Brazil: Pantanal & Iguazu september 2005

Published by Kees Boele (keesboele AT

Participants: Kees Boele, Stella Boele-Bos & 10 other Dutch birders


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Chestnut-eared aracari
Chestnut-eared aracari
Rufous-tailed Jacamar
Rufous-tailed Jacamar

With a group of 10 other birders my wife and I made an excellent trip to the Iguazu Falls and the Pantanal from the 2nd - 18th September 2005. Although winter and spring had been exceptionally dry in the Pantanal we went home with a list of 239 species and, being for the first time in South America, 215 new species on my life-list. Although we had some excellent local guides we are certain that we missed some species, certainly some of the more difficult tyrants, such as Eleania's, but also several of the smaller tanagers. Hummingbirds were mostly absent due to lack of flowers.

Package deal
We made a package deal with a Brazilian tour operator called Open Door. Claiming to be a specialist on the Pantanal and the Amazon, and having experience with WWF tours but not being a specialist in birding tours we were anxious to see if they were able to fulfill all our wishes. At the end of our trip there was only one conclusion: they did a more then excellent job and are certainly advisable to other birders visiting those areas. There most remarkable success was the changing of our coach during the middle of the night. In Brazil every tourist bus has darkened windows but birding tourists of course hate those buses. Due to a mix-up with their bus company we got the wrong bus, complained and the following morning before the sun went up their was a bright new bus with excelling viewing windows waiting on our doorstep.
Since we asked for a combination of Iguazu, the southern Pantanal in Mato Grosso do Sul and the northern Pantanal in Mato Grosso in only 17 days we needed to combine coach transport with a flight from Campo Grande to Cuiába. Open Door also organized the local flights from Sao Paulo to Iguazu and from Cui ba to Sao Paulo.
In both areas of the Pantanal we got a general guide, acting as interpreter and turning out to be also a birding guide. Especially in the southern Pantanal we were very lucky with Luiz from Open Door, a man with an amazing eye sight and a great knowledge of local birds. And even more important: lots of patience when birders are talking about another LBJ (little brown job or even better a tiny, unremarkable creature with wings).

Part of the package deal was also accommodation, mostly on a full board base but sometimes only B & B. In Iguazu we stayed at Hotel Tropical das Cateratas, right on the edge of the Brazilian side of one of the most magnificent waterfalls of the world. At first sight not exactly the right place to be for a birder with mud-spattered boots. But its luxury turned out to be a gift from heaven when on the second day all sluices from heaven opened up. Under enormous umbrellas we were able to do some excellent birding in the garden (with Violet-capped Woodnymph hummingbirds on one of their feeders).
In the southern Pantanal we stayed at two lodges west of Miranda. Passo do Lontro is certainly spectacular, being built above, at our visit dry, swampy riverbank. Early in the morning feeders on the veranda edge attract a lot of seed-eating birds. Their main attraction is a boat trip on the Miranda river, for all other excursions you have to travel to other locations.
Pousada Xaraés can easily be classified as a birders paradise. It combines a mixture of European Portuguese and Brazilian hospitality and a great accommodation with a private estate offering all southern Pantanal ecotypes.
In the northern Pantanal we found lodgings west and east of Cuiába. After the warm athmosphere of Xaraés Pousada Baguari was quite different, lots of concrete, a new management trying to find ways to the future but with a marvelous terrace above the river. It offers some great opportunities to see marsh birds and mammals. Even more variation we got at Fazenda Curicaca Lodge, situated east of Cuiába and easily accessible from the Transpantaneira. Curicaca has all the characteristics of a group of safari lodges, combining a relaxed athmosphere with rustic cabins. Alligators wander freely around the edge of the campsite and birders are greeted by Bare-faces Curassows. They don't have a website, for information it is an e-mail address you have to use ( or

