcoholic intake that ensured a very good night’s sleep.

HIGHLIGHTS: Whistling Heron, Brazilian Teal, White-necked Hawk, Savannah Hawk, Black-chested Buzzard-eagle, White-tailed Hawk, Yellow-headed Caracara, American Kestrel, Red-legged Seriema, Picazuro Pigeon, Blue-winged Macaw, White-eyed Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Biscutate Swift, Planalto Hermit, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Three-toed Jacamar, White Woodpecker, Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Campo Flicker, Tail-banded Hornero, Rufous Hornero, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Common Thornbird, Streaked Xenops, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, Planalto Tyrannulet, Bran-coloured Flycatcher, White-rumped Monjita, White-headed Marsh-tyrant, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, long-tailed Tyrant, Green-backed Becard, Brown-chested Martin, White-rumped Swallow, Black-capped Donacobius, Chivvi (Red-eyed) Vireo, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Magpie Tanager, Orange-headed Tanager, Hood Tanager, Hepatic Tanager, Turquoise Tanager, Gilt-edge Tanager, Saffron Finch, Green-winged Saltator, Shiny Cowbird, Giant Cowbird

June 4th Intent upon a day at high altitude, we drove to pine and eucalyptus-clad hillsides at around 1400m near Olaria, negotiating steep block-paved roads that had become slippery in the early morning drizzle, a factor that brought us to a stop by a roadside garden at the edge of the forest. The red flowers of its tomato tree, some hanging red bell-shaped flowers and an avocado tree made the garden a magnet for birds and we spent some time watching the comings and goings of a series of thrushes and tanagers that included Chestnut-headed, Brassy-breasted and Cinnamon Tanagers, together with Olivaceous Elaenia.

Tearing ourselves away from the garden, which was clearly also a magnet for birdwatchers, we added Pallid Spinetail in the tangled understorey beneath the eucalyptus and Grey-headed Kite above us, before entering more open countryside along the side of a hill that alternated with patches of scrub and forest. Swallow-tailed Cotingas and Shear-tailed Grey Tyrants perched on the tops of trees on the hillside opposite and we added Mottled Tyrannulet, Green-barred Woodpecker, Tropical Parula, Hooded Siskin, Velvety Black-Tyrant and White-throated Hummingbird in roadside vegetation as we continued steadily upward.

The next landmark was a lovely pink-flowered cherry that was crammed with hummingbirds and, initially, some Bay-chested Warbling-Finches. We lingered in this spot for two hours, with Plovercrest, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby and Glittering-bellied Emeralds speeding about amid the flowers and Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Dusky-tailed Antbird, Variable Antshrike, Rufous-capped Spinetail and a lovely Ochre-faced Tody-flycatcher in the low bracken-fringed scrub by the red-dusty trail, which also held a skulking Red-eyed Thornbird that responded furtively to Andy’s tape. After finding a Fawn-breasted Tanager in the forest above the road, we moved on as the trail wound beneath one of the great, dark granite outcrops speckled with huge bromeliads, the afternoon becoming steadily warmer and more sultry. Here the forest came closer and we took fairly good views of three Black and Gold Cotingas calling from the trees across the valley and Blue-billed Black-Tyrant, White-rimmed Warbler and White-winged Becard as we passed from open views into an archway of forest.

We had made good but slow progress, seeing so much that was new, and now we headed back, with grey clouds promising rain that came in steady but fairly brief bursts. A flock of swifts, too distant to identify, circled the dark granite outcrop like a swirl of insects, but we had one more grand surprise – at the top of the welcome descent through the more open part of trail, two Diademed Tanagers performed superbly for us in a couple of isolated trees by a small enclosure.

Satisfied with our good fortune, we scuttled on through the diminishing rain and arrived back at the lodge in time for a quick shower and a well-deserved evening meal, which we ravaged with the intensity of White-throated Woodcreepers, having been confined to a mere packed lunch in the middle of the day!

HIGHLIGHTS: Grey-headed Kite, Plovercrest, Glittering-bellied Emerald, White-throated Hummingbird, Pallid Spinetail, Green-barred Woodpecker, Red-eyed Thornbird, Variable Antshrike, Dusky-tailed Antbird, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Black-and-Gold Cotinga, Olivaceous Elaenia, Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet, Ochre-faced Tody-flycatcher, Blue-billed Black-Tyrant, Velvety Black-Tyrant, Shear-tailed Grey Tyrant, White-winged Becard, Hooded Siskin, Tropical Parula, White-rimmed Warbler, Cinnamon Tanager, Chestnut-headed Tanager, Diademed Tanager, Fawn-breasted Tanager, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Bay-chested Warbling-Finch

June 5th Funchal is about 45 minutes from the lodge, beyond Cachoeiras de Macacu to the south, and we turned off the main road here, stopping in bright sunshine at a pool in open farmland that produced our first Wattled Jacanas, with Yellowish Pipit, Campo Flicker and a couple of Burrowing Owls on the hillside above. After Least Grebe at another set of pools and an obliging Chestnut-backed Antshrike in a thin band of trees that lined the road beside some allotments and ploughed enclosures, we moved on to our intended destination: a wetland reserve adjacent to a remnant patch of lowland forest, a habitat that has been decimated in the past.

A couple of Crane Hawks drifted over above the trees and a Red-rumped Cacique squawked into view as we approached, then we rather guiltily disturbed a few Capped Herons and Black-crowned Night-Herons from the large weed-fringed pool that nestles beneath a circling amphitheatre of forest. Its outlying fingers of scrub produced excellent views of a tail-wagging Sooretama Antshrike, though we were not to discover its evident identity until returning to the lodge and getting out The Big Book, as volumes of HBW came to be known. Despite the wetland, it is the forest that holds most interest, and we were soon swallowed up by its narrow, puddled trails, along which we found White-bearded Manakin and Plain Xenops, had fabulous views of a beautiful Long-billed Wren and good views of the rather less striking Unicoloured Antwren. We voraciously devoured our first experiences of White-flanked Antwren, Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant and Rufous-tailed Jacamar before returning to the lodge to give the same treatment to another fulsome lunch, interrupting the return journey for our first Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture and a swirling flock of White-collared and Biscutate Swifts, low enough over the road to compare tail shapes.

Following lunch, which was disturbed by a feeding flock of furnarids that passed through the trees above the roof, including a Southern Bristle-Tyrant, subsequent patio birding turned up our only Swallow-Tanagers of the trip. A late afternoon walk along the lodge trails produced Black-throated Grosbeak, Tawny-throated Leaftosser and fabulous views of a Scaled Antbird, all of which took our total for the trip thus far to 214 species.

HIGHLIGHTS: Least Grebe, Capped Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Crane Hawk, Wattled Jacana, Burrowing Owl, White-collared Swift, Amazon Kingfisher, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Plain Xenops, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Thrush-like Woodcreeper, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Sooretama Slaty Antshrike, White-flanked Antwren, Unicoloured Antwren, Scaled Antbird, White-bearded Manakin, Southern Bristle-Tyrant, Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant, Black-tailed Flycatcher, Yellowish Pipit, Long-billed Wren, Swallow-Tanager, Black-throated Grosbeak, Red-rumped Cacique

June 6th Up the hill again, we turned back on ourselves at the top behind a police checkpoint and on to the Theodoro Trail. Originally the route of the Nova Friburgo - Cachoeiras de Macacu railway it next became a road that followed the same course, but both attempts at traversing the intervening terrain would have had to negotiate forested hillsides that featured a couple of huge landslides, not the best recommendation for safe travel by either means. Today the road is visible in only a few places and evidence of the old railway is even scarcer, with the forest having crept inexorably closer on both sides.

The most memorable birding involved a huge wave of 60-70 Brassy-breasted Tanagers, admixed with Variable Antshrikes, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Streaked Xenops and Buff-browed, Buff-fronted and White-browed Foliage-gleaners. Grey-capped Tyrannulet, a male Surucua Trogon, brief views, for most of us, of Azure-shouldered Tanager and Plumbeous Pigeon followed as we attempted to tape in a Variegated Antpitta, and although one was calling close by and somehow circling us, we never glimpsed the little horror. Getting the message that we could probably wait all night, we turned back, finding a Solitary Tinamou (for those at the front only), Green-winged Saltator, Grey-hooded Flycatcher and Grey-rumped Swifts as we returned to the van, while Chris, bringing up the rear, found our only White-necked Thrush of the trip, news of which was greeted happily, no joyously, by us all, accompanied by clashing cymbals and happy thrush-finding songs. Actually, the truth was that we tried to convince him that it only occurs below 50m in altitude and was likely to have been a thrush whose name was concocted from a roadside hoarding advertising gin, or something. Not very edifying, but fun, and we did get better, admitting our jolly ruse at the evening log, to the further amusement of all.

