Brazil and Argentina: The Pantanal, Cerrado, and Iguazu Falls


Dates and Costs

 

17 September – 02 October 2025

Price (includes some domestic flights):  US$10,350 / £8,580 / €10,143 per person sharing

Single Supplement: US$990/ £821 / €970

 

* Please note that currency conversion is calculated in real-time, therefore is subject to slight change. Please refer back to the base price when making final payments.


Recommended Field Guide

(Please also read our blogs about recommended field guides for the seven continents here)


Tour Details

Duration: 16 days
Group Size: 6 – 8
Tour StartFoz do Iguazu (2024)
                  Cuiabá (2025)

Tour End: Cuiabá (2024)
                 Sao Paulo (2025)

 


Price includes:

Meals
Accommodation
Transport
Guiding fees

Domestic flights within the tour

 

Price excludes:

Flights to the start and end point of the tour
Personal insurance
Alcoholic beverages
Gratuities
Laundry service
Personal expenses such as gifts

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Brazil and Argentina: The Pantanal, Cerrado, and Iguazu Falls

September 2025

This tour will surely rank as one of your neotropical wildlife trips of a lifetime! Our Brazil and Argentina  itinerary will allow you to explore three fascinating ecosystems in these huge and highly diverse countries: the Pantanal, Cerrado and the Atlantic Forest in the impressive Iguazu Falls. It is important to note that while we are in the Pantanal, we will spend a full morning and afternoon on a boat safari along the Cuiabá River concentrating on finding the world’s third-largest feline, the elusive and charismatic Jaguar!

Best of Brazil birding toursJaguar is one of the many mammal highlights of this fantastic tour (photo Ricardo Boschetti).

 

We will embark on our birding and mammal adventure by exploring 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 season, when the fish trapped in the shrinking pools of water attract hordes of herons, egrets, storks, and other wetland species. The star of these huge concentrations is the massive Jabiru, towering over a diverse collection of shorter South American waterbirds, such as Sunbittern, Plumbeous, Bare-faced, Green, and Buff-necked Ibises, Grey-cowled Wood Rail and Southern Screamer. There is normally a large diversity of raptors around too, with Snail Kite, Black-collared, Savannah and Crane Hawks regularly encountered. Our river trips provide the opportunity to look for species such as Capped Heron, Sungrebe, the striking Agami Heron, Anhinga and a plethora of kingfishers including Green, Amazon, Ringed, American Pygmy and Green-and-rufous. Other target species include Band-tailed Antbird and, with some luck, the seldom-seen Zigzag Heron. These boat trips also provide the best chances to see Endangered (IUCN) Giant (River) Otters, the largest otter in the world and one of the ‘Big Five’ South American mammals. This is also the best place on the planet for seeing Jaguar and during the dry season sightings are almost guaranteed. This humongous cat shines brightly as a star of the show on this tour.

Brazil birding toursHyacinth Macaws are always a fan-favorite in the Pantanal (photo Ricardo Boschetti)

 

The Pantanal is not only rich in water-associated avifauna; we will also bird its large grasslands, gallery river forests, marshes, and plains for species such as Chotoy, Rusty-backed, and White-lored Spinetails, Scarlet-headed Blackbird, Greater Thornbird, Masked Gnatcatcher, Flavescent Warbler, the incredible Helmeted Manakin, White and Pale-crested Woodpeckers and Mato Grosso Antbird.

This region is simply a paradise for parrot-lovers, with standout species including the iconic and threatened Hyacinth Macaw, the largest flying species of parrot in the world and one of Brazil’s great conservation success stories. Other parrot species likely to be seen in the Pantanal include the likes of Golden-collared Macaw, Blue-crowned, Peach-fronted, White-eyed, Nanday, and Yellow-chevroned Parakeets, Orange-winged and Turquoise-fronted Amazons and Scaly-headed Parrot.

In addition to birds, many mammal species call the Pantanal home. It is perhaps South America’s greatest wildlife refuge and we should get daily sightings of Capybara (the largest rodent in the world), primates such as Black-tailed Marmoset, Bearded Capuchin and Black-and-gold Howler Monkeys. With luck, we might encounter Marsh Deer, Crab-eating Raccoon, South American Coati, Yellow Armadillo, Lowland (Brazilian) Tapir and Giant Anteater.

The Cerrado, a highly threatened mosaic of dry woodland, gallery forest, and grassland, is home to its own unique set of special birds, including White-eared Puffbird, Collared Crescentchest, Chapada Flycatcher, Crested Black Tyrant, Coal-crested Finch, Red-shouldered Macaw 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. The gallery forest in Chapada dos Guimarães can provide species such as Brown JacamarSaffron-billed SparrowWhooping MotmotPheasant Cuckoo and the secretive Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper.

Surrounded by Atlantic Forest and bordering Brazil, Argentina, and Paraguay, Iguazú Falls is one of the great natural wonders of the world as the Iguazú River tumbles over the edge of the Parana Plateau. It is often considered the world’s most spectacular waterfall. Ever since the Spaniards discovered these falls in the 16th century, they have not ceased to impress travelers from all over the world, and a visit here can be considered a once in a lifetime trip one of the highlights of South America. The falls span over 1.6 miles (2.6 km) and are comprised of over 275 distinct falls, forming a breathtaking sight. Perhaps the most impressive is the U-shaped Devil’s Throat which is 250 feet (82 meter) high, 450 feet (150 m) wide and 2,100 feet (700 m) long; this is the truly iconic waterfall of the park, immortalized in the iconic 1986 movie The Mission.

Even though the waterfalls are shared by Brazil and Argentina, we advise spending the bulk of the time on the Argentinian side, which is where we focus during this tour, using a super easy border crossing. The birding is best on this side with better trail facilities.

During this part of the tour, we will have adequate time to admire the waterfalls as well as to look for the area’s special birds. Target species include the impressive Great Dusky Swift, which roost on the waterfall cliffs, Red-rumped Cacique, Toco Toucan, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Blond-crested and Yellow-fronted Woodpeckers, Ochre-collared Piculet, Blue (Swallow-tailed) Manakin, Southern Antpipit, Eared Pygmy Tyrant, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Green-headed Tanager, Streak-capped Antwren, Surucua Trogon, Rufous-capped Motmot, Greenish Schiffornis, Rufous Gnateater, Dusky-tailed Antbird, and the most-wanted Black-fronted Piping Guan.

Best of Brazil birding toursPousada Piuval offers some of the best chances for Giant Anteater in the Pantanal (Ricardo Boschetti).

 

Itinerary (16 days/15 nights)

 

Day 1. Arrival in Cuiabá and transfer to the hotel

After your arrival at Marechal Rondón international airport (CGB) in Várzea Grande Cuiabá, you will be met by our staff and transferred to your comfortable hotel outside the airport.

Overnight: Hotel Amazon Aeroporto Cuiabá

 

Day 2. Transfer to Chapada dos Guimarães

We shall leave the hotel after breakfast to head towards the buffer zone of the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park. We will spend the whole morning looking for species such as Red-and-green and Blue-winged Macaws, Peach-fronted Parakeet, Cliff, Boat-billed and Chapada Flycatchers, Toco Toucan, Burnished-buff Tanager, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, White-lined Tanager, and even Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl

After an enjoyable lunch in town, we will drive towards our accommodation, Pousada do Parque Lodge. Although basic, the lodge has a lot of charm and is the only facility within the park. We will be thrilled with the birding opportunities this place offers, with species such as Planalto Hermit, Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Red Pileated Finch, Chopi Blackbird, Flavescent Warbler, and a good number of woodpeckers such as Campo Flicker, Pale-crested, Little, Yellow-tufted, Lineated, and Green-barred Woodpeckers. The park also offers good numbers of night birds such as Nacunda Nighthawk, Common Potoo, Scissor-tailed, Parauque, Little and Rufous Nightjars.

Overnight: Pousada do Parque

 

Day 3. Birding Agua Fria, Vale Benção and Pousada do Parque

Today we will bird the open fragments of the Cerrado outside of the park consisting of grasslands and cacti habitat as they offer chances for several new species. We will spend the first few hours of the morning looking for targets such as White-rumped and White-banded Tanagers, Rusty-backed and Large-billed Antwrens, Collared Crescentchest, Pheasant Cuckoo, Amazonian Motmot, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, Brown Jacamar, White-eared Puffbird, Lettered Aracari, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and Black-fronted Nunbird. In the afternoon we would enjoy birding the lodge grounds looking for any species we may have missed on the previous day.

Overnight: Pousada do Parque

Brazil birding toursGreater Rhea is commonly seen in the Pantanal and the Cerrado.

