The Ultimate In Birding Tours

South America (and its islands)

GUYANA & SURINAME – Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Sun Parakeet, Red Siskin and much more

Thursday 22nd February – Thursday 7th March 2024

Leaders: Eustace Barnes, Sean Dilrosun, and local bird guides in Guyana

15 Days Group Size Limit 7
Suriname Extension

Thursday 7th March – Tuesday 12th March 2024

6 Days Group Size Limit 7

GUYANA & SURINAME: OVERVIEW

Birdquest’s Guyana birding tours combined with Suriname explore two of the newest South American birding destinations, but two that are set to become much better known. Our Guyana birding tour achieves comprehensive coverage of this rarely-visited country and records numerous great birds. These include Rufous Crab Hawk, Sun Parakeet, Blood-colored Woodpecker, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Guianan Red Cotinga, Crimson Fruitcrow and the rare Red Siskin. Our Suriname birding tour extension concentrates on Arrowhead Piculet, Band-tailed Antshrike, White-throated Pewee and some other specialities, not to mention the extraordinarily approachable Grey-winged Trumpeters of Brownsberg!

Guyana, a somewhat poorly known country sitting on the Caribbean coast, offers birders some of the finest birding in South America, with a spectacular selection of rare and poorly known species. This tour has been organized to see the best of what Guyana has to offer, from the rainforests to the coastal mangroves and the vast southern savannas. It offers an unparalleled opportunity to see much of the region’s endemic avifauna in the full splendour of pristine habitats that are often so degraded in neighbouring countries.

Our tour provides the most comprehensive coverage of Guyana available and produces more of the region’s many specialities than any other, with a good supporting cast of South America’s more widespread species. As such the tour is of interest not only to experienced Neotropical enthusiasts but also to those new to the region. As well as covering the Georgetown area in Guyana’s coastal zone we will explore the surroundings of Wichabai Ranch, Manari Ranch, Karasabai, Karanambu Ranch, Surama Ecolodge, Iwokrama River Lodge and Atta Rainforest Lodge. A truly fantastic set of birding venues.

The regional and other major specialities we target in Guyana include Crestless Curassow, Marail Guan, Rufous Crab Hawk, Sun Parakeet, Blue-cheeked Amazon, White-winged and Rufous Potoos, Blood-colored Woodpecker, White-bellied Piculet, Hoary-throated Spinetail, Black-throated Antshrike, Rio Branco Antbird, Spotted Antpitta, Guianan Red Cotinga, Crimson Fruitcrow, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Dusky Purpletuft, Black Manakin, Finsch’s Euphonia, Red-and-black Grosbeak, the scarce Blue-backed Tanager and Red Siskin. We also hope to find the rare Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo, which seems more numerous in Guyana than in adjacent Venezuela. This is indeed an impressive list of specialities, many of which are infrequently seen elsewhere, making a visit to Guyana a must for the Neotropical enthusiast.

In addition, we shall see a stunning variety of more widespread species during our travels through Guyana, including both species found across much of the continent and many species restricted to the Guianan shield that extends from Manaus to Venezuela. Amongst the many splendid species, we should see are Scarlet Ibis, Black-faced Hawk, the huge Harpy Eagle, Black Curassow, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Painted Parakeet, Caica Parrot, Dusky Parrot and Red-fan Parrot.

Of the more widespread species, Crimson Topaz, Guianan Puffbird, Black Nunbird, Black-spotted Barbet, Guianan Toucanet, Green Aracari, Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper and Yellow-green Grosbeak should be found during our exploration of the numerous rainforests sites we visit in Guyana. Of the antbirds, Rufous-bellied, Spot-tailed and Todd’s Antwrens, and Ferruginous-backed, Rufous-throated and White-plumed Antbirds are all fairly common and readily seen.

We shall explore riparian habitats along the Ireng river in search of the restricted-range Rio Branco Antbird and Hoary-throated Spinetail. A visit to the Mori scrub, a white-sand forest, should produce Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Yellow-throated Flycatcher and Black Manakin. The cotingas are well represented in Guyana and we have a very good chance of seeing the magnificent, restricted-range Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock at its lek, the superb, restricted-range Guianan Red Cotinga, Pompadour Cotinga and the bizarre Capuchinbird, also at a lek. These birds at their display sites are wonders of the natural world that are quite beyond compare.

The savannas of the south of Guyana gives us the opportunity to search for the critically endangered Red Siskin, to which we devote the best part of a day in pristine habitat where we will also see a good variety of other species including Blue-and-yellow Macaw, Toco Toucan, White-throated Kingbird and others.

Our Guyana adventure offers a great opportunity to see some spectacular species not easily found in Brazil or Venezuela.