We took a different road through Nova Friburgo, up the hill towards Macae de Cima, along which some expensive-looking and decidedly Germanic properties had been built. Stopping at a stand of bamboo, we found a female Bertoni’s Antbird, then a White-bearded Antshrike, a bird that Andy had seen only once before in six years, while two Bare-throated Bellbirds called nearby with a rather truncated version of the metallic, echoing ‘ongg’ of their Costa Rican counterparts.

The recent rain made parts of the rest of the road difficult to negotiate and it was hardly surprising that we eventually failed to cope with the slick glue-like mud on an uphill bend through the forest that had claimed a turf lorry that lay forlornly by the road, so we decided to cut our losses, park the van and take lunch before wandering on. In truth, the post lunch session was rather quiet, although we did find a few Scale-throated Hermits, had good views of Rufous Gnateater, a much appreciated Zone-tailed Hawk and a star find; a Tiny Hawk circling over the forest before diving back in to resume its secretive existence.

Returning to the Theodoro Trail at 3.30 we found it to be very quiet, but were rewarded, if that is the right word, by a solution to the antpitta mystery as the little sod flew over our heads across the path and into the gloom of the forest, apparently having launched itself off the bank above us, no doubt after watching us, unseen, for a suitable length of time. However, the walk back did produce fantastic views of a pair of Black-throated Trogons, our best looks at a Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper and a Yellow-eared Woodpecker.

HIGHLIGHTS: Solitary Tinamou, Tiny Hawk, Zone-tailed Hawk, Plumbeous Pigeon, Pileated Parrot, Grey-rumped Swift, Scale-throated Hermit, Black-throated Trogon, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, White-browed Foliage-gleaner, White-bearded Antshrike, Bertoni’s Antbird, Rufous Gnateater, Bare-throated Bellbird, Grey-hooded Flycatcher, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, Yellow-olive Flycatcher, White-necked Thrush, Azure-shouldered Tanager

June 7th We spent our morning along the CEDAE Trail, in calmer conditions than five days ago, though it was chilly before the sun rose over the valley sides. Our first birds included a party of five parrots that were mainly green with yellow faces with a dark streak through the eye and yellow-washed flanks, which deliberations over the parrot books at our disposal back at the lodge revealed to be Yellow-faced Amazons, which have been heard in the area but never previously been pinned down successfully.

So, a pretty good start, that continued with at least one, possibly two Channel-billed Toucans flying across the valley and back again, a female Pin-tailed Manakin and a Rufous-capped Motmot that flew into the trees above the broad trail but almost immediately off again and into the forest. Andy then successfully taped in a male Rufous-capped Antthrush, scuttling about, tail cocked, on the forest floor, with a Mantled Hawk circling high above the forest. As on our previous visit, the trees near the house where the dog and cat live attracted a large feeding flock that comprised Flame-crested, Yellow-backed, Rufous-headed, Red-necked and Green-headed Tanagers, 6-7 Sharpbills, Streaked Xenops, Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaners and Chestnut-capped Becards, joined by a bunch of Olive-green Tanagers towing along a Grey-capped Tyrannulet or two. A Black Hawk-Eagle later and we headed back to the lodge for lunch.

Not everyone chose to wander the trails above the lodge after lunch, and this seemed to have been a pretty good idea on a quiet afternoon. However, those who had done so found a roosting Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, its whereabouts betrayed by a host of enraged tanagers, and which stayed in situ for everyone to have excellent views. Although today had been a fairly quiet day, we had now seen 238 species on the trip so far, with the promise of a lot more on the coast next day.

HIGHLIGHTS: Mantled Hawk, Yellow-faced Amazon, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Rufous-capped Motmot, Channel-billed Toucan, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Pin-tailed Manakin

June 8th Our day on the coast NE of Rio began with Ringed and Green Kingfishers and three Swallow-tailed Hummingbirds en route to a patch of lowland forest in the grounds of a plush-looking hotel along the road to Saquarema that Andy obtained permission for us to visit from a rather bemused owner. The forest, that is, not the hotel, which we would probably have found more difficult to persuade ourselves into, given the state of some of us!

After Plain-breasted Ground-Doves near the hotel entrance the approach to the forest along a narrow corridor of cultivation was excellent, with Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Short-crested Flycatcher, Plain Becard and Sooretama Antshrike all vying for our attention at the forest edge more or less at once. The forest itself produced Minute Hermit at a banana flower, eventual views of Rufous-winged Antwren, two female White-bearded Manakins and Hooded Tanager and good numbers of Unicoloured and White-flanked Antwrens.
Nearing the coast, we made several stops at a series of saltpans which, by and large, were notable for their lack of birds, although we did find a Solitary Sandpiper living up to its name on one of them and Least Tern, Cayenne Tern, Yellowish Pipit and Little Blue Heron at another. A brief seawatch really brought things to life, producing several Brown Boobies, a procession of Cayenne and South American Terns, with one Sandwich following the same line along the coast, and brief views of a cetacean some way offshore.

At this point we were close to some sandy dunes covered with low, berry-bearing shrubs and tall cactus that stretched along the shore and we walked into our first experience of Restinga, a habitat that is disappearing quickly as developers have their way. However, the bit we entered was marked as a reserve, a fact that was soon forgotten when we began to be marked by some voracious mosquitoes that had their evil way with us more or less without interruption as we looked at two very close Restinga Antwrens in the buckthorn-like vegetation. The open areas beyond the scrub were at least free of these pestilential little critters and, as an added bonus, held some birds, with Roseate Spoonbill, White-cheeked Pintail, Collared Plover and Striated Heron at some undisturbed pools and a singing White-browed Blackbird – an Icterid in the way of these things, not a thrush – and Grassland Sparrow as we left to return through mosquitoville to the bus, and back to the lodge, now 2½ hours and a good sleep away, even for those who never sleep on planes, ever.

Today had been hot and sunny, prompting comment that the coast must be more or less unbearable in the full heat of summer.

HIGHLIGHTS: Brown Booby, Striated Heron, Little Blue Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, White-cheeked Pintail, Collared Plover, Greater Yellowlegs, Solitary Sandpiper, Sandwich (including ‘Cayenne’) Tern, Least Tern, South American Tern, Plain-breasted Ground-dove, Minute Hermit, Ringed Kingfisher, Green Kingfisher, Rufous-winged Antwren, Restinga Antwren, Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Short-crested Flycatcher, Plain Becard, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Grassland Sparrow, White-browed Blackbird

June 9th Our first stop on a bright morning was at a series of fishponds near Maraporã, with low mist over lush cobweb-spun fields of rushes and early dew creating a magical feel to the world as we pored over our first Limpkins of the trip. Then, we took the road into Parque Nacional Serra dos Orgaos, stopping near the park HQ before moving on down a broad road at about 500m altitude and then taking to two other trails at around 1000m and 1100m, the second of which contained a significant amount of bamboo.

Beneath spectacular dark peaks, arranged like loaves of bread on a shelf above the forest, we located Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Lesser Woodcreeper and Mantled Hawk before making it beyond the car park. The walk downhill along the reserve access road added Yellow-legged Thrush, Rufous-capped Motmot and Red-crowned Ant-tanager, both of which gave views to more or less everyone, though birding was relatively slow and it was not until we had climbed back up the hill and were close to the car park that we found several Purple-throated Euphonias in a loose flock in the trees above, our first of the trip.

The first trail, a narrow, undulating affair, was initially also quite slow, though we did bump into a small party of Brown Howler Monkeys and a Tufted-ear Marmoset on our way up the slope, with not much else of great significance to show for our efforts until Andy taped in a superb, chunky Hooded Berryeater, which circled us repeatedly, giving everyone marvellous views. Moving on, he next located the call of a White-bibbed Antbird, very close to the track, though views for just about all of us involved little more than a tantalising dose of grovelling, mostly by the bird, as it moved parallel to us just below the trail. However, as we moved away, Cristina called us quietly back to see the bird jumping about in full view at the edge of the path. No matter how much time you put into places like this, such good views of these enigmatic birds are hard to come by, and this one, a superb mixture of black, white and brown arranged in just the right patterns and quantities would have delighted all but the most jaded observer. For most of us, it proved to be the bird of the trip and, speaking personally, if I had realised when leaving school in 1969 that one day I would be looking down on Teresopolis in SE Brazil, eating crisps dipped in mayonnaise and luxuriating in just having seen such a lovely bird, I think I would have quite looked forward to it.

We drove a little higher to another trail, where we found a Scale-throated Hermit and had wonderful views of a Mantled Hawk, perched on a bush against the dark crags above us, before moving off into the forest again on Sheila’s rocket-powered heels, to find a pair of Bertoni’s Antbirds, our third Black-throated Trogon of the day and a Brazilian Antthrush that responded far more generously to the tape than its Rufous-capped cousin had done. That was almost it, though a Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper was found amid water cascading down an open culvert near the van, apparently oblivious to our presence as it nibbled away at insects in the moss-clad gully.