 

Day 4. Birding Pousada do Parque and visit Veú de Noiva (bridal veil waterfalls)

We shall explore the lodge grounds and the areas outside looking for further species such as Red-winged Tinamou, Greater Rhea, Burrowing Owl, Southern Lapwing perhaps our first Red-legged Seriema, Masked Tityra, Rufous Casiornis, Large Elaenia, Picazuro and Scaled Pigeons, Swallow Tanager, Purplish Jay, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, Band-tailed Manakin, and the endemic Crested Black-Tyrant

From the waterfalls stakeout it is possible to see Red-and-green Macaws, White-eyed Parakeets, White-collared Swifts, and with luck Blue-winged Macaw and Great Dusky Swift. After this, we will return to the lodge and spend our last evening there. The park is home to the seldom seen Maned Wolf, one of the rarest mammals in South America. Even though we consider our expectations very low, we have been lucky in the past with few sightings in the park. Today it is more likely to see the Hoary Fox.

Overnight: Pousada do Parque

 

Day 5. Transfer to Pantanal

We shall have one last morning in the Chapada area where we would try for the Helmeted Manakin plus other birds we might have missed on previous days. Later we shall start our drive towards Pocone in the Pantanal. During the drive is possible to find species such as Greater Rhea, Red-legged Seriema, Crested Caracara, Toco Toucan, Cattle Tyrant, and White-tailed Hawk.

Brazil birding toursSunbittern is on of the Neotropics most wanted birds (photo Ricardo Boschetti)

 

We shall arrive to Piuval Lodge where we will be greeted with our first Pantanal species by the entrance such as Southern Screamer, Plumbeous and Buff-necked Ibises, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Whistling Heron, Guira Cuckoo, Limpkin, Jabiru, Cocoi Heron, Roseate Spoonbill, Crane Hawk, and Brown-chested Martin, among many others. In the evening we shall switch into 4×4 vehicles to do our first night safari drive looking for some of the mammals which inhabit the Pantanal. We will have our first chances for Lowland Tapir (largest South American mammal), Crab-eating Fox and with luck the Giant Anteater. After the excursion we will return to the lodge for some well deserved rest.

Overnight: Piuval Lodge

 

Day 6. Pousada Piuval Lodge

We shall spend the full day exploring Pousada Piuval. Our first activity will be a predawn search to look for the Giant Anteater if we haven’t seen it yet. Later we will explore the expansive areas of the huge property to look for Pale-crested Woodpecker, Greater Thornbird, Chaco Chachalaca, White-throated Piping-Guan, Bare-faced Curassow, Picui Ground-Dove, Grey-cowled Wood-Rail, Sunbittern, Savanna Hawk, Turquoise-fronted Amazon, Red-billed Scythebill, White-lored Spinetail, Orange-backed Troupial, and Greyish Baywing.

The star of the day will be the Hyacinth Macaw, an icon of the Pantanal and one of the last strongholds for this species. The lodge area offers good chances for Black-fronted Capuchin and Silvery Marmoset.

We will have a break after lunch and spend the rest of the afternoon birding around the lodge. In the evening we will have a second 4×4 safari drive hoping to encounter more fascinating wildlife.

Overnight: Piuval Lodge

Brazil birding toursA feast for the eyes in the Pantanal (photo Ricardo Boschetti)

 

Day 7. Transfer to Hotel Mato Grosso and birding the Transpantainera

After a last try for the Giant Anteater, we will leave the lodge and head to the famous Transpantainera road. We shall find species such as Black-collared Hawk, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Scarlet-headed Blackbird, Yellow-billed Cardinal, Golden-collared Macaw, Monk Parakeet, Amazon, Ringed and Green Kingfishers, and Yellow-chinned Spinetail.

Mato Grosso Hotel is not as comfortable as Piuval but is strategically located at the shores of the Pixaim waters where we will have our first boat trip hoping to find several species of birds including some classic aquatic species, but our main target is the Zigzag Heron, one of the rarest and poorly-known birds in the Neotropics. This place has one of the best chances to see this elusive heron. We also have opportunities for Agami Heron, American Pygmy-Kingfisher, Anhinga, Band-tailed and Rusty-backed Antbirds, Buff-throated Woodcreeper, and Red-crested Cardinal. We will have our first chance for the Giant River Otters. At night we may find a Crab-eating Raccoon around the lodge.

Overnight: Hotel Mato Grosso 

Brazil birding toursThe elusive Agami Heron can be seen in the Pantanal (photo Ricardo Boschetti)

 

Day 8. Birding Mato Grosso Hotel and transfer to Porto Joffre

Today we will have an early start to explore the lodge grasslands and gallery forest looking for species such as Chestnut-vented Conebill, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Grey-crested Cachalote, Long-tailed Ground-Dove, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Black-backed Water-Tyrant, Mato Grosso Antbird, Purplish Jay, Variable Oriole, Wattled Jacana, Snail Kite, and Marsh Deer. After this, we will leave the lodge and drive along the road passing through several water ponds full of birds, Yacare Caimans and Capybaras.

We will arrive at Hotel Pantanal Norte in Porto Joffre and we will spend the afternoon birding along the Transpantainera where we will search for species such as Least Bittern, Spotted Rail, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, Nanday Parakeet, Bare-faced Ibis, Maguari Stork, and with some luck, Undulated Tinamou.

Overnight: Hotel Pantanal Norte

 

Day 9. Jaguar Safari

Today we will explore the Cuiabá River in the morning looking for Jaguars. This is the best place to see Jaguars in the world and our chances are very high to see this mighty animal in the wild. On our boat we will sail different sectors of the river in search of Jaguars. We also have the best chance for Giant River Otters on this day. We shall return to the lodge for lunch and after a short break we will go in the river again for a second boat safari expedition focusing all our efforts on this prized target. Along the boat trip is possible to see Collared and Pied Plovers, Large-billed, Common and Yellow-billed Terns, Black-bellied Whistling Duck and Paraguayan Howler Monkeys

Overnight Hotel Pantanal Norte

Brazil birding toursGiant River Otter along the Cuiaba River (photo Ricardo Boschetti)

 

Day 10. Transfer to Pouso Alegre

We shall break the long drive from Porto Joffre to Cuiaba with a stay at the Pouso Alegre Lodge. This lodge is more rancho hacienda style is not as comfortable as previous lodges but is also located away from the road deep into the woodlands and a night drive offers good chances for mammals. Lowland Tapirs are commonly seen here but with a lot of luck we can score Southern Tamandua, Six-banded Armadillo, Ocelot and even the rare Puma which is very scarce in the Pantanal and has been photographed here but our expectations should be low with these. The lodge is great for birds with feeders and some old dry deciduous forest which offers birds such as Planalto Slaty-Antshrike and Black-bellied Antwren.

Overnight: Pouso Alegre Lodge

 

Day 11. Transfer to Cuiabá airport and fly to Sao Paulo

We shall have our last morning birding around the lodge and along Transpantainera before finally heading back to the Cuiaba airport to connect with our flight to Sao Paulo. After arrival, we will transfer to our hotel for the evening.

Overnight: Sao Paulo, Hampton Inn

 

Day 12. Arrival at Foz do Iguazú Aiport and transfer to the Argentinean side

This morning we will head back to the Sao Paulo airport and catch a flight to Foz de Iguazú airport in the Brazilian state of Parana. From here we will immediately transfer to Puerto Iguazú on the Argentinean side in the state of Misiones. Crossing the border is relatively easy, usually taking half an hour by car; the two cities are separated by nine miles (15 km).

Brazil birding toursThe awe-inspiring Iguazu Falls (photo Anne Koke)

 

We will check in to our comfortable hotel, spend the afternoon birding around the accommodation’s grounds, and visit the hummingbird garden, Jardin de Picaflores, where we hope to see hummers such as Black Jacobin, Black-throated Mango, Glittering-bellied and Versicolored Emeralds, Scale-throated and Planalto Hermits, White-throated and Swallow-tailed Hummingbirds, Violet-capped Woodnymph, and Gilded Sapphire. Other birds we might see today include Ochre-collared Piculet, Chestnut-bellied and Violaceous Euphonia, Green-headed, Ruby-crowned, Sayaca, Black-goggled and Guira Tanagers, Chestnut-eared Aracari, and Plush-crested Jay.

