The Ultimate In Birding Tours

Brazil Tours

JAGUARS & BIRDS OF BRAZIL – Wonders of the Pantanal, Cerrado & Atlantic Forests

Thursday 28th July – Wednesday 10th August 2022

Leader: Leo Garrigues

14 Days Group Size Limit 7
Friday 28th July – Thursday 10th August 2023

Leader: Leo Garrigues

14 Days Group Size Limit 7


Birdquest’s Jaguars & Birds of Brazil tours are a classic bird and wildlife experience. This unusual Brazil tour focuses on both the birds and the wonderful Jaguars of the Pantanal (with special boat trips to see the latter), but is also a great ‘sampling’ birding tour of Brazil as it features visits to the cerrado (Brazilian Merganser is the star here) and the threatened Atlantic Forest with its numerous endemic birds. If you are only goping to be able to visit Brazil once, there is no better itinerary.

Jaguar! Its evocative name conjures up images of an almost never seen, cold-eyed, powerful, spotted cat inhabiting large stretches of virgin and impenetrable rainforest. Birders visiting places like Chan Chich in Belize or Manu National Park in Peru are sometimes lucky enough to see this most appealing of Neotropical mammals, but to have a really good chance of observing this fabulous creature, it is necessary to spend plenty of time and to visit the very best places. The Pantanal of Brazil is now probably the finest area in the Americas to see this near-mythical cat and is recognized by wildlife enthusiasts and naturalists as the place where one can sometimes experience close encounters. Boat trips will offer us excellent opportunities and we have a good chance of being able to stare into the golden, telltale eyes of this fabled predator.

The Pantanal also holds a splendid selection of other mammals and we hope to encounter Brazilian Tapir, Giant Otter, Crab-eating Fox and Marsh Deer here (and perhaps even Ocelot).

Designed as the perfect two-week sampling tour of the southern part of Brazil, but with a special emphasis on seeing Jaguar, during our travels we will explore three different areas, the wonderful Pantanal, the Atlantic Forest zone at Intervales State Park and the cerrado and campo habitats of Serra da Canastra.

Every birdwatcher has heard about the remarkable Pantanal of Brazil, one of the largest wetlands in the Americas and a place that harbours one of the greatest wildlife concentrations in the New World. Called ‘Terra de Ninguem’ (No Man’s Land) by the Brazilians, this vast alluvial plain, half the size of France, is situated at only about 330ft (100m) above sea level and is inhabited by just a few thousand people. In this immense and seasonally watery world, which has been the subject of some awe-inspiring wildlife films, the number of waterbirds defies the imagination. The Pantanal is home to untold thousands of herons, egrets, storks, ibises, spoonbills and other waterbirds, but it should be borne in mind that they are spread over an immense landscape, with local concentrations here and there. We shall be visiting the area during the long dry season, when throngs of these piscivores compete with fierce-looking jacarés (caimans) for wriggling fish in the drying pools.

However, the bird that epitomizes the Pantanal more than any other is not a waterbird at all but the unique and gorgeous Hyacinth Macaw, the largest and easily the most impressive parrot in the world. Small numbers of this resplendent violet-blue marvel of the avian world live in the semi-deciduous woodlands and nut-rich palm groves of the Pantanal, and seeing a pair flap lazily across an azure sky will unquestionably be one of the highlights of our stay.

We will visit the northern fringes of this huge area along the famous Transpantaneira, a well-maintained dirt road with 118 sometimes precarious-looking bridges, that allows access to the many different habitats of the region. Bare-faced Curassow, Chestnut-bellied Guan, Sunbittern, Toco Toucan and Mato Grosso Antbird are amongst the many other avian prizes that await us here.

On this exciting journey we will also visit one of the best remaining stretches of Atlantic Forest, as it is in the southeast corner of Brazil that the richest concentration of localized, rare and little-known birds survives. Through a succession of ice ages and inter-glacial periods, the largest concentration of endemic birds to be found on the continent (over 170 species) evolved in the southeastern region of this huge country and immediately adjacent areas, isolated from the mainstream of Amazonian evolution by the dry cerrado and caatinga of central Brazil. Attacked for centuries by its new human colonists, the coastal forests that once covered vast areas of Brazil have now shrunk to small remnants of what once was. Less than five percent of the original Atlantic Forest of Brazil remains, but in the fine Parque Estadual Intervales we have good opportunities to observe a splendid selection of the region’s specialities, including the impressive Long-trained Nightjar, the lovely White-bearded Antshrike, retiring Ferruginous, Rufous-necked, Dusky-tailed and Squamate Antbirds, the adorable Swallow-tailed Manakin, the noisy Grey-hooded Attila, and colourful Brassy-breasted, Green-headed and Gilt-edged Tanagers.