Traffic was held up at some traffic lights at road works down the hill and the reaction of the drivers when they turned green was astonishing, the take-off resembling the start of a Grand Prix, with cars vying for position in three or four lines of traffic that converged at speed on the open side of the road. What was almost as amazing was that once everyone had passed this brief obstruction, everything returned to its normal state of relatively patient, horn-free progress down the hill.

HIGHLIGHTS: Limpkin, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, White-bibbed Antbird, Brazilian Antthrush, Hooded Berryeater, Purple-throated Euphonia

June 10th It would not be unreasonable to say that much of our walk down the Theodoro Trail – the old railway line from Nova Friburgo that we visited four days ago – was cold and not very productive. Apart from a substantial flock of White-eyed Foliage-gleaners with several Streaked Xenops, another Brazilian Antthrush, a party of Azure-shouldered Tanagers and a Green-barred Woodpecker, it was not until we reached an arm of the valley with two or three calling Bare-throated Bellbirds that we were able to stand in some sunshine, basking thankfully in its heat like lizards on a rock. A White-throated Spadebill showed well for most of the group for the first time on the trip and a Brown Tinamou dashed from the path as a special treat for the lucky couple at the front. Otherwise, the Variegated Antpitta performed its trickery, flying across the trail like a dumpy rugby ball as most backs were turned, and it remained largely quiet except for a large, straggling flock of Brassy-breasted Tanagers that poured through the trees, accompanied by White-browed and Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaners, Streaked Xenops, Plain Antvireo and Streak-capped Antwrens, with at least one White-throated Woodcreeper making a horrifying racket in its attempt to hack a tree or something to bits.

We all needed a rest, it seemed, so we spent the remainder of the day chilling out by the pool or along the lodge trails, which proved to be very quiet. Perhaps this reflected the mood of the day, during which we had added only one species to our list, to bring our total thus far to 269, but it was more likely that we could see the likely outcome of our planned visit to a German pub with Andy and Cristina later in the evening. Indeed, we piled back into the lodge at about half past midnight, well fed and watered after a thoroughly enjoyable meal in Mury, on the outskirts of Nova Friburgo. We certainly did not hold back, and the cost of $40 each was very good value.

HIGHLIGHTS: Brown Tinamou, White-throated Spadebill

June 11th Clive started our day splendidly, finding two Blue-naped Chlorophonias at the bananas, and we left the lodge, heading for the high altitude trail again, in bright sunshine. However, as we climbed the hill towards Nova Friburgo, low cloud shrouded the top of the ridge overhead and it was plain that we would have to change our plans and trust that the following day would be better up there.

So, beyond Nova Friburgo, we headed for Sumidouro along the longest block-paved road away from the Great Wall of China, stopping after an hour in some wooded hills with bamboo and bracken-clad slopes. We saw very few birds here in intermittent light drizzle, and although our next stop, at some roadside scrub with a few trees, produced a Ferruginous Antbird, it grovelled unhelpfully for most of us. It was not until our third stop, at a series of greenhouses built for flower growing, that the pace began to speed up appreciably, with Blue-black Grassquit and Creamy-bellied Thrushes, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird and Short crested Flycatcher in a sparse garden by the road. A brief stop at the moist valley where we took lunch on our previous visit produced excellent views of Spix’s Spinetail and a Dusky-legged Guan, cavorting in the trees on the forest edge opposite.

By now it was late morning and in brightening conditions we headed out into open country, continuing beyond Sumidouro to the jacamar site. After Crested Black-Tyrant at a farm entrance we stopped at a series of pools by the roadside, where Andy showed us a Firewood-gatherer at its disorderly nest, a collection of sticks shoved into a sort of nest shape that presumably does what it is supposed to, and a Blackish Rail was spotted as it made a dash for the less exposed shelter of a nearby hedge, not that we could see it where it had been anyway. The jacamar site itself produced a rather unexpected Barn Owl, roosting in a tangle of roots beneath the top of the bank overhanging the road, Small-billed Elaenia and Thrush-like Woodcreeper.

Turning back towards Sumidouro we set out along on a little-used road that passed through a really beautiful valley with stands of bamboo, wet reedy flushes and open fields with occasional patches of woodland, overlooked by more imposing dark granite outcrops. An Aplomado Falcon, several Yellow-headed Caracaras, Streamer-tailed Tyrants and Cattle Tyrants decorated the dry open grassland at the start of the valley, but Burnished-buff and Magpie Tanagers, Chestnut-vented Conebill and Long-tailed Tyrant were more reflective of the wooded section that we passed through next, with excellent views of a White Woodpecker perched close to us in the trees above. The wet, rank grassy patches beneath the longest granite outcrop we had seen so far then produced several White-eared Puffbirds, our only Yellow-rumped Marshbird of the trip, some Wedge-tailed Grass-Finches, several more Streamer-tailed Tyrants and Yellow-chinned Spinetail then, finally, a party of Curl-crested Jays, slipping with oropendolas through scattered trees bathed in lovely warm afternoon light that recalled English parkland, with cattle quietly grazing beneath.

HIGHLIGHTS: Aplomado Falcon, Dusk-legged Guan, Blackish Rail, Barn Owl, White-eared Puffbird, Spix’s Spinetail, Firewood-gatherer, Ferruginous Antbird, Small-billed Elaenia, Crested Black-Tyrant, Curl-crested Jay, Blue-naped Chlorophonia, Blue-black Grassquit, Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, Yellow-rumped Marshbird

June 12th Prior to the start of the trip we had anticipated seeing upwards of 250 species, but with the group list on 293 at the start of our last full day we knew that a total of 300 was probably achievable. At any rate, it had exceeded our expectations already, and we set out in good spirits for another go at higher altitude, but first detouring down the road to see a pair of Tropical Screech-Owls in a line of pines edging some gardens – a good start to proceedings.

Weather at high altitude was very much better than it was yesterday and a good deal drier than on our first visit. We managed to negotiate the steep cobbled road to around 1500m, where we soon connected with White-crested Tyrannulet, though the morning progressed rather more gradually than we had hoped, with none of the large bird flocks that were a feature of our first attempt at this altitude. Nevertheless, we made very good progress in terms of distance, reaching the cherry tree at 0900 instead of lunchtime, finding fewer hummers in the cooler conditions of earlier morning. A couple of antshrike species failed to respond to the tape as we stopped at intervals along the winding path, but at a bracken-clad section of the hillside Andy heard a Large-tailed Antshrike. It began to react as he played the tape of its call, coming closer by the minute and eventually gave stunning views at the edge of the track, hidden from standing view by the fronds of its green world but visible low down at knee-height among the bracken stems, fanning its paddle-shaped tail, just a couple of yards away from the edge of the path.

Back in the shade of the forest, in a stand of bamboo at the side of the trail, we were next treated to cracking views of a White-collared Foliage-gleaner, with a bill that would not shame a White-billed Diver, and after two of the best birds of the trip in close succession we took lunch with our total on 297. Several Variable Antshrikes, a female Dusky-tailed Antbird, Diademed Tanager, Pallid Spinetail and Bay-chested Warbling-Finch all appeared as we nibbled, and a couple of Thick-billed Saltators showed rather indifferently in the scrubby hillside. Moving back along the trail, we connected with the first feeding flock of the day, mostly Brassy-breasted Tanagers, with some interesting furnarids that included Scaled and Olivaceous Woodcreepers, Streaked Xenops and, from large trees within the forest, the ringing call of a Black-billed Scythebill. It continued to call as we searched for the most likely spot in anticipation of its appearance, but it surprised just about everyone by appearing low down on a thick trunk further up the track, remaining in view for a frustratingly brief few moments before diving back into the forest.

It would have been appropriate if the scythebill, a woodcreeper with a bill like a curlew, had been our 300th species, but that privilege fell to an antwren-like bird that Chris and Keith found a little while later in some stunted trees at the edge of the track that proved to be our first Rufous-backed Antvireo. A Mouse-coloured Tapaculo proved enormously elusive, our cumulative views amid a low tangle of bracken and twisted branches amounting to a tail and, perhaps, an undertail covert feather! However, even though we returned to the lodge earlier than anticipated, the day still had one trick up its sleeve as we did some late afternoon birding from the patio. All of us knew that a series of loud, resounding calls from beyond the bananas was being produced by something interesting, but it took a remarkable bit of what may have been skill or luck, but was undoubtedly the reward for perseverance beyond the call of duty by Paul to reveal a Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, calling from a horizontal branch no less than 20 feet above where anyone in their right mind would have expected such a bird to be. Indeed, HBW suggests that this species is shy and infrequently seen, listing just one known example of its nest, situated 2m above ground in a thick bush. Anyway, we were grateful for its temporary identity crisis, at least those of us fortunate enough to connect with it as it perched unobtrusively amid the greenery.