Overnight: Selva del Laurel Lodge

 

Day 13. Iguazú falls and Devil’s Throat

Today we will have an early start to get inside Iguazú Park and visit the famous Devil’s Throat, probably the most spectacular point of all the waterfalls. We shall have time to do the lower and upper trail circuits inside the Argentinean side of the park, allowing you to see the waterfalls from different angles, with abundant photo opportunities throughout. One of the main bird highlights of the day will be the impressive Great Dusky Swifts flying around and perching on the vertical cliff faces of the waterfalls.

Overnight: Selva Del Laurel Lodge

Brazil birding toursThe stunning Green-headed Tanager can be found around Iguazu (photo Ricardo Boschetti)

 

Days 14-15. Exploring the Iguazú Park surroundings and the Urugua-í Provincial Park

We will spend two full days birding different sectors outside the Iguazú waterfalls. One site we’ll visit is the Urugua-í Provincial Park, located 63 miles (100 km) from our hotel; here we will look for the Endangered Black-fronted Piping Guan.  This bird can be tricky to find in other Atlantic forest areas but in southern Misiones state of Argentina, it is still a reliable bird to find. Other birds we hope to see include Black-throated Trogon, Rufous-capped Motmot, Green-billed Toucan, Yellow-fronted, Blond-crested, Lineated and Robust Woodpeckers. Furthermore, we will also look for Black-billed Scythebill, Tufted Antshrike, Rufous-winged Antwren, Short-tailed Antthrush, several woodcreepers such as White-throated, Olivaceous, Plain-winged and Planalto Woodcreepers.

The list of targets during these two days is long and include a few skulkers such as White-eyed, Ochre-breasted and Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaners, White-throated Spadebill, Red-crowned Ant Tanager, Eared Pygmy Tyrant, Southern Antpipit, and Plain Antvireo. Other more obvious (and as usual, beautiful) species that we will be on the lookout for include Swallow Tanager, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Social and Three-striped Flycatchers, White-winged Swallow, Pale-breasted and White-necked Thrushes, Riverbank Warbler, Chestnut-vented Conebill, Magpie, Chestnut-headed Tanager and White-lined Tanagers, and Blue-naped Chlorophonia.

Overnight: Selva del Laurel Lodge

Best of Brazil birding toursBlue Manakin is another highlight from the Atlantic Forest (photo Ricardo Boschetti)

 

Day 16. Transfer to Brazilian side, visit the waterfalls and fly to Sao Paulo

Today we shall cross the Brazil border again and (if time permits) have a short visit to the Brazilian side of the waterfalls where we can get a different angle of the falls and some birds we might have missed on previous days. You will be transferred to the Foz de Iguazu airport to catch a flight back to Sao Paulo where you will connect with your international flight home.

 

 

Please note that the itinerary cannot be guaranteed as it is only a rough guide and can be changed (usually slightly) due to factors such as availability of accommodation, updated information on the state of accommodation, roads, or birding sites, the discretion of the guides. In addition, we sometimes have to use a different international guide from the one advertised due to tour scheduling.

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Brazil and Argentina: The Pantanal, Cerrado and Iguazú Falls Trip Report, September 2022

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21 SEPTEMBER – 05 OCTOBER 2022

By Eduardo Ormaeche

Brazil birding report

Hyacinth Macaw, an iconic bird of the Pantanal (photo Eric Schroeder).

 

Overview

In September 2022 I traveled to Brazil to lead a Birding Ecotours tour with the Golden Gate Bird Alliance. After a two-year absence due to the pandemic, I was more excited than ever to return to one of my favorite destinations in the Neotropics! This trip was designed to give participants the opportunity to explore three important and iconic ecosystems in Brazil: Firstly, the Pantanal, the largest seasonal wetland in the world, home to a vast number of birds and wildlife, and famous for its Jaguar-viewing opportunities. Secondly, the Cerrado, a unique habitat of deciduous scrub and tropical savanna, which is unfortunately threatened due to deforestation and fires. Finally, the Atlantic Forest, a vast and diverse forest that extends across much of Brazil and within which the mighty Iguazú Falls, on the Brazil-Argentina border, is found.

Brazil birding report

The Devil’s Throat of Iguazú Falls from Argentina.

 

During this fantastic two-week birding tour, we recorded numerous fantastic species including Hyacinth MacawSungrebeSunbitternGreater RheaJabiruRoseate SpoonbillAgami HeronZigzag HeronHelmeted ManakinRed-ruffed FruitcrowGreen-headed TanagerBlack JacobinGreat Dusky SwiftSharp-tailed StreamcreeperRed-billed ScythebillRufous-capped MotmotSurucuaBlack-throated and Blue-crowned TrogonsAraucaria Tit-SpinetailWhite-eyed Foliage-gleanerBlack-fronted Piping GuanGreat Rufous WoodcreeperBlond-crested WoodpeckerCommon and Great PotoosToco ToucanWhite-rumped and Fulvous Shrike-Tanagers, and many others. In addition to our birding encounters, we had a variety of mammals, including four of Brazil’s ‘Big Five’: JaguarGiant AnteaterLowland Tapir and Giant (River) Otter.This was a superb trip for birders, wildlife enthusiasts and adventurous travelers alike.

 

Detailed Report

Day 1, 21st September 2022. Arrival in São Paulo, and transfer to Argentina

The group met at the Guarulhos International Airport in São Paulo, before connecting with a domestic flight to Foz do Iguazú in the Brazilian state of Paraná. In Foz de Iguazú, we were welcomed by Pocho, our excellent Argentinean local guide who would be with us while in Iguazú. We arrived at the Argentina-Brazil border, which is easy to navigate for international travelers visiting the Urugua-í Park and its stunning waterfalls. This was the first time many of our group members had traveled to Brazil, Iguazú or the Pantanal, which added to the excitement of the adventure that awaited us.

We then traveled to our accommodation where we would stay for the next four nights, the Selva de Laurel Lodge, which is conveniently located near ‘600 Hectares’, a famous birding hotspot in the Argentinean state of Misiones. The crisscrossing of borders meant that we could immediately start adding birds to both our Brazilian and Argentinian country lists. We birded along the roads and around the immigration offices which produced Squirrel CuckooSouthern LapwingPicazuro PigeonPlumbeous KiteWhite WoodpeckerYellow-chevroned ParakeetCrested CaracaraTurquoise-fronted AmazonSayaca TanagerSaffron FinchGrey-breasted Martin, and Rufous Hornero. These were the first birds we could officially add to our Argentinian bird list. After an exciting first day, we returned to our accommodation and prepared for the following day.

Brazil birding report

Great Dusky Swifts at Iguazú Falls (photo Carl Wang).

 

Day 2, 22nd September 2022. Birding the Iguazú Falls and Jardin de los Picaflores

The next day we started birding around the lodge before leaving for Iguazú National Park which opens at 8 a.m. We heard Rufous-capped Motmot calling before dawn, but they were rather distant. We then saw Yellow-fronted WoodpeckerChestnut-eared AracariPlanalto WoodcreeperEared Pygmy TyrantFuscous FlycatcherChestnut-bellied EuphoniaPlush-crested JayGolden-crowned WarblerSwallow Tanager, and Red-rumped Cacique. We heard Ochre-collared Piculet, which unfortunately did not show for us, however the stunning Blond-crested Woodpecker was seen by everyone.

After a few hours of birding around the lodge we left for Iguazú National Park. We arrived at the park, and after dealing with the long lines and crowds, we made our way to the spectacular Devil’s Throat, which at a height of 269 feet (82 meters), is the largest waterfall of the Iguazú Falls. From the cliffs, we were able to get amazing scope views of Great Dusky Swifts roosting, as well as flying above the mighty waterfalls.

Along the boardwalks and above the waterfalls, we enjoyed sightings of Snail KiteNeotropic CormorantChestnut-vented ConebillSaffron FinchRed-rumped Cacique, and Scaly-headed Parrot. We also had some interesting wildlife encounters, with great views of South American CoatiBlack-capped CapuchinIguazu Lava LizardBlack Tegu and Granulated Catfish.

Brazil birding report

Black Jacobin, an Atlantic Forest hummingbird special (photo Carl Wang).

 

The rain arrived at midday, and by now we were ready for a meal at the restaurant in Iguazú National Park, which turned out to be one of the best meals of the trip. We then headed to the Jardin de los Picaflores, a hummingbird garden in Puerto Iguazú. Here, we enjoyed our first sightings of these beautiful and unique avian jewels, and seeing as this was the only hummingbird feeding station we would visit on the trip, we appreciated our time here even more. We had a wonderful time at the bird feeders, enjoying views of Black JacobinBlack-throated MangoGlittering-bellied and Versicolored EmeraldsViolet-capped WoodnymphWhite-throated and Swallow-tailed HummingbirdsGilded SapphirePlanalto and Scale-throated Hermits, as well as Violaceous Euphonia and Variable Oriole. After a great day at the Iguazú Falls, we returned to the lodge to get some well-deserved rest, in preparation for the next day.