During the optional extension, we will pay a visit to the pleasant country of Suriname (sometimes spelt Surinam), which is the smallest sovereign state in terms of area and population in South America. It had a turbulent history of colonization and immigration and is ethnically, linguistically, culturally and religiously extremely diverse. Hindus (shipped in from India as workers), Creoles, Javanese, Maroons (descendants of escaped West African slaves) and Chinese form the bulk of the population, but there are still many Amerindians and there is a distinctive Dutch heritage, which results in a very characteristic and unique flavour.

Like Guyana, Suriname does not form part of South America’s Latin cultural and language heritage and exudes a more Caribbean essence. The official language is Dutch, but the inimitable Sranantongo is the lingua franca. Most of the inhabitants live along the Atlantic coast and in the easy-going capital Paramaribo, where old Dutch-style wooden buildings beg for paint.

Suriname also lies on the Guyanese shield, just north of the equator, between the Amazon and the Orinoco rivers and is wedged in between the small countries of Guyana and French Guiana. More than three-quarters of the country is occupied by forests, which are still mainly untouched by humans, so the evocative calls of howlers and spider monkeys still reverberate through the jungle. The country has several splendid nature reserves and national parks including the Brownsberg Nature Park.

This small country incorporates a variety of habitats including grassy savannas, freshwater marshes, coastal mangrove swamps, tropical lowland jungle and scrub-covered granite outcrops, resulting in a rich flora and fauna. The bird list tallies just over 700 species, but the main attraction for the international birder is the occurrence of four species of very restricted-range; Arrowhead Piculet, Band-tailed Antshrike and White-throated Pewee (the last two do not occur in Guyana and the piculet is rare there) and the restricted-range White-fronted Manakin (a species which only occurs in far southeast Guyana and is thus beyond the reach of bird tours to that country). We will also have a chance for Boat-billed Tody-Tyrant and a second chance for the ultra-smart Blue-backed Tanager. Tiny Suriname is also a great place for magical close-up encounters with the highly prized Grey-winged Trumpeter.

On our way to the Brownsberg, we will make a stop in areas of woodland and savanna, where we should encounter the Guianan-endemic Arrowhead Piculet and Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin, while a stretch of riparian forest could produce the uncommon Glossy-backed Becard.

The Brownsberg massif, where we will spend part of our time, is a forested laterite plateau situated about 115 kilometres (70 miles) south of the capital. Gold mining activities at the beginning of the 20th century have created some high waterfalls, which form a great attraction for visitors. The diverse forest types hold a different selection of species and include marvels like Black Curassow, the restricted range Band-tailed Antshrike, White-throated Pewee and White-fronted Manakin and the tremendous Blue-backed Tanager. Monkeys are well represented here and we may well encounter Brown Bearded Saki and the delightful Guianan Saki. The star attraction of Brownsberg is its Grey-winged Trumpeters, flocks of which can still regularly be encountered in its pristine forests. The trumpeters at Brownsberg have become quite tame and offer an out of this world birding experience. Further opportunities await us to the west at the Saramacca River where we also have a fair chance for the restricted-range Boat-billed Tody-Tyrant.

Sean Dilrosun will accompany our group in Suriname, together with the Birdquest leader.

Birdquest has operated Guyana birding tours and Suriname birding tours since 2012.

Kaieteur Falls Option: We can arrange a short extension for anyone who wants to visit the spectacular Kaieteur Falls in Guyana, one of the world’s highest waterfalls, before or after the tour. (Note that you are unlikely to see any birds at the falls that will not be seen during the tour.) Visits are by shared charter flight and will not be accompanied by the Birdquest leader. Please contact us at the time of booking if you are interested in visiting the falls.

Accommodation & Road Transport: The hotels and lodges are mostly of good or medium standard, although hot water is not available in some establishments (water supplies here are at ‘tropical temperature’). Atta Rainforest Lodge is rather simple and there are shared bathroom facilities. In Suriname, the lodge accommodation in the Brownsberg/Saramacca River region is simple but pleasant, mostly with shared bathroom facilities. Road transport is by small coach and roads are variable in quality. In some instances, we will use 4×4 vehicles and military-style trucks to access sites.

Walking: The walking effort during our Guyana & Suriname birding tour is mostly easy, but there are a few longer walks of moderate grade.

Climate: Warm or hot, with periods of sunny weather alternating with overcast spells. There will be some rain and it will be rather humid.

Bird Photography: Opportunities during our Guyana & Suriname birding tour are worthwhile.

