Suriname: Oct 14—29, 2007

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Departs: Paramaribo
Tour Limit: 7
Download Itinerary: PDF (125.8 KB)

Tour Leaders

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Steve Hilty

Steve Hilty is the senior author of A Guide to the Birds of Colombia, and author of Birds of...


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Guianan Cock-of-the-rock

Guianan Cock-of-the-rock — Photo: Steve Hilty

Top-notch birding in an exotic, off-the-beaten-track destination. A throwback to an era of adventure travel, tiny Suriname offers birders and naturalists some of the best and easiest lowland rainforest birding in South America.

Little-known and practically undiscovered by the tourist, Suriname can truly be called "one of the last paradises on earth." We are proud to offer this tour once again to one of the finest natural history destinations in South America. Almost ninety percent of Suriname (formerly Dutch Guiana) is covered with pristine lowland rainforest, which is home to a fascinating and diverse flora and fauna.

Located on the northern coast of South America, this diminutive and almost forgotten country has a small population living mostly on the coastal plain and in the capital city of Paramaribo. The remainder of the country is virtually uninhabited. Suriname has one of the finest nature reserve systems in the American Tropics. Through the efforts of the Suriname Forest Service (STINASU), extensive tracts of wilderness rainforest are accessible to birders and naturalists. For those who enjoy walking through tall virgin rainforest, Suriname is superb. The reserves have many fine trails and narrow roads, and on past tours, some of our most exciting birds and mammals have been found on such trails within the nature reserves. Birds seen on previous trips include such notables as Gray-winged Trumpeter, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Guianan Toucanet, Crimson Fruitcrow, Capuchinbird, White Bellbird, Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, Sharpbill, Rose-breasted Chat, and Red-and-black Grosbeak.

Most visitors have commented on the relative ease with which antbirds can be seen in the Guianas, particularly compared with Amazonia. Participants on our trips typically see in excess of 40 species of antbirds, including professional ant-followers like the Rufous-throated and White-plumed antbirds, the beautiful Wing-banded Antbird, and occasionally even the rare Band-tailed Antshrike and Variegated Antpitta. In addition to birds, most groups see four or five species of monkeys and occasionally tapirs or large cats.

We will begin with marsh and forest-edge birding just east of the capital city, then spend a morning in the white-sand savannas of the interior, and finally continue on to Brownsberg Nature Reserve located atop a low plateau. Our tour will conclude with several days at the scenic Raleigh Falls area. Here we will enjoy a walk to a secluded forest camp at the base of an enormous quartzite rock mountain, the Voltzberg, spending two nights there in order to enjoy the lek display of the incomparable Guianan Cock-of-the-rock. The Raleigh Falls and Voltzberg area is a birder's paradise—piping-guans, macaws, parrots, antbirds, flycatchers, caciques, and tanagers are at one's doorstep. On the overnight camp (in hammocks) at the Voltzberg, one can lie back on the warm rock outcrops in the evening, gaze up at an unbelievably brilliant starry sky, and go to sleep to the humming song of a nearby Black Curassow. A few ambitious persons usually rise before dawn and climb to the summit of Voltz Mountain to view the sunrise over a vista of undisturbed lowland rainforest, stretching as far as the eye can see in any direction, and watch the dawn flight of parrots and macaws below. This tour should record a large number of birds, all set amidst some of the most magnificent lowland rainforest found anywhere in South America.

Excellent food; good lodge accommodations at most locations; shared bathrooms, possibly some shared doubles at one or more lodges; travel by charter plane and bus; some long walks (up to five miles); one moderately difficult trail; one overnight (optional) in hammocks; some midday breaks; warm and humid, one area higher and cooler.