22 January–1 February 2014
15–25 October 2014
Brazil is the second most endemic-rich country in the world and the threatened rainforests in the southeast contain many of the endemics. This tour is designed for us to see as many of these as possible from one comfortable base and at an affordable price. From watching birds at the feeders in the gardens to birding in the local mountains and lowlands we will see a superb range of tropical species. Join us on one of our most popular tours and discover why so many people have visited Serra dos Tucanos.
Day 1 Overnight flight from London to Rio de Janeiro.
Day 2 On arrival in Rio de Janeiro we will be met by our guide for the transfer to the beautifully-located and extremely comfortable Serra dos Tucanos Lodge in the heart of the rainforest. We will have the choice either to explore the extensive grounds and trail network or to relax by the swimming pool. Eight nights at Serra dos Tucanos Lodge.
Day 3 One of the most sought-after birds of southeast Brazil is the endemic Three-toed Jacamar and today's full-day excursion will be to several sites where this bird is regularly found. Along the way we will pass through a variety of habitats and make many stops to look for other species. These may include Capped and Whistling Herons, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Plumbeous Kite, Savannah and White-tailed Hawks, Aplomado, Bat and Laughing Falcons, Red-legged Seriema, Blue-winged Macaw, White-eyed Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Striped Cuckoo, Planalto Hermit, Glittering-bellied and Sapphire-spangled Emeralds, Amethyst Woodstar, Crescent-chested and White-eared Puffbirds, Black-necked Aracari, White Woodpecker, Wing-banded Hornero, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Ochre-faced Tody-flycatcher, Grey and White-rumped Monjitas, Long-tailed, Streamer-tailed and Yellow-browed Tyrants, White-rumped and Tawny-headed Swallows, Black-capped Donacobius, Long-billed Wren, Curl-crested Jay, Brazilian, Gilt-edged, Hepatic, Hooded, Magpie and Orange-headed Tanagers and Hooded Siskin.
Day 4 The superb Theodoro Trail is just a 15-minute drive from the lodge. Starting at 1100m, this path offers wonderful birding. As we walk through both primary and secondary forest, birds that can be seen include Brown Tinamou, Mantled Hawk, Maroon-bellied and Plain Parakeets, Scale-throated Hermit, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Black-throated and Surucua Trogons, Spot-billed Toucanet, Yellow-eared and White-browed Woodpeckers, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Streaked Xenops, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Black-capped and White-browed Foliage-gleaners, Lesser and Scaled Woodcreepers, Variable Antshrike, Star-throated Antwren, Such's Antthrush, Variegated Antpitta, Bare-throated Bellbird, Pin-tailed Manakin, Grey-hooded Attila, Greenish Schiffornis and Brassy-breasted Tanager. We will return to Serra dos Tucanos for lunch. In the afternoon we will fully explore the gardens and trails around the lodge, which provide excellent birding opportunities. More than 160 species have been found, of which over 50 are endemic to the Atlantic rainforest! Some of the birds we can expect to see include Scaly-headed Parrot, Saw-billed Hermit, Sombre and Swallow-tailed Hummingbirds, Black Jacobin, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Channel-billed Toucan, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Olivaceous and Plain-winged Woodcreepers, Spot-backed Antshrike, Streak-capped Antwren, Ferruginous Antbird, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Eye-ringed Tody-tyrant, Grey-headed Tody-flycatcher, White-throated Spadebill, Chestnut-crowned Becard, Burnished-buff, Flame-crested, Golden-chevroned, Green-headed, Ruby-crowned and Red-necked Tanagers, Violaceous, Orange-bellied and Chestnut-bellied Euphonias, Buff-throated Saltator and Black-throated Grosbeak.
Day 5 A short drive from the lodge is the Cedae Trail where, this morning, we will look for Yellow-faced Parrot, Rufous-capped Motmot, Buff-bellied Puffbird, Saffron Toucanet, White-barred Piculet, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Pale-browed Treehunter, Black-billed Scythebill, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Grey-hooded Flycatcher, Oustalet's Tyrannulet, Eared Pygmy-tyrant, Black-tailed Tityra, Sharpbill, Black-goggled, Olive-green, Rufous-headed and Yellow-backed Tanagers and Black-throated Grosbeak. The afternoon can be spent either at leisure or birding around the trails. Slaty-breasted Wood-rail is a possibility on the lawns in the evening.