TOUR HIGHLIGHTS

  • Crossing the Rupununi savannas in search of Red Siskin and the magnificent Sun Parakeet.
  • Crestless Curassows walking quietly along sandy river banks at Karanambu.
  • The other-worldly Capuchinbird booming and displaying at close quarters.
  • Tracking down Giant Anteater, Giant Otter and even Jaguar in the savannas, wetlands and rainforests along our route.
  • The deafening chorus of Guianan Red Howler Monkeys, Screaming Pihas, toucans and macaws at our Iwokrama hideaway.
  • Blue-backed Tanager, Red-and-black Grosbeak and stunning Guianan Red Cotinga, adding a splash of colour.
  • A spectacular Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock lek.
  • The Crimson Fruitcrow in tall white-sand forest, a rarely seen species in most of its range.
  • The wonderful but elsewhere rarely seen White-winged and Rufous Potoos.
  • A fair chance for Harpy Eagle, that fearsome predator.
  • Fruiting trees adorned with the electric Purple-breasted, Spangled and Pompadour Cotingas!
  • The splendid colonial centre of Georgetown.
  • Searching for the lovely Blood-colored Woodpecker and now uncommon Rufous Crab Hawk in coastal Guyana.
  • Admiring the Guianan-endemic Arrowhead Piculet in Suriname.
  • Crimson-hooded Manakin glistening, jewel-like, in the forest understory.
  • Searching for Band-tailed Antshrike and White-throated Pewee at Brownsberg.
  • Unusually close encounters with Grey-winged Trumpeters on the spectacular Brownsberg plateau in Suriname.

OUTLINE ITINERARY

  • GUYANA TOUR
  • Day 1: Evening tour start at Georgetown in Guyana.
  • Day 2: Fly to Lethem. Drive to Wichabai.
  • Day 3: Red Siskin, then drive to Manari in Lethem area.
  • Day 4: Manari.
  • Day 5: Drive to Karanambu via Karasabai.
  • Day 6: Karanambu Ranch/Rupununi River.
  • Day 7: Karanambu, then transfer to Surama Ecolodge.
  • Day 8: Surama area.
  • Day 9: Surama area, then drive to Iwokrama River Lodge.
  • Day 10: Iwokrama River Lodge and Turtle Mountain.
  • Day 11: Iwokrama River Lodge, then transfer to Atta Rainforest Lodge.
  • Day 12: Atta Rainforest Lodge, including canopy walkway.
  • Day 13: Atta Rainforest Lodge, then transfer to Lethem.
  • Day 14: Fly to Georgetown and exploring Georgetown region.
  • Day 15: Morning tour end at Georgetown.
  • SURINAME EXTENSION
  • Day 1: Flight from Georgetown to Paramaribo in Suriname.
  • Day 2: Paramaribo and Zanderij areas, then drive to the Brownsberg.
  • Days 3-5: Brownsberg/Saramacca River region.
  • Day 6: Saramacca River region, then return to Paramaribo airport at Zanderij for late afternoon 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’.

PRICE INFORMATION

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

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

We also include these flights: Georgetown-Lethem-Georgetown and, for those taking the Suriname extension, Georgetown-Paramaribo.

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)





2024: provisional £6750, $7950, €7790, AUD11360. Georgetown/Georgetown.
Suriname Extension: £1820, $2150, €2100, AUD3070. Georgetown/Paramaribo.

Single Supplement: 2024: £510, $600, €580, AUD850.
Suriname Extension: £160, $190, €180, AUD270.

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.

During the extension, the lodges in the Brownsberg/Saramacca River region have a limited number of rooms. If anyone who has booked single accommodation ends up having to share for any nights, they will receive an appropriate refund.

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.

GUYANA & SURINAME BIRDING TOUR: DETAILED ITINERARY

Guyana: Day 1  Our tour begins early this evening in Georgetown, where we spend two nights at a lovely colonial-era hotel. (An airport transfer will be provided.)

Guyana: Day 2  This morning we will head for Georgetown’s domestic Ogle airport and fly over the Demerara and Essequibo Rivers southwards over unbroken rainforest and savannas to the small town of Lethem in southwestern Guyana.

From Lethem, we shall then drive across open savannas and through gallery woodlands to our base for the night on the open savannas at Wichabai Ranch. Experiencing the tranquillity of one of the most remote places on the continent will be a significant aspect of our first mission; the search for the critically endangered Red Siskin. We will arrive in time for some initial exploration.

Guyana: Day 3  Today, at dawn, we will be on-site to see Red Siskin and we will walk through an area of savanna that lies along the base of low-lying forested hills. We have an excellent chance of seeing this restricted-range and much sought-after little gem.

As well as Red Siskin, the Wachabai area is very good for a superb selection of savanna and wetland species including the restricted-range Finsch’s Euphonia and with luck the restricted-range Sharp-tailed Ibis.