At Iguazu the Argentina side is certainly the best place to go if you have only a day available. Easy to reach and easy to walk. It can be rather crowded but with some patience you could get some great sightings of species like Reddish-bellied Parakeet and Ochre-collared Piculet .
On your way north to the Pantanal it is certainly advisable to make a stop at Rio da Prata.Most people go there for snorkeling but birders could expect Blue-crowned Motmot, lots of Seriema's and Burrowing Owls to mention just a few of our sightings.
Passo do Lontro offers most of the Pantanal waterbirds, lots of Monk Parrots, several thrushes and especially tanagers.
At Xaraés it is most advisable to follow their suggestions and make a combination of hiking, day- and night drives and if possible a boat-trip. You could expect a lot of Icteridae (Troupials, Crested Oropendola, Unicolered Blackbird, Scarlet-Headed Blackbird etc.). Marshlands and adjacent muddy places are good for waders, herons and Rosy Spoonbills. White woodpeckers, Green-barred Woodpeckers, White-wedged Piculets and Campo Flickers are just a few of their woodpeckers found in copses, woodland and around the Pousada. The Great Potoo is often just waiting to be put again on a photo.

Baguiari in the Northern Pantanal is an excellent place for waterbirds but also around the lodge you can find a lot of birds in the trees. Along the way to Curicaca you have to follow the Transpantaneira with all their ponds, lakes and rivulets. Herons and most of the Pantanal duck species could be seen here. In Curicaca you find yourself under a high tree canopy. Lots of parrots, Crested Oropendola's, Rusty-margined Guan and Blue-throated Piping Guan can be found around the cabins. In the riverine woodlands you could expect species as Mato Grosso Antbird, Streaked Flycatcher and Chestnut-vented Conebills.

Species Lists

Iguazu - Pantanal Birdlist,2 - 18 september 2005

bo = Bonito, Zagaia Eco-Resort (6-7/09), ba = Baguari 12-16/09)cu = Airport Curitiba (2/09), cur = Fazenda Curicaca, Transpantaneira (16-18/09)
f = Foz do Iguazu (Brasil and Argentinian side 3-4/09)p = Passo do Lontra/Sao Joao (7-9/09)o = transfers,r = Rio da Prata (6/9)
s = Airport Sao Paulo (2/9; 17/9-parks) x = Pousada Xaraés (, 9-11/09)