 

Day 3, 23rd September 2022. Exploring the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls      

Today we left Puerto Iguazú and crossed the border to visit the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls. Before we even got out of the bus, we spotted a Black-fronted Piping Guan, an Endangered Atlantic Forest endemic, which everyone was able to see. Shortly afterwards, we saw our first Toco Toucan, as well as the beautiful Green-headed Tanager. Seeing Black-fronted Piping Guan, one of the trip highlights, on the Brazilian side of the Iguazú Falls was an amazing start. Although the Argentinian side of the Iguazú Falls is better in terms of walking trails and convenient birding sites, the Brazilian side produced some unexpected surprises, and gave us even more spectacular views of the waterfall.

Before it started raining and was covered in mist, participants took the opportunity to photograph the waterfall. I felt sorry for those who arrived later and missed this photographic opportunity, but in terms of our birding successes, we were very content.

Brazil birding report

The Endangered Black-fronted Piping Guan, one of the highlights of Iguazú (photo Carl Wang).

 

In the evening, we went outside the lodge to try for Black-capped Screech Owl, which we heard, but unfortunately never saw. Although we tried hard for this bird, the bad weather and elusive nature of this individual meant that our efforts went unrewarded. This was a pity, but we returned to the lodge looking forward to the next day at the Urugua-í Park.

 

Day 4, 24th September 2022. Exploring Urugua-í Park

Urugua-í Park, named after local conservationist, Dr. Luis Honorio Rolon, protects habitat around the source of the Uruguaí River, which originates in the highlands of the Misiones Province. At 2,470 acres (84,000 hectares), this is perhaps one of the best places to see Black-fronted Piping Guan, as well as many other species. The birding started off slowly, with a few species showing well, including Green-backed Becard, and we had a great sighting of Chestnut-crowned Becard building a nest right next to the parking lot. We then had a Campo Flicker, and our first flock of Maroon-bellied Parakeet.Other species seen included the widespread Great KiskadeeStreaked and Piratic FlycatchersRed-rumped Caciques and Swallow Tanager. Despite it being quiet in the humid and misty Atlantic Forest, we soon found a Red-ruffed Fruitcrow.

Brazil birding report

Red-ruffed Fruitcrow in the Urugua-í Park (photo Carl Wang).

 

In the forest interior we found Surucua TrogonSouthern Beardless and Greenish TyrannuletsSepia-capped FlycatcherSouthern Bristle TyrantWhite-necked ThrushGolden-crowned WarblerTropical ParulaRed-crowned Ant TanagerRuby-crowned TanagerGreen-winged Saltator, and Riverbank Warbler, and with some local knowledge and good luck, we saw White-eyed Foliage-gleaner, a bird that does not always show well.

We left the forest and tried for a another sought-after Furnarid from this part of the world, the secretive Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper – a bird which is found in the Atlantic Forest, in the humid mountains of the Andes. We looked along the main road, and were lucky enough to be able to feast our eyes on this small and mysterious stream skulker. We heard a Black-fronted Piping Guan in the distance, but were unable to see it, so I was especially pleased that we had seen one on the previous day on the Brazilian side of Iguazú Falls. We saw Scaly-headed Parrots of the race melanoblepharus, distinguishable from the race maximiliani (which we later saw in the Pantanal) by the absence of a white eye ring.

After a great picnic lunch, where Pocho provided a variety of ‘Argentinean empanadas’ to keep our spirits up, we left Urugua-í Park and investigated an Araucaria woodland where we got great views of another special, Araucaria Tit-Spinetail,and we heard a Blacksmith Thrush which only a few participants had seen at Urugua-í Park.

We decided to have dinner outside of our accommodation seeing that Puerto Iguazú has many restaurant options, which Pocho helped us to choose from. After a great day of birding, we returned to the lodge to get ready for our last day in Iguazú.

Brazil birding report

The secretive White-eyed Foliage-gleaner at the Urugua-í Park (photo Carl Wang).

 

Day 5, 25th September 2022. Morning flight to São Paulo, with a connecting flight to Cuiabá

Today we returned to the Foz do Iguazú Airport in Brazil. We said goodbye to our Argentinian team and prepared for a long day of travel. Before we left Iguazú, on the way to the airport, we managed to see a pair of Burrowing Owls, which made several people very happy, especially Carl who had never seen one before. The first flight was from Foz do Iguazú to São Paulo, which was then followed by a connecting flight to Cuiabá, our rendezvous for the Pantanal and Cerrado trip. We arrived at Cuiabá and were transferred to our accommodation at Hotel Slaviero. Despite the heat and humidity, we were very excited about the prospect of exploring the Pantanal and the Cerrado over the next few days.

 

Day 6, 26th September 2022. Transfer to Chapada dos Guimarães, with birding en route

We left Cuiabá and birded en route as we headed towards Chapada dos Guimarães National Park and were immediately impressed with the red cliffs and mountains of this new landscape. Our first stop was near an impressive cliff known as ‘Hell’s Gate’, and along the way we encountered some interesting scrub species including Red-and-green MacawWhite-tailed HawkFerruginous Pygmy OwlToco ToucanCliff (with more grey than white on the head, compared to the Andean tropical foothills population) and Boat-billed Flycatchers Burnished-buff and White-lined TanagersChalk-browed Mockingbird, as well as one of the specials here, Blue-winged Macaw.

After having lunch in town, we moved to Pousada do Parque, our base for the next three nights, which was conveniently located on the outskirts of the Chapada do Guimarães National Park. Here, we had Guira CuckooSouthern LapwingChopi BlackbirdRed Pileated Finch, and we saw a Planalto Hermit feeding in the flowers around the reception and pool.

We spent the rest of the afternoon birding around the scenic lodge grounds. Other species which showed well during the afternoon included Scaled PigeonRuddy Ground and White-tipped DovesSmooth-billed AniWhite-vented Violetear and Glittering-bellied EmeraldAmazonian MotmotSwallow-winged PuffbirdLettered AracariYellow-tuftedLittleLineated and Green-barred WoodpeckersCreamy-bellied ThrushDouble-collared SeedeaterBlack-faced TanagerSmall-billed Elaenia, and Masked Tityra. We also had Rufous Hornero, the Argentinean national bird, and Rufous-bellied Thrush, the Brazilian national bird.

 

Day 7, 27th September 2022. Chapada dos Guimarães National Park and Pousada do Parque

We spent the first hours of the morning birding along the main track on the way to the entrance of the Chapada dos Guimarães National Park. Along this road we found some interesting and widespread species such as Blue DacnisAmazonian MotmotWhite WoodpeckerNarrow-billed WoodcreeperRufous CasiornisRufous HorneroHelmeted Manakin (female), Short-crested FlycatcherMasked TityraSayaca TanagerFlavescent WarblerRed Pileated Finch, and Black-throated Saltator.

Although there is extensive Cerrado habitat outside of the park, we were able to find some of our target species in more accessible areas, such as Água Fria and the Geladeira Road, as well as the road that takes you to Stone City, where it is possible to see the Endangered Yellow-faced Amazon. Unfortunately, the road is not always in good condition, and it sometimes requires a 4×4 vehicle, depending on the time of year one is traveling.

We spent some time at the famous Bride’s Veil Waterfall, which is created by several streams that run down the slopes of the plateaus (Planalto in Portuguese) and discharge into the Cuiabá River and the Pantanal. Here, we managed to see flocks of White-eyed ParakeetRed-and-green MacawCliff Flycatcher, Blue-winged Macaw, and Cindi spotted a Great Dusky Swift roosting, which was great to see. We tried forCrested Black Tyrant, but unfortunately did not see one today.

Brazil birding report

Bride’s Veil in Chapada dos Guimarães.

 

We then visited Vale de Benção, one of the few remaining pockets of forest in the Cerrado, where it is possible to find interior forest species, and to find shade as the heat intensifies. As soon as we arrived, we had Amazonian MotmotBlack-fronted NunbirdRufous-tailed JacamarLettered AracariRed-shouldered MacawYellow-tufted WoodpeckerSwallow-tailed HummingbirdLarge-billed AntwrenCrested OropendolaVariable OrioleBuff-throated SaltatorPale-breasted Thrush, and for the second time on this trip, we saw Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper.

