Southeastern Brazil Part I: Sep 16—Oct 02, 2006

Coastal ParanĂ¡/Santa Catarina, Rio Grande do Sul and Itatiaia

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Departs: Iguacu Fall (ends in Rio de Janeiro)
Tour Limit: 8
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Red-necked Tanager

Red-necked Tanager— Photo: Andrew Whittaker


Part I of our flagship Brazil tour to the most endemic-rich corner of the South American continent. Over 160 possible endemics (Parts I, II, & Iguaçu Pre-trip), including many hummingbirds, antbirds, and colorful tanagers set amidst beautiful scenery including spectacular Iguaçu Falls, Itaimbezinho Canyon, and the Araucaria forests of Rio Grande do Sul.

South America’s largest country is also one of its richest for birds. Nowhere is this more apparent than in southeastern Brazil, where habitats range from coastal rainforest and wet pampas to montane cloud forest and plateau grassland. The avifauna of southeast Brazil has radiated in a myriad of directions. Today there are more than 180 species of Atlantic Forest endemics found nowhere else in the world.

Curitiba will be our jumping-off spot for exploring the varied Atlantic Forest habitats of Paraná state. The cloud forests of the Serra da Graciosa will provide the backdrop as we search for Solitary Tinamou, Canebrake Groundcreeper, White-bearded and Giant antshrikes, Slaty Bristlefront, White-breasted Tapaculo, Hooded Berryeater, Bare-throated Bellbird, Azure-shouldered and Brassy-breasted tanagers, and more. Nearby grasslands and marshes may yield such specialties as the Sickle-winged Nightjar and the recently described Marsh (Wetland) Tapaculo. We will also visit marshes and restinga woodlands in adjacent Santa Catarina state in search of the recently described Marsh Antwren, as well as Yellow-legged Tinamou, Ochre-collared Piculet, Pale-browed Treehunter, Spot-backed Antshrike, Squamate Antbird, Unicolored Antwren, Restinga Tyrannulet, the recently rediscovered Kaempfer’s Tody-Tyrant, and the spectacular Black-backed and Red-necked tanagers.

Rio Grande do Sul is a world of strange araucaria forests, high plateau grasslands and marshes, and spectacular canyons. This region was colonized by successive waves of European immigrants from Germany, Italy, and Switzerland. Their influence is reflected in the landscaping, architecture, and cuisine of the area, which, combined with the temperate climate and moors-like nature of the high grasslands, lends a decidedly European feel. The birds are equally unique, with such specialties as Plumbeous Rail, Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail, Red-and-white Crake, Vinaceous-breasted Parrot, Blue-bellied Parrot, Long-tufted Screech-Owl, Mottled Piculet, Araucaria Tit-Spinetail, Straight-billed Reedhaunter, Firewood-gatherer, Long-tailed Cinclodes, Black-and-white Monjita, Azure Jay, Chestnut-backed Tanager, and Saffron-cowled Blackbird being just a few of the many highlights.

Good to excellent accommodations throughout; great food; easy terrain; many early starts and full mornings, often with significant mid-afternoon breaks; all but one lodge with excellent birding on the grounds; two internal flights; a few drives of two-to-three hours; warm to cool climate.