Birding Tour Brazil: Comprehensive Southeast Brazil, Part I 2018

Duration: 13 days

When they first landed on its shores in the 1500s, the Portuguese discovered a vast stretch of verdant rainforest cloaking much of the Atlantic coast of what would one day be Brazil. Through centuries of deforestation, only 7% of this forest’s original area remains in remnants scattered within the most densely populated region of Brazil. Despite the long history of human population growth and disturbance, these highly threatened pockets of Atlantic Rainforest harbor an incredibly diverse and often highly endangered collection of bird species. Due to being long isolated from neighboring Neotropical wet forest ecosystems by a dry grassland and thorn-scrub corridor in the interior of Brazil, these forests possess a diverse and fascinating range of species, many of which are found nowhere else. In a country with more than 200 endemic bird species (the third-highest total for a single country in the world), the vast majority are found in the Atlantic Rainforest.

We split the southeast Brazil itinerary into two separate tours that are perfectly complementary, forming a 26-day mega tour with up to 70 Brazilian endemics and an additional 90 Atlantic Rainforest endemics possible when both tours are taken together.

On the first leg of our journey we embark from Rio de Janeiro to Itatiaia National Park, the oldest national park in Brazil. Here we will get our first taste of Atlantic Rainforest birding by exploring both the lower and higher elevation moss-laden slopes for Black-and-gold Cotinga, White-bibbed Antbird, Brown Tanager, and more. Just over the border in São Paulo state, Campos do Jordão will offer our best opportunity to see the unusual Black-capped Piprites, a bird that would not look out of place in the Himalayan foothills. After a brief stop for the recently described São Paulo Antwren, we explore coastal Ubatuba for lowland specialties such as Black-hooded Antwren, Saw-billed Hermit, and Buff-throated Purpletuft. We then head towards REGUA for a couple of days. From there we hope to catch up to the much-desired Grey-winged Cotinga and the charismatic Three-toed Jacamar. As we head back to Rio de Janeiro, we will swing by the arid beach scrub habitat of the Praia Seca area for the endemic Restinga Antwren (not recognized as a full species by all authorities). The tour ends in Rio de Janeiro.

For those wishing to see more of the wonderful country of Brazil, this tour can be combined with our Heart of Brazil: Cerrado, Amazon, and Pantanal 2018 tour, our Brazil: Cerrado Endemics and Brazilian Merganser 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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