Later that afternoon we explored the open areas of the Cerrado, finding birds such as Red-legged Seriema, which gave us a great performance as it crossed the road. Other bird sightings included Chapada FlycatcherRusty-backed AntwrenLarge ElaeniaPlumbeous SeedeaterBlack-throated Saltator and Peach-fronted ParakeetRed-winged Tinamou was heard,but we were unfortunately unable to see it on this occasion. We then returned to the Pousada do Parque Lodge to relax and enjoy the beautiful surroundings.

 

Day 8, 28th September 2022. Chapada dos Guimarães and Pousada do Parque

Today we left very early in the morning to explore the open areas of the Cerrado. Close to the Estrada Água Fria, we found some interesting Cerrado specials such as Black-faced and Shrike-like Tanagers, and we saw White-rumped Tanagers doing a territorial display. We added several of the usual suspects, including great views of White-eared Puffbird and Campo Flicker.However, Collared Crescentchest proved elusive this year. After a morning of birding the Cerrado, we moved back to the lodge before a rainstorm descended upon us, with such strong winds that some tables and chairs blew off the ground. Some people went inside to get some rest, while others stayed outside to see the few birds that could endure the storm, which produced Chopi Blackbird and Purplish Jay. The rain continued for most of the afternoon, but eventually stopped and allowed us to continue birding around the lodge.

Brazil birding report

White-eared Puffbird at Chapada dos Guimarães.

 

We had productive birding within the lodge grounds, with Yellow-tuftedLineated and Green-barred Woodpeckers Black-crowned TityraBarred AntshrikeWhite-lined Tanager all seen in the vicinity. We were also fortunate to see a Narrow-billed Woodcreeper building a nest which was interesting to watch. Beautiful Red-and-green Macaws are always a pleasure to see flying above the Cerrado and are a sign of hope in the face of the many threats this special habitat faces. Perhaps the most exciting sighting was the secretive Red-winged Tinamou,which was seen well by everyone as itwalked shyly above the grass along the fence-line.

Just before dusk we got to see Nacunda Nighthawk, as well as alarge number of bats emerging from a building that they had been nesting in. During our stay in Pousada do Parque, we did not see any Brazilian Cavy, and the small family group living in the lodge grounds was nowhere to be seen, possibly having been predated on by Crab-eating Foxes which are widespread in the Pantanal and Cerrado. The other culprit could have been the similar-looking Hoary Fox,a seldom-seen Brazilian endemic, which inhabits the Cerrado and can be tricky to tell apart at night, especially with brief views.

 

Day 9, 29th September 2022. Transfer to the Pantanal (Pouso Alegre), and birding en route

The next morning, those who were up early enough saw a male Scissor-tailed Nightjar near the pool. We then left the lodge and were transferred to the Geodesic stakeout, where we added another Red-winged Tinamou, Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle, White-collared Swift, Grey Monjita,as well as the other usual suspects, but we didn’t see any Crested Black Tyrants. Sadly, it was time to leave Chapadados Guimarães, and we headed back to Cuiabá to begin exploring the Pantanal.

Staying at Pousada do Parque is a highly recommended and worthwhile stopover, as it is located within the national park itself. This means that birds and wildlife are easy to find, and we also had easier access to nocturnal birds on our night drives. After some time birding at Iguazú and the Atlantic Forest, our time in the Cerrado was equally productive, with clients birding in the early  mornings, enjoying a rest during the heat of the day, before more birding later in the day.

On the way back to Cuiabá, we stopped at a municipal park where we saw a few species we had already seen, but we were especially pleased when a Helmeted Manakin (male) showed well for us, which is very lucky, as the bird often only shows when play-back is used. We took our time to enjoy this bird, and then headed back to the restaurant at Cuiabá for a tasty lunch. After our lunch, we headed to Poconé with high expectations, and our first stop on the way was at a marshland, where we had a great number of aquatic species such as White-faced Whistling DuckBrazilian TealRufescent Tiger HeronWattled JacanaBlack-necked StiltLittle Blue and Striated HeronsYellow-chevroned Parakeets and Brown-chested Martin, amongst others.

Brazil birding report

A variety of aquatic species in the Pantanal (photo Ricardo Boschetti).

 

We then continued our journey to Piuval Lodge, our base from which we would explore the Pantanal. After a quick check-in, we had time to bird in the lodge vicinity, as well as in the seasonally flooded grasslands where we had JabiruWood StorkCocoi HeronBlack SkimmerGreatSnowy and Western Cattle Egrets, Bare-faced and Plumbeous Ibises, and Roseate Spoonbill. We were fortunate to spot a Crane Hawk, one of the less abundant open-country raptors in the Pantanal, and everyone had brilliant scope views of this individual. This was followed by Campo FlickerWhite-eyed ParakeetRufous CachaloteRed-crested Cardinal, and Fork-tailed Flycatcher. The Pantanal is also famous for having the world’s largest population of Capybara, and it was here that we had our first sighting of this large rodent.

After dinner we went on an open-vehicle 4×4 drive, finding our first Marsh Deer, as well as a few pairs of Crab-eating Foxes. In addition, we saw several Little Nightjars and Pauraques, giving participants the chance to see the differences between the two species, without having to rely on the call differences to separate them.

 

Day 10, 30th September 2022. Birding around the lodge, and transfer to Hotel Mato Grosso

Before dawn, we were out exploring the lodge surroundings when one of the ‘Big Five’ of Brazil, and one of the most desirable species of South America, the Giant Anteater was spotted. We were fortunate enough to have amazing views of this remarkable creature, which is still found in South American grasslands, savanna, and the Amazon Rainforest.

Then, without needing to return to the lodge at 730 a.m. for breakfast (which is customary at Pantanal and Cerrado lodges), we were able to take advantage of having the additional time to bird around the lodge at this productive time of day. We had a great time birding inside the lodge grounds in the open-vehicle 4x4s, affording us great views of birds we had seen regularly. We also had SunbitternGrey-cowled Wood RailChaco ChachalacaWhite-throated Piping Guan [White-throated Piping Guan (Pipile grayi) is a recent split from Blue-throated Piping Guan (P. cumanensis) based on differences in plumage, the shape and color of the wattle, and limited hybridization in contact zones in southeastern Peru], and Bare-faced Curassow. The Pantanal contains a healthy population of Bare-faced Curassows, making them particularly easy to see here compared to other parts of the New Word.

The moment we had all been waiting for on the tour finally arrived when the highly desirable Hyacinth Macaw, which is considered the largest parrot species, was seen flying above the beautiful Pantanal landscape, followed by an even closer view of a pair at the top of a tree. Everyone had great scope views of this obliging pair, and this was when Eric took the photo that appears on the cover of this trip report. Although other lodges have Hyacinth Macaws roosting in their gardens, the experience of seeing a pair attending a natural nest is simply magical and watching this species flying over the Pantanal woodlands is the best way to see these magnificent birds.

We continued birding for the rest of the morning, finding great species such as Pale-crested Woodpecker and Little WoodpeckersCampo FlickerToco ToucanFerruginous Pygmy OwlWhite-lored SpinetailSouthern Scrub FlycatcherRufous CasiornisCattle TyrantStreaked FlycatcherMasked GnatcatcherWhite-browed BlackbirdOrange-backed TroupialYellow-billed CardinalChestnut-vented ConebillPale-breasted and Rufous-bellied ThrushesBlack-fronted Nunbird, and Great Black and Savanna Hawks. The bird that elicited the most excitement from the group must have been the impressive Red-billed Scythebill, which seemed to be playing a game of hide-an-seek at first, but then gave us fantastic views. We then had a Great Potoo roosting at its daytime roost, followed by White-vented PlumeleteerFork-tailed WoodnymphWhite-vented VioletearPicui Ground DoveTurquoise-fronted AmazonRed-legged Seriema and our first Monk Parakeet. Later that morning, we retreated to the lodge, but not before we had a glimpse of a family of Azara’s Capuchins.

Brazil birding report

Red-billed Scythebill, a great find in the Pantanal.

 

After we checked out and had our lunch, we headed along the famous Transpantaneira Road, which is a 90-mile (145 kilometer) dirt road connecting Poconé to Puerto Joffre and contains over 120 bridges. This road crosses the northern Pantanal and is a paradise for birds and wildlife, as well as hosting several lodges, restaurants, and recreational activities along the way. Many of these lodges were once cattle ranches (fazendas in Portuguese) which have now been repurposed for ecotourism.

While driving along the Transpantaneira Road, we saw plenty of aquatic species, including a few new species for the trip including Maguari StorkCapped HeronBlack-collared HawkLesser Yellow-headed VultureRinged and Green KingfishersYellow-chinned SpinetailWhite-headed Marsh TyrantBlack-backed Water TyrantRufescent Tiger HeronSpotted Sandpiper, as well as Jabiru at a nest.

As soon as we entered the Pantanal, we had a better understanding of the type of species that are typical of this habitat, starting with a large gathering of Yacare Caiman around the last-remaining lagoons and wetlands of the dry season. Yacare Caiman are now considered common in the Pantanal, and are classified as a species of Least Concern, but from 1970 to 1996 they were classed as ‘Endangered’ due the illicit trade of their skins. Today, Yacare Caiman are one of the main dietary sources of Jaguars, and as such are a critical part of the Pantanal’s ecosystem.

We arrived at Pouso Alegre where we found the endemic Chestnut-bellied GuanGreater RheaHyacinth MacawBare-faced CurassowAmazon Kingfisher, and Chaco Chachalaca. It was very hot when we arrived at the lodge, so we decided to rest and bird around the lodge grounds before we went on the open-vehicle 4×4 drive. Along the drive we saw Great Horned OwlCommon PotooLittle NightjarCommon Pauraque, and a roosting Toco Toucan. No new mammals were seen, but the lodge grounds provided good views of Crab-eating Foxes, and once we got back to the lodge itself, we had Lowland Tapir, anindividual which had become habituated, and would often sneak into the lodge vicinity to look for food.

 

Day 11, 1st October 2022. Birding around the lodge, and transfer to Mato Grosso Lodge

Today we took an early walk around the lodge, and in the woodland and scrub habitat we found White-lored SpinetailCaatinga CacholoteNarrow-billed WoodcreeperSwainson’s FlycatcherFlavescent WarblerThrush-like WrenFerruginous Pygmy OwlTurquoise-fronted AmazonScaled DoveBare-faced CurassowBlue-crowned TrogonGreater RheaChaco ChachalacaChestnut-bellied GuanSouth American Coati and had further great views of Hyacinth Macaws flying over. We also had perhaps one of our best sightings of Great Rufous Woodcreeper,which was new for the trip.

Brazil birding report

Greater Rhea is found in the Cerrado and grasslands of the Pantanal.

 

After some productive birding, we headed to Mato Grosso Lodge, located next to the Pixaim River which provided access to a variety of habitats, including woodlands and gallery forest. In the afternoon we embarked on our much-anticipated boat ride, which allowed us to explore the Pixaim River. We saw widespread species such as AnhingaNeotropic CormorantCocoi HeronJabiruWood StorkGreen IbisRufescent Tiger HeronBlack-collared HawkBoat-billed Heron at a daytime roosting spot, and although American Pygmy Kingfisher took some time to find, we eventually had great views of this cute, little bird. We also had Band-tailed Antbird skulking in the low vegetation, as well as Chestnut-eared AracariPale-legged HorneroLesser KiskadeeRusty-backed Spinetail and Pale-vented Pigeon. We got very excited when we had our first Sungrebe, which was not easy to find at first, but we all eventually had superb views.

Lowland Tapir, the largest mammal in South America, gave us a great performance when it approached the shore and submerged itself in the water to cross the river. It was amazing to follow the trace of air bubbles as it made its crossing, before its head eventually emerged. By sunset we witnessed flocks of Band-tailed Nighthawks above the water, and we tried for the very secretive and seldom-seen Zigzag Heron, which although difficult to find elsewhere, is relatively easy in the Pantanal. It was great to be able to give all participants views of this most-wanted species.

Brazil birding report

Lowland Tapir gave us a great performance (photo Eric Schroeder).

 

Day 12, 2nd October 2022. Birding Mato Grosso Lodge, and transfer to Porto Joffre

We spent the early morning birding the lodge grounds, including the adjacent marsh and the gallery forest, enabling us to add several new birds to the trip list. The old airstrip is always a good place to start, and we had good views of Nanday Parakeets flying over. We then had excellent sightings of Chotoy SpinetailPeach-fronted Parakeet, and Scaly-headed Parrot, of the Pantanal race siy, which shows white orbital skin, in comparison to the Atlantic Forest race which we saw around Iguazú. We then had White-bellied SeedeaterBuff-bellied HermitBluish-grey Saltator, and Variable Oriole, followed by a handsome Marsh Deer watching us from the grasslands.

Once on the trail, we continued birding which produced Mato Grosso AntbirdAshy-headed GreenletFlavescent WarblerBlue-crowned TrogonBuff-throated WoodcreeperRufous-tailed JacamarPale-crested WoodpeckerBlack-fronted NunbirdPearly-vented and Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrants and Yellow-olive Flatbill.A final visit to the marsh near to the lodge allowed us to find Long-tailed Ground Dove,which took some effort, but we all eventually managed to see it.  We left Mato Grosso Lodge and continued along the Transpantaneira Road on the way to Porto Joffre, stopping at a few strategic places on the way, allowing us to find species such as Scarlet-headed BlackbirdRusty-collared SeedeaterBlack-capped DonacobiusLarge-billed TernBlack SkimmerSouthern Screamer, and Unicolored Blackbird.

Brazil birding report

The start of the Transpantaneira Road.

 

We arrived at the Hotel Pantanal Norte in Porto Joffre where we checked in and had a tasty lunch. After a short respite, we met at the lodge’s jetty to begin our journey by speed boat along the Cuiabá River where we hoped to find the highly prized Jaguar. This river flows to the Paraguay River, and then into La Plata in Argentina, eventually ending up in the Atlantic Ocean. The rivers of the Pantanal contain the largest concentration of Jaguars in the world, and the high numbers of Capybara and Yacare Caiman in the Pantanal provide the Jaguar population with a reliable food source. Jaguar sightings are therefore relatively easy, especially during the region’s dry months when the riverbanks are exposed. We were lucky to have our first encounter with Jaguars on the first afternoon on the riverbank, when an individual emerged from the bush, allowing us to have magnificent views. We also had encounters with birds such as Collared and Pied PloversBlack-bellied Whistling Duck, and Large-billed Tern.

 

Day 13, 3rd October 2022. Jaguar viewing by boat and birding around Porto Joffre

We had another full morning to explore the Cuiabá River and to look for more Jaguar. We were extremely fortunate to see an adult female with two almost fully mature cubs, which was a very special wildlife encounter. We then had an awesome encounter with another most-wanted mammal in the Pantanal, the charismatic Giant (River) Otter, resulting in outstanding views of a family which demonstrated the species’ full repertoire of social and fishing behaviors. We then returned to the lodge to have lunch and to take a break, before heading out into the field for the afternoon.

Brazil birding report

We had wonderful Jaguar views in the Pantanal (photos Eric Schroeder).

 

In the afternoon, we explored the surrounding area of the Transpantaneira, where we found Solitary Cacique, Barred Antshrike and Striped Cuckoo.We tried hard for Grey-breasted Crake, which came close, but did not show.We also worked hard for Cinereous-breasted Spinetail,which took some time to find, but was eventually seen by everyone. The day ended on a high note when we saw Undulated Tinamou, which Freya spotted through the thick bush, while it was calling and sitting motionless. Everyone was delighted to have scope views of this elusive bird that we had heard so often in the Cerrado and Pantanal, but due to its shy-nature had not been seen until now.

Brazil birding report

We had wonderful Jaguar views in the Pantanal (photos Eric Schroeder).

 

Day 14, 4th October 2022. Birding the Transpantaneira Road, and transfer to Cuiabá

Today was our last day in the Pantanal, which was essentially a transfer day back to the city. We had planned a couple of strategic stops, including a lunch-stop. Although we were not expecting anything new, we enjoyed a few final photo opportunities of the Pantanal along with many of the wonderful birds we had seen previously on the trip. Perhaps the best surprise was when we spotted a young Yellow Anaconda disappearing from the road into the bushes, providing us with a glimpse of most of the snake. We finally reached Poconé and saw about three Blue-and-yellow Macaws, as well as a few more regularly seen species. We finally arrived at the hotel, and had supper at our favorite restaurant in town where we celebrated the end of a truly fantastic two-week birding trip of Brazil and Argentina.

 

Day 15, 5th October 2022. Departure from São Paulo

On our final day, participants were transferred to the Cuiabá Marechal Rondon International Airport to catch their connecting flights back to São Paulo where they eventually departed, bringing the tour to its conclusion.

Brazil birding report

Giant (River) Otters in the Pantanal (photo Ricardo Boschetti).

 

Bird List – Following IOC (13.1)

Birds ‘heard only’ are marked with (H) after the common name, all other species were seen.

The following notation after species names is used to show conservation status following BirdLife International: VU = Vulnerable.

Common Name Scientific Name
 Rheas (Rheidae)
Greater Rhea Rhea americana
Tinamous (Tinamidae)
Undulated Tinamou Crypturellus undulatus
Small-billed Tinamou Crypturellus parvirostris
Red-winged Tinamou Rhynchotus rufescens
Screamers (Anhimidae)
Horned Screamer Anhima cornuta
Southern Screamer Chauna torquata
Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)
White-faced Whistling Duck Dendrocygna viduata
Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata
Brazilian Teal Amazonetta brasiliensis
Chachalacas, Curassows, Guans (Cracidae)
Chaco Chachalaca Ortalis canicollis
Chestnut-bellied Guan (Endemic) – VU Penelope ochrogaster
White-throated Piping Guan Pipile grayi
Black-fronted Piping Guan – EN Pipile jacutinga
Bare-faced Curassow – VU Crax fasciolata
Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)
Nacunda Nighthawk Chordeiles nacunda
Band-tailed Nighthawk Nyctiprogne leucopyga
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Little Nightjar Setopagis parvula
Potoos (Nyctibiidae)
Great Potoo Nyctibius grandis
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus
Swifts (Apodidae)
Great Dusky Swift Cypseloides senex
White-collared Swift Streptoprocne zonaris
Sick’s Swift Chaetura meridionalis
Grey-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
 
Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)
Black Jacobin Florisuga fusca
Scaly-throated Hermit Phaethornis eurynome
Buff-bellied Hermit Phaethornis subochraceus
Planalto Hermit Phaethornis pretrei
Black-throated Mango Anthracothorax nigricollis
White-vented Violetear Colibri serrirostris
Blue-tufted Starthroat Heliomaster furcifer
Glittering-bellied Emerald Chlorostilbon lucidus
Fork-tailed Woodnymph Thalurania furcata
Violet-capped Woodnymph Thalurania glaucopis
Swallow-tailed Hummingbird Eupetomena macroura
Sapphire-spangled Emerald Chionomesa lactea
Versicolored Emerald Chrysuronia versicolor
White-throated Hummingbird Leucochloris albicollis
Glittering-throated Emerald Chionomesa fimbriata
Gilded Sapphire Hylocharis chrysura
Cuckoos (Cuculidae)
Guira Cuckoo Guira guira
Greater Ani Crotophaga major
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Striped Cuckoo Tapera naevia
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)
Rock Dove (Introduced) Columba livia
Scaled Pigeon Patagioenas speciosa
Picazuro Pigeon Patagioenas picazuro
Scaled Dove Columbina squammata
Ruddy Ground Dove Columbina talpacoti
Picui Ground Dove Columbina picui
Blue Ground Dove Claravis pretiosa
Long-tailed Ground Dove Uropelia campestris
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata
Finfoots (Heliornithidae)
Sungrebe Heliornis fulica
Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)
Grey-cowled Wood Rail Aramides cajaneus
Grey-breasted Crake (H) Laterallus exilis
Limpkin (Aramidae)
Limpkin Aramus guarauna
Stilts, Avocets (Recurvirostridae)
Black-necked Stilt Himantopus mexicanus
Plovers (Charadriidae)
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
Collared Plover Charadrius collaris
Pied Plover Hoploxypterus cayanus
Jacanas (Jacanidae)
Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana
Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)
Spotted Sandpiper Actitis macularius
Solitary Sandpiper Tringa solitaria
Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes
Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca
Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)
Black Skimmer Rynchops niger
Large-billed Tern Phaetusa simplex
Sunbittern (Eurypygidae)
Sunbittern Eurypyga helias
Storks (Ciconiidae)
Wood Stork Mycteria americana
Maguari Stork Ciconia maguari
Jabiru Jabiru mycteria
Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)
Anhinga Anhinga anhinga
Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae)
Neotropic Cormorant Nannopterum brasilianum
Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)
Plumbeous Ibis Theristicus caerulescens
Buff-necked Ibis Theristicus caudatus
Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis
Bare-faced Ibis Phimosus infuscatus
Roseate Spoonbill Platalea ajaja
Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)
Rufescent Tiger Heron Tigrisoma lineatum
Agami Heron – VU Agamia agami
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius
Zigzag Heron Zebrilus undulatus
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Western Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis
Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi
Great Egret Ardea alba
Capped Heron Pilherodius pileatus
Whistling Heron Syrigma sibilatrix
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
New World Vultures (Cathartidae)
King Vulture Sarcoramphus papa
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus
Ospreys (Pandionidae)
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Kites, Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis
Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis
Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens
Savanna Hawk Buteogallus meridionalis
Great Black Hawk Buteogallus urubitinga
Roadside Hawk Rupornis magnirostris
White-tailed Hawk Geranoaetus albicaudatus
White Hawk Pseudastur albicollis
Grey-lined Hawk Buteo nitidus
Broad-winged Hawk Buteo platypterus
Owls (Strigidae)
Burrowing Owl Athene cunicularia
Ferruginous Pygmy Owl Glaucidium brasilianum
Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
Tropical Screech Owl Megascops choliba
Black-capped Screech Owl (H) Megascops atricapilla
Trogons (Trogonidae)
Blue-crowned Trogon Trogon curucui
Surucua Trogon Trogon surrucura
Black-throated Trogon Trogon rufus
Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Green-and-rufous Kingfisher Chloroceryle inda
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata
Motmots (Momotidae)
Amazonian Motmot Momotus momota
Rufous-capped Motmot Baryphthengus ruficapillus
Jacamars (Galbulidae)
Rufous-tailed Jacamar Galbula ruficauda
Puffbirds (Bucconidae)
White-eared Puffbird Nystalus chacuru
Black-fronted Nunbird Monasa nigrifrons
Swallow-winged Puffbird Chelidoptera tenebrosa
Toucans (Ramphastidae)
Lettered Aracari Pteroglossus inscriptus
Chestnut-eared Aracari Pteroglossus castanotis
Channel-billed Toucan – VU Ramphastos vitellinus
Toco Toucan Ramphastos toco
Woodpeckers (Picidae)
Ochre-collared Piculet (H)
White-wedged Piculet Picumnus albosquamatus
White Woodpecker Melanerpes candidus
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker Melanerpes cruentatus
Yellow-fronted Woodpecker Melanerpes flavifrons
Little Woodpecker Veniliornis passerinus
Green-barred Woodpecker Colaptes melanochloros
Campo Flicker Colaptes campestris
Pale-crested Woodpecker Celeus lugubris
Blond-crested Woodpecker Celeus flavescens
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Seriemas (Cariamidae)
Red-legged Seriema Cariama cristata
Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)
Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
American Kestrel Falco sparverius
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
African & New World Parrots (Psittacidae)
Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus
Yellow-chevroned Parakeet Brotogeris chiriri
Cobalt-rumped Parrotlet Forpus xanthopterygius
Scaly-headed Parrot Pionus maximiliani
Blue-headed Parrot Pionus menstruus
Turquoise-fronted Amazon Amazona aestiva
Orange-winged Amazon Amazona amazonica
Maroon-bellied Parakeet Pyrrhura frontalis
Maroon-tailed Parakeet Pyrrhura melanura
Hyacinth Macaw – VU Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus
Peach-fronted Parakeet Eupsittula aurea
Nanday Parakeet Aratinga nenday
Golden-collared Macaw Primolius auricollis
Blue-winged Macaw Primolius maracana
Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna
Red-and-green Macaw Ara chloropterus
Red-shouldered Macaw Diopsittaca nobilis
White-eyed Parakeet Psittacara leucophthalmus
Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Plain-winged Woodcreeper Dendrocincla turdina
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper Glyphorynchus spirurus
Planalto Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes platyrostris
White-throated Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes albicollis
Great Rufous Woodcreeper Xiphocolaptes major
Buff-throated Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus guttatus
Red-billed Scythebill Campylorhamphus trochilirostris
Narrow-billed Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes angustirostris
Plain Xenops Xenops minutus
Streaked Xenops Xenops rutilans
Pale-legged Hornero Furnarius leucopus
Rufous Hornero Furnarius rufus
Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper Lochmias nematura
Black-capped Foliage-gleaner Philydor atricapillus
White-browed Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia amaurotis
Ochre-breasted Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia lichtensteini
White-eyed Foliage-gleaner Automolus leucophthalmus
Araucaria Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura setaria
Rufous-fronted Thornbird Phacellodomus rufifrons
Greater Thornbird Phacellodomus ruber
Rusty-backed Spinetail Cranioleuca vulpina
Grey-crested Cacholote Pseudoseisura unirufa
Yellow-chinned Spinetail Certhiaxis cinnamomeus
Chotoy Spinetail Schoeniophylax phryganophilus
White-lored Spinetail Synallaxis albilora
Cinereous-breasted Spinetail Synallaxis hypospodia
Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)
Streak-capped Antwren Terenura maculata
Rusty-backed Antwren Formicivora rufa
Large-billed Antwren Herpsilochmus longirostris
Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Spot-backed Antshrike (H) Hypoedaleus guttatus
Mato Grosso Antbird Cercomacra melanaria
Band-tailed Antbird Hypocnemoides maculicauda
Antthrushes (Formicariidae)
Short-tailed Antthrush (H) Chamaeza campanisona
Tyrant Flycatchers, Calyptura (Tyrannidae)
Greenish Elaenia Myiopagis viridicata
Large Elaenia Elaenia spectabilis
Plain-crested Elaenia Elaenia cristata
Lesser Elaenia Elaenia chiriquensis
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum
Mouse-colored Tyrannulet Phaeomyias murina
Southern Antpipit Corythopis delalandi
Southern Bristle Tyrant Pogonotriccus eximius
Sepia-capped Flycatcher Leptopogon amaurocephalus
Chapada Flycatcher Guyramemua affine
Southern Scrub Flycatcher Sublegatus modestus
Bran-colored Flycatcher Myiophobus fasciatus
Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus striaticollis
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer
Eared Pygmy Tyrant Myiornis auricularis
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum
Yellow-olive Flatbill Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Cliff Flycatcher Hirundinea ferruginea
Fuscous Flycatcher Cnemotriccus fuscatus
Vermilion Flycatcher Pyrocephalus obscurus
Grey Monjita Nengetus cinereus
Black-backed Water Tyrant Fluvicola albiventer
White-headed Marsh Tyrant Arundinicola leucocephala
Long-tailed Tyrant Colonia colonus
Cattle Tyrant Machetornis rixosa
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius
Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Lesser Kiskadee Philohydor lictor
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Variegated Flycatcher Empidonomus varius
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana
Rufous Casiornis Casiornis rufus
Swainson’s Flycatcher Myiarchus swainsoni
Short-crested Flycatcher  
White-eyed Attila Attila bolivianus
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus
Cotingas (Cotingidae)
Red-ruffed Fruitcrow Pyroderus scutatus
Manakins (Pipridae)
Helmeted Manakin Antilophia galeata
Band-tailed Manakin Pipra fasciicauda
Tityras, Becards, Sharpbill (Tityridae)
Black-crowned Tityra Tityra inquisitor
Black-tailed Tityra Tityra cayana
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Green-backed Becard Pachyramphus viridis
Chestnut-crowned Becard Pachyramphus castaneus
Vireos, Greenlets, Shrike-babblers (Vireonidae)
Ashy-headed Greenlet Hylophilus pectoralis
Chivi Vireo Vireo chivi
Crows, Jays (Corvidae)
Purplish Jay Cyanocorax cyanomelas
Plush-crested Jay Cyanocorax chrysops
Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)
White-winged Swallow Tachycineta albiventer
Blue-and-white Swallow Pygochelidon cyanoleuca
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Brown-chested Martin Progne tapera
Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Black-capped Donacobius (Donacobiidae)
Black-capped Donacobius Donacobius atricapilla
Wrens (Troglodytidae)
Thrush-like Wren Campylorhynchus turdinus
Fawn-breasted Wren Cantorchilus guarayanus
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Gnatcatchers (Polioptilidae)
Masked Gnatcatcher Polioptila dumicola
Mockingbirds, Thrashers (Mimidae)
Chalk-browed Mockingbird Mimus saturninus
Thrushes (Turdidae)
Blacksmith Thrush Turdus subalaris
Creamy-bellied Thrush Turdus amaurochalinus
White-necked Thrush Turdus albicollis
Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas
Rufous-bellied Thrush Turdus rufiventris
Old World Sparrows, Snowfinches (Passeridae)
House Sparrow (Introduced) Passer domesticus
Finches, Euphonias (Fringillidae)
Purple-throated Euphonia Euphonia chlorotica
Chestnut-bellied Euphonia Euphonia pectoralis
Violaceous Euphonia Euphonia violacea
New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)
Saffron-billed Sparrow Arremon flavirostris
Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis
Oropendolas, Orioles, Blackbirds (Icteridae)
White-browed Blackbird Leistes superciliaris
Russet-backed Oropendola Psarocolius angustifrons
Crested Oropendola Psarocolius decumanus
Solitary Cacique Cacicus solitarius
Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela
Red-rumped Cacique Cacicus haemorrhous
Orange-backed Troupial Icterus croconotus
Variable Oriole Icterus pyrrhopterus
Epaulet Oriole Icterus cayanensis
Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
Scarlet-headed Blackbird Amblyramphus holosericeus
Chopi Blackbird Gnorimopsar chopi
Greyish Baywing Agelaioides badius
Unicolored Blackbird Agelasticus cyanopus
New World Warblers (Parulidae)
Southern Yellowthroat Geothlypis velata
Tropical Parula Setophaga pitiayumi
Flavescent Warbler Myiothlypis flaveola
White-rimmed Warbler Myiothlypis leucoblephara
Riverbank Warbler Myiothlypis rivularis
Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus
Cardinals & Allies (Cardinalidae)
Red-crowned Ant Tanager Habia rubica
Tanagers & Allies (Thraupidae)
Swallow Tanager Tersina viridis
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Green-winged Saltator Saltator similis
Blue-grey Saltator Saltator coerulescens
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina
Black-goggled Tanager Trichothraupis melanops
Red Pileated Finch Coryphospingus cucullatus
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Ruby-crowned Tanager Tachyphonus coronatus
Fulvous Shrike-Tanager Lanio fulvus
Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo
Rusty-collared Seedeater Sporophila collaris
White-bellied Seedeater Sporophila leucoptera
Plumbeous Seedeater Sporophila plumbea
White-rumped Tanager Cypsnagra hirundinacea
Chestnut-vented Conebill Conirostrum speciosum
Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola
Fawn-breasted Tanager Pipraeidea melanonota
Black-faced Tanager Schistochlamys melanopis
Red-crested Cardinal Paroaria coronata
Yellow-billed Cardinal Paroaria capitata
Sayaca Tanager Thraupis sayaca
Palm Tanager Thraupis palmarum
Burnished-buff Tanager Stilpnia cayana
Bay-headed Tanager Tangara gyrola
Green-headed Tanager Tangara seledon
Total Seen 325
Total Heard 5
Total Recorded 330

 

Mammal List

The following notation after species names is used to show conservation status following the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: EN = Endangered.

Common name Scientific name
Giant Anteater Myrmecophaga tridactyla
Capybara Hydrochoerus hydrochaeris
Azara’s Agouti Dasyprocta azarae
South American Coati Nasua nasua
Crab-eating Fox Cerdocyon thous
Hoary Fox Lycalopex vetulus
Jaguar Panthera onca
Giant Otter Pteronura brasiliensis
Azara’s Capuchin Sapajus cay
Black-capped Capuchin Sapajus apella
Black-and-gold Howler Monkey Alouatta caraya
Red Brocket Mazama americana
Marsh Deer Blastocerus dichotomus
Lowland Tapir Tapirus terrestris
Collared Peccary Pecari tajacu
Total seen 14

 

Reptile List

The following notation after species names is used to show conservation status following the IUCN Red List of Threatened Species: VU = Vulnerable.

Common name Scientific name
Yacare Caiman Caiman yacare
Yellow Anaconda  Eunectes notaeus
Iguazu Lava Lizard Tropidurus catalensis
Black Tegu Tuginambis teguixin
Total seen 4

 

DOWNLOAD TRIP REPORT

This is a sample trip report. Please email us ([email protected]) for more trip reports from this destination.

‘The trip met all our expectations, and more! We saw and experienced the Cerrado, the Amazon rainforest and the Pantanal with its amazing variety and volumes of wildlife. The highlights included Hyacinth Macaws, Jaguars, Giant River Otters, Maned Wolf, Brazilian Tapir, Anaconda and all the birds for which Eduardo made special efforts to find. We had an excellent session of forest birding on the canopy towers where we could really appreciate the advantage of our private tour, which we think was good value for the additional cost. It was a pleasure to travel with Eduardo again who showed his expertise even in the presence of other local guides. In summary we came back very satisfied customers of Birding Ecotours and we thank you for the opportunity to experience the Best of Brazil tour.’

Jacques and Elzine

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