More widespread species we are likely to see include Brazilian Teal, the huge Jabiru, Buff-necked Ibis, Cocoi Heron, Western Cattle, Great and Snowy Egrets, Turkey, Lesser Yellow-headed and Black Vultures, White-tailed and Snail Kites, the handsome Long-winged Harrier, the superb Black-collared Hawk, Savanna, Roadside, White-tailed, Grey-lined and Great Black Hawks, Little Chachalaca, Crested Bobwhite, Purple Gallinule, Limpkin, Southern Lapwing, Wattled Jacana, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, Pale-vented Pigeon, Common, Plain-breasted and Ruddy Ground Doves, White-tipped and Eared Doves, Smooth-billed Ani, Striped Cuckoo, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Short-tailed and Neotropical Palm Swifts, Black-throated Mango, Glittering-throated Emerald, Long-billed Starthroat, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, the splendid Toco Toucan, White-barred Piculet, Little Woodpecker, Crested and Yellow-headed Caracaras, Laughing and Aplomado Falcons, American Kestrel, Orange-winged Amazon, Brown-throated Parakeet and Red-bellied and Red-shouldered Macaws.

Likely passerines include Rusty-winged Antwren, Barred and Black-crested Antshrikes, Lesser Elaenia, Southern Beardless and Mouse-colored Tyrannulets, Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant, Common Tody-Flycatcher, Vermilion, Piratic, Rusty-margined, Fork-tailed, Brown-crested and perhaps Variegated Flycatchers, Pied Water Tyrant, the smart White-headed Marsh Tyrant, Greater and Lesser Kiskadees, White-throated and Tropical Kingbirds, Chivi Vireo, White-winged, Southern Rough-winged and Barn Swallows, Grey-breasted Martin, Bicolored and House Wrens, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Tropical Mockingbird, Pale-breasted Thrush, Yellowish Pipit, Grassland Sparrow, Eastern Meadowlark, Red-breasted Blackbird, Yellow Oriole, Shiny Cowbird, Red, Blue-grey, Palm, Burnished-buff and Hooded Tanagers, Bananaquit, Grassland Yellow Finch, Wedge-tailed Grass Finch, Blue-black Grassquit and Plumbeous, Ruddy-breasted and perhaps Grey Seedeaters.

We have a first chance of seeing Giant Anteater in this area and Crab-eating Fox is also a possibility.

After lunch, we will retrace our steps to Lethem and then continue a short distance to Manari Ranch for a two nights stay. On the way we will again spend a good deal of time birding on the savannas, stopping in particular at a number of wetlands.

Guyana: Day 4  Today we will turn our attention to two rare birds with very restricted ranges; Hoary-throated Spinetail and Rio Branco Antbird. Both are only found in Guyana in gallery forests along the Takatu and Ireng rivers, where recent agricultural changes have seriously reduced the amount of available habitat for both birds. As a result, the spinetail is now classified as endangered, while the antbird is treated as near-threatened. Although the habitat needs of the antbird and spinetail are seemingly slightly different (the antbird prefers taller trees with vine tangles and the spinetail acacia dominated riparian woodlands), they can both be found along a comparatively short stretch of the Ireng River.

To reach suitable habitat, we will either drive or travel by boat to the junction of the Takatu and Ireng rivers. This is likely to take us at least a couple of hours in each direction and we should encounter species such as the restricted-range Olivaceous Saltator as well as White-faced and Black-bellied Whistling Ducks, Least and Pied-billed Grebes, Capped Heron, Pearl and Plumbeous Kites, Double-striped Thick-knee, Squirrel Cuckoo, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Pale-legged Hornero, Pale-tipped Inezia, Ochre-lored Flatbill, Flavescent Warbler and perhaps Zone-tailed Hawk, Fuscous Flycatcher and Chestnut-vented Conebill en route.

Guyana: Day 5  This morning we will depart very early in order to explore an area of marshlands and dry woodlands in the Karasabai area. Here our prime target will be the endangered, restricted-range Sun Parakeet. A few decades ago, this species was not uncommon across the Guianas. However, huge numbers were caught for the cage bird trade and the area around Karasabai is now believed to be the only place in Guyana where this species can still be found. Consequently, it is now regarded as highly endangered, although small flocks can often be seen here flying overhead.

As well as finding this spectacular psittacid, we should come across a number of other species while engaged in our search. These may well include Red-and-green Macaw, Slaty-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Spectacled Thrush, Orange-backed Troupial and Red-capped Cardinal. This area is isolated and has not been thoroughly explored by birders, so there is always the chance that we could make a noteworthy discovery.

