THE BEST OF SOUTH-EAST BRAZIL
CROWN JEWELS OF THE MATA ATLANTICA
Our comprehensive South-east Brazil itinerary visits all of the best sites in the states of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, and together with our optional extension to Espírito Santo, covers virtually all of the Atlantic forest endemics which regularly occur in the south-east. In addition to having one of the longest bird lists of any country in the world, Brazil hosts an extremely high number of endemic birds, with 251 country endemics according to BirdLife International. Approximately 900 species occur in the Atlantic forests of Brazil, of which 213 are endemic to the biome, with another 17 species which are nearly endemic to the biome. Our itinerary begins in the Serra do Mar south of São Paulo, where we visit Intervales State Park and Trilha dos Tucanos in one of the best remaining blocks of montane Atlantic rain forest in the country. A short visit to the coastal restinga to look for three extremely range-restricted endemics completes our visit to the southern part of São Paulo state before we return north to visit the highland resort town of Campos do Jordão and the lowland forests around the beach resort of Ubatuba. From there we cross into Rio de Janeiro state to visit Perequê for the Critically Endangered Black-hooded Antwren en route to Itatiaia National Park, the oldest park in Brazil and one of the finest sites in the region. We also suggest spending two nights at the welcoming Fazenda Bacury in the interior of São Paulo state, where we can visit the extensive Tanquã marshes and bird in one of the last remaining tracts of planalto Atlantic forest to look for Violaceous Quail-Dove and the impressive Southern Muriqui, one of South America's largest and most endangered primates.
The Espírito Santo extension begins with three nights in the lowland tabuleiro forests of Linhares where we search for a host of rare and endangered endemics including such iconic species as Red-billed Curassow and the Atlantic forest race of White-winged Potoo. Our next stop is a lovely little pousada in the hills around the small town of Santa Teresa which boasts some of the best hummingbird feeders in all of Brazil. The remnant forests near the town are good for several rarely encountered endemics, and our two nights in Santa Teresa are bound to fly by. We finish the tour in the Pedra Azul area, where a visit to the fabulous Caetés forest will target the stunning Cherry-throated Tanager, one of Brazil's most threatened birds.
Duration: 15 - 17 days Difficulty: Fairly easy
+ 8 days (Espírito Santo extension)
Tour summary: Our "Best of South-east Brazil" itinerary is not just a highlight reel of the endemic-rich Atlantic rainforests, but rather a comprehensive trip designed to find a vast number of Brazilian and Atlantic rainforest endemics while visiting the very best sites in the region. Not only will we track down the best of SE Brazil's birds, but we do so while birding at a comfortable pace and enjoying several fantastic feeding stations where hummingbirds, tanagers, and toucans can be seen and photographed at close range. The addition of two different wetland areas adds a number of species not typically found on SE Brazil itineraries. The Espírito Santo extension adds the lowland tabuleiro forests of Linhares for endangered endemics such as Red-billed Curassow, and we close out the trip with an attempt to find the enigmatic Cherry-throated Tanager, one of the world's most threatened birds. Accommodations and food are good throughout the trip, and we always stay as close as possible to the birding areas -- in many cases the birds will be waiting outside your door!
When: Any time, best from late September through November.
Starting point: The tour begins and ends in São Paulo.