Undulated Tinamou (Crypturellus undulatus)b,cur
Greater Rhea (Rhea americana) o,r,x
Least Grebe (Tachybaptus dominicus)p
Olivaceous Cormorant (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)f,o,p,x,ba,cur
Anhinga (Anhinga anhinga)f,p,x,ba,cur
Cocoi Heron (Ardea cocoi)o,p,x,ba, cur
Great Egret (Casmerodius albus)f,o,p,x,ba,s,cur
Snowy Egret (Egretta thula)o, p, x,ba,cur
Little Blue Heron (Egretta caerulea)o,ba
Cattle Egret (Bubulcus ibis)s,f,o,p,x,ba,cur
Striated Heron (Butorides striatus)o,p,ba,
Agami Heron (Agamia agami)b
Whistling Heron (Syrigma sibilatrix) o,p,x,ba
Capped Heron (Pilherodius pileatus)ba
Black-crowned Night-Heron (Nycticorax nycticorax)p,x,o,ba,cur
Rufescent Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma lineatum)o,p,x,ba,cur
Fasciated Tiger-Heron (Tigrisoma fasciatum)ba
Least Bittern (Ixobrychus exilis)ba
Boat-billed Heron (Cochlearius cochlearius)p,ba,cur
Plumbeous Ibis (Harpiprion caerulescens)o,p,x,cur
Buff-necked Ibis (Theristicus caudatus)o,r, p,x,ba,cur
Green Ibis (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) o,p,ba,
Bare-faced Ibis (Phimosus infuscatus)p,x,ba,cur
White-faced Ibis (Plegadis chihi)p
Roseate Spoonbill (Platalea ajaja) o,p,x,ba,
American Wood Stork (Mycteria americana)o,p,x,ba
Maguari Stork (Ciconia maguari)p,o
Jabiru (Jabiru mycteria)o,p,x,ba,cur
Black Vulture (Coragyps atratus)s,c,f,r,p,x,ba, cur
Turkey Vulture (Cathartes aura)f,o,p,x,ba
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture (Cathartes burrovianus)r,o,p,x,ba,cur
White-faced Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna viduata )x,o
Black-bellied Whistling-Duck (Dendrocygna autumnalis) x,o
Brazilian Duck (Amazonetta brasiliensis)o,x,ba
Ringed Teal(Anas leucophrys)o
Muscovy Duck (Cairina moschata)p,x,cur
Southern Screamer(Chauna torquata)p,x,o,ba,
White-tailed Kite (Elanus leucurus)o
Swallow-tailed Kite (Elanoides forficatus) o
Gray-headed Kite(Leptodon cayanensis) p
Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis p,x,o,cur
White-tailed Hawk (Buteo albicaudatus) f,p
Road-side Hawk (Rupornis magnirostris)f,r,o,p,x,ba,cur
Harris's Hawk (Parabuteo unicinctus)r,o
Black-collared Hawk (Busarellus nigricollis)s,o,p,x,ba,cur
Savanna Hawk (Buteogallus meridionalis)r,o,p,x,ba,cur
Great Black Hawk (Buteogallus urubutinga) p,x,ba,cur
Black-and-White Hawk-Eagle (Spizastur melanoleucus) ba
Crane Hawk (Geranospiza caerulescens)p,
Osprey (Pandion haliaetus) ba
Yellow-headed Cara-cara (Milvago chimachima)s,x
Southern Crested Cara-cara (Polyborus plancus)cu,f,o,p,x,ba,cur
American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)cu,r,o
Chaco Chachalaca (Ortallis canicollis)o,p,x,ba,cur
Rusty-margined Guan (Penelope superciliaris)cur
Blue-throated Piping-Guan (Pipile cumanensis)r, p,x,cur
Bare-faced Curassow (Crax fasciolata)r,x,b,c
Limpkin (Aramus guarauna)o,p,x,ba
Gray-necked Wood-Rail (Aramides cajanea) r,o,p,x,ba,cur
Purple Gallinule (Porphyrula martinica)r,b
Sungrebe (Heliornis fulica)ba
Sunbittern (Eurypyga helias)o,ba,cur
Red-legged Seriema (Cariama cristata)o,r
Wattled Jacana (Jacana jacana) r, o,p,x,ba,cur
Southern Lapwing (Vanellus chilensis)s,c,f,o,bo,p,x,ba,
Pied Plover (Hoploxypterus cayanus)o,ba