Our final port of call is the celebrated Serra da Canastra National Park, which contains some of the finest cerrado and campo remaining in central Brazil. It provides an aspect of rolling grasslands with scattered trees and patches of gallery forest quite unlike other parts of tropical South America and is more reminiscent of the plains of East Africa. Mammalian and avian delights include the amazing long-snouted Giant Anteater, the long-legged Maned Wolf, the huge and stately Greater Rhea and the bizarre little Cock-tailed Tyrant, but our main quarry here, the much dreamed-of Brazilian Merganser, inhabits the wild rivers that originate in these hills. Serra da Canastra is without doubt the very best place to find this extremely localized and highly-threatened species. Our visit to these three very different Brazilian wildlife paradises will definitely produce an amazing collection of high quality mammal and bird observations.

Birdquest has operated Brazil birding tours featuring the Jaguars of the Pantanal since 1989.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels are of good or medium standard throughout. Road transport is by minibus and roads are mostly good.

Walking: The walking effort during our Jaguars & Birds of Brazil birding tour is mostly easy, but there are some moderate walks.

Climate: Generally warm or hot, dry and sunny at lower altitudes, but cool (even quite cold in the early morning) in upland areas. Overcast weather is quite regular and there may well be some rain. It will be rather humid in places.

Bird/Mammal Photography: Opportunities during our Jaguars & Birds of Brazil birding tour are good.


  • The stay at Piuval Lodge: an amazing introduction to the Pantanal and a place where wildlife abounds
  • Watching the large and emblematic Hyacinth Macaws and their nest sites at Piuval
  • Looking for Chestnut-bellied Guan, Black-banded Owl, White-fronted Woodpecker, Golden-collared Macaw, Great Rufous Woodcreeper and Black-bellied Antwren at Piuval
  • The Pantanal sunset from the tower at Piuval, watching the large colonies of Jabirus and Wood Storks, the numerous Turquoise-fronted Amazons and the impressive Nacunda Nighthawks
  • The full-day boat trips in the Pantanal looking for Jaguars (and Giant Otters too) along the Cuiabá River and its tributaries
  • The stay at Pantanal Norte Hotel at Porto Jofre, with Hyacinth Macaws, Bare-faced Curassow and Toco Toucans in the garden, and the delicious fish at every meal!
  • The boat trip at Rio Claro Lodge in the Pantanal, usually providing the much-wanted Agami and Zigzag Herons, plus the five kingfisher species from Brazil – Ringed, Amazon, Green, Green- and-rufous and Pygmy
  • The feeders at Rio Claro Lodge in the Pantanal with Nanday Parakeet and Red-crested Cardinal
  • The night excursions in the Pantanal to look for mammals like Lowland Tapir, Ocelot, Crab-eating Racoon and others
  • The lovely stay surrounded by lush forest at Intervales State Park in southeast São Paulo State, simply the best Atlantic Forest site in Brazil
  • The fruit feeders at Intervales State Park with the colourful Green-headed, Red-necked, Azure-shouldered and Brazilian Tanagers
  • The feeding stations at Intervales State Park that give amazing views of some very difficult birds, such as Solitary Tinamou, Spot-winged Wood Quail and Red-and-white Crake
  • The many Atlantic Forest endemics possible along the world famous Carmo Road at Intervales
  • Looking for Atlantic Forest rarities at Intervales such as Black-fronted Piping Guan, Helmeted Woodpecker and White-bearded Antshrike
  • The productive night birding at Intervales State Park with such species as Long-tufted and Black-capped Screech Owls, Rusty-barred and Tawny-browed Owls and, with luck, the fascinating Long-trained Nightjar
  • The interesting stay at the centenary building of Fazenda Nova in Mococa, a good site for the uncommon Henna-capped Foliage-gleaner
  • Looking for Brazilian Mergansers along the São Francisco River at Serra da Canastra, one of the world’s rarest birds
  • Admiring the scenery and grassland habitats of Serra da Canastra, one of the most important protected areas in the Brazilian Cerrado
  • Looking for Cerrado specialties at Serra da Canastra such as Campo Miner, Brasilia Tapaculo, Collared Crescentchest, Cock-tailed Tyrant, Sharp-tailed Grass Tyrant, Grey-backed Tachuri, Blue Finch and Cinereous Warbling Finch
  • Watching Giant Anteaters at Serra da Canastra and looking for the shy Maned Wolf as a best possible bonus
  • Tasting the famous Canastra cheese and the great coffee from the area of Serra da Canastra in Minas Gerais State


