Mark Pretti Nature Tours, L.L.C.

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Southeast Brazil -
Guapiacu Bird Lodge, Itatiaia National Park, and Iguazu Falls

August 9 - 20, 2018

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 blackish rail.  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 three-toed sloth.

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, rufous-crowned greenlet, pallid spinetail, brown tanager, sharp-billed treehunter, and others.

We 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.  Their hummingbird 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 monkey.

We値l 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.

We 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.  


Led by naturalist and bird guide Mark Pretti and local guides, the 2018 cost will be about $4300 per person, double occupancy, and will include all lodging, meals, guides and ground transportation from Rio de Janeiro.  It does not include the round-trip flight from Rio to Iguazu Falls. Limited to 8 participants.

Detailed itinerary and references available upon request.

Pin-tailed Manakin and Iguazu Falls by Larry Vaughn and Misty Vaughn  
Diademed Tanager by Michele Weisz


Last updated: September 09, 2017.