Afterwards, we will head east to the Karanambu Ranch along the Rupununi River, where we will stay for two nights. We will arrive in time for some initial exploration.

Guyana: Day 6  Around dawn we will make a special effort to locate one of the oddest-looking members of the cotingids, the restricted-range Capuchinbird. There is a lek close to our lodge and we plan to visit the display area to watch these odd-looking creatures.

Another of our targets whilst staying at Karanambu is the near-threatened, patchily-distributed Bearded Tachuri, a member of the flycatcher family which has declined markedly in recent years as it requires fairly undisturbed savannah grasslands. Another grassland species we will search for, provided road conditions permit, is the Crested Doradito, which also has a spotty distribution much reduced by habitat degradation. We have a good chance of finding both these grassland species.

We also intend to take one or more boat trips on the nearby Rupununi River to look for the splendid, restricted-range Crestless Curassow. This species has not been hunted on the ranch for many years and so these days we usually encounter some on our boat trips.

During our stay at Karanambu, we will also be looking for such species as the restricted-range White-bellied Piculet and the relatively restricted-range Red-legged Tinamou as well as Muscovy Duck, Wood and Maguari Storks, Green Ibis, Roseate Spoonbill, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Striated and Little Blue Herons, Pinnated Bittern, Neotropic Cormorant, Anhinga, Western Osprey, Crane Hawk, the beautiful Sunbittern, Grey-cowled Wood Rail,  the handsome Pied Plover, Ruddy Pigeon, Burrowing Owl, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Green-backed Trogon, American Pygmy, Green-and-rufous, Green, Amazon and Ringed Kingfishers, Green-tailed Jacamar, Spotted and Swallow-winged Puffbirds, Black Nunbird, Golden-spangled Piculet, Lineated and Crimson-crested Woodpeckers, Yellow-crowned Amazon, Bat Falcon, Straight-billed, Striped and Buff-throated Woodcreepers, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Northern Slaty Antshrike,  Black-chinned, White-browed and White-bellied Antbirds, Forest Elaenia, Boat-billed and Streaked Flycatchers, Greyish Mourner (easier to hear than see), Blue-backed Manakin, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Buff-breasted Wren, Brown-chested Martin and Yellow-rumped Cacique.

Uncommon possibilities include Boat-billed Heron, the beautiful Agami Heron, Azure Gallinule, South American Snipe, Ruddy Quail-Dove, Sooty-capped Hermit, Collared Forest Falcon, Plain-crested Elaenia and Cinnamon Attila.

We may also see the odd-looking Giant Anteater during our stay, as this species is not uncommon around the lodge.

In the evening, we will head out into the savannas to look for nightbirds. Common Potoo, Nacunda, Least, Lesser and Band-tailed Nighthawks, Pauraque and White-tailed Nightjar are all rather likely.

A boat trip offers a good chance of seeing Giant Otters as there are several family groups in the area. Both Black and Spectacled Caiman also inhabit the river and several species of monkey, including Guianan Red Howler Monkey, White-faced Saki, Brown-bearded Saki and Squirrel Monkey, can be found in the riverside trees.

Guyana: Day 7  After a final morning’s birding we will leave Karanambu after lunch and travel to Surama Ecolodge on the edge of the rainforests, where we will spend two nights.

Guyana: Day 8  We shall explore the gallery forests and savannas near Surama, hoping to see the restricted-range Cayenne Jay as well as Greater Yellow-headed Vulture, Swallow-tailed Kite, Yellow-tufted and Chestnut Woodpeckers, Painted Parakeet, Southern White-fringed Antwren, Guianan Warbling Antbird, Yellow-crowned Elaenia, Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Screaming Piha, Tawny-crowned Greenlet and Giant Cowbird. White-collared Swifts might also put in an appearance.

The main focus of our attention will be a superb forest trail along which there is a regularly-used Harpy Eagle nest which is built in a huge emergent tree. The Harpy Eagle does not breed annually, however, owing to its almost unique, longer-than-a-year breeding cycle. So there are long periods when the nest is not occupied. The usual thing is to see a chick in the nest, whether young or well-grown. The adult birds only visit the nest occasionally, bringing food, once the chick can defend itself against most predators. Realistically, the chances of seeing a youngster at the nest are around 50% or less.

We also have our first chances for such restricted-range specialities as the rare Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo,  the shy Grey-winged Trumpeter, the gorgeous Crimson Topaz and the lovely Crimson Fruitcrow.