  • Day 1: Afternoon tour start at Cuiabá airport. Drive to Pixaim area in Pantanal.
  • Day 2: Pixaim area, then drive to Porto Jofre.
  • Days 3-4: Porto Jofre area, including Jaguar boat trips.
  • Day 5: Return to Pixaim area.
  • Day 6: Return to Cuiabá. Fly to São Paulo. Drive to Serra Paranapiacaba.
  • Days 7-8: Intervales State Park. Overnights at Serra Paranapiacaba.
  • Day 9: Serra Paranapiacaba, then drive to Mococa.
  • Day 10: Drive to Serra da Canastra.
  • Days 11-13: Serra da Canastra National Park.
  • Day 14: Serra da Canastra, then drive to São Paulo airport for early evening tour end.

To see a larger map, click on the square-like ‘enlarge’ icon in the upper right of the map box.

To see (or hide) the ‘map legend’, click on the icon with an arrow in the upper left of the map box.

To change to a satellite view, which is great for seeing the physical terrain (and for seeing really fine details by repetitive use of the + button), click on the square ‘map view’ icon in the lower left corner of the ‘map legend’.


Birdquest Inclusions: Our tour prices include surface transportation, accommodations, meals and entrance fees.

We also include all tipping for local guides, drivers, boatmen and accommodation/restaurant staff.

We also include this flight: Cuiabá-São Paulo.

Deposit: 20% of the total tour price. Our office will let you know what deposit amount is due, in order to confirm your booking, following receipt of your online booking form.

TO BOOK THIS TOUR: Click here (you will need the tour dates)

2022: £4370, $6250, €5090, AUD8060. Cuiabá/São Paulo.
2023: provisional £4440, $6350, €5170, AUD8190. Cuiabá/São Paulo.

Single Supplement: 2022: £360, $520, €420, AUD670.
Single Supplement: 2023: £370, $530, €430, AUD680.

The single supplement will not apply if you indicate on booking that you prefer to share a room and there is a room-mate of the same sex available.

This tour is priced in US Dollars. Amounts shown in other currencies are indicative.

Air Travel To & From The Tour: Our in-house IATA ticket agency will be pleased to arrange your air travel on request, or you may arrange this yourself if you prefer.


Jaguars & Birds of Brazil: Day 1  Our Jaguars & Birds of Brazil birding tour begins in the early afternoon at Cuiabá airport in the capital of the state of Mato Grosso.

[There are domestic flights into Cuiabá from São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro and other Brazilian gateway cities. We can easily book the internal flight for you on request, even if you are not arranging your international tickets through us.]

From Cuiabá, we will drive deep into the Pantanal for a five nights stay (spending the first and the last nights in the Pixaim region and the other nights at Porto Jofre). As we drive through this splendid area we will not be able to resist stopping as we come across one exciting new creature after another.

Jaguars & Birds of Brazil: Days 2-5  The Pantanal needs little introduction for it is undoubtedly one of the most famous wetlands in the Americas. This seasonally flooded grassland close to the Bolivian border is one of the largest marshes on the face of the globe and lies along the upper and middle course of the Paraná River. We will visit the northern fringe of this huge expanse of marsh, where numbers of waterfowl are impressive and where a varied avifauna definitely makes for a rich experience.

The main attraction for the naturalist is the distinct possibility of meeting the most powerful cat in the New World, the mysterious and cagey Jaguar. Although this magnificent animal is still quite widespread in Central and South America, occurring from northern Mexico south to central Argentina, it is rarely seen almost everywhere. Jaguars are usually associated with large tracts of dense rain forest, but it is now known that they equally feel at home in more open habitat, with a very marked preference for the immediate vicinity of watercourses. As hunting pressures have been curtailed, so the Jaguars of the Pantanal have emerged from the shadows to the delight of numerous wildlife-loving visitors.