So, we finished our final full day on 304 species, a result that was well beyond our expectations and a great credit to Andy’s bird-finding skills and, it should be said, our own enthusiasm and birding skills. A couple of taxonomic investigations resulted in a slight change to 302 seen and three heard only.

HIGHLIGHTS: Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Tropical Screech-Owl, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Black-billed Scythebill, Large-tailed Antshrike, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, White-crested Tyrannulet, Thick-billed Saltator

June 13th The last day of an excellent trip arrived like something out of the depths that you know is there but hope you don’t have to see it, rather like a tax bill. The plan was to have coffee and take a walk into the forest, then have a late morning brunch prior to our departure for the airport. However, our departure for the leafy seclusion of the forest was delayed by a flock of mainly Biscutate Swifts, swirling high above the lodge like gnats, with more continually arriving until the flock, split into two or three discrete gatherings, amounted to 2,500-3,000 birds. Eventually, most of us trooped into the hills above the lodge one last time, singing jolly ‘going on an aircraft for 16 hours’ songs as we did so. Not surprisingly, since we were quite early, things took a while to get going, though early birds included a superb male Pin-tailed Manakin, perched close to the trail and a White-eyed Foliage-gleaner. A mixed flock of Flame-crested, Black-goggled, Sayaca, Burnished-buff, Yellow-backed and Green-headed Tanagers turned up and activity quickened almost right away. A brief view of Blond-crested Woodpecker turned into excellent views for some of us as it perched in full view on a stump above the treetops, a Channel-billed Toucan slipped unobtrusively through the canopy and a Black-throated Grosbeak (the whole bird is black!) preceded the appearance, at long last, of a Saffron Toucanet. Although it gave superb views, responding most unusually to the tape, it did not turn out to be our last new bird of the trip, as a Black-eared Fairy turned up at the feeders to take our total for the trip to 302 species including 79 endemics.

HIGHLIGHTS: Saffron Toucanet, Black-eared Fairy

So, it was off to the airport, John B leaving on a different flight that got him back in the UK ahead of us, not to the Falklands in the Brazilian Air Force transport plane that followed us down the tarmac as some of had predicted. We left Rio at 17.15 and arrived back in the UK the following morning, with less of a jetlag than would be the case on returning from just about anywhere else on this fabulous continent.

So to the Bird of the Trip contest, a bit of fun perhaps, but revealing nonetheless. A total of 56 species was included in the 12 lists, with 30 appearing more than once. Channel-billed Toucan, Saffron Toucanet and Spot-billed Toucanet shared the distinction of appearing in first place on three lists but on no others! The list included ten ant-things, eight tanagers, five raptors and two hummingbirds.

Each of us chose ten species, with ten points for our favourite, down to one for number ten. In reverse order, 10th place was shared between Black-cheeked Gnateater, Blue-naped Chlorophonia and Plovercrest (15 points), Magnificent Frigatebird was 9th (17 points), Bare-throated Bellbird 8th (18 points), with Guira Cuckoo (20 points) and White-bearded Antshrike (26 points) in 7th and 6th, respectively, Brazilian Tanager 5th (31 points) and White Woodpecker 4th (35 points). The top three were Mantled Hawk, with 38 points from five lists, Large-tailed Antshrike, which scored 42 points from six lists, and by some distance in first place White-bibbed Antbird, which appeared on all but two lists with a total of 63 points.

Serra dos Tucanos is a superb introduction to birding in South America. There is not the intensity of the Peruvian Andes, where a trip including the Amazon will involve more than 500 species and a week in intensive care, or the diversity of Costa Rica, where our trip in July 2004 netted more than 360 species. Still, it provides an excellent base for exploring a pretty specialised and threatened type of South American forest and includes examples of a wide range of bird families that may be encountered across the entire continent. Particularly well-represented groups were furnarids, of which we saw 27 species (including seven woodcreepers and six foliage-gleaners) and tanagers, of which we encountered 34 species.

If the foregoing doesn’t get the message across adequately, let me say just once more that the birding, the welcome and the accommodation are all well worth getting on board an aircraft and seeing for yourself. It was a memorable two weeks in a place that we were fortunate to be able to visit in such comfort, at a very reasonable cost, and I’m sure I speak for everyone in thoroughly recommending the experience.

Species Lists

By John van der Dol

Recent taxonomic study in Central and South America has resulted in a large number of new species being defined, sometimes as a result of DNA-analysis in the laboratory, sometimes from field study. However, the whole fundamental concept of the approach to taxonomy is still the subject of controversy, so there is much disagreement on speciation and any single authority will find plenty of opposition to his or her view. Several sources exist to clarify or, very often, muddy the issue, amongst which are world checklists by Sibley & Monroe, Clements and the summaries contained on the generally excellent Avibase website at which appears to be based mainly upon Sibley & Monroe while referring also to the taxonomic view of Clements and the American Ornithologists’ Union (AOU), generally regarded as the last word on species definition for the region. The excellent Handbook of the Birds of the World (HBW), currently in the course of publication, has reached its ninth volume, covering groups such as furnariids, cotingas, tyrant-flycatchers and manakins, about 60% of the range of species we encountered, and this has been used as a base for the following checklist, with Clements’ Birds of the World: a Checklist, published in 2000, with subsequent updates on the Ibis Publishing website at, forming the base for the rest of the list.
For our trip to Brazil, we continually referred to the list supplied by Andy Foster at Serra dos Tucanos and his recently published field guide, and the English names used in this guide are included in brackets in cases where they differ from HBW.
However, there is simply no last word on the subject and it’s a case of making up your own mind. At any rate, I hope that the notes for each species where differences in opinion exist are helpful in this respect.

(E) Species endemic to the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest

Solitary Tinamou Tinamus solitarius (E)
One was briefly seen along the Theodoro Trail and a single was heard on the Cedae Trail

Brown Tinamou Crypturellus obsoletus
One was seen on the Theodoro Trail while singles were heard along the High Altitude Trail and within the lodge grounds

Least Grebe Tachybaptus dominicus
Five on a pond in the wetland area gave good views

Brown Booby Sula leucogaster
A total of 13 birds were seen on a short seawatch

Neotropic Cormorant (Neotropical Cormorant) Phalacrocorax olivaceus
HBW prefers the Latin name P.olivaceus, as opposed to P.brasiliensis, which is used in the Serra dos Tucanos fieldguide and by Clements

About a dozen in the Bay at Rio on our arrival, 29 on our coastal excursion and a single on the way to the National Park

Magnificent Frigatebird Fregata magnificens
About 20 flying over Rio on the first and last days and about ten on our coastal excursion including a couple of birds showing the scarlet throat pouches

Whistling Heron Syrigma sibilatrix
Five on both visits to the Jacamar Trail were actually in different locations and two in the wetland area

Capped Heron Pilherodius pileatus
Six on the lake at the wetland area and another single near a pond on the way to the National Park

Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi
Just three seen from the bus on the way from the airport were unfortunately the only records

Great White Egret (Great Egret) Egretta alba
Commonly encountered in all suitable areas

Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Three on the coastal excursion gave good views

Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Reasonably common in all suitable areas

Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Very common in all pastural areas

Green-backed Heron (Striated Heron) Butorides striatus
Treated as Striated Heron B.striatus by Clements, with the North American races raised to species level as Green Heron B.virescens. However, HBW treats both as Green-backed Heron B.striatus

Two on the coastal excursion were followed by a single on the way to the National Park

Black-crowned Night-heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Six plus at the wetlands and a single on the way to the National Park

Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
Two on the saltpans on the coast was the only record of this exotic species

Brazilian Teal (Brazilian Duck) Amazonetta brasiliensis
Seen on four dates with a pair on two dates, five on another and a dozen at the wetland site

White-cheeked Pintail Anas bahamensis
There was a loose flock of 21 on the lagoons along the coast

Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Single figures most days and a count of 15 on the High Altitude Trail

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus
Two close views on the way back from the wetlands and six or more on the coastal excursion

American Black Vulture (Black Vulture) Coragyps atratus
Commonly found throughout on a daily basis. An estimate of 350 between Rio and the lodge on our first afternoon showed the enthusiasm by the group. They were “ticked” thereafter

Grey-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis
Two on the High Altitude Trail gave stunning views. One was a very pale phase while the other was like the ones depicted in the books

Tiny Hawk Accipiter superciliosus
One was heard at dawn at the lodge, a single was seen circling over the forest at the Macae de Cima Trail and there was another single seen in the forest at the lodge

Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens
Two on the wetlands excursion gave good views