Other species we may well encounter include the restricted-range Brown-bellied and Rufous-bellied Antwrens as well as Plumbeous Pigeon, Rufous-throated Sapphire, Pale-throated Barbthroat, Great and Paradise Jacamars, Guianan Puffbird, Black-spotted Barbet, Green and Black-necked Aracaris, Channel-billed and White-throated Toucans, Golden-winged Parakeet, Caica and Blue-headed Parrots, Southern Mealy Amazon, Olivaceous, Wedge-billed and Chestnut-rumped Woodcreepers, White-flanked, Long-winged and Grey Antwrens, Dusky-throated, Cinereous and Mouse-colored Antshrikes, Dusky Antbird, Helmeted Pygmy Tyrant, Pompadour Cotinga, Lemon-chested and Buff-cheeked Greenlets, Green Oropendola, Red-rumped Cacique, Silver-beaked Tanager, Black-faced and Blue Dacnises and Purple, Red-legged and Green Honeycreepers.

Cinereous Tinamou, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Scaled Pigeon, Tawny-bellied Screech Owl and Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift are also possible, and there is a slim chance for the rare and unusual Fiery-tailed Awlbill.

Guyana: Day 9  This morning we will make an excursion to a Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock lek. This involves a walk from Woowetta village through pristine rainforests rich in both bird and mammal life. We should be able to enjoy watching a number of spectacular males displaying and hear them calling at the lek.

The forest here is rich in forest species, many of which overlap with Surama, and in particular, it is a good area for the marvellous Guianan Red Cotinga, Rufous-breasted Hermit and White-crested Spadebill. Uncommon or rare possibilities in this area include Marbled Wood Quail, Black-throated Trogon, Plain-brown Woodcreeper, Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Plain Xenops, Amazonian Antshrike, White-bearded Manakin and Whiskered Myobius.

We may also have time to check out a grassland area that sometimes holds the unusual White-naped Xenopsaris.

We then head northeastwards to Iwokrama River Lodge for a two nights stay. We will stop at an area of white-sand forest known as the Mori Scrub. This highly specialized forest type is important for the restricted-range Black Manakin, Rufous-crowned Elaenia and Yellow-throated Flycatcher, all of which we will look for.

Afterwards, we continue towards the Essequibo River, driving through some excellent forest where we are likely to find Black-headed Parrot and also Chestnut-bellied Seedeater by the roadside. There is even a slim but real chance of seeing a Jaguar in this area, especially late in the day, as there is a healthy population in the area.

Guyana: Day 10  After an early breakfast we take a boat up the Essequibo River to the Turtle Mountain Camp, from where we can walk an excellent trail through tall lowland rainforests to a low hill that gives spectacular views over the vast rainforests in the area and the winding Essequibo that eventually flows into the Atlantic.

The area is good for the lovely White Hawk, Black Caracara, Large-billed and Yellow-billed Terns, the lovely Blue-and-yellow Macaw, the relatively restricted-range Spotted Antpitta and Black-collared Swallow. More uncommon possibilities include the relatively restricted range Chapman’s Swift, Lilac-tailed Parrotlet, Buff-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Black-faced Antthrush, Wing-barred Piprites and Crested Oropendola. Even the rare Orange-breasted Falcon is seen here with some regularity!

This is an area where the shy Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo has been regularly seen at army ant swarms, so it gives us our best hope of an encounter! If we find an ant swarm we have a good chance of seeing the striking White-plumed Antbird, the pretty, restricted-range Rufous-throated Antbird, Common Scale-backed Antbird and White-chinned Woodcreeper.

Guyana: Day 11  After spending the morning in the Iwokrama area will transfer to the famous Atta Rainforest Lodge for a two nights stay.

Guyana: Day 12  Although the forest around Atta Rainforest Lodge is excellent for birds, the major attraction here is a 505-feet (154-metre) long canopy walkway which is only about 800 yards (750m) from the lodge. The walkway has four platforms, the highest of which is over 100ft (30m) above the ground, and these will allow us to get great looks at a range of canopy species, many of which we would struggle to see well from the forest floor.

Amongst the likely highlights are the restricted-range Waved Woodpecker, Blue-cheeked Amazon (a Guianan near-endemic), Spot-tailed and Todd’s Antwrens and Dusky Purpletuft, as well as Ringed and Golden-collared Woodpeckers and Grey Antbird. The walkway is also an excellent place to look for various cotingas and tyrannids, including the wonderful, restricted-range Purple-breasted Cotinga, Spangled Cotingas, the superb, restricted-range Red-and-black Grosbeak and, with a lot of luck, the poorly known, restricted-range Olive-green Tyrannulet. If we are fortunate we will see the splendid but uncommon, restricted-range Blue-backed Tanager and also the elusive Fulvous Shrike-Tanager (the latter is often the sentinel of the canopy mixed-species flocks).