The Pantanal probably holds the highest density of this enigmatic creature and is the world’s foremost locale for viewing and photographing Jaguars. The most reliable way of seeing this inscrutable cat is to take boat trips on the rivers, as Jaguars like to loaf at the edge of a river or on the sandbanks. As we patrol the waterways we will be keeping a constant lookout for this spotted beauty, which is regularly active by day here, in contrast to its more crepuscular and nocturnal habits elsewhere on the continent. The largest individuals of ‘El Tigre’, as it is commonly referred to in most of Latin America, live here in the southern Mato Grosso, where average adult Jaguars usually weigh twice as much as their colleagues in Central America. We stand a good chance of encountering this golden-eyed, exquisite marvel several times during our outings and with a bit of luck one or two of the Jaguars will be cooperative enough to allow our cameras to click away furiously.

Although Jaguars dominate the scene in the Pantanal, they would not be there but for a healthy population of prey animals. Capybaras, the world’s largest rodents, are by far the favourite prey of the Jaguar and occur all over the Pantanal, leading a semi-aquatic life. Collared Peccaries also feature high on the Jaguar’s menu and small, snorting groups are sometimes encountered. Other mammals that we have a fairly good chance of seeing include Crab-eating Fox, South American Coati, Black-striped Tufted Capuchin, Black Howler Monkey, the curious-looking Brazilian Tapir, and Marsh Deer. With luck we will come across a Jaguarundi or even the striking Ocelot. We should also see the awesome Giant Otter. Several family parties inhabit the narrower stretches of the rivers and sometimes inquisitive individuals come to inspect the boat and can then be admired at minimal range. One evening we will make an extended night drive, armed with a powerful spotlight, with the aim of trying to observe one or two of the more difficult nocturnal mammals.

We will spend some of our time along the famous Transpantaneira, a dirt road with more than a hundred, often rather dilapidated bridges, that runs through a variety of habitats including pastures, palm groves, gallery woodland, scrubby growth, meandering rivers, ponds and extensive flooded marshes.

One of the lodges we will be based at overlooks a silt-laden, tree-lined river, where caimans abound. The rough pasture behind the lodge holds dainty Long-tailed Ground-Doves and a roost of impressive Nacunda Nighthawks. After dusk, Common Pauraques emit their distinctive voices whilst hawking over the plains. We will drive within metres of the gigantic nests of the huge and grotesque Jabiru, which seem to balance precariously on the crowns of the scattered trees. The weird haunting cries of Southern Screamers are a common early morning sound, as numerous herons, egrets and ibises fly in to throng the marshes. Pairs of reclusive Plumbeous Ibises feed in the shallows, away from the more boisterous species.

Raptors are very well represented and may include Black, Turkey and Lesser Yellow-headed Vultures, Snail Kite, Crane, Savanna, Black-collared and Roadside Hawks, Southern Caracara (or Southern Crested-Caracara), Yellow-headed Caracara, American Kestrel and Laughing and Aplomado Falcons.

Away from the water, birdlife abounds in the scattered patches of gallery forest and in the distinctive savanna habitat, called cerrado, which is so characteristic of this part of Brazil. These palm-rich forests are the stronghold of the world’s largest parrot, the spectacular Hyacinth Macaw. We will watch these huge birds flapping lazily towards their roosting trees, their rich purplish-blue feathers glowing in the last rays of the setting sun. The world population of this fantastic creature, which surely epitomizes the wildness and uniqueness of the Pantanal, is now sadly reduced to just a few thousand birds, due to trapping for the cagebird trade. Here we should also find two splendid cracids: the rare Chestnut-bellied Guan and the gorgeous and not uncommon Bare-faced Curassow. That largest of toucans, the incomparable Toco Toucan, shows off its banana-shaped bill and glorious blue eyes here.

