Birding Tour Brazil: Cerrado, Amazon, and Pantanal 2018

Duration: 15 days

Please note: On this Birding Tour Brazil 1.5 days will be spent searching for the magnificent jaguar.

Welcome to the first of our 2018 Birding Tour Brazil itineraries! In a country well known for its staggering biodiversity, the Brazilian state of Mato Grosso sets itself apart. Lying in the heart of South America, it encompasses three major biomes that together make this one of the most biologically rich regions in all of Brazil: the Cerrado, the Amazon Rainforest, and the Pantanal.

From Cuiabá we embark on our journey to the Cerrado, the first of the major biomes of Mato Grosso and the second-largest in Brazil by area, after the Amazon. This highly threatened mosaic of dry woodland, gallery forest, and grassland is home to its own unique subset of specialized birds, including White-eared Puffbird, Collared Crescentchest, and White-rumped Tanager. We explore this fascinating biome via the scenic Chapada dos Guimarães National Park, a landscape studded with beautiful rock formations and adorned with cascading waterfalls.

Next, we also include the Amazon Rainforest on this exciting trip, a vast forest deserving of many superlatives. With its astonishing list of nearly 600 bird species, there are few better places to explore this incredible eco-region than the vast reserve centered on Cristalino Lodge. Here an extensive network of forest trails provides opportunities to see over 40 species of antbird, 18 species of woodcreeper, foliage-gleaners, forest-falcons, and manakins. The forest’s most colorful denizens can be seen from the lodge’s two canopy towers, including Spangled and Pompadour Cotingas, Scarlet and Blue-and-yellow Macaws, Paradise and Opal-rumped Tanagers, and maybe even a Harpy Eagle. Numerous hard-to-find or highly localized species are easier to find here than anywhere else: White-browed Hawk, Tapajos Hermit, Black-girdled Barbet, Crimson-bellied Parakeet, Kawall’s Amazon, Glossy Antshrike, Bare-eyed Antbird, Cryptic Forest Falcon, Tooth-billed Wren, and many more to look out for at one of the best birding sites in the world.

Finally we embark on our journey to the Pantanal, a vast, seasonally flooded wetland renowned for its incredible concentrations of birds at the end of the dry season. We schedule this tour during this time, when the fish trapped in the shrinking pools of water attract hordes of herons, egrets, storks, and other wetland species. The star of such huge concentrations is the massive Jabiru, towering over a diverse collection of South American waterbirds, such as Sunbittern, Plumbeous Ibis, and Southern Screamer. Raptors such as Savanna Hawk, Snail Kite, and Black-collared Hawk and up to five species of kingfisher also join the bonanza in one of the world’s great birding spectacles. The Pantanal also hosts a mosaic of forest islands and riverside forest, which is home to an interesting assemblage of regional endemics, such as Mato Grosso Antbird, White-lored Spinetail, and Pale-crested Woodpecker. And, of course, there is no better place in the world to see the enormous Hyacinth Macaw, the largest species of parrot in the Americas and one of Brazil’s great conservation success stories, or the elusive jaguar, the third-largest species of feline in the world.

For those wishing to continue exploring this magnificent country, this tour can be combined with our Brazil: Cerrado Endemics and Brazilian Merganser 2018 tour, our Comprehensive Southeast Brazil: Intervales to Linhares Part I 2018 tour, and our Comprehensive Southeast Brazil: Intervales to Linhares Part II 2018 tour for an overall 51-day Brazilian mega tour.

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