Another area where we will want to spend some time is the clearing around the lodge, as this is one of the best places to see another of Guyana’s specialities, the Crimson Fruitcrow, a species seen here on a regular basis as it often comes to feed in nearby trees.

The clearing is also a reliable site for the magnificent Black Curassow, as there is a family party that has become habituated to people and that regularly passes through the clearing, so we should easily add this special bird to the impressive list of species we are going to accumulate at Atta.

Other good, restricted-range birds at Atta include the handsome Black-faced Hawk, Marail Guan, Guianan Toucanet and Guianan Schiffornis. We also have further chances for both Crimson Topaz and Guianan Red Cotinga.

Two of our major targets will be the poorly known, relatively restricted-range White-winged and Rufous Potoos. Looking for these splendid birds will be one of our major priorities, but the Rufous Potoo can sometimes be missed.

Other species we may well encounter during our stay include the restricted-range Black-throated Antshrike, Ferruginous-backed Antbird and Golden-sided Euphonia as well as Great Tinamou, Spix’s Guan, Black-banded Owl, Band-rumped and Grey-rumped Swifts, Long-tailed and Reddish Hermits, White-chested Emerald, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Black-eared Fairy, Guianan Trogon, Pied Puffbird, Yellow-throated, Cream-colored and Red-necked Woodpeckers, Red-fan and Dusky Parrots, Scarlet Macaw, Guianan Woodcreeper, Ash-winged, Pygmy and Guianan Streaked Antwrens, the big but shy Fasciated Antshrike, Yellow-crowned, Guianan and White-lored Tyrannulets, Yellow-throated Flycatcher, Tiny Tyrant-Manakin, White-crowned and Golden-headed Manakins, Coraya Wren, Trilling Gnatwren, Epaulet Oriole, Flame-crested, Turquoise, Spotted, Bay-headed and Yellow-backed Tanagers, Black-faced Dacnis, Green Honeycreeper and Yellow-green Grosbeak.

We should also encounter some of the more uncommon, or at least harder to see, denizens of Atta, which include Variegated Tinamou, the adorable, restricted-range Tufted Coquette, the elusive, treetop-favouring, relatively restricted-range Racket-tailed Coquette, Black-tailed Trogon, Amazonian Motmot, Yellow-billed and Bronzy Jacamars, Long-tailed, Amazonian Barred and Strong-billed Woodcreepers, Thrush-like Antpitta, the diminutive Short-tailed Pygmy Tyrant, the fairly restricted-range Painted Tody-Flycatcher, Sulphury Flycatcher, the frequently heard but rarely seen Bright-rumped Attila, Pink-throated Becard, White-necked Thrush, the lovely Rose-breasted Chat and Fulvous-crested and Paradise Tanagers.

Quite apart from the profusion of birdlife there is also a good selection of mammals to be seen including Guianan Red Howler Monkey, Weeping Capuchin and Guianan Saki Monkey.

Guyana: Day 13  After spending much of the day at Atta we will return to Lethem for an overnight stay.

Guyana: Day 14  This morning we will take a flight back to Georgetown for an overnight stay.

From Georgetown, we will travel eastward to an area of good habitat where we will look for the Guianan-endemic Blood-colored Woodpecker and the handsome but restricted-range and patchily-distributed Rufous Crab Hawk (a species badly affected by the destruction of mangroves). The woodpecker is only known from a narrow coastal strip of the Guianas that runs eastward for around 300 miles (around 500km) from Guyana to French Guiana, so finding this species will be our top priority.

Closer to Georgetown, we will make a short stop at some mudflats where we are likely to find a range of waterbirds, including the spectacular Scarlet Ibis, Black-crowned and Yellow-crowned Night Herons, Tricolored Heron, Semipalmated Plover, Hudsonian Whimbrel and perhaps Magnificent Frigatebird, Brown Pelican, Royal Tern and Black Skimmer.

Other birds we should see in the Georgetown region include Plain-bellied Emerald, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Northern Scrub Flycatcher, Carib Grackle, Northern Waterthrush, American Yellow Warbler and Wing-barred Seedeater. More uncommon possibilities include Little Cuckoo, Grey Kingbird and Bicolored Conebill.

Guyana: Day 15  Depending on flight schedules, we may have time for an early morning visit to the nearby botanical gardens in search of the restricted-range Festive Amazon (although the birds here, which are an isolated population in atypical habitat, are quite possibly escapes) and a few more additions such as Greater Ani, Black-capped Donacobius, Violaceous Euphonia and White-lined Tanager. The Guyana section of our Guyana & Suriname birding tour ends this morning at Georgetown. (An airport transfer will be provided.)