Amongst the many other bird species we may well see during our visit are Undulated Tinamou, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Black-bellied Whistling-Duck, Muscovy Duck, Brazilian Teal, Whistling, Little Blue, Capped, Cocoi and Striated Herons, Snowy, Great and Western Cattle Egrets, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Black-crowned Night-Heron, the bizarre Boat-billed Heron, Bare-faced, Green and Buff-necked Ibises, the unlikely-looking Roseate Spoonbill, Wood and Maguari Storks, Chaco Chachalaca, the smart Blue-throated Piping-Guan, Grey-necked Wood-Rail, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, the superb Sunbittern, the secretive Sungrebe, Wattled Jacana, Collared Plover, Southern and Pied Lapwings, Large-billed and Yellow-billed Terns, Black Skimmer, Pale-vented and Picazuro Pigeons, Scaled and White-tipped Doves, Picui, Ruddy and Blue Ground-Doves, Yellow-collared (or Golden-collared) Macaw, Blue-crowned, Nanday (or Black-hooded), Monk and Peach-fronted Parakeets, Yellow-chevroned Parakeet (split from Canary-winged), Blue-fronted (or Turquoise-fronted) Parrot, Little and Striped Cuckoos, the punk-styled Guira Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, Great Horned Owl, Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl, Band-tailed Nighthawk, Great Potoo, Buff-bellied Hermit, Glittering-throated Emerald, Blue-crowned Trogon, Ringed, Amazon, Green, Green-and-rufous and American Pygmy Kingfishers, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and White, Golden-green, Little and Pale-crested Woodpeckers.

Passerines include Straight-billed and Narrow-billed Woodcreepers, Red-billed Scythebill, Pale-legged Hornero, the ubiquitous Rufous Hornero, Chotoy, White-lored, Cinereous-breasted, Rusty-backed and Yellow-chinned Spinetails, Rufous-fronted (or Common) and Greater Thornbirds, the jay-like Rufous (or Grey-crested) Cacholote, Barred Antshrike, Rusty-backed Antwren, Mato Grosso Antbird, the superb Helmeted Manakin, Common and Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatchers, Stripe-necked and Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrants, Fuscous, Vermilion, Boat-billed and Social Flycatchers, Black-backed Water-Tyrant, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Cattle Tyrant, Tropical Kingbird, Lesser and Greater Kiskadees, Rufous Casiornis, Purplish Jay, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Creamy-bellied Thrush, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Black-capped Donacobius, Thrush-like, Buff-breasted, Fawn-breasted and Moustached Wrens, Masked Gnatcatcher, White-winged and Southern Rough-winged Swallows, Grey-breasted and Brown-chested Martins, Yellowish Pipit, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Sayaca, Palm and Grey-headed Tanagers, Red-crested and Yellow-billed Cardinals, Saffron and Red-crested Finches, Blue-black Grassquit, Rusty-collared and White-bellied Seedeaters, Greyish Saltator, Yellow-rumped Cacique, Crested Oropendola, the attractive Orange-backed Troupial, Unicolored, White-browed and Chopi Blackbirds, the exquisite Scarlet-headed Blackbird and Bay-winged, Shiny and Giant Cowbirds.

Jaguars & Birds of Brazil: Day 6  This morning we leave the Pantanal behind and return to Cuiabá, from where we will take a flight to São Paulo. After our arrival in this huge metropolis with its 20 million souls, we will drive west into the Serra Paranapiacaba for a three nights stay.

Jaguars & Birds of Brazil: Days 7-8  Large parts of the Serra de Paranapiacaba and of the Serra do Mar in western São Paulo state are still cloaked in pristine Atlantic rainforest and form the Mata Atlantica Biosphere Reserve, which was declared an International Biosphere Reserve in 1991 and a World Heritage Site in 1999. We shall be spending our time in Parque Estadual Intervales, a 121,000-acre (49,000-hectare) state park that is part of a complex of four adjacent reserves that protect a total area of around 460 square miles (1200 square kilometres) at altitudes varying between 60-3600ft (20-1100m). Parts of the park consist of undulating limestone hills where deep caves add to the attraction. Sparkling streams tumble through these virtually untouched forests where excellent patches of bamboo are another major draw for visiting birders.

A splendid set of wide and well-laid-out trails allows easy access to the forest, while nearby are lakes, areas of dense and impenetrable secondary growth, and even some more open terrain. The Atlantic Forest boasts such an unusually rich avifauna that even experienced birdwatchers tend to be confused by the many different sounds coming from the canopy, understorey and forest floor. Rainforest, more so than any other habitat, provides birders with their greatest challenge, but with patience and perseverance it can prove to be the most exciting and rewarding habitat of all, whether we are tracking down the plaintive whistles of tinamous, checking fruiting trees for cotingas, tanagers, parrots and toucans, or listening for the distant churring of an antbird flock moving through the undergrowth.