White-necked Hawk Leucopternis lacernulata Listed as VULNERABLE/RARE in HBW (E)
An adult of this endemic species also gave good views

Mantled Hawk Leucopternis polionota (E)
Singles over the Cedae Trail and the lodge and two in the Serra dos Orgaos National Park represents an excellent series of records of this endemic

Savannah Hawk Buteogallus meridionalis
Seen on five dates in open country with maxima of ten and twelve

Black-chested Buzzard-eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus
A single at the Three-toed Jacamar site was the sole record

Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris
Three or four on most days

White-tailed Hawk Buteo albicaudatus
Up to five on five dates with both pale and dark phases being encountered

Zone-tailed Hawk Buteo albonotatus
A single at the Macae de Cima Trail gave excellent views

Black Hawk-eagle Spizaetus tyrannus
Three over the lodge on the first afternoon, a single at the Cedae trail and probably the same two over the lodge all gave excellent views

Crested Caracara (Southern Caracara) Polyborus plancus
Clements split Crested Caracara in August 2000 into Southern Caracara C.plancus of the Amazon basin and Crested Caracara C.cheriway, extending from offshore Mexico into South America. However, HBW retains the original genus Polyborus and includes Southern Caracara as a subspecies within the monotypic Crested Caracara P.plancus

Seen on eight days with counts of between two and seven

Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
Commonly seen in open country with maximum counts of 15 and 18 in a day

American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Six on the Jacamar Trail, thereafter two singles and a three

Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis
A single perched bird on our second visit to the Jacamar Trail

Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
Two on the Jacamar Trail followed a single over the lodge

Dusky-legged Guan Penelope obscura
A total of seven were seen on our second visit to the Jacamar Trail, four of which were seen walking in a field on the edge of the forest which apparently is somewhat unusual

Limpkin Aramus guarana
Two at the fishfarm on the way to the National Park was the only record

Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail Aramides saracura (E)
A single was heard at the lodge and amazingly located amongst the brush by a very sharp pair of eyes but unfortunately not seen by all

Blackish Rail Pardirallus nigricans
A single in flight on a pond on the Jacamar Trail

Common Moorhen (Common Gallinule) Gallinula chloropus
Between two and eight on three dates

Red-legged Seriema Cariama cristata
Two separate singles on the way to the Jacamar site were watched at length

Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana
Seen on four days with a maximum of a dozen in the wetlands area

Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
This beautiful wader was commonly encountered in all suitable areas with estimates of up to 50 birds

Collared Plover Charadrius collaris
A group of about 15 were seen on the saltpans on our coastal excursion

Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Nine were seen on the saltpans

Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
As the name suggests, just a single on the saltpans

Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres
Also just a single on the saltpans

Sanderling Calidris alba
A flock of about 30 birds flew past offshore

Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus
Two in the bay at Rio on our arrival, two on the coastal excursion and about half a dozen again at Rio on our final return there

Sandwich Tern/Cayenne Tern Thalasseus sandvicensis/eurygnatha
As to Cayenne Tern, HBW (Vol.3 p.647) makes the following assertion: ‘Cayenne Tern generally considered separate species until work in S Caribbean showed it to be race or possibly morph of T.sandvicensis, and that all but northernmost New World populations have at least small percentage of ‘Cayenne’-type birds’. The authors of Terns of Europe and North America (Olsen & Larsson 1995) also regard Cayenne Tern as a race of Sandwich. It should be noted that Avibase states that Sandwich and Cayenne have been ‘split’, without giving any details of the authority(ies) that take this position.
In HBW, Sandwich Tern is placed it within Thalasseus, not Sterna, as preferred by Clements

About 50 “Cayenne” type Terns were seen on both the lagoons but mostly on the sea while at least one Sandwich Tern also flew by

South American Tern Sterna hirundinacea
Two from the bus on our arrival in Guanabara Bay and about ten on our seawatch

Trudeau’s Tern (Snowy-crowned Tern) Sterna trudeaui
Clements and the Serra dos Tucanos list prefer the English name of Snowy-crowned Tern

A single from the bus on our arrival in Guanabara Bay, Rio

Least Tern Sterna antillarum
About 15 on our coastal excursion

Picazuro Pigeon Columba picazuro
The most common pigeon of the region and seen virtually daily

Plumbeous Pigeon Columba plumbea
Recorded on five dates with a maximum of five birds

Plain-breasted Ground-dove Columbina minuta
Three on the edge of the lowland forest was the only record

Ruddy Ground-dove Columbina talpacoti
Smallish numbers daily and 35 and 50 on two dates

White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Four in the wetlands and two further singles

Blue-winged Macaw Propyrrhura maracana Listed as VULNERABLE in HBW
Four in the middle of the town of Conselheiro Paulino on a dead palm tree trunk next to the road was the only record

White-eyed Parakeet Aratinga leucopthalmus
A flock of 20 in the same location as the previous species was followed by small groups totalling about 60 birds on the way back from the Jacamar site

Maroon-bellied Parakeet (Reddish-bellied Parakeet) Pyrrhura frontalis (E)
Seen on six different dates with totals of between five and 30

Blue-winged Parrotlet Forpus xanthopterygius
HBW states that the scientific name of this species should be F.crassirostris, not F.xanthopterygius, which, though favoured by Clements, was reapplied in error during taxonomic revisions in the 1940s

Seen on four dates with two pairs, a three and a group of 15

Plain Parakeet Brotogeris tirica (E)
Up to a dozen seen virtually daily

Pileated Parrot (Red-capped Parrot) Pionopsitta pileata (E)
Included in the Serra dos Tucanos list as Red-capped Parrot P.pileata

A group of five flew over the Theodoro Trail

Scaly-headed Parrot Pionus maximiliani
The common parrot of the region with up to a dozen daily

Yellow-faced Amazon Amazona xanthops Listed as VULNERABLE in HBW
A party of five landed high in the canopy with some Maroon-bellied Parakeets on the Cedae Trail. They were easily scoped and subsequently identified as this species. This parrot has been heard before in this area but never specifically been pinned down. Therefore a new species for our guide and the area

Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
One or two most days

Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Seen in large numbers in all open areas

Guira Cuckoo Guira guira
This crazy bird was commonly seen in open country with up to 31 in any one day

Common Barn-owl Tyto alba
A single at roost at the Jacamar site, looking a little darker on the wings than our birds

Tropical Screech-owl Otus choliba
Although this species is given the generic name Megascops in the Serra dos Tucanos guide, both Clements and HBW include it within Otus, though HBW makes the comment that it appears to have no close affinities with any other Otus

Two at roost in Andy’s neighbours garden more than filled the scope

Ferruginous Pygmy-owl Glaucidium brasilianum
A single bird was seen flying into the trees one late evening at the lodge. The following afternoon the tanagers located it for us and excellent views were obtained as a result

Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia
Two or three on four dates

White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Small numbers seen from time to time. However along with the next species they made huge groups overflying the lodge on some early mornings. Their behaviour not unlike migrating storks, gliding in a tight flock one moment and circling the next. There were flocks estimated at 110, 200 and 2500-3000

Biscutate Swift Streptoprocne biscutata
Two counts of 16 and 50 while many more were associated with the aforementioned flocks

Grey-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
Seen on two days with groups of 15 and ten, both at altitude
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis
Two or three on three dates mostly near the lodge

Saw-billed Hermit Ramphodon naevius (E)
One or two resident at the lodge and the odd one seen in the forests

Scale-throated Hermit Phaethornis eurynome (E)
Only seen in the forests with up to five on four dates

Planalto Hermit Phaethornis pretrei
Singles at a small river on the way to the Jacamar Trail and another on the trail

Minute Hermit Phaethornis idaliae (E)
A single in a banana plantation in the lowland forest near the coast

Reddish Hermit Phaethornis rubber
A single in the lodge grounds

Sombre Hummingbird Campylopterus cirrochloris (E)
Resident at the lodge and seen daily in small numbers mostly at the feeders

Swallow-tailed Hummingbird Campylopterus macrouros
One or two resident at the lodge and odd ones seen in other locations with a maximum of five on the Jacamar Trail

Black Jacobin Florisuga mellivora (E)
A single seen at the lodge by just one observer

Plovercrest Stephanoxis lalandi (E)
Eleven in a flowering cherry tree on the High Altitude Trail and three there on our second visit

Glittering-bellied Emerald Chlorostilbon aureoventris
One to three on three dates

Violet-capped Woodnymph Thalurania glaucopis (E)
Resident in the garden of the lodge and a few more in most locations

White-throated Hummingbird Leucochloris albicollis (E)
Twelve in the flowering cherry tree at the High Altitude Trail, a single at the entrance to the Serra dos Orgaos Trail and another five at the former location

Sapphire-spangled Emerald Polyerata lactea
Three singles at the Jacamar Trail, the coastal lowland forest and finally on the High Altitude Trail

Brazilian Ruby Clytolaema rubricauda (E)
Resident at the lodge and odd ones seen elsewhere but never more than six in a day

Black-eared Fairy Heliothryx aurita
A single at the lodge on our last morning

Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus
Two at the Theodoro Trail, another two at the Serra dos Orgaos and finally a male in the forest at the lodge

Surucua Trogon Trogon surrucura
A female on the Cedae Trail, a single on the Theodoro Trail and another two again on the Cedae Trail

Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
A single from the bus on our coastal excursion and another the next day at a pond on the way to the National Park

Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
Two on the wetland excursion

Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata
Singles over the lodge on three dates

Rufous-capped Motmot Baryphthengus ruficapillus (E)
Singles at the Cedae Trail and the Serra dos Orgaos National Park where a perched bird gave stunning views

Three-toed Jacamar Jacamaralcyon tridactyla Listed as ENDANGERED in HBW (E)
Three birds were seen at a stake-out at the end of the Jacamar trail

Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda
A single at the wetlands and a further three in the lowland forest

White-eared Puffbird Nystalus chacuru
A total of six were seen in quick succession after having spent all day looking for them on the Jacamar Trail

Spot-billed Toucanet Selenidera maculirostris
Up to five on six dates

Saffron Toucanet Baillonius bailloni (E)
Amazingly two were seen on the last morning in the forest above the lodge

Channel-billed Toucan Rhamphastos vitellinus
One heard in the wetlands, three seen on the Cedae Trail and another in the forest above the lodge on the last morning

White-barred Piculet Picumnus cirratus
Between one and three most days

White Woodpecker Melanerpes candidus
Parties of four and three were seen flying over on the Jacamar Trail and another five were seen on our second visit to this area, two of which were seen perched at close range

Yellow-eared Woodpecker Veniliornis maculifrons (E)
Three singles were seen

Yellow-throated Woodpecker Piculus flavigula
Two in the Serra dos Orgaos National Park

Yellow-browed Woodpecker Piculus aurulentus (E)
Four singles and three at the Jacamar Trail, this one being the commonest of the three little woodpeckers with yellow on the head

Green-barred Woodpecker Colaptes melanochloros
Singles at the High Altitude Trail and the Theodoro Trail, the former of which gave stunning views

Campo Flicker Colaptes campestris
The commonest woodpecker of the area and one of open country. Between three and 12 on six dates

Blonde-crested Woodpecker Celeus flavescens
Singles on two occasions in the forest above the lodge, the latter near a large woodpecker hole

Wing-banded Hornero (Tail-banded Hornero) Furnarius figulus
This species is described by HBW as Wing-banded Hornero. Given that it is the only hornero with a partial band at the tail tip, perhaps Clements’ approach and that of the Serra dos Tucanos guide in describing it as Tail-banded is more appropriate.
Two and six on two dates in open country
Rufous Hornero Furnarius rufus
More common than the previous species with up to eight counted again only in open country

Rufous-capped Spinetail Synallaxis ruficapilla (E)
One or two on six dates

Spix’s Spinetail Synallaxis spixi
Described by Clements as Chicli Spinetail.
Two along the Jacamar Trail on our second visit

Pallid Spinetail Cranioleuca pallida (E)
Six on the High Altitude Trail, two on the Macae de Cima Trail and a another single at the former location

Yellow-chinned Spinetail Certhiaxis cinnamomeus
Ascribed the Latin name C.cinnamomea in the Serra dos Tucanos list

Six along the Jacamar Trail and another three there on our second visit

Rufous-fronted Thornbird (Common Thornbird) Phacellodomus rufifrons
Eight on the Jacamar Trail, a single on the High Altitude Trail and another eight along the former trail. Their presence can be noted by their hanging nests made out twigs

Red-eyed Thornbird Phacellodomus erythrophthalmus (E)
A single along the High Altitude Trail gave rubbish views but apparently that is normal

Firewood-gatherer Anumbius annumbi
A pair at their nest also made from twigs along the Jacamar Trail

White-browed Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia amaurotis (E)
Two on the Macae de Cima Trail was the only record

Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner Syndactyla rufosuperciliata
Between two and ten on four dates

Black-capped Foliage-gleaner Philydor atricapillus (E)
Five singles and three at the lodge

Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner Philydor rufum
Given the Latin name P.rufus in the Serra dos Tucanos list and by Clements

Up to six on four dates
White-collared Foliage-gleaner Anabazenops fuscus (E)
A single on the High altitude Trail gave excellent views

White-eyed Foliage-gleaner Automolus leucophthalmus (E)
Singles on two dates at the lodge

Tawny-throated Leaftosser Sclerurus mexicanus
Clements and HBW use the English name of Leaftosser, although the Serra dos Tucanos list prefers Leafscraper

A single seen at the lodge by just a few people and two further singles heard

Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper Lochmias nematura (E)
The generic name Lochnias in the Serra dos Tucanos list is presumably a typo – both HBW and Clements use Lochmias

Four were seen and another two heard. Excellent views were obtained of at least three of these birds

Sharp-billed Treehunter Heliobletus contaminatus (E)
Singles on two days at the lodge and the Theodoro Trail

Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
Four singles were seen

Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans
Much more common than the previous species with counts of up to three on a virtually daily basis

Plain-winged Woodcreeper Dendrocincla turdina (E)
HBW and the Serra dos Tucanos list prefer Plain-winged Woodcreeper, though Clements’ treatment as Thrush-like Woodcreeper does at least reflect the scientific name. However, in the Serra Tucanos list this is given as D.fuliginosa (Plain-brown Woodcreeper), which has a more northern distribution.

Singles at the wetlands, Cedae and Jacamar Trails

Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
The commonest of the woodcreepers in this area and seen daily in numbers of up to six

White-throated Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes albicollis (E)
This, the biggest of the woodcreepers in the area, can be classed the “hooligan of the forest”. It destroys everything in its way in its quest for food. It is almost human! One or two were seen on five dates in all forested areas

Lesser Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes fuscus (E)
Two in the forest above the lodge, two on the Cedae Trail and a single in the Serra dos Orgaos National Park

Buff-throated Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus guttatus
A single was seen on the Cedae Trail

Narrow-billed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes angustirostris
A single was seen along the Jacamar Trail

Scaled Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes squamatus (E)
It may be worth noting, for future reference, that this species was split by Clements in December 2003 into two species: Scaled Woodcreeper L.squamatus and Scalloped Woodcreeper L.falcinellus, a treatment that is followed by HBW. The range of Scaled Woodcreeper extends from NE Brazil to SE Brazil, where it is replaced by Scalloped Woodcreeper, which ranges southward into Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. There is some overlap in SE Brazil, a situation that is complicated by the occurrence of some individuals with mixed characters. However, according to HBW these species are visually distinct: the entire head of Scalloped Woodcreeper is marked with spots and streaks, while these marks are much reduced on Scaled, which has a rufous and only lightly marked nape.

Up to three on nine dates

Black-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus falcularius (E)
After much tape luring, eventually one showed itself, if only very briefly, on our second visit to the High Altitude Trail

Spot-backed Antshrike Hypoedaleus guttatus (E)
A male was seen by some of the group in a gully in the forest above the lodge

Giant Antshrike Batara cinerea
A female was seen two days running in the lodge grounds after which three further birds were heard

Large-tailed Antshrike Mackenziaena leachii (E)
Excellent views of this difficult to see bird were obtained on the High Altitude Trail

White-bearded Antshrike Biatas nigropectus Listed as VULNERABLE in HBW
Another difficult to see species, but again excellent views were had of a male at the bottom of the Macae de Cima Trail

Chestnut-backed Antshrike Thamnophilus palliates
A single in the forest at the wetlands was the sole record

Sooretama Slaty Antshrike Thamnophilus ambiguus (E)
Included in the Serra dos Tucanos list under Northern Slaty Antshrike T.punctatus. However, Clements and HBW split the Slaty Antshrikes, formerly considered monotypic, into seven species. Those most relevant are Western Slaty Antshrike T.atrinucha, which several of us encountered in Costa Rica, and Planalto Slaty Antshrike, which extends throughout much of Brazil south of the Amazon, but appears to be absent from the Atlantic rainforest, which holds only this species, according to the ranges given in HBW

A single in the wetlands forest and a total of six in the lowland forest on our coastal excursion

Variable Antshrike Thamnophilus caerulescens
Two or three on four dates and six on the second High Altitude Trail visit

(Rufous-capped Antshrike Thamnophilus ruficapillus)
A bird responded to tape on the High Altitude Trail but was never seen

Spot-breasted Antvireo Dysithamnus stictothorax (E)
Two or three on three dates

Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis
Up to six on seven dates

Rufous-backed Antvireo Dysithamnus xanthopterus (E)
One was heard at the Serra dos Orgaos Park while two were seen on our penultimate day on the High Altitude Trail

Star-throated Antwren Myrmotherula gularis (E)
Up to thee or four seen or heard on six dates

White-flanked Antwren Myrmotherula axillaris
Two in the wetland forest and another two in the lowland coastal forest

Unicoloured Antwren Myrmotherula unicolor Listed as VULNERABLE in HBW (E)
Five in the wetland forest and another five in the coastal lowland forest

Rufous-winged Antwren Herpsilochmus rufimarginatus
Two in the coastal lowland forest

Restinga Antwren Formicivora littoralis Listed as ENDANGERED in HBW (E)
Although apparently reasonably common in the areas it occurs, the habitat is under severe threat from building development. It is a coastal area of what is know as, Restinga forest, which is basically cactus and succulent and drought resistant plants. Should this habitat be cleared the Antwren will disappear with it.
A pair was seen at close range

Ferruginous Antbird Drymophila ferruginea
One was seen on the Jacamar Trail and another responded to tape at the lodge on our last morning but was not seen

Bertoni’s Antbird Drymophila rubricollis
One of the most beautiful of Antbirds of the region. A single on the Macae de Cima Trail was followed by two in the Serra dos Orgaos Park

(Rufous-tailed Antbird Drymophila genei) (E)
One heard on the High Altitude Trail but unfortunately not seen

Dusky-tailed Antbird Drymophila malura (E)
Two on the High Altitude Trail were followed by another single there on our next visit

Scaled Antbird Drymophila squamata (E)
A single at the lodge was followed by another in the wetlands forest

Streak-capped Antwren Terenura maculata (E)
Between one and eight on eight dates

White-shouldered Fire-eye Pyriglena leucoptera (E)
Up to five on six dates and mostly in the forest above the lodge

White-bibbed Antbird Myrmiciza loricata (E)
A pair of this beautiful, and for some the bird of the trip, was seen in the Serra dos Orgaos National Park

Rufous-capped Antthrush Formicarius colma
After one was heard in the wetlands forest and another was seen on the Cedae Trail

Rufous-tailed Antthrush (Brazilian Antthrush) Chamaeza ruficauda
HBW prefers the English name of Rufous-tailed Antthrush, but the Serra dos Tucanos list follows Clements in referring to this species as Brazilian Antthrush

One was seen with a further two heard in the Serra dos Orgaos Park, another seen along the Theodoro Trail and one more heard only on the High Altitude Trail

Variegated Antpitta Grallaria varia
One responded to tape along the Theodoro Trail but would only give a flight view while on our next visit there it would not even do that

Black-cheeked Gnateater Conopophaga melanops (E)
Not easy to see but more often heard. Ten birds were either heard or seen over four days

Rufous Gnateater Conopophaga lineata (E)
One was seen on the Macae de Cima Trail and another heard on the trail above the Lodge

Mouse-coloured Tapaculo Scytalopus speluncae (E)
One heard on the High Altitude Trail and another showed just its tail to one observer at the same location

(Elegant Mourner (Shrike-like Cotinga) Laniisoma elegans)
Although a bird of this species was calling just above our heads in the coastal lowland forest we unable to connect with it

Swallow-tailed Cotinga Phibalura flavirostris
Three were seen on the High Altitude Trail on our first visit

Hooded Berryeater Carpornis cucullata
C.cucullatus in Clements and the Serra dos Tucanos list
Good views were obtained of two birds in the Serra dos Orgaos Park

Black-and-Gold Cotinga Tijuca atra (E)
Two distant males were seen on our first visit to the High Altitude Trail and a female was discovered just a few feet away, another was seen on the Macae de Cima Trail, and further singles were heard in the Serra dos Orgaos Park and again on the High Altitude Trail

Bare-throated Bellbird Procnias nudicollis (E)
Two seen and another heard on the Macae de Cima Trail, another heard on the Cedae Trail and and a further single seen and two heard along the Theodoro Trail

Blue Manakin Chiroxiphia caudate (E)
Up to eight on ten dates including many adult males

Pin-tailed Manakin Ilicura militaris (E)
Three females along the Cedae trail and a beautiful adult male on the last morning in the forest above the lodge

White-bearded Manakin Manacus manacus
Two males and six females at the wetland forest trail and another three females in the coastal lowland forest

Planalto Tyrannulet Phyllomyias fasciatus
Between one and four on seven dates

Grey-capped Tyrannulet Phyllomyias griseocapilla
One or two on five dates

Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster
One in the coastal lowland forest and two more on the Jacamar Trail

Small-billed Elaenia Elaenia parvirostris
One in the coastal lowland forest and two more along the Jacamar Trail

Olivaceous Elaenia Elaenia mesoleuca
Two on the High Altitude Trail and another there on our second visit

Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostomaobsoletum
Singles on the Jacamar and Macae de Cima Trails and two on the High Altitude excursion

White-crested Tyrannulet Serpophaga subcristata
A single on the High Altitude Trail

Mottle-cheeked Tyrannulet Phylloscartes ventralis
Between two and six on four dates all at altitude

Oustalet’s Tyrannulet Phylloscartes oustaleti (E)
Six on the Cedae Trail and one on the Theodoro Trail

Southern Bristle-tyrant Pogonotriccus eximius (E)
Phylloscartes eximius in the Serra dos Tucanos list.
One on the wetlands excursion was the only record

Sepia-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon amaurocephalus
Up to three on five dates

Grey-hooded Flycatcher Mionectes rufiventris (E)
Two or three on three dates all above 1000 metres

Eared Pygmy-tyrant Myiornis auricularis
Two on the Theodoro Trail

Eye-ringed Tody-tyrant Hemitriccus orbitatus (E)
A single in the wetlands forest was followed by another heard on our coastal excursion in the lowland forest

Ochre-faced Tody-flycatcher Poecilotriccus plumeiceps
Placed in the genus Todirostrum in the Serra dos Tucanos guide and by Clements

Up to six recorded on five dates

Grey-headed Tody-flycatcher (Yelow-lored Tody-flycatcher) Todirostrum poliocephalum (E)
Two or three a day with about ten present in the lodge grounds

Yellow-olive Flycatcher Tolmomyias sulphurescens
One or two recorded on six dates

White-throated Spadebill Platyrinchus mystaceus
Two in the lodge grounds were followed by one in the Serra dos Orgaos and another three on the Theodoro Trail

Bran-coloured Flycatcher Myiophobus fasciatus
Two on the Jacamar Trail were the only sightings

Whiskered Flycatcher (Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher) Myiobius barbatus
Included in the Serra dos Tucanos list as Sulphur-rumped Flycatcher M.barbatus, but that species, which occurs mainly in Central America, is considered by HBW and Clements to be a separate species M.sulphureipygius, with the caveat that it is sometimes treated as conspecific with M.barbatus. To complicate things further, Clements regards the form that occurs in SE Brazil to be Yellow-rumped Flycatcher M.mastacalis, though HBW treats it as a race of Whiskered Flycatcher, but perhaps you didn’t want to know that

Two on the Cedae Trail

Black-tailed Flycatcher Myiobius atricaudus
A single in the wetlands forest

Cliff Flycatcher Hirundinea ferruginea
Up to seven on eight dates including the three that sat on the wire in the same place every time we drove by

Tropical Pewee Contopus cinereus
Singles in the forest at the lodge and on the Jacamar Trail

Blue-billed Black-Tyrant Knipolegus cyanirostris
Four on the High Altitude Trail on both occasions and a female seen on the Jacamar Trail

Crested Black-Tyrant Knipolegus lophotes
Five on the Jacamar Trail

Velvety Black-Tyrant Knipolegus nigerrimus (E)
Five on the High Altitude Trail on the first visit and eight there the next time

Yellow-browed Tyrant Satrapa icterophrys
Three on the Jacamar Trail

Masked Water-Tyrant Fluvicola nengeta
Between two and ten a day with one pair in the lodge garden

White-headed Marsh-Tyrant Arundinicola leucocephala
Two on the way to the Jacamar Trail

White-rumped Monjita Xolmis velatus
M.velata in the Serra dos Tucanos guide and in Clements.