Day 6 We will spend the whole day out, taking a packed lunch with us. After about 50 minutes we will reach Nova Friburgo, where we will stop to look for Cinnamon Tanager. Continuing for a short distance to our final destination, we will spend the rest of the day walking a trail at an altitude of approximately 1600m. Here we will hope to see Plumbeous Pigeon, Plovercrest, Pallid Spinetail, Sharp-billed Treehunter, Black-billed Scythebill, Giant, Large-tailed and Rufous-capped Antshrikes, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Dusky-tailed and Rufous-tailed Antbirds, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo, Black-and-gold and Swallow-tailed Cotingas, Serra do Mar Tyrant-manakin, Olivaceous Elaenia, Blue-billed and Velvety Black-tyrants, Yellow-legged Thrush, White-browed Warbler, Azure-shouldered, Chestnut-headed, Diademed and Fawn-breasted Tanagers, Bay-chested Warbling-finch and Green-winged and Thick-billed Saltators.
Day 7 This morning we will visit a local wetland nature reserve called Reserva Ecologica de Guapi Acu. It was established in 2002 and the large wetland restoration project has been very successful in the number of species that it has attracted since then. The reserve management also protects a large amount of forest within the local area and employs rangers to ensure that the birds on the reserve are safeguarded. Species we will look for here include Least Grebe, Brazilian Teal, Masked Duck, Grey-headed Kite, Crane Hawk, Limpkin, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, White-headed Marsh Tyrant, Yellowish Pipit and Chestnut-capped Blackbird. Lowland forest (a habitat very difficult to find elsewhere due to large-scale destruction) surrounds this wetland and here we will search for Reddish Hermit, White-chinned Sapphire, Rufous-capped Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, White-flanked, Unicolored and Rufous-winged Antwrens and Shrike-like Cotinga. We will return to the lodge for lunch, after which we will be able to further explore the trails in the grounds.
Day 8 The famous Serra dos Orgaos National Park is only a 45-minute drive away but we will stop briefly en route to look for Purple Gallinule and Amazon, Green and Ringed Kingfishers. The National Park is split into the upper and lower sections and we will begin in the lower section, where we will spend an hour or so looking for White-necked Hawk, Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, Buff-fronted and White-eyed Foliage-gleaners, White-throated Woodcreeper, Plain and Spot-breasted Antvireos, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Blue Manakin, Ochre-bellied Flycatcher and Red-rumped Cacique. Next we will drive for a further 20 minutes to the upper section of the park. Depending upon weather conditions, we will take the higher trail within the park for the remainder of the day. This is quite a hard walk and there will be the opportunity to opt out and return to the vehicle at any time. Some of the birds we will aim to see include Dusky-legged Guan, Spot-winged Wood-quail, Tawny-throated Leaftosser, Tufted Antshrike, Bertoni's and Ochre-rumped Antbirds, Rufous Gnateater, Hooded Berryeater and Rufous-crowned Greenlet.
Day 9 Today we will drive for 30 minutes from the lodge to spend half a day birding our way towards Macae de Cima. This forested track is home to some excellent endemics. Depending upon weather conditions we may leave the minibus and take a gentle walk or the minibus will accompany us for the next few hours. Birds we may see include Barred Forest-falcon, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Orange-eyed Thornbird, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Giant and Tufted Antshrikes, Rufous Gnateater, Black-and-gold Cotinga and Drab-breasted Pygmy-tyrant. We will also have a further chance to see birds we may have missed earlier in the tour. We will return to the lodge for lunch and the final afternoon will be free for some last-minute photography, relaxation or birding within the lodge grounds.
Day 10 After breakfast and early morning birding around the grounds, we will return to Rio de Janeiro for our afternoon flight to London, where we will arrive on Day 11.
General Information Brazil can be hot and humid with rain likely at any time. The tour pace is moderate with generally easy walking, although at altitude some extra effort is needed. The upper trail at Serra dos Orgaos National Park can be quite strenuous. There are some health requirements which should be referred to your GP. Insects can be a problem at times and repellents are recommended. Visas are not required for EU citizens.
Group Size Minimum number for tour to go ahead: 6; maximum group size: 10 with 1 leader.