As the light level increases in the forest the loud, repetitive song of the Grey-hooded Attila can regularly be heard, as can the far-carrying ‘cracked-bell’ notes of the splendid Bare-throated Bellbird (indeed the latter’s Brazilian name translates as ‘broken bell’). We will be trying to lure the amazing Giant Antshrike and striking Large-tailed Antshrikes into view in the forest edge undergrowth, and we will check out fruiting trees for colourful flocks of Rufous-headed, Ruby-crowned, Black-goggled, Azure-shouldered, Golden-chevroned, Diademed, Brassy-breasted, Green-headed, Red-necked and Fawn-breasted Tanagers. The strange stout-billed White-bearded Antshrike, the sole member of its genus, favours dense patches of tall bamboo and can usually be persuaded to show itself, as can the Ferruginous, Rufous-necked, Dusky-tailed and Squamate Antbirds. Nightbirding is exciting here as delicate Long-trained Nightjars show off their very unusual silhouette at dusk as they hawk insects from the tracks, and later the rare Rusty-barred Owl may lure us into the forest with its hoarse grunts.

Other species we may well see here include Brown Tinamou, Rufous-thighed Hawk, Dusky-legged Guan, Slaty-breasted Wood Rail, Plumbeous Pigeon, Grey-fronted Dove, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Maroon-bellied (or Reddish-bellied) Parakeet, Scaly-headed Parrot, Tropical Screech Owl, Grey-rumped Swift, Dusky-throated and Scale-throated Hermits, Violet-capped Woodnymph, Black-throated and Surucua Trogons, the splendid Rufous-capped Motmot, the superb Green-billed (or Red-breasted) Toucan, Ochre-collared Piculet, Yellow-fronted, White-spotted, Green-barred and Lineated Woodpeckers, and Campo Flicker.

Passerines include Plain-winged, Olivaceous, White-throated, Scalloped (split from Scaled) and Lesser Woodcreepers, Black-billed Scythebill, Rufous-capped and Grey-bellied Spinetails, the localized Orange-breasted Thornbird, White-browed, Buff-fronted, Black-capped and White-collared Foliage-gleaners, the retiring Rufous-breasted Leaftosser, Tufted, Large-tailed and Variable Antshrikes, Spot-breasted and Plain Antvireos, Cryptic (or Such’s) Antthrush, Rufous Gnateater, the handsome Hooded Berryeater, the unique Sharpbill, the gorgeous Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, the adorable Swallow-tailed Manakin, Pin-tailed Manakin, Serra do Mar Tyrant Manakin, Ochre-faced Tody-Flycatcher, Planalto, Grey-capped, Mottle-cheeked, São Paulo, Oustalet’s and Bay-ringed Tyrannulets, Highland Elaenia, the diminutive Eared Pygmy Tyrant, Large-headed Flatbill, White-throated Spadebill, Cliff (or Swallow) Flycatcher, Shear-tailed Grey Tyrant, the noisy Three-striped Flycatcher, Greenish Schiffornis, Chestnut-crowned Becard, Yellow-legged Thrush, Golden-crowned Warbler, Red-crowned Ant Tanager, Black-throated Grosbeak and Green-winged Saltator.

With a bit of luck, we will come across several of the more uncommon birds of the area (or species which are silent and unobtrusive at this season), which include Mantled Hawk, Black-fronted Piping-Guan, Pavonine Cuckoo, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Short-tailed Antthrush, the secretive Variegated Antpitta, Eye-ringed and Hangnest Tody-Tyrants, Riverbank (or Neotropical River) Warbler, Olive-green Tanager and Uniform Finch.

Mammals are not very obvious at Intervales, but we do have a chance of encountering the largest New World monkey, the Southern Muriqui or Southern Woolly Spider Monkey.

Jaguars & Birds of Brazil: Day 9  After some final birding in the Serra Paranapiacaba we will head northeastwards for an overnight stay at an historic ranch at the small town of Mococa.

Jaguars & Birds of Brazil: Day 10  This morning we will continue our journey to the remote Serra da Canastra in Minas Gerais state for a four nights stay. In the afternoon we will begin our exploration of this fine area.

