Brazil - Guapiacu Bird Lodge, Itatiaia
National Park, and Iguazu Falls
August 9 - 20,
Extending from northeast Brazil
to northeast Argentina, the Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, is one of the
most biodiverse regions on Earth. With
only about 10% of the original forest remaining, it is also one of the most
threatened. Composed of a mosaic of
broadleaf evergreen forest, dry tropical forest, and high altitudes dominated by
grasses and shrubs, it harbors not only high species diversity but exceptional
endemism. Of the approximately 700
bird species, an astonishing 200 are endemic, and among the 264 species of
mammals, 72 are found only there. On
this journey we値l immerse ourselves in some of the finest remaining examples
of intact Atlantic Forest.
We begin at the Reserva
Ecologica de Guapiacu (REGUA) at the base of the Serra dos Orgaos.
Here we値l enjoy a comfortable lodge, excellent food and service, a nice diversity of trails, a
rich wetland, and an active conservation program.
During our five days here, we may find over 200 species of birds.
In the Atlantic Forest, even the more common birds are spectacular, and
we may see black-throated and Surucua trogons, rufous-capped
motmot, crescent-chested puffbird, spot-billed toucanet, plain-winged and lesser
woodcreepers, swallow-tailed manakin, black-cheeked gnateater, gray-headed tody-flycatcher,
streamer-tailed tyrant, and numerous
tanagers (golden-chevroned, Brazilian, green-headed, ruby-crowned, hooded, black-goggled).
In the wetlands, we should find Brazilian teal, masked duck, capped heron, yellow-browed tyrant, white-headed
marsh-tyrant, masked water-tyrant, chestnut-capped blackbird, and perhaps
some of the elusive species such as rufous-sided and ash-throated crakes or
More difficult, but certainly possible, are giant snipe, bare-throated
bellbird, and rufous-capped antthrush.
In addition to the birds, REGUA is rich in mammals (about 60 species,
most of which are bats), and we may see some, including capybara, brown capuchin
monkey, white-tufted-ear marmoset, common long-tongued bat, and brown-throated
From REGUA, we値l make two
day trips to Serra Dos Orgaos National Park.
Here, at higher elevations in excellent evergreen forest, we値l look for mantled and
white-necked hawks, yellow-green grosbeak, pale-browed treehunter,
chestnut-crowned becard, buff-fronted and black-capped foliage-gleaners, white-throated
spadebill, azure-shouldered tanager, yellow-eared and blond-crested woodpeckers,
white-barred piculet, white-throated woodcreeper, Brazilian antthrush, and others. Mixed
flocks at the higher elevations, where bamboo and epiphytes are typical of the
cloudforest-like habitat, include rufous-backed antvireo, hooded berryeater,
greenlet, pallid spinetail, brown tanager, sharp-billed treehunter, and
then travel southwest to the Itatiaia National Park where we'll spend four nights at
the Hotel Donati. The charming hotel is surrounded by excellent forest and
has many nice birds on the grounds and on the adjacent trails - green-headed, ruby-crowned,
and black-goggled tanagers, frilled coquette, white-shouldered fire-eye, slaty-breasted
wood-rail, dusky-legged guan, rufous-crowned greenlet, streak-capped antwren,
orange-eyed thornbird, greenish schiffornis, Surucua
trogon, maroon-bellied and plain parakeets, the colorful Atlantic forest race of
channel-billed toucan, red-breasted toucan, Araucaria tit-spinetail, saffron
toucanet, eared pygmy-tyrant, variable antshrike, and ferruginous antbird.
feeders bring in scale-throated hermit, violet-capped woodnymph, Brazilian ruby,
and a few others.
Mammal possibilities include tayra, brown capuchin monkey and masked titi
also make a day trip to higher elevations where we値l experience a different
suite of birds including velvety and blue-billed black-tyrants, bay-chested and
buff-throated warbling-finches, rufous-capped and Spix痴 spinetails, brassy-breasted tanager,
black-and-gold cotinga, plovercrest, swallow-tailed
cotinga, mottle-cheeked tyrannulet, diademed tanager, spot-breasted and rufous-backed
antvireos, shear-tailed gray-tyrant, the endemic Itatiaia spintail, and more.
finish the trips at Iguazu Falls where we値l stay in the park at the luxurious
Hotel das Cataratas on the Brazilian side. The
world class spectacle of the falls will be a dramatic setting in which to look
for Toco toucan, plush-crested jay, blond-crested, yellow-fronted, and robust
woodpeckers, ochre-collared piculet, rufous-winged antwren, rusty-margined guan,
southern antpipit, and one of the rarer
birds of the area, black-fronted piping-guan. Our views of the falls will
be unforgettable and highlighted by the hundreds of great dusky swifts clinging
to the cliffs and flying near the rushing water.