Collared Plover (Charadrius collaris) x,ba
Solitary Sandpiper (Tringa solitaria)p,x,o
Lesser Yellowlegs (Tringa flavipes)x,ba,o
Greater Yellowlegs (Tringa melanoleuca)x
Spotted Sandpiper (Actitis macularia)x
Giant Snipe (Gallinago undulata)o
Paraguayan Snipe (Gallinago paraguiae)x
Black-necked Stilt (Himantopus mexicanus)r,o,x, ba,
Large-billed Tern (Phaetusa simplex)p,o,ba,
Yellow-billed Tern (Sterna supercilliaris)ba
Black Skimmer (Rynchops nigra)ba
Picazuro Pigeon (Columba picazuro)p,x,ba, o
Pale-vented Pigeon (Columba cayennensis) ba, cur
Feral Dove Columba livia)f,o, cur,s
Eared Dove(Zenaida auriculata)s,f,o,bo
Plain-breasted Ground-Dove (Columbina minuta)o,r,p,s
Ruddy Ground-Dove (Columbina talpacoti)s,o,r,bo,p,ba,s,cur
Picui Ground-Dove (Columbina picui)x,o,ba
Long-tailed Ground-Dove (Uropelia campestris)x, ba
Scaled Dove (Scardafella squammata) r,x,ba
White-tipped Dove (Leptotila verreauxi) x
Grey-fronted Dove (Leptotila rufaxilla)r,p,ba,cur
Hyacinth Macaw (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus)p,x, cur
Blue-and-Yellow Macaw (Ara ararauna)cu,o,b
Red-and-Green Macaw (Ara chloroptera) r,x
Golden-collared Macaw (Propyrrhura auricollis)p,b,cur
Nanday Parakeet (Nandayus nenday)o,p,x
Reddish-bellied Parakeet (Pyrrhura frontalis)f
Monk Parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) p,x,
Yellow-chevroned Parakeet (Brotogeris chiriri) r,p,x,ba,cur,s
Scaly-headed Parakeet (Pionus maximiliani)f,cur
Turquoise-fronted Amazon (Amazona aestiva)f,r,p,x,o,cur
Orange-winged Amazon (Amazona amazonica) ba
Squirrel Cuckoo (Piaya cayana)o,x,ba,cur
Little Cuckoo (Piaya minuta) b,o
Smooth-billed Ani(Crotophaga ani)f,o,bo,p,x,ba,cur
Guira Cuckoo (Guira guira)o,p,x,o,ba,s
Striped Cuckoo (Tapera naevia)o
Tropical Screech-Owl (Otus choliba)ba
Least Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium minutissimum)cur
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl (Glaucidium brasilianum)r,x,ba, cur
Burrowing Owl (Athene cunicularia)r,ba
Great Potoo (Nyctibius grandis)x,ba,cur
Lesser Nighthawk (Chordeiles acutipennis)ba,cur
Band-tailed Nighthawk (Nyctiprogne leucopyga)ba
Nacunda Nighthawk (Podager nacunda)bo,p,x
Pauraque (Nyctridomus albicollis)o,p,ba,cur
Great Dusky Swift (Cypseloides senex)f
Short-tailed Swift (Chaetura brachyura)s
Swallow-tailed Hummingbird (Campylopterus macrourus)s
Violet-capped Woodnymph (Thalurania glaucopsis)f, cur
White-throated Hummingbird (Leucochloris albicollis)s, cur
White-tailed Goldenthroat (Polytmus guainumbi)cur
Blue-crowned Trogon (Trogon curucui)p,x,ba
Surucura trogon (Trogon surucura)r
Ringed Kingfisher(Ceryle torquata)f,o,p,x,ba,cur
Amazon Kingfisher (Chloroceryle amazona)o,p,x,ba
Green Kingfisher (Chloroceryle americana)p,x,o,ba,cur
Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher (Chloroceryle inda) x,b,c
American Pygmy Kingfisher (Chloroceryle aenea)x,ba,o,cur
Blue-crowned Motmot (Momotus momota)r,cur
Rufous-tailed Jacamar (Galbula ruficauda) p,x,ba,o,cur
Spot-backed Puffbird (Nystalus maculatus) x
Black-fronted Nunbird (Monasa nigrifrons) ba,o,cur
Chestnut-eared Araçari (Pteroglossus castanotis ) f,p,o,cur
Toco Toucan (Ramphastos toco) f,o,r,o,p,x,ba,
Red breasted toucan (Ramphastos dicolorus )f
White-wedged Piculet (Picumnus albosquamatus)x,ba
Ochre-collared Piculet (Picumnus temminickii) f
Campo Flicker, Field Flicker (Colaptes campestris) f,o,p,x,ba
Green-barred Woodpecker (Colaptes melanochloros)p,x
Golden-green Woodpecker (Piculus chrysochloros) ba, cur
Pale-crested Woodpecker (Celeus lugubris) p, x,cur
Cream-colored Woodpecker (Celeus flavus) ba
Lineated Woodpecker (Dryocopus lineatus) x,ba,
White Woodpecker (Melanerpes candidus) o,p,x,ba
Little Woodpecker (Veniliornis passerinus) p,x,ba
Crimson-crested Woodpecker (Campephilus melanoleucos)p
Great Antshrike (Taraba major) p,x,o,cur
Amazonian Antshrike (Thamnophilus amazonicus)cur
Variable Antshrike (Thamnophilus caerulescens)c ur
Barred Antshrike (Thamnophilus doliatus) x,ba,s, cur
Rufous-winged Antwren (Herpsilochmus rufimarginatus) f
Rusty-backed Antwren (Formicivora rufa) x
Mato Grosso Antbird (Cercomacra melanaria ) cur
White-backed Fire-Eye (Pyriglena leuconota) ba
Rufous Hornero (Furnarius rufus)cu,f,o,r, bo,p,x,ba,s,cur
Pale-legged Hornero (Furnarius leucopus) o,p,x,ba
White-lored Spinetail (Synallaxis albilora) ba
Yellow-chinned Spinetail (Certhiaxis cinnamomea)x,ba,o
Rufous Cacholote (Pseudosseisura cristata)p,x,ba, o,cur
Great Rufous Woodcreeper (Xiphocolaptes major) ba
Black-banded Woodcreeper (Dendrocolaptes picumnus)ba
Narrow-billed Woodcreeper (Lepidocolaptes angustirostris) o,p,x
Red-billed Scythebill (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris) p,x,ba,o
Southern Scrub Flycatcher (Sublegatus sylviolus ) ba
Common Tody-Flycatcher (Todirostrum cinereum)ba
Bran-colored Flycatcher (Myiophobus fasciatus) x
Tropical Pewee (Contopus cinereus) p
Vermillion Flycatcher (Pyrocephalus rubinus) r, p,x,o,ba
White-rumped Monjita (Xolmis velata)r,x,ba
White Monjita (Xolmis irupero)p
Pied Water-Tyrant (Fluvicola pica) o,p,x,ba,cur
White-headed Marsh-Tyrant (Arundinicola leucocephala) o
Cattle Tyrant (Machetornis rixosus)s,f,o,r,p,x,ba
Rufous Casiornis (Casiornis rufa) ba, cur
Brown-crested Flycatcher (Myiarchus tyrannulus)ba
Swainson's Flycatcher (Myiarchus swainsoni) x,ba,cur
Dusky-capped Flycatcher (Myiarchus tuberculifer)o
Great Kiskadee (Pitangus sulphuratus) s,cu,f,o,r,p,x,ba,cur
Lesser Kiskadee (Philohydor lictor) p,x,ba,cur
Boat-billed Flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua) cur
Rusty-margined Flycatcher (Myiozetetes cayanensis) ba
Social Flycatcher (Myiozetetes similis) x,cur
Streaked Flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus) cur
Piratic Flycatcher(Legatus leucophaius) ba
Fork-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus savana)o,x,s
Tropical Kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus) p,x,ba,s,cur
Xenopsaris (Xenopsaris albinucha) p
Band-tailed Manakin (Pipra fasciicauda) r
Helmeted Manakin (Antilophia galeata) ba
White-winged Swallow (Tachycineta albiventer) f,o,p,ba
White-rumped Swallow (Tachycineta leucorrhoa) f,bo,p,ba
Brown-chested Martin (Phaeoprogne tapera) o,ba
Gray-breasted Martin (Progne chalybea)f,o,p,ba
Blue-and-white Swallow (Notiochelidon cyanoleuca) s,f,o,bo,p,s
Southern Rough-winged Swallow (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)o,r,p,x,ba
Barn Swallow (Hirundo rustica)ba
Purplish Jay (Cyanocorax cyanomelas)r,x,ba,cur
Curl-crested Jay (Cyanocorax cristatellus)r
Plush-crested Jay(Cyanocorax chrysops)f,r,p,x,
Thrush-like Wren(Campylorhynchus turdinus) cur
Black-capped Donacobius (Donacobius atricapillus) r,o,p,x,ba,cur
House Wren (Troglodytes aedon)co, f,o,s
Masked Gnatcatcher (Polioptila dumicola)o,ba,cur
Rufous-bellied Thrush (Turdus rufiventris ) bo,p,x,ba,o,s
Pale-breasted Thrush (Turdus leucomelas) f,bo,ba
Creamy-bellied Thrush (Turdus amaurochalinus)ba,s
Chalk-browed Mockingbird (Mimus saturninus)cu,f,o,r,bo,x,ba
Rufous-browed Peppershrike (Cyclarhis gujanensis)x,cur
Tropical Parula (Parula pitiayumi) x
Masked Yellowthroat (Geothlypis aequinoctialis) o
Bananaquit (Coereba flaveola) f,r,o,s,cur
Gray-headed Tanager (Eucometis penicillata) o
Magpie Tanager (Cissopis leveriana) o
Guira Tanager (Hemithraupis guira) ba
Ruby-crowned Tanager (Tachyphonus coronatus) f
White-lined Tanager (Tachyphonus rufus)c
Silver-beaked Tanager (Ramphocelus carbo) p,x,ba,cur
Black-goggled Tanager (Trichothraupis melanops) f
Sayaca Tanager (Thraupis sayaca) f, o,r,bo,p,x, o,ba,s
Palm Tanager (Thraupis palmarum)s, o,ba
Violaceous Euphonia (Euphonia violacea)f
Thick-billed Euphonia (Euphonia laniirostris) b
Chestnut-bellied Euphonia (Euphonia pectoralis) f
Green-headed Tanager (Tangara seledon) f
Blue Dacnis (Dacnis cayana)f
Chestnut-vented Conebill (Conirostrum speciosum )x
Swallow Tanager (Tersina viridis)f
Rufous-collared Sparrow (Zonotrichia capensis)cu,f,o, ba
Grassland Sparrow (Ammodramus humeralis) o
Stripe-tailed Yellow-Finch (Sicalis citrina) ba
Grassland Yellow-Finch (Sicalis luteola)r
Saffron Finch (Sicalis flaveola) f,r,bo,p,x,ba,o
Cinereous Warbling-Finch (Poospiza cinerea) o
Rusty-collared Seedeater (Sporophila collaris)cur
Tawny-bellied Seedeater (Sporophila hypoxantha) o
Plumbeous Seedeater (Sporophila plumbea) c
Sooty Grassquit (Tiaris fuliginosa) ba
Saffron-billed Sparrow (Arremon flavirostris) p
Red-pileated Finch (Coryphospingus cucullatus) x,o
Uniform Finch (Haplospiza unicolor) x,o
Red-crested Cardinal (Paroaria coronata) o,p,x,ba
Yellow-billed Cardinal (Paroaria capitata ) bo,o,p,x,ba,cur
Green-winged Saltator (Saltator similis)f,ba
Grayish Saltator (Saltator caerulescens) o,p,x, ba,cur
Crested Oropendola (Psarocolius decumanus)p,x,o,ba,cur
Yellow-rumped Cacique (Cacicus cela ) ba, o,cur
Red-rumped Cacique (Cacicus haemorrhous)f,o
Solitary Black Cacique (Cacicus solitarius) x,cur
Epaulet Oriole (Icterus cayanensis) ba,cur
Orange-backed Troupial (Icterus croconotus) x,ba,cur
Unicolored Blackbird (Agelaius cyanopus) p,x,o
Chestnut-capped Blackbird (Agelaius ruficapillus)x
White-browed Blackbird (Leistes superciliares)o
Yellow-rumped Marshbird (Pseudoleistes guirahuro)o,bo
Brown-and-yellow Marshbird (Pseudoleistes virescens)p
Scarlet-headed Blackbird (Amblyramphus holosericeus) x,ba,cur
Chopi Blackbird (Gnorimopsar chopi) r,bo,p,x,ba,cur
Bay-winged Cowbird (Molothrus badius) p,x,o,ba
Shiny Cowbird (Molothrus bonariensis)f,o, bo,ba
Giant Cowbird (Scaphidura oryzivora) f,p,ba
House Sparrow (Passer domesticus) f,o,bo,p,ba,s