Jaguars & Birds of Brazil: Days 11-13  Serra da Canastra National Park covers an area of about 177,000 acres (71,500 hectares) in the southwest of Minas Gerais. It harbours the headwaters of the Rio São Francisco, the longest river lying totally within Brazil, which flows northward for over 1550 miles (2500km) before entering the Atlantic just south of Recife. The imposing Canastra range overlooks the surrounding countryside and sheer cliffs border the upper parts of the park, where several spectacular waterfalls can be admired. Different kinds of bushy and grassy savanna, known as cerrado and campo, cover most of the undulating terrain and these endless, largely treeless expanses are dotted with innumerable termite mounds.

Here, imposing Greater Rheas and bizarre Giant Anteaters roam. The latter are quite common and one can usually get very close to these peculiar-looking, wacky creatures, with their long snouts and large bushy tails. Males of the remarkable Cock-tailed Tyrant perch near the top of tall swaying grass stems and proclaim their territorial rights by regularly launching themselves into the air with fluttery wing beats, holding their uniquely-shaped tails cocked over their backs.

A small population of the bizarre Maned Wolf lives in the park and with luck we will be able to observe this unique carnivore. It is the largest canid in South America and with its long, thick, buff-red pelage and amazingly long legs it offers a remarkable sight.

Rocky rivers flow in the valley bottoms and these are the exclusive habitat of the exceedingly rare Brazilian Merganser. With its tiny world population (of around 250 individuals) and mysterious appeal, this enigmatic sawbill is one of the most highly prized Neotropical avian treasures. Persistent scanning of the many wild rivers of the Serra da Canastra will be our priority and should eventually yield views of this enigmatic waterbird. Sharp-tailed Streamcreepers inhabit the quieter streams and are sometimes more obvious here than in most of their wide range. In some areas, patches of shrub and bushes prevail and here we will try to locate the secretive Brasilia Tapaculo (split from White-breasted). Lush gallery forest lines the wider stretches of the rivers and holds an avifauna with distinctly Atlantic Forest affinities.

Amongst the many additional species we may well encounter in this splendid national park are Spotted Nothura, Red-winged Tinamou, White-faced Whistling Duck, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, White-tailed Hawk, Eared Dove, Golden-capped and White-eyed Parakeets, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Squirrel Cuckoo, Planalto Hermit, the huge Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Glittering-bellied Emerald, White-vented Violetear, the rare Stripe-breasted Starthroat, Amethyst Woodstar, White-barred Piculet and Blond-crested Woodpecker.

Passerines include Planalto Woodcreeper, the unusual and rarely-observed Campo Miner, Spix’s, Sooty-fronted and Pale-breasted Spinetails, Firewood-gatherer, Streaked Xenops, Rufous-winged Antshrike, White-shouldered Fire-eye, the adorable Collared Crescentchest, Plain-crested Elaenia, Sooty, White-crested and Southern Beardless Tyrannulets, Grey-hooded, Sepia-capped and Bran-colored Flycatchers, Grey-headed (or Yellow-lored) Tody-Flycatcher, Grey and White-rumped Monjitas, Masked Water-Tyrant, the marvellous Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Yellow-browed Tyrant, the dainty Sharp-tailed Tyrant, Rufous Casiornis, Crested and Velvety Black Tyrants, White-winged Becard, Tawny-headed, White-rumped and Blue-and-white Swallows, Curl-crested Jay, Sedge (or Grass) Wren, the rare Ochre-breasted Pipit, Yellow-rumped Marshbird, White-bellied Warbler, Cinnamon, Burnished-buff and Gilt-edged Tanagers, Red (or Lowland Hepatic) Tanager, Rufous-collared Sparrow, Grassland Sparrow, Great Pampa-Finch, the striking Blue Finch, Stripe-tailed Yellow Finch, Wedge-tailed Grass Finch, Yellow-bellied, Double-collared and Plumbeous Seedeaters, Pileated Finch, Black-masked Finch, Black-throated Saltator and Hooded Siskin.

Jaguars & Birds of Brazil: Day 14  There will be a chance for some early morning birding at Serra da Canastra before we head back to São Paulo, where our Jaguars & Birds of Brazil birding tour ends in the early evening.


by Eduardo Patrial

View Report


by Eduardo Patrial

View Report


by Eduardo Patrial

View Report


by Eduardo Patrial

View Report

Other shorter South America birding tours by Birdquest include: