Southeast Brazil is one of the best birding areas in the country. On this tour you will have the chance to see many special bird species, including a great number of rarities and Brazilian endemics and a few species of primates and other mammals are also possible. The incredible bird diversity of Brazil's Atlantic forest with over 900 species along with an unusually high degree of endemism (over 22%) makes this region a birding paradise. This tour highlights the foothill forests of the Parque Estadual Intervales with its pristine tall forest and bamboo understory, the foothills of the Serra do Mar and the upper and lower montane forests of Brazil's oldest national park, Itatiaia. With only 7% of the original extent of the Atlantic forest remaining, these parks provide a haven for many species in danger of extinction, including over 60 threatened endemic birds.
Photographer: Fabrice Schmitt
Day 1: Sao Paulo / Intervales State Park Arrival at Sao Paulo International Airport and transfer to Intervales State Park. We'll check in at one of the "pousadas" inside the park. This 49,000 ha park is part of a complex of reserves that protects 1200 square kilometers of Atlantic rainforests. This beautiful park offers us access to pristine tall forest with a dense bamboo understory. Additionally it has areas of secondary growth and open areas around a large lake. It is around the park headquarters that we should find nesting Swallow-tailed Cotinga. L:D
Days 2, 3 & 4: Intervales State Park Full days of full on birding! Our more difficult target species here include the shy Helmeted Woodpecker, Blue-bellied Parrot and Black-fronted Piping-Guan, all of which may be seen here but which are tough to see well. Along a well used track we usually see the rare Mantled Hawk and Rufous-thighed Kite while the dense stands of bamboo should produce White-bearded Antshrike, along with Buff-fronted and Temminck's Seedeaters and possibly Blackish-blue Seedeater and Sooty Grassquit. All of these seedeating birds being tied to the bamboo stands. The Spotted Bamboowren and White-breasted Tapaculo are both common here and we shall spend some time searching for these fascinating but elusive creatures. Our night birding here should produce the stunning Long-trained Nightjars and possibly Silky-tailed Nightjar. On a night birding sortie we should see both Tawny-browed Owl and the beautiful Rusty-barred Owl. In the past we have been lucky and seen Buff-fronted Owl. In the understory flocks we should see White-throated and Planalto Woodcreepers, Rufous-capped and Grey-bellied Spinetails along with White-eyed, White-collared and White-browed Foliage-gleaner. On the forest floor we may see Rufous-breasted Leaftosser, Variegated Antpitta and Rufous Gnateater, although we should be very lucky to see the former without a great deal of effort. BIRDS: Solitary Tinamou, Black-fronted Piping-Guan, Spot-winged Wood-Quail, Rufous-thighed Kite, Mantled Hawk, Red-breasted Toucan, Blue-bellied Parrot, Long-trained Nightjar, Black-breasted Plovercrest, Scale-throated Hermit, Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Ochre-collared Piculet, Helmeted Woodpecker, White-eyed Foliage-Gleaner, Giant, Large-tailed Antshrike and White-bearded Antshrike, Squamate, Bertoni's and Ochre-rumped Antbird, Spotted Bamboowren, Variegated Antpitta, Atlantic Royal Flycatcher, Grey-hooded Attila, Hangnest Tody-Tyrant, Bare-throated Bellbird, Hooded Berryeater, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Pin-tailed Manakin, Wing-barred Piprites, Black-legged Dacnis, Olive-green, Brassy-breasted and Brown Tanager.B:L:D
Day 5 – Intervales State Park / UbatubaEarly birding in Intervales and transfer to Ubatuba. Lunch on the road and dinner at the hotel restaurant. B:L:D
Day 6 & 7 - Ubatuba After some early morning birding at Intervales we head to Ubatuba, another area famous for both birding and seaside holidays. While here we shall explore the lush forests at the foot of the Serra do Mar where we will be treated to a near continuous chorus of Bare-throated Bellbirds from the canopy and lekking Blue Manakins in the understory. At our first site we hope to see the diminutive Buff-throated Purpletuft, along with the endemic Orange-breasted Thornbird, Salvadori's Antwren, the enigmatic Spotted Bamboowren and the stunning Tufted Antshrike. If the weather is hot we may be lucky and see a Black and White Hawk Eagle, a Black Hawk Eagle or a Rufous-thighed Kite soaring above the canopy. We may also find the Buff-bellied Puffbird, the exquisite and rare Fork-tailed Tody-Tyrant and a multitude of tanagers, including the beautiful Red-necked Tanager. At another site we target the outstanding Slaty Bristlefront with its haunting song. Along with this strange Tapaculo we should see a good selection of forest species including Black-cheeked Gnateater, Unicolored, Star-throated and Rufous winged Antwrens. This too is a good site for Tanagers with both Green-headed and Red-necked both being present. We should also see the extraordinary Blond-crested Woodpecker, Rufous-capped Motmot and the endemic Crescent-chested Puffbird. With some luck we should see Sao Paulo Tyrannulet, Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant and Rufous-breasted Leaftosser. In the area there are a number of hummingbird feeders we will visit and these visits should produce the stunning Saw-billed Hermit as well as Festive Coquette, which we may be able to watch display. Also in attendance will be the outstanding Violet-capped Woodnymph, Black Jacobin, Sombre Hummingbird, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird and Sapphire-spangled Emerald. Along the coast we should see Magnificent Frigatebird, South American and Royal Terns as well as Brown Booby and Kelp Gull. Birds: Black Hawk-Eagle, Reddish-bellied Parakeet, Black-throated Mango, Festive Coquette, Scale-throated, Reddish and Saw-billed Hermit, White-tailed Trogon, Black-capped Foliage-Gleaner, Spot-backed Antshrike, Scaled and Squamate Antbird, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Unicolored and Streak-capped Antwren, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Black-cheeked and Rufous Gnateater, Spotted Bamboowren, Slaty Bristlefront, Bare-throated Bellbird, Buff-throated Purpletuft, Pin-tailed Manakin, Red-necked, Brazilian, Golden-chevroned and Brassy-breasted Tanager, Green Honeycreeper and Chestnut-bellied Euphonia. B:L:D
Day 8 – Ubatuba / Pereque / Itatiaia National ParkToday we head along the coast to the town of Pereque to visit a site where the Black-hooded-Antwren was rediscovered. This site is also very good for a wide variety of Atlantic forest species. Fork-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Orange-breasted Thornbird, Buff-throated Purpletuft, Chestnut-backed Anthrile, Squamate Antbird, Half-collared Sparrow Hangnest, Tody-Tyrant, Green-backed Becard, Russet-winged Spadebill, Long-billed Wren and many others are often found here. After birding in this area we will drive to Itatiaia National Park. Check-in at the Hotel Ype. B:L:D
Day 9, 10 & 11 – Itatiaia
The Itatiaia National Park, located between São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro in the Serra da Mantaqueira protects an area of beautiful montane forest from 750 m up to the tree-line at 1800 m. Our stay in this park will be occupied visiting both the lower elevation and upper elevation forests. We will start birding around the hotel grounds where a good variety of tanagers and hummingbirds attend a number of feeders. Additionally we should see Saffron Toucanet and Dusky-legged Guans making the most of the food put out. Along trails through nearby forest should find a good selection of Antbirds and Furnarids, including the exquisite White-bibbed Antbird, a species that may be found walking quickly across the forest floor much like the Antpipits of Amazonia. In dense bamboo patches we should find Ferruginous, Ochre-rumped and Bertoni's Antbirds along with the rare White-bearded Antshrike. We may also find Red-capped Parrots and the exotic looking Spot-billed Toucanets along with Red-breasted Toucans. At dusk we may be treated to the sight of a pair of Tawny-browed Owls or several Short-tailed Nighthawks around the hotel swimming pool. At higher elevations we will search for Rufous-tailed Antbird, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, the lovely Rufous-backed Antvireo and the huge Large-tailed Antshrike. We may also see Red-ruffed Fruitcrow while the eerie whistles of the Black and Gold Cotinga waft through the cloud-forests. We will try and find both Bay-chested and Buff-throated Warbling-Finches, Thick-billed Saltator, Diademed Tanager along with White-browed Warbler and Sharp-billed Treehunter. Higher still we will search through grasslands for the Itatiaia Thistletail and Purple-crested Plovercrest. The latter often proving the favorite hummingbird of a long list found at feeders and flowering trees throughout the trip. We will also spend time in the Araucaria groves looking for the pretty little Araucaria Tit-Spinetail. During our time in the upper elevation forests we shall give some time to look for and see both Speckle-breasted Antpitta and Rufous-tailed Antthrushes. In the evening we stop at a site for Long-trained Nightjar and a little later on we may look for Rusty-barred Owl.
BIRDS:Dusky-legged Guan, Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Plain Parakeet, Tawny-browed Owl, Short-tailed Nighthawk, Scale-throated Hermit, Frilled Coquette, White-throated Hummingbird, Black Jacobin, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Black-breasted Plovercrest, Brazilian Ruby, Red-breasted Toucan, Saffron and Spot-billed Toucanet, Yellow-fronted, White-spotted and Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Black-billed Scythebill, Araucaria Tit-Spinetail, Itatiaia Spinetail, Sharp-billed and Pale-browed Treehunter, White-collared Foliage-Gleaner, White-bearded and Large-tailed Antshrike, Rufous-backed and Plain Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, Rufous-tailed, Ferruginous, Ochre-rumped and White-bibbed Antbird, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, Shear-tailed Gray-Tyrant, Blue-billed Black-Tyrant, Black-and-Gold and Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Black-capped Piprites, Serra do Mar Tyrant-Manakin, Olive-green, Magpie, Diademed, Fawn-breasted, Green-headed, Brassy-breasted and Gilt-edged Tanager, Thick-billed Saltator, Red-rumped and Bay-chested Warbling-Finch. B:L:D
Day 12– Itatiaia / São Paulo (Guarulhos International Airport – GRU)Transfer from Itatiaia to São Paulo and onward connections. B