Five and four on the Jacamar Trail and two on the wetlands excursion

Streamer-tailed Tyrant Gubernetes yetapa
Three and four on the Jacamar Trail

Shear-tailed Grey Tyrant Muscipipra vetula (E)
Six and four on the High Altitude Trail and two on the Macae de Cima Trail

Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonius
Two and one on the Jacamar Trail

Cattle Tyrant Machetornis rixosus
Up to four on five dates

Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis
Up to six on five dates but no doubt could have been seen daily in the lodge grounds

Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similes
Up to four a day

Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Up to six a day

Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarhynchus pitangua
One or two on five dates

Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Up to twenty in a day

Short-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus ferox
One and two on the Jacamar Trail and three on the coastal excursion

Grey-hooded Attila Attila rufus (E)
After two singles on the Cedae Trail and the lodge garden there were another two on the Trail

Black-tailed Tityra Tityra cayana
Three associated with a birdwave on the Cedae Trail was the only record

Green-backed Becard Pachyramphus viridis
One on the Jacamar Trail was the sole record and only seen by a few people

Chestnut-crowned Becard Pachyramphus castaneus
Up to eight on a more or less daily basis

White-winged Becard Pachyramphus polychopterus
One on the High Altitude Trail on our first visit was the sole record

Plain Becard (Crested Becard) Pachyramphus validus
Clements prefers the English name of Crested Becard, corresponding with the Serra dos Tucanos guide

One in the coastal lowland forest

Sharpbill Oxyruncus cristatus
After a single on the Cedae Trail in a birdwave, there were three there on our next visit. Two further singles were heard with their diagnostic song of “a dropping bomb before the explosion”, description per A Foster

White-rumped Swallow Tachycineta leucorrhoa
A single on the first day was followed by three at a pool on the way to the Jacamar Trail and another single over the salt pans on the coast

Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
A dozen on the first day were followed by four on the coast

Brown-chested Martin Progne tapera
Up to five on six dates all at lower altitudes

Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca
Included in the genus Pygochelidon in the Serra dos Tucanos list.

Small numbers throughout

Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Also in small numbers throughout

Yellowish Pipit Anthus lutescens
One at the wetlands was followed by about six on the coast

Black-capped Donacobius Donacobius atricapillus
There were eight at a pool on the way to the Jacamar Trail and six on the trail itself on our second visit

Long-billed Wren Thryothorus longirostris
A single in the wetland forest gave stunning views

House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Up to four a day

Chalk-browed Mockingbird Mimus saturninus
A bird of open country and up to ten a day were seen

Yellow-legged Thrush Platycichla flavipes
One or two on six dates

Rufous-bellied Thrush Turdus rufiventris
Up to six on a daily basis

Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas
Two on three dates

Creamy-bellied Thrush Turdus amaurochalinus
Between one and four on four dates

White-necked Thrush Turdus albicollis
A single seen on the Theodore Trail

Curl-crested Jay Cyanocorax cristatellus
Four were seen at distance on the Jacamar Trail on our second visit

House Sparrow Passer domesticus
Present in small numbers

Red-eyed Vireo (Chivy Vireo) Vireo olivaceus
Up to three on six dates and ten on the coastal excursion

Rufous-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus poicilotis
One or two on six dates and seven on our first High Altitude excursion

Lemon-chested Greenlet Hylophilus thoracicus
Four in the coastal lowland forest

Rufous-browed Peppershrike Cyclarhis gujanensis
Up to four recorded on a near daily basis

Hooded Siskin Carduelis magellanica
A single on the High Altitude Trail was followed by another two there on our next visit

Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi
Up to three on four dates

Masked Yellowthroat Geothlypis aequinoctialis
Up to three on seven dates

Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus
Up to seven on most days

White-rimmed Warbler (White-browed Warbler) Basileuterus leucoblepharus
Two on the High Altitude Trail, a single on the Macae de Cima Trail and a further three singles heard subsequently

Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Common throughout

Chestnut-vented Conebill Conirostrum speciosum
Three on the Jacamar Trail, a single in the coastal lowland forest and another two on the former trail

Cinnamon Tanager Schistochlamys ruficapaillus
Seven in the tomato tree at the High Altitude Trail and another single on the Cedae Trail

Magpie Tanager Cissopis leveriana
Singles on both visits to the Jacamar Trail

Chestnut-headed Tanager Pyrrhocoma ruficeps (E)
Four on the High Altitude Trail and two on the Macae de Cima Trail

Orange-headed Tanager Thlypopsis sordida
Six on the Jacamar Trail

Rufous-headed Tanager Hemithraupis ruficapilla (E)
Two and a single on the Cedae Trail and another single male on the Theodoro Trail

Yellow-backed Tanager Hemithraupis flavicollis
One or two on three dates in the grounds of the lodge and three on the Cedae Trail

Hooded Tanager Nemosia pileata
Four on the Jacamar Trail and two on our coastal excursion

Olive-green Tanager Orthogonys chloricterus (E)
Fifteen and ten in birdwaves on the Cedae Trail probably referred to the same birds

Flame-crested Tanager Tachyphonus cristatus
Up to a dozen on six dates

Ruby-crowned Tanager Tachyphonus coronatus (E)
Seen in most locations but found commonest in the lodge gardens on the bananas

Black-goggled Tanager Tricothraupis melanops
Up to 15 a day in most locations often associated with birdwaves

Red-crowned Ant-tanager Habia rubica
Up to six on six dates but usually kept to themselves

Hepatic Tanager Piranga flava
Two at the Jacamar and High Altitude Trails

Brazilian Tanager Ramphocelus bresilius (E)
The male of this species is arguably one of the most stunning species of the trip. Commonly seen in the garden on the bananas but not often seen elsewhere

Sayaca Tanager Thraupis sayaca
Up to ten a day in all areas

Azure-shouldered Tanager Thraupis cyanoptera (E)
Two on the Theodoro Trail were followed by eight there the next visit

Golden-chevroned Tanager Thraupis ornata (E)
Commonly found in numbers up to 20 throughout

Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Up to a dozen a day, mostly in the garden on the bananas

Diademed Tanager Stephanophorus diadematus
Two and three were seen on the High Altitude Trail of this sought after species

Fawn-breasted Tanager Pipraeidea melanonota
A single on the High Altitude Trail

Purple-throated Euphonia Euphonia chlorotica
Four in the Serra dos Orgaos National Park was the only record

Violaceous Euphonia Euphonia violacea
Commonly found in most areas with up to a dozen a day

Orange-bellied Euphonia Euphonia xanthogaster
Up to half a dozen a day

Chestnut-bellied Euphonia Euphonia pectoralis (E)
Mostly up to four a day

Blue-naped Chlorophonia Chlorophonia cyanea
A pair on the bananas one morning was the only record

Turquoise Tanager Tangara mexicana
Just one record of a single on the Jacamar Trail

Green-headed Tanager Tangara seledon (E)
Up to 20 on most days

Red-necked Tanager Tangara cyanocephala (E)
Up to ten most days of this spectacular beauty

Brassy-breasted Tanager Tangara desmaresti (E)
Associated with large birdwaves and probably acts as the leader of the swarm. Numbers were estimated at between 15 and 70 on five dates

Gilt-edged Tanager Tangara cyanoventris (E)
A flock of ten had increased to 30 by our second visit to the Jacamar Trail

Burnished-buff Tanager Tangara cayana
Up to three on five dates and ten on the High Altitude Trail

Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Up to six on a daily basis

Green Honeycreeper Chlophanes spiza
One or two on four dates mostly in the garden

Swallow-tanager Tersina viridis
Just one visit of a pair in the garden of the lodge

Bay-chested Warbling-finch Poospiza thoracica (E)
About 20 were seen on the High Altitude Trail and a further six at the same location on our second visit

Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
A single and another four were seen on the Jacamar Trail

Double-collared Seedeater Sporophila caerulescens
Up to ten on both the Jacamar Trail and the wetland exursion

Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola
Commonly seen throughout the lower elevations

Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch Emberizoides herbicola
Five on our second visit to the Jacamar Trail gave excellent views

Grassland Sparrow Ammodramus humeralis
A single bird watched preening in the middle of a bush in the Restinga area gave stunning views

Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Commonly found at higher elevations

Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Small numbers throughout including in the garden

Black-throated Grosbeak Saltator fuliginosus (E)
One or two on four occasions

Green-winged Saltator Saltator similes
Singles on the Jacamar and Theodoro Trails

Thick-billed Saltator Saltator maxillosus (E)
Two birds were seen briefly on the High Altitude Trail

White-browed Blackbird Sturnella superciliaris
Four birds in the Restinga area on the coast sat out in the open for us all to admire

Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
Up to 50 or more in pastural areas of the Jacamar Trail and the wetland area

Giant Cowbird Scaphidura oryzivora
Three on the Jacamar Trail and 28 there on the next visit

Red-rumped Cacique Cacicus haemorrhous
A single bird in the wetland area

Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus
Seen almost daily in small numbers

Yellow-rumped Marshbird Pseudoleistes guirahuro
A single bird on the Jacamar Trail


Tufted-ear Marmoset Callithrix jacchus
Two seen in the lodge grounds and another in the Serra dos Orgaos National Park were the only sightings

Brown Howler Monkey Alouatta fusca
A party of five was seen in the Serra dos Orgaos Park

Guiianan Squirrel Sciurus aestuans
Two on the Cedae Trail and a single in the Serra dos Orgaos Park