 

SURINAME EXTENSION

Suriname: Day 1  We will take a flight from Georgetown to Paramaribo, the capital of Suriname, for an overnight stay. We may arrive in time for some initial exploration.

Suriname: Day 2  During our visit to Paramaribo we will pay a visit to a nice area of woodland where our prime target will be the tiny Arrowhead Piculet, an uncommon Guianan-endemic that is much easier to see in Suriname than anywhere else. We should also find the restricted-range Green-throated Mango and Crimson-hooded Manakin.

We will break our journey to Brownsberg in some savanna habitat not far from the town of Zanderij. The grassy white-sand plains, dotted with contorted dwarf trees and bushes, and the adjacent forest edge harbour the stunning Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Green-tailed Goldenthroat and restricted-range Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin. Other species we are likely to encounter in this part of Suriname include Black-faced and Red-shouldered Tanagers. We will also explore a stretch of riparian woodland where, with luck, we will encounter the uncommon, restricted-range Glossy-backed Becard.

Afterwards, we will continue to the Brownsberg and Saramacca River region for a four nights stay (with two nights being spent at the Brownsberg and two nights to the west at the Saramacca River). We will probably arrive in time to start our explorations late this afternoon.

Suriname: Days 3-5  The 14,800-acre (6000-hectare) Brownsberg Nature Park is situated in the district of Brokopondo, about 70 miles (115 km) south of Paramaribo, in the vicinity of the large Van Blommestein reservoir. The mountain is named after the unsuccessful, 19th century, American gold digger called John Brown. Later bauxite was mined in this part of Suriname, but earnings were thin, so in 1969 the Brownsberg Nature Reserve was created. Remains of these ill-fated mining activities are still scattered around the area. Our first lodge is situated on the 1640ft (500m) high Mazaroni plateau, a remnant of an enormous laterite crust, while our second lodge is situated further to the west in the Saramacca River area. The whole region is covered in luxuriant rainforest, low and dense in places, and lofty and rather open in others. Dirt tracks and walking trails offer easy access to the different forest types. Several rivers have eroded their twisted course through the area, creating some impressive waterfalls.

One of the big highlights of our visit to the Brownsberg will be our encounters with the enthralling and often very tame Grey-winged Trumpeters. These much-wanted birds have become extremely docile in this area and our cameras will go in overdrive as these cuties will perform only feet away.

A major speciality that we will be looking for is the impressive, very restricted-range Band-tailed Antshrike (a species restricted to Suriname, French Guyana and adjacent Brazil). The rare White-throated Pewee is only known from a handful of localities in northeastern Amazonia (from Suriname and French Guiana into adjacent Northeast Brazil) but is fairly regularly to be found in this area. We also have a chance for the uncommon, restricted-range Boat-billed Tody-Tyrant.

We will also have another opportunity to encounter the magnificent, localized and uncommon Blue-backed Tanager. This unique and colourful species occurs in low densities in the Guianas and is somewhat erratic, but this region is as good a place as any for finding this cracker. Both White-throated Manakin and the perplexing, restricted-range but lovely White-fronted Manakin favour the berries of the melastome bushes.

Other species we could encounter in this splendid part of Suriname include Slender-billed Kite, Foothill Screech Owl, Crested Owl, Short-tailed Nighthawk, Little Hermit, Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Brown Jacamar, Collared Puffbird, Golden-green and Golden-olive Woodpeckers, Lined Forest Falcon (uncommon), Plain-crowned and McConnell’s Spinetails, Rufous-tailed and Olive-backed Foliage-gleaners, the endearing Spot-backed Antbird, Blackish and Black-headed Antbirds, Double-banded Pygmy Tyrant, Todd’s Sirystes, Sepia-capped, McConnell’s, Dusky-chested and Social Flycatchers, Long-tailed Tyrant, the unique Sharpbill, Black-capped Becard, White-banded Swallow, White-breasted Wood Wren, Musician Wren, Collared Gnatwren, Pectoral Sparrow, White-lored Euphonia, Tropical Parula, Riverbank Warbler and Red-billed Pied Tanager. If we are really in luck we will come across the retiring Zigzag Heron.

Guianan Red Howler Monkeys are quite common here and will greet the dawn with their ear-splitting roars and with luck we will also find the serious-looking Brown Bearded Saki.

Suriname: Day 6  After spending much of the day in the Saramacca River region we will return to Zanderij, where our Suriname birding tour ends in the evening at the Paramaribo International Airport.

GUYANA & SURINAME TOUR REPORT 2022

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GUYANA & SURINAME TOUR REPORT 2020

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GUYANA TOUR REPORT 2018

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'Frontier of Birding' South America birding tours by Birdquest include: