Birding Tour Guyana: Lost World – Guiana Shield Specialists and Sun Parakeet


THE 2025 ITINERARY USES SOME DIFFERENT ACCOMMODATION FROM WHAT IS SHOWN BUT IT ESSENTIALLY EQUIVALENT - PRICE INCLUDES EXPENSIVE CHARTER FLIGHTS

Dates and Costs

 

21 January – 03 February 2024

Spaces Available: 6

Price (includes expensive charter flights): US$8,868  / £7,711 / € 8,897 per person sharing – based on 5-8 participants.

Single Supplement: US$488 / £424 / €489

 

* 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.

 

21 January – 03 February 2025

Price (includes expensive charter flights): US$8,990  / £7,818 / € 9,018 per person sharing – based on 5-8 participants.

Single Supplement: US$580 / £504 / €582


Recommended Field Guide

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


Tour Details

Duration: 14 days
Group Size: 5-8
Start: Georgetown
End: Georgetown


Price includes:

Domestic and charter flights within Guyana
All transfers airport/hotel/airport
All accommodation described in the itinerary
All meals (except where indicated)
All land transportation including 4×4 vehicles
River excursions
Entrance fees
Private tour leader services
Local guides
Bottles of water and snacks

 

Price excludes:

International flights
Visa
Medical and trip cancellation insurance
Any activity not included in the itinerary
Items of a personal nature (alcoholic drinks, laundry, phone calls, internet access)
Meals on day 1
Soft/alcoholic drinks
Gratuities (please see our tipping guidelines blog)

Download Itinerary

Birding Tour Guyana: Lost World – Guiana Shield Specialists and Sun Parakeet
January 2024/2025

 

Guyana conjures up a vision of one of the last fantastic places on earth that still holds incredible landscapes covered by thousands of miles of untouched rainforest, pristine forest rivers, lakes with giant water lilies, rolling grassland and savannas, and magnificent, breathtaking waterfalls. Guyana gives visitors the sensation of being in a lost world.

Guyana birding toursGuianan Cock-of-the-rock is one of the key species we search for on this trip.

 

This relatively small country found in northeast South America has become a mandatory destination for adventurous birders as it includes many species that are hard to find in adjacent South American countries, such as CapuchinbirdBlack Nunbird, Crimson Fruitcrow, Blood-colored Woodpecker, Waved Woodpecker, Black Curassow, Crestless Curassow, Bearded Tachuri, Red-fan Parrot, and Rufous and White-winged Potoos. It also offers great chances for Harpy Eagle if there are active nests in the area; with the help of our Birding Ecotours leaders and local guides we will do the best to find this most-wanted bird. In addition Guyana offers a unique set of species called Guiana Shield specialists, including Guianan Toucanet, Guianan Trogon, Guianan Red Cotinga, Guianan Streaked Antwren, and Guianan Puffbird, and there are good chances for some forest species including White-plumed Antbird, Rufous-throated Antbird, and with luck Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo.

Our 14-day tour is designed to explore the best that the country has to offer to birders in two parts. The first part includes exploring the Kaieteur Falls and the lek of the gorgeous Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, the coast of Georgetown looking for the localized Rufous Crab Hawk and Scarlet Ibis, and the rainforests of Iwokrama River Lodge, Atta Rainforest Lodge with the magnificent Iwokrama Canopy Walkway, and Surama Eco-Lodge. The second part of the trip is focused on long 4×4 drives exploring remote Amerindian communities in search of two localized, endangered, and most-wanted species, Sun Parakeet and Red Siskin. We will make all possible efforts to provide you with these unique species as well as with the localized Rio Branco Antbird and Hoary-throated Spinetail.

Finally, Guyana also offers visitors good chances to encounter interesting wildlife, and sightings of Giant Otter, Giant Anteater, and even Puma and Jaguar are not uncommon in this fantastic country.

Guyana birding toursWe may get lucky with a Puma sighting (photo John Christian)!

 

Itinerary (14 days/13 nights)

 

Day 1. Arrival at Georgetown and transfer to the hotel

You will arrive at Cheddi Jagan International Airport, located 25 miles south of the capital city, Georgetown, meet our local representative, and transfer to the hotel. Dinner is on your own account,

Overnight: Cara Lodge, Georgetown

 

Day 2. Mahaica River, Mudflats and Georgetown Botanical Gardens

Today we will have an early start to head to the Atlantic coast and check the mudflats for the beautiful Scarlet Ibis. We will continue towards the village of Mahaica, where we will take a boat trip along the Mahaica River. Among our targets will be Guyana’s national bird, the bizarre and distinctive Hoatzin. We will also look for a host of other species, including Rufous Crab Hawk, a localized Guyana specialty. Other birds include Black-collared Hawk, Black Hawk-Eagle, Long-winged Harrier, Barred Antshrike, Silvered Antbird, Striped Cuckoo, Little Cuckoo, Green-tailed Jacamar, Blood-colored Woodpecker, White-bellied Piculet, Mangrove Rail, and Mangrove Cuckoo. Depending on the level of the tide we may be able to check the shoreline for waders, including White-rumped Sandpiper, Western Sandpiper, Hudsonian Whimbrel, Grey Plover, Short-billed Dowitcher, and other coastal and typical aquatic species such as White-cheeked Pintail, Tricolored Heron, Yellow-crowned Night-Heron, Little Blue Heron, Magnificent Frigatebird, Royal, Gull-billed, and Least Terns, and Brown Pelican.

After lunch we will visit the famous Georgetown Botanical Gardens. This parkland area with open grass, scattered trees, bushes, and several ponds is famous for holding good numbers of species, including the localized Blood-colored Woodpecker. In addition we will look for White-bellied Piculet, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Southern Beardless Tyrannulet, the impressive Toco Toucan, Black-capped Donacobious, Wing-barred Seedeater, Straight-billed Woodcreeper, Black-collared Hawk, and a colorful and noisy selection of parrots, including Red-shouldered Macaw, Orange-winged Amazon, Yellow-crowned Amazon, Southern Mealy Amazon, and Festive Amazon.

Flowering trees can provide hummingbirds such as Black-throated Mango, White-chested Emerald, and Plain-bellied Emerald.

Overnight: Cara Lodge, Georgetown

Guyana birding toursThe Georgetown Botanical Gardens usually hold a selection of parrots such as these Southern Mealy Amazons.

 

Day 3. Kaieteur Falls – Iwokrama River Lodge 

After breakfast at our hotel we will take a chartered flight over unspoiled pristine forest to Kaieteur Falls, the world’s highest free-falling waterfall. Though Venezuela’s Angel Falls is greater in total height, its filamentous drop occurs by stages, whereas Kaieteur is a single, massive, thundering cascade 100 meters (328 feet) wide as the Potaro River makes a sheer drop of 228 meters (748 feet), nearly five times the height of Niagara Falls. The spectacle is even more impressive because of its remoteness; it is altogether possible that we will be the only people viewing it. Here we hope to find White-chinned and White-tipped Swifts swirling over the gorge. The other two targets are the astonishingly colorful Guianan Cock-of-the-rock and the most-wanted Orange-breasted Falcon. We should also be able to find the rare and endemic Beebe’s Rocket Frog that lives in water held in the leaves of giant bromeliad plants.

Then our flight will take us to Fairview Village, from where we will be transferred to Iwokrama River Lodge in the heart of Guyana’s beautiful rainforest. Arriving at the lodge by 3:00 p.m. we will settle in at our accommodation. During the late afternoon we will head out before dark. This will be our first opportunity to look for the localized White-winged Potoo. Returning after dark will give us the opportunity for night spotting. Even though wildlife is shy we have had impressive sightings in the past including Kinkajou, Jaguar, Lowland Tapir, Green Anaconda, Ocelot, and even Puma. The impressive forest surrounding the lodge protects a unique ecosystem in the heart of the Guiana Shield, where Amazonian and Guianan flora and fauna form one of the highest rates of biodiversity in the world. Our comfortable lodge has modern cabins, each with a balcony that overlooks the beautiful Essequibo River. There will be plenty to look at, with Pied Plover, Black-collared and White-winged Swallows over the river and a host of species in the surrounding forest edges. With luck we may come across Spotted Antpitta, Rufous-capped Antthrush, Ringed and Waved Woodpeckers, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Helmeted Pygmy Tyrant, Black-necked and Green Aracaris, and Guianan Toucanet, as well as Red-rumped Agouti and Guianan Red Howler Monkey, which are common forest dwellers here.

Overnight: Iwokrama River Lodge, Kurupukari Crossing

 

Day 4. Birding the Kurupukari White Sand Forest 

After an early breakfast we will drive to the White Sand Forest just across the Essequibo River from our base. This unique habitat offers a good variety of white sand specialists, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Black Manakin, Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin, Pale-bellied Mourner, Bronzy Jacamar, with luck Sapphire-rumped Parrotlet, and Lilac-tailed Parrotlet. The forest also harbors Black-headed Antbird, Black-throated Antbird, Spot-winged Antbird, Double-banded Pygmy Tyrant, Pelzeln’s Tody-Tyrant, Red-shouldered Tanager, Guianan Schiffornis, McConnell’s Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Flatbill, Plain-crowned Spinetail, Dusky Parrot, Blue-and-yellow Macaw, and, with good fortune the stunning Guianan Red Cotinga and Red-billed Woodcreeper. We will return to our lodge for lunch

In the afternoon we will walk the trails, hoping for an active ant swarm, which could provide sought-after species like White-plumed Antbird, Spotted Antpitta, Rufous-throated Antbird, Ferruginous-backed Antbird, Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper, and if we are lucky the seldom-seen Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo.

Overnight: Iwokrama River Lodge, Kurupukari Crossing

 

Day 5. Iwokrama River Lodge to Atta Rainforest Lodge

Today we will have an early start leaving Iwokrama River Lodge to explore the road to Atta Rainforest Lodge, looking for species such as Black Curassow, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Guianan Toucanet, and Guianan Red, Purple-breasted, Pompadour, and Spangled Cotingas. Canopy flocks can also produce Ash-winged Antwren, Todd’s Antwren, Spot-tailed Antwren, Buff-cheeked Greenlet, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Olive-green Tyrannulet, Zimmer’s Flatbill, Guianan Tyrannulet, Yellow-throated Flycatcher, and Guianan Puffbird. Before we arrive at our lodge we will look for Rufous Potoo.  We have found the day roost for this very rare and elusive bird, and we will do our best to provide good views for our clients. After arrival at Atta Rainforest Lodge we will bird forest trails from the lodge during the afternoon.

Overnight: Atta Rainforest Lodge

Guyana birding toursGuianan Red Cotinga should be one of the many cotinga species on display at Atta Rainforest Lodge (photo John Christian).

 

Day 6. Atta Rainforest Lodge and Iwokrama Canopy Walkway

Another early start to visit the famous Iwokrama Canopy Walkway to look for passing flocks of canopy-dwelling species. Time will be spent looking for Todd’s Antwren, Spot-tailed Antwren, Short-tailed Pygmy Tyrant, Guianan Toucanet, Green Aracari, Painted Parakeet, Screaming Piha, Black-headed Parrot, Guianan Puffbird, Dusky Purpletuft, Paradise Tanager, Opal-rumped Tanager, Golden-sided Euphonia, Purple and Green Honeycreepers, Black-faced Dacnis, and Black Nunbird. This entire morning will involve birding on the canopy walkway and the trails around the lodge. This wonderful area is famous for its variety of colorful cotingas, and if we can locate a few fruiting trees, we will be in for an avian spectacle with possibilities of Pompadour, Purple-breasted, and Guianan Red Cotingas as well as White Bellbird and the most-wanted Crimson Fruitcrow. In the forest that surrounds the lodge we will look for Red-legged and Variegated Tinamous, Black-faced Hawk, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Cayenne Jay, Amazonian Barred Woodcreeper, Red-billed Woodcreeper, Helmeted Pygmy Tyrant, Ferruginous-backed Antbird, Waved Woodpecker, and Chestnut and Red-necked Woodpeckers, as well as Guiana Spider Monkey and White-faced Saki.

Guyana birding toursThe beautiful Green Honeycreeper.

 

After lunch we will spend the afternoon birding on the Kurupukari-Annai public road through the Iwokrama Forest. We can try again for Black Manakin and Rufous-crowned Elaenia as well as Blue-backed Tanager, Swallow winged Puffbird, Black-chinned, Scale-backed, and Grey Antbirds, Guianan Streaked Antwren, Amazonian and Mouse-colored Antshrikes, Reddish Hermit, Tiny Tyrant Manakin, Rose-breasted Chat, Black and Red-throated Caracaras, Guianan Trogon, Golden-winged Parakeet, and Yellow-green Grosbeak.

Early in the evening on our way back to Atta Lodge we will use a spotlight to do some night birding, mainly looking for owls and potoos.  Next to a small wetland we could find Sunbittern, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, American Pygmy Kingfisher, and Crimson Topaz. This is a great place to look for potoos including White-winged, Rufous, Great, Common, and Long-tailed Potoos plus Spectacled and Crested Owls.

Overnight: Atta Rainforest Lodge

Day 7. Atta Rainforest Lodge to Surama Eco-Lodge 

We’ll have another early start to explore the environs of Atta Rainforest Lodge before breakfast for one last time.  Our birding adventure continues with a transfer to Surama Eco-Lodge, birding on the way. We will scan treetops for Marail Guan, Green Aracari, Guianan Puffbird, Dusky Purpletuft, Black-spotted Barbet, Harpy Eagle, Crested Eagle, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Black Hawk-Eagle, Golden-collared Woodpecker, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Green Oropendola, and Crimson Fruitcrow.

Guyana birding toursThe area around Surama Eco-Lodge can be good for Ornate Hawk-Eagle (photo John Christian).

 

After lunch we will bird along the forest edges and visit nearby roosts of Great Potoo.  We may find Little Chachalaca, Grassland Sparrow, Wedge-tailed Grass Finch, Forest Elaenia, White-throated Toucan, Neotropical Palm Swift, and Finsch’s Euphonia, and time permitting we will try for Ocellated Crake.  At dusk White-tailed Nightjar, Least Nighthawk, Lesser Nighthawk, and Tropical and Tawny-bellied Screech Owls will hopefully be found near to the lodge.

Overnight: Surama Eco-Lodge, Surama

 

Day 8. Surama area, birding the Harpy Eagle trail

Today will be dedicated to looking for Harpy Eagle (if there is an active nest we might get a chance). A 30-minute drive from Surama Eco-Lodge will bring us to the Harpy Eagle trail. We will walk for an hour on a flat trail through virgin rainforest and hope to see Harpy Eagle at its nest. On past trips we have witnessed the adults bringing prey to the nest including monkeys, sloths, iguanas, macaws, and agouti. We also have a stakeout roost for Long-tailed Potoo and Tawny-bellied Screech Owl. Forest birding includes Rufous-bellied Antwren, Collared Puffbird, White-throated Manakin, Cinnamon-crested Spadebill, and Common Scale-backed Antbird.

Overnight: Surama Eco-Lodge, Surama

Guyana birding toursThe magnificent Harpy Eagle will hopefully be seen around Surama Eco-Lodge.

 

Day 9. Surama to Caiman House – Northern Rupununi

This is our final morning birding forest trails near Surama. We will visit a nearby Ornate Hawk-Eagle nest. This will also give us the opportunity to look for understory skulkers such as White-plumed and Rufous-throated Antbird, Spotted Antpitta, Black-throated Antshrike, and Rufous-bellied Antwren again. After lunch we will depart for Caiman House. Our journey will take us across the North Rupununi Savannah. The road we’ll follow skirts numerous gallery forests and wetlands, offering great views of a variety of herons, ducks, Jabiru, Pinnated Bittern, Plumbeous Seedeater, Bicolored Wren, Grey Seedeater, Grassland Yellow Finch, Yellowish Pipit, White-fringed Antwren, Crested Bobwhite, Green-rumped Parrotlet, the colorful Orange-backed Troupial, and the agile Aplomado Falcon. On the drive we will make several stops to look for Crested Doradito and Bearded Tachuri, two key species on our target list. This is also the best chance of seeing Giant Anteater. We have a high success rate of spotting these giants on our tours. We will then continue our journey to Caiman House, where we hope to arrive by 6:00 p.m. in time for check in and enjoying dinner.

Overnight: Caiman House, Yupukari

Guyana birding toursAplomado Falcon can be seen across the North Rupununi Savannah.

 

Day 10. Caiman House, Rupununi River excursion

This morning we will start with a cup of coffee before heading out by boat on the Rupununi River. We will be in small boats powered by a 15hps engine as we head downstream. Depending on the water level we will visit some of the many oxbow lakes found in this area and focus on seeing the rare Crestless Curassow; our best chances of seeing this bird are along the river banks as the birds come to drink water in the morning. We are also likely to find Green-and-rufous and Amazon Kingfishers, Rufescent Tiger Heron, Agami and Capped Herons, Sungrebe, Sunbittern, Pied Plover, Boat-billed Heron, Bare-necked Fruitcrow, and Spot-breasted Woodpecker. In addition we may be lucky enough to see Giant Otter, Capybara, Black Caiman, Spectacled Caiman, and many species of monkeys. We will return for lunch back at the lodge.

During the afternoon as the temperature cools down we will visit nearby gallery forest to look for White-tailed Nightjar, Spot-tailed Nightjar, and Rufous Nightjar. This is also a good opportunity to see hundreds of Least and Lesser Nighthawks as they feed at dusk.

Overnight: Caiman House, Yupukari

 

Day 11. Caiman House to Karasabai Village

Moving on, today we head for Karasabai Village, a distant border village perched between the northern Rupununi Savannah and Pakaraima Mountains along the Brazilian border. Here is where we are delighted to have a rare opportunity to see the highly endangered Sun Parakeet. In the early 1990s this species was on the brink of extinction due to extreme pressures from the pet trade, until local villagers took aggressive action to rehabilitate the population. A mere seven individuals that remained at that time have struggled to regain their former numbers, but signs are hopeful and the current population counts suggests that at least 300 birds are thriving in the area today. Karasabai Village is well off the standard tourist track, offering a government guesthouse with adequate but sparse accommodations for our group. Nonetheless local hospitality reigns, and when not on the trail looking for Sun Parakeet we’ll have a great opportunity to meet and interact with an Amerindian community that sees very few tourists and is eager to share their stories and learn about a world outside their own. We will see plenty of other species during the day, but our main focus will be on finding and observing this gorgeous parakeet. After seeing the Sun Parakeet we will enjoy a delightful lunch before departing Karasabai Village in the afternoon and continue to Manari Ranch near the town of Lethem.

Overnight: Manari Ranch, Lethem

Guyana birding toursThe beautiful and rare Sun Parakeet (photo John Christian).

 

Day 12. Full day tour for Red Siskin

Today we leave the lodge very early at 3:00 a.m. in our 4x4s to drive roughly 90 kilometers (56 miles) southeast of Lethem. The drive will take us about six hours depending on what we see along the way. The road is actually a traffic-less sand track meandering across the hilly savannas with many opportunities for spontaneous birdwatching stops. We can scan numerous wetland areas for Maguari Stork, Brazilian Teal, White-tailed Hawk, Double-striped Thick-knee, and Bearded Tachuri. Along the way we pass the Amerindian communities of St. Ignatius and Shulinab, where the traditional homes and lifestyles of Amerindian Guyana are on display and remind us just how far we’ve come. We will meet one of our local guides who has been studying the rare and localized Red Siskin, a bird only discovered in Guyana in 2000 and one of the holy grails of South American ornithology.

Apart from the magnificent Red Siskin we will look for Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin and Sharp-tailed Ibis; both are most-wanted species, so our efforts will be concentrated on seeing these special birds, although many other species will be seen while searching for these targets. In the surrounding areas we could find Little Chachalaca, Black-collared Hawk, Amazonian Scrub Flycatcher, Plain-crested Elaenia, Pale-tipped Inezia, Brown-crested Flycatcher, White-naped Xenopsaris, Burnished Buff Tanager, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Glittering-throated Emerald, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Hooded Tanager, Vermilion Flycatcher, and Flavescent Warbler. We will enjoy a delightful lunch at Dadanawa Ranch before making our way back across the savanna to Manari Ranch.

Overnight: Manari Ranch, Lethem

Guyana birding toursRed Siskin will be our target southeast of Lethem (photo John Christian).

 

Day 13. Takutu and Ireng Rivers excursion, flight to Georgetown

Another early morning start will have us leave our delightful base where we have access to the dry scrub and savanna alongside the Takutu and Ireng Rivers. Once again our 4x4s will come into play as we have to get to an area where two highly restricted and poorly known species occur, namely Hoary-throated Spinetail, and Rio Branco Antbird. We will explore wetlands as well as the dry desert for a variety of species such as Pinnated Bittern, Black-bellied Whistling Duck, Masked Duck, Maguari Stork, Double-striped Thick-knee, South American Snipe, Pied-billed and Least Grebes, Crested Bobwhite, Pearl Kite, White-tailed Kite, Savanna Hawk, Aplomado Falcon, Brown-throated Parakeet, Red-bellied Macaw, Pale-legged Hornero, Fork-tailed Palm Swift, Sooty-capped Hermit, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Green-tailed Jacamar, White-bellied Piculet, Black-crested and Barred Antshrikes, Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, Yellow-olive and Ochre-lored Flatbills, Vermilion, Short-crested, and Fork-tailed Flycatchers, Yellowish Pipit, and Orange-backed Troupial. Hopefully with two exceptionally rare birds under our belts we will return to our lodge for lunch. After lunch we will head to the Lethem Airport to board our flight to Georgetown.

Overnight: Georgetown Hotel

Guyana birding toursDouble-striped Thick-knee should hopefully be seen on this tour.

 

Day 14. Georgetown, your international flight home

You will be escorted to the international airport to connect with your 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 and other factors.

Download Itinerary

Guyana: The Lost World Tour Tour Report, February 2023

21 JANUARY – 3 FEBRUARY 2023

By Eduardo Ormaeche

DOWNLOAD TRIP REPORT

Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo was a mega sighting during this Guyana birding tour (photo Anne Koke).

Overview

Our 2023 Guyana birding tour took us to explore the heart of the neotropics in search of a special and unique set of birds known as the Guianan shield specials, found only in pristine Guianan rainforest. Over the course of 14 days, we birded the remote Guianan forests, from the magnificent Kaeiteur waterfalls to the canopy walkways of Atta Lodge, and the Esquibbo and Rupuni Rivers, finding many great birds along the way. Standout species from this Guyana birding trip included: Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, Guianan Red Cotinga, Guianan Trogon, Guianan Puffbird, Guianan Warbling Antbird, Guianan Streaked Antwren, Guianan Toucanet, Red-winged Ground Cuckoo, Red-fan Parrot, Little Chachalaca, Crestless and Black Curassows, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Black Nunbird, Green-tailed Jacamar, Pompadour and Spangled Cotingas, Dusky Purpletuft, Black-headed, Dusky and Caica Parrots, Red-and-green, Blue-and-yellow, Red-bellied, and Red-shouldered Macaws, Spotted Antpitta, Spot-tailed Antwren, White-plumed, and Rufous-throated Antbirds and Crimson Fruitcrow.

Guianan Cock-of-the-rock was seen well.

We went on special expeditions in the Rupuni savannahs of southern Guyana to find two of the holy grails of South American birding: the Endangered Sun Parakeet and Red Siskin, both of which we saw very well. We also saw other great birds such as Bearded Tachuri and Crested Doradito.

This comprehensive birding tour was designed to cover the main birding hotpots in this amazing and seldom-visited country. Guyana is a must-visit South American birding destination, and this tour was custom-made for avid and adventurous birders, willing to travel in remote forests.

Detailed Report

Day 1, 21st January 2023. Arrival in Georgetown and transfer to Cara Lodge

Some of the tour participants arrived in Georgetown a day early, and others arrived late in the evening of the first day. All participants were met by our crew at the airport and transferred to Cara Lodge to get ready for the following morning’s birding activities.

Day 2, 22nd January 2023. Coastal birding and Georgetown botanical gardens

After breakfast we left Cara Lodge and drove towards the coast and Georgetown Waterfront and Kingston Seawall, our first birding stop, and were excited to find the place full of aquatic and coastal bird species. We scanned the mudflats, where we found species such as Grey and Semipalmated Plovers, Hudsonian Whimbrel, Semipalmated Sandpiper, Greater Yellowlegs, Limpkin, and Cocoi, Tricoloured, Striated, and Little Blue Herons. The coast was covered with Neotropical Cormorants, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Laughing Gulls, and a few Common Terns. We were very excited when we saw a flock of Scarlet Ibis flying in front of us and landing on the mudflat which then posed for photos. We also saw Osprey, Turkey and Black Vultures, Yellow-crowned Night Heron, Great and Snowy Egrets and Carib Grackle. We then left this site to check some nearby mangrove habitats where we tried for Mangrove Rail, which gave us excellent views. Here, we also saw Snail Kite, and more Scarlet Ibis flying by.

Scarlet Ibises along the coast at Georgetown (photo Sherry Rhodes).

We continued exploring the coast at Georgetown and at BV Seawall where found our second big target of the morning, the localized Rufous Crab Hawk, and enjoyed excellent scope views. While birding nearby we got great views of Long-winged Harrier and Zone-tailed Hawk. We also had views of Spotted Sandpiper, Southern Lapwing, and other birds, including Brown-throated Parakeet, Grey-breasted Martin, and Yellow Oriole. From here, we continued our adventure in the form of a boat trip on the Mahaica River where one of the targets was the widespread Hoatzin (Guyana’s national bird), which we saw quite well. Additionally, we managed to see Pale-vented Pigeon, Amazon, Green, and Ringed Kingfishers, and the diminutive and most-wanted American Pygmy Kingfisher.

We saw this American Pygmy Kingfisher along the Mahaica River (photo Vernon Campos).

Raptors seen included Laughing Falcon, Great Black Hawk, Snail Kite, Savanna Hawk, Yellow-headed Caracara, Turkey Vulture, and our first Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture of the trip. These were followed by our first Green-tailed Jacamar, the skulking Silvered Antbird, and the handsome Black-capped Donacobius. Other exciting birds seen here included: Yellow-bellied Elaenia, Great and Lesser Kiskadees, Orange-winged Amazon, Red-shouldered Macaw, Brown-throated Parakeet, our first of many Fork-tailed Flycatchers, White-winged Swallow, Blue-black Grassquit, Blue-grey and Palm Tanagers, Yellow Oriole, Carib Grackle, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, as well as a few Wood Storks. We arrived at a local house, where we enjoyed lunch – a tasty and interesting Guyanese cuisine which is more influenced by Indian-Asian food than the rest of Latin America. From the veranda we saw Long-winged Harrier, Little Cuckoo, Smooth-billed Ani, and Fork-tailed Palm Swift (which, until recently, was known as Neotropical Palm Swift by several authorities).

We left the Mahaica River and set off towards the Georgetown Botanical Gardens and on the way we saw Red-breasted Blackbird. The botanical gardens were fairly crowded with locals relaxing over the weekend, but the birding was nevertheless good. We saw Toco Toucan, Red-shouldered Macaw, Cayenne Jay, Violaceous Euphonia, Green-rumped Parrotlet, Southern Mealy, Orange-winged and Yellow-crowned Amazons, Lineated Woodpecker, Silver-beaked Tanager, Wing-barred Seedeater, Tropical Mockingbird, and Grey Kingbird. The water ponds provided Yellow-chinned Spinetail, walking on the floating vegetation, and the cute Pied Water Tyrant. We also had brilliant views of our two major targets here, White-bellied Piculet and Blood-colored Woodpecker.

After an intense day we returned to the lodge, ate supper, and had a good night’s sleep, in anticipation of our next day’s adventure.

Day 3, 23rd January 2023. Flight to Kaieteur Falls Park and then to Surama Lodge

After breakfast we transferred to the domestic airport to catch our scheduled charter flight to the Kaieteur Falls. Sadly, take-off from the airport was delayed for hours by bad weather at the falls. It felt like an eternity had passed and I was thinking that we would not be able to fly to the falls at all, but would have to fly straight to Surama Lodge. However, at the last moment they called us to board the small aircraft (with room for six people) and we took off. It was a bumpy flight but we made it safely to the falls. These underrated falls are a true jewel and a definite wonder of nature, being surrounded by pristine rainforest. The weather was perfect but our time was extremely limited, due to our flight delay. After our arrival in the park we went straight to the falls to see the spectacular views and, of course, to look for Orange-breasted Falcon – which sadly we did not find, no matter how hard we tried. We did however find Golden Rocket Frog, a tiny yellow tree frog which lives within the giant bromeliads. This species is Endangered and endemic to only the Kaieteur plateau and the inaccessible highlands of Guyana.

After some time here, we then focused on our main target, the Guianan Cock-of-the-rock, and were able to find several males displaying at the usual lek site. Additionally, we had good views of Cliff Flycatcher, Rufous-crowned Elaenia, Tropical Kingbird and Burnished-buff Tanager.

With our time at Kaieteur Falls running out, we boarded our plane and flew towards Surama Lodge. This flight went much more smoothly than before and we arrived without any delays or inconvenience. We were met at the airfield by the lodge staff, and transferred to Surama Lodge. This is a basic lodge located on the lands of the Surama Amerindian community, and famous for offering chances of seeing the legendary Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo, and often-active Harpy Eagle nests. We were scheduled to spend two full days here to see as much as we could.

Day 4, 24th January 2023. Surama Lodge birding

We had a predawn start with breakfast and explored the grasslands and forest edge around the lodge and then explored the lodge area itself. We got the usual and expected birds, such as Yellow-rumped Cacique, Piratic Flycatcher, Vermilion and Short-crested Flycatchers, Epaulet Oriole, Great Kiskadee, and Blue-grey and Palm Tanagers. We had Black and Greater Yellow-headed Vultures soaring above the clearing, and enjoyed scope views of Scaled Pigeon and Black-tailed Tityra. We heard the calls of Little Tinamou in the distance but unfortunately, we were not able to obtain any visuals.

We approached the forest edge and got good views of the skulking White-bellied Antbird, and had awesome views of Cream-colored Woodpecker, in response to tape. On the forest trails we saw magic bird after magic bird including Green-backed Trogon, Guianan Puffbird, White-throated Toucan, Red-necked and Ringed Woodpeckers, Black-crested Antshrike, Rufous-bellied, White-flanked and Long-winged Antwrens, Plain-brown, Cinnamon-throated and Wedge-billed Woodcreepers, Helmeted Pygmy Tyrant, White-crowned and Golden-headed Manakins, Ochre-lored Flatbill, Spix’s Guan, Little Chachalaca (also called Variable Chachalaca by other authorities), Red-and-green Macaw, and had flyby views of Caica Parrots which sadly did not perch for us. The name Caica comes from the Carib (Haitian) Indian word “caica”, which means “parrot”. In the forest we spotted a Double-toothed Kite, and one of the specials of Guyana, Black-faced Hawk, was seen well.

Black-faced Hawk was amazing to see.

The absolute highlight of the day came near the end of the trail. Even though there were no army-ant swarms, we tried for the elusive and seldom-seen Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo – and before long, we heard the characteristic bill snapping, approaching us from the bush. We held our breaths, motionless, and suddenly, not one, but two, Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoos crossed the trail in front of us twice, giving us all kinds of views (unreal, awesome, amazing, “oh my gosh”, breathtaking, heart-stopping, out of this world views). We could not have been more satisfied and content. On the way back to the lodge for lunch and a short break, we found two Blackish Nightjars at their daytime roosts.

In the afternoon we birded the clearing and the road, where we saw Blue-black Grassquit, Wing-barred and Yellow-bellied Seedeater, Finsch’s Euphonia, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Crimson-crested Woodpecker, Swallow-winged Puffbird, Savanna Hawk, Green-tailed Goldenthroat, White-collared and Band-rumped Swifts, and White-tipped Dove. We tried for Ash-throated Crake and went to look for a daytime roosting Great Potoo. Before dusk we saw Lesser Nighthawk, and after dusk we looked for Tawny-bellied Screech Owl, which came in and gave us good views. Back at the lodge we got excellent views of Pauraque, White-tailed Nightjar and Short-tailed Nighthawk. Crested Owl was heard but only distantly.

Day 5, 25th January 2023. Transfer to Iwokrama Lodge

Today we left Surama Lodge and drove along the Atta Road to Iwokrama Lodge, where we were scheduled to stay for two nights. The morning started with great sightings in the fruiting trees along the road of Blue-throated Piping Guan. IOC has recently split this species into two species, with Blue-throated Piping Guan (Pipile cumanensis) occurring from eastern Colombia to the Guianas, western Brazil and Peru, and White-throated Piping Guan (Pipile grayi), a new species, occurring from southwestern Brazil, southeastern Peru, eastern Bolivia, and northeastern Paraguay. The split is based on differences in plumage, the color and shape of the wattle, and limited hybridization in zones of contact in south-eastern Peru. In the same tree, we had Little Chachalaca and Spix’s Guan, followed by Green-backed Trogon and White-throated Toucan. We further scored with some specials in the form of Black Nunbird, Black-spotted Barbet, Green Aracari, Guianan Toucanet, and Green-tailed Jacamar. Another fruiting tree gave us brilliant scope views of Pompadour Cotinga (male), together with Spangled Cotinga (male), both in the same frame. As if that was not enough, the cotingas flew away and the tree received a visit from a Black-necked Aracari and Channel-billed Toucan. Suddenly, our attention was captured by a couple of the most-wanted Red-fan Parrots, which showed well in the scope. Then Red-throated Caracara showed up and perched on a dead tree, making their typical cacophony – one of our tour participants was particularly happy to see this forest caracara! We added the usual suspects, such as Blue-grey, Silver-beaked and Palm Tanagers, Crested Oropendola, and a Black-crowned Tityra.

Next, we continued our drive and found a Bat Falcon and then spotted a Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle flying above the forest. Other raptors seen during the heat of the day included the attractive Pearl Kite, Roadside Hawk, Great Black Hawk, and the always-nice-to-see Swallow-tailed Kite. While we were watching these raptors, our driver called us from a distance, where he was with the parked vehicle, but we were too late to see the only Marail Guan of the trip.

We continued driving and then the vehicle broke down which had something to do with the oil filter, so we were forced to wait while the driver fixed the problem. It took some time during the heat of the day, but fortunately we got nice views of King Vulture flying on the thermals, while we waited. After fixing the problem, we continued to Iwokrama Lodge. Our driver then dropped us there and drove back to Georgetown to take proper care of the vehicle. He would come back for us two days later, which was fine because we had planned to explore the tropical lowlands of Iwokrama by foot and boat during the next two days.

In the afternoon we checked the lodge surroundings and took a boat to explore the Essequibo River. We found species like Chestnut-bellied Seedeater, Pied Plover, Neotropic Cormorant, Snail Kite, Amazon and Ringed Kingfishers, White-winged Swallow, Red-capped Cardinal, Muscovy Duck, Large-billed Tern, and Cocoi and Capped Herons. Two good new species were Ladder-tailed Nightjar and Black-collared Swallow.

Day 6, 26th January 2023. Iwokrama Lodge birding

Today we planned to leave the lodge after breakfast to explore the lower and mid sections of the Turtle Mountain, hoping for the localized Red-and-black Grosbeak and other special birds found in the Guianan rainforest. We took two boats to the base of the trail, and during the river trip over we saw some of the species seen the previous days, such as Black-collared Swallow, Osprey, Pale-vented Pigeon, Large-billed Tern, and Wood Stork. One of our boats managed a glimpse of Brazilian Tapir coming out of the water and disappearing into the bush. We started our birding with good views of the secretive Spotted Antpitta. After this sighting we walked up the trail, getting birds like Black Nunbird, Black-necked Aracari, White-throated and Channel-billed Toucans, Purple-throated Fruiteater, White-throated Manakin, and Yellow-billed Jacamar. The calls of Screaming Pihas were loud, and we managed to get scope views of one individual, followed by views of Long-tailed, Plain-brown, Wedge-billed, and Buff-throated Woodcreepers. Then, after some hard work, we managed good views of the secretive Rufous-capped Antthrush which initially played hide-and-seek with us before finally giving itself up. We also had enjoyable encounters with Mouse-colored Antshrike, and Long-winged, Grey, and White-flanked Antwrens. There was no sign of the Red-and-black Grosbeak, and we did not venture higher up even though the trail was not very demanding. Before heading down we got a nice Great Jacamar and found a small army-ant swarm which provided Common Scale-backed Antbird, the stunning White-plumed Antbird, and the special Rufous-throated Antbird.

In the afternoon we crossed the river and explored a road which harbored some white-sand forest specials. We managed good views of Cinnamon Attila, Turquoise Tanager, Red-fan Parrot, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper, Yellow-tufted Woodpecker, Black Caracara, and a Paradise Jacamar. We tried for Black Manakin, which we heard, but it did not show for us. We then had Blue Dacnis, Red-rumped Cacique, Lineated Woodpecker, and a lovely Bronzy Jacamar. Before the end of the afternoon we saw a flock of the most-wanted Lilac-tailed Parrotlet. This attractive parrot flew in front of us and then perched in a tree top against the sun, where we could not find any angle for a better view. Unfortunately, we could not see any features, and had to settle with just the right shape and call, and silhouettes of them flying.

Day 7, 27th January 2023. Capuchinbird and transfer to Atta Lodge

Our last morning at Iwokrama Lodge came and we went to look for the most-wanted Capuchinbird. We were in a hurry and thus did not stop along the trail to look for other birds, since this was the major target, and the most reliable place to see it. We had a glimpse of Great Tinamou crossing the trail in front of us, and we heard the calls of Cinereous Tinamou. We noticed Black-necked Aracari on our way to our target bird’s territory. It took time and some effort, but the entire group was eventually very satisfied with the good scope views of Capuchinbird in the subcanopy at Iwokrama.

We returned to the lodge, had breakfast, and found our driver, who had come back with a fully fixed vehicle. We said goodbye to Iwokrama and the amazing two days spent here. We wanted to stay longer but there were new hunting grounds ahead of us – the famous and exciting forest at Atta Lodge.

The most-wanted Capuchinbird, seen on our Guyana birding tour.

We arrived at Atta Lodge in the mid-morning when activity was slow, and after our welcome, we checked into our rooms and then met in the lodge clearing. The first bird we noticed was Grey-breasted Sabrewing coming to the lodge feeder. Hummingbird feeders in the Guianan and Amazon rainforest are less active, with less species diversity, compared to the busy feeders made famous in other parts of the neotropics. Our driver called us when he got a tip from another driver about a large Green Anaconda laying in the marshy grasses on the side of the road. We of course jumped into the vehicle and soon found the fine specimen of this mythical animal and a lifer for all tour participants.

We then birded the whole afternoon, finding birds like Black-faced Hawk, near the lodge clearing, as well as Black-spotted Barbet, Black Nunbird, Green and Black-necked Aracaris, Guianan Toucanet, White-throated and Channel-billed Toucanets, Golden-collared Woodpecker, Blue-cheeked Parrot, Spangled Cotinga, Green Oropendola, and Little Chachalaca. Further along the road we found Bronzy Jacamar, Black Manakin, Bat Falcon, Blue-headed Parrot, and Cinnamon-throated and Buff-throated Woodcreepers. We waited until dusk and called White-winged Potoo, which came in and showed nicely for us. This is one of the hardest potoos to find and Atta is always a good place to see it. We also tried for Black-banded Owl, which showed up well. It kept relatively high up in the trees and not as close as the photographers would have liked, but the sighting was great. We happily went to bed in anticipation of another busy and full day to come.

The huge Green Anaconda seen along the Atta Road.

Day 8, 28th January 2023. Birding the canopy walkway and Atta Lodge

Our mission for the morning was to bird from the canopy walkway, trying to get the best views possible of the many forest canopy dwellers. We walked the trail up to the base of the tower and started looking for birds. The first new bird for the trip, and a big site target, was the Guianan Trogon. We also saw Red-and-green Macaw, the localized Spot-tailed Antwren, a second Pompadour Cotinga, and another Spangled Cotinga. These were followed by Black-crowned Tityra, Blue Dacnis, Purple Honeycreeper, White-shouldered Tanager, Swallow-tailed and Plumbeous Kites, and Red-necked Woodpecker. The activity slowed as it got hot, so we walked down the canopy walkway back to the lodge. Then we explored the trails and forest clearings for the remainder of the morning, adding species like Purple-throated Fruitcrow, Helmeted Pygmy Tyrant, Guianan Warbling Antbird, Black-chinned, Common Scale-backed, Rufous-throated, and White-plumed Antbirds, and the splendid Guianan Red Cotinga. Of course, the star of the understory species today was the Ferruginous-backed Antbird which gave us a terrific show on the forest floor. Together with the antbirds, we had Brown-bellied Stipplethroat, Dusky-throated and Cinereous Antshrikes, and White-flanked and Long-winged Antwrens.

Later we managed to feast our eyes on Grey-winged Trumpeter, one of the most-wanted neotropical families. It was good not only to see this bird but also to be able to witness some of its behaviour. We had a couple of encounters with this species during our days at Atta Lodge, which seems to be the best place in the world to find this bird. It is one of only three trumpeters worldwide and therefore of particular importance for bird family collectors.

After lunch we found a diminutive and splendid Dusky Purpletuft around the lodge clearing and enjoyed prolonged views. The afternoon brought some great species, as we birded around the clearing and along the main road. We started with good views of Amazonian Pygmy Owl around the lodge clearing, followed by Spotted Puffbird off from the main road. Others birds included species such as Crane Hawk, King Vulture, Black-headed Parrot, White Hawk, Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin, Yellow-throated Flycatcher, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Dusky Parrot, Waved Woodpecker, Painted Parakeet, Bay-headed Tanager, and Black Curassow. We were informed during our stay at Atta that unfortunately the Rufous Potoo perch had not been found again after the previous tree fell during a storm and that new sites had not yet been discovered by the local guides. During our two days at Atta we took every opportunity to look for the Crimson Topaz on the black water streams by the river, but no matter how hard we tried, we could not find it. The lodge clearing gave us the only Crimson Fruitcrow of the whole trip, but sadly not everyone saw it, although some of the group managed exquisite scope views of this most-wanted and range-restricted species.

Day 9, 29th January 2023. Transfer to Rock View

We continued birding and had our last attempts at Crimson Topaz, without success, although we did see our first Red-rumped Agouti of the trip around Atta Lodge. We left the lodge after getting the usual species and headed towards our next port of call, a family place called Rock View, strategically located as a base from which to explore the Rupuni River and nearby savannas. We wondered how much the birding in this amazing forest might change when the roadworks near Atta are finished. After arriving at Rock View and being cordially welcomed by the family host, we birded the grasslands near the lodge. It was obvious that we were in a different ecosystem, out of the lush forest and into the hot and dry savannas, with the smells of recent fires in the lodge vicinity hanging in the air.

The birding in the afternoon provided Ruddy Ground Dove, Buff-necked Ibis, Pale-breasted Thrush, Grassland Yellow Finch, and Glittering-throated Emerald. Crested Bobwhite were only flushed but we had good enough views to include on our list, and we had great views of Aplomado Falcon.

Day 10, 30th January 2023. Rupununi River and Rock View

This exciting day started with a second boat trip to explore the famous Rupununi River, where we saw some classic aquatic species, already seen on the trip. Some of the highlights of the cruise included Anhinga, Large-billed Tern, Muscovy Duck, Wood Stork, Limpkin, Jabiru, Boat-billed Heron, and Osprey. We also saw Pale-vented Pigeon, American Yellow Warbler, Ringed, Amazon and Green Kingfishers, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Yellow-hooded Blackbird, and Southern Rough-winged Swallow. Of course, our most important target, and the reason we were here, was the scarce and shy Crestless Curassow which we managed super views of on the river banks. Sadly, we did not see Giant (River) Otters this time. We took a short walk along a trail near the river and found Black-crested Antshrike, Green-backed Trogon, and Amazonian Black Tyrant, which is a rare bird in Guyana and was a lifer for our local guide, who has been birding in the country for years.

In the afternoon we birded some grassland and wetlands near Rock View, where we added Azure Gallinule, Spotted and Solitary Sandpipers, Wattled Jacana, White-tailed Hawk, American Kestrel, Brown-throated Parakeet, and Red-and-green Macaw. Scanning the palm trees, we were able to find the smaller Red-bellied Macaw, which completed our set of all the possible macaw species on this trip. In addition, we saw Yellow-chinned Spinetail, White-naped Xenopsaris, Bicolored Wren, Red-breasted Blackbird, Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, Tropical Kingbird, and Northern Mouse-colored Tyrannulet (Nesotriccus incomtus), a new split from Southern Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, before returning to Rock View for a good night’s rest.

One of the main targets for the trip was Sun Parakeet.

Day 11, 31st January 2023. Sun Parakeet and transfer to Manari Ranch

We left Rock View before dawn to drive to Karasabai, near the border with Brazil, to search for one of the most-wanted psittacids in the neotropics, Sun Parakeet. This species is Endangered and numbers are declining due to many years of habitat loss and the pet trade – it is a sad fact that there are now more individuals living in cages around the world than in their natural habitat. It is only found in southern Guyana, the adjacent state of Roraima, in northern Brazil, and small portions of Suriname and French Guyana. We went directly to their feeding site in Guyana before they cross the river into Brazil to roost. We arrived and, with the help of local contacts, we searched the area until we saw our first Sun Parakeet. Bingo! I made sure everyone had seen the bird well, before trying to approach for better views and to take photos.

With one of the two main targets for the second part of the trip successfully ticked, we were a lot more relaxed. While birding the area, we also saw species such as White-tailed Hawk, Buff-necked Ibis, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Crested Caracara, Crested Bobwhite, Glittering-throated Hummingbird, Southern White-fringed Antwren, Tropical Gnatcatcher, Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant, Plumbeous Seedeater, and Long-billed Starthroat.

After a successful morning, we started driving to Manari Ranch, which was to be our base for the next couple of days. On the way to Manari Ranch we made stops to look for some special grassland species, and we were lucky to find all our targets, including Double-striped Thick-knee, Pinnated Bittern, Crested Doradito and the most-wanted Bearded Tachuri. We all had great views of these species before we arrived at our lodge and settled down for a good rest.

Day 12, 1st February 2023. Red Siskin

Another predawn start, but this time we split the group into two 4×4 vehicles to deal with the bad roads on the way to the Red Siskin habitat. The search for this special bird required a full morning, including a long drive with not many new birds to be seen. This bird has great ornithological importance. It is native to northern Colombia, northern Venezuela, and Guyana, and considered an Endangered species (Critically Endangered in Venezuela). It is extinct in Trinidad and there are no recent records of a small population in the extreme northeast of Colombia, with the population in Guyana discovered in the early 2000s. The world population is believed to range between 600-2,500 pairs. The main reasons for its decline, like the Sun Parakeet, is the pet trade and habitat loss. Fortunately, the population in southern Guyana seems to be doing well and is benefitting from research by enthusiastic volunteers from local communities. They are also playing a role in the conservation of the species by developing ecotourism in the area. With the help of Leeroy, the best-known of the Red Siskin trackers and head of his community conservation program, we explored the dry foothills in search of this avian gem.

Red Siskin was a success on our Guyana birding tour (photo John Christian).

It took longer than usual but we managed to get a view of a single Red Siskin – not the best view but certainly enough to count. Leeroy went to check a further area while we waited, hoping that the bird we saw would come back to its usual roosting tree or drink from a small freshwater spring. Finally Leeroy called us and we had good views of a much closer bird. We had done it! We stopped in Leeroy’s village for lunch at his house and then continued the trip towards Manari Ranch.

Day 13, 2nd February 2023. Ireng River forest and flight back to Georgetown

We made a final predawn start to explore some gallery forest adjacent to the Ireng River in southern Guyana. This place is good for two Critically Endangered species, Rio Branco Antbird (named after the southwest Brazilian state of Rio Branco) and the Hoary-throated Spinetail, both found only in Guyana and Brazil. We were driving across nice unbroken savanna habitat at dawn when suddenly one of our vehicles stopped to point out a Giant Anteater on its early morning walk in the grasslands. We normally see this amazing animal on our Brazil and Paraguay birding tours, and sometimes in Colombia as well, but it was nice to see it for the first time in Guyana.

We arrived at our target species’ habitat and quickly found Rio Branco Antbird. Unfortunately, the spinetail was not responding, and no matter how hard and how many times we tried, using different strategies, it always got away from us. We all heard it, and only I and a local guide, venturing through the tangled branches and vines and getting down on the floor, managed to get a full view of a single Hoary-throated Spinetail. It was busy with its own agenda and did not care about us. One of the participants caught a glimpse, but nobody else managed to see the whole bird. During our search, we added some additional new species, such as Buff-breasted Wren, Pale-legged Hornero, Orange-backed Troupial, Short-tailed Pygmy Tyrant (one of the smallest passerines in the world), Chestnut-vented Conebill and Chivi Vireo.

On the way to back to Manari Lodge, we managed to find Burrowing Owl, Yellowish Pipit, Grassland Sparrow and a Maguari Stork, amongst the other usual suspects. We transferred to Letham airport, where we said goodbye to our marvellous land crew, and then waited for our flight which was, once again, delayed.

We arrived in Georgetown and took the hour-long drive back to Cara Lodge, where we said our farewells. We each got our own supper, because everyone had different international flights scheduled for that day or very early the next day.

Although there were no large cats nor Harpy Eagle seen this time, this trip stands out as one of our greatest South American adventures. The experience of the Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo will surely remain in our memories for a very long time.

Day 14, 3rd February 2023. Transfer to the airport and international flight home

The participants who had not left the previous night transferred to the airport early this morning to catch their international flights home which ended a fabulous 14 days in Guyana.

Bird ListFollowing IOC (12.3) 

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 the IUCN Red List:
CR = Critically Endangered, EN = Endangered, VU = Vulnerable, NT = Near Threatened.

Common Name

Scientific Name

Tinamous (Tinamidae)

Great Tinamou

Tinamus major

Cinereous Tinamou (H)

Crypturellus cinereus

Little Tinamou (H)

Crypturellus soui

 

 

Ducks, Geese, Swans (Anatidae)

Muscovy Duck

Cairina moschata

 

 

Chachalacas, Curassows, Guans (Cracidae)

Little Chachalaca

Ortalis motmot

Spix’s Guan

Penelope jacquacu

Blue-throated Piping Guan

Pipile cumanensis

Crestless Curassow

Mitu tomentosum

Black Curassow – VU

Crax alector

 

 

New World Quail (Odontophoridae)

Crested Bobwhite

Colinus cristatus

 

 

Nightjars (Caprimulgidae)

Least Nighthawk

Chordeiles pusillus

Lesser Nighthawk

Chordeiles acutipennis

Short-tailed Nighthawk

Lurocalis semitorquatus

Blackish Nightjar

Nyctipolus nigrescens

Pauraque

Nyctidromus albicollis

White-tailed Nightjar

Hydropsalis cayennensis

Ladder-tailed Nightjar

Hydropsalis climacocerca

 

 

Potoos (Nyctibiidae)

Great Potoo

Nyctibius grandis

White-winged Potoo

Nyctibius leucopterus

 

 

Swifts (Apodidae)

White-collared Swift

Streptoprocne zonaris

Band-rumped Swift

Chaetura spinicaudus

Neotropical Palm Swift

Tachornis squamata

 

 

Hummingbirds (Trochilidae)

White-necked Jacobin

Florisuga mellivora

Reddish Hermit

Phaethornis ruber

Black-eared Fairy

Heliothryx auritus

Green-tailed Goldenthroat

Polytmus theresiae

Long-billed Starthroat

Heliomaster longirostris

Grey-breasted Sabrewing

Campylopterus largipennis

Glittering-throated Emerald

Chionomesa fimbriata

 

 

Cuckoos (Cuculidae)

Greater Ani

Crotophaga major

Smooth-billed Ani

Crotophaga ani

Rufous-winged Ground Cuckoo

Neomorphus rufipennis

Little Cuckoo

Coccycua minuta

 

 

Pigeons, Doves (Columbidae)

Rock Dove (Introduced)

Columba livia

Scaled Pigeon

Patagioenas speciosa

Pale-vented Pigeon

Patagioenas cayennensis

Ruddy Pigeon – VU

Patagioenas subvinacea

Common Ground Dove

Columbina passerina

Plain-breasted Ground Dove

Columbina minuta

Ruddy Ground Dove

Columbina talpacoti

White-tipped Dove

Leptotila verreauxi

Eared Dove

Zenaida auriculata

 

 

Rails, Crakes & Coots (Rallidae)

Ash-throated Crake

Mustelirallus albicollis

Mangrove Rail

Rallus longirostris

Azure Gallinule

Porphyrio flavirostris

Grey-breasted Crake (H)

Laterallus exilis

 

 

Trumpeters (Psophiidae)

Grey-winged Trumpeter

Psophia crepitans

 

 

Limpkin (Aramidae)

Limpkin

Aramus guarauna

 

 

Stone-curlews, Thick-knees (Burhinidae)

Double-striped Thick-knee

Burhinus bistriatus

 

 

Plovers (Charadriidae)

Southern Lapwing

Vanellus chilensis

Grey Plover

Pluvialis squatarola

Semipalmated Plover

Charadrius semipalmatus

Pied Plover

Hoploxypterus cayanus

 

 

Jacanas (Jacanidae)

Wattled Jacana

Jacana jacana

 

 

Sandpipers, Snipes (Scolopacidae)

Hudsonian Whimbrel

Numenius hudsonicus

Semipalmated Sandpiper

Calidris pusilla

Spotted Sandpiper

Actitis macularius

Solitary Sandpiper

Tringa solitaria

Greater Yellowlegs

Tringa melanoleuca

 

 

Gulls, Terns, Skimmers (Laridae)

Laughing Gull

Leucophaeus atricilla

Common Tern

Sterna hirundo

Large-billed Tern

Phaetusa simplex

 

 

Storks (Ciconiidae)

Wood Stork

Mycteria americana

Maguari Stork

Ciconia maguari

Jabiru

Jabiru mycteria

 

 

Frigatebirds (Fregatidae)

Magnificent Frigatebird

Fregata magnificens

 

 

Anhingas, Darters (Anhingidae)

Anhinga

Anhinga anhinga

 

 

Cormorants, Shags (Phalacrocoracidae)

Neotropic Cormorant

Nannopterum brasilianum

 

 

Ibises, Spoonbills (Threskiornithidae)

Buff-necked Ibis

Theristicus caudatus

Green Ibis

Mesembrinibis cayennensis

Scarlet Ibis

Eudocimus ruber

Roseate Spoonbill

Platalea ajaja

 

 

Herons, Bitterns (Ardeidae)

Boat-billed Heron

Cochlearius cochlearius

Pinnated Bittern

Botaurus pinnatus

Yellow-crowned Night Heron

Nyctanassa violacea

Striated Heron

Butorides striata

Western Cattle Egret

Bubulcus ibis

Cocoi Heron

Ardea cocoi

Great Egret

Ardea alba

Tricolored Heron

Egretta tricolor

Little Blue Heron

Egretta caerulea

Snowy Egret

Egretta thula

 

 

Hoatzin (Opisthocomidae)

Hoatzin

Opisthocomus hoazin

 

 

New World Vultures (Cathartidae)

King Vulture

Sarcoramphus papa

Black Vulture

Coragyps atratus

Turkey Vulture

Cathartes aura

Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture

Cathartes burrovianus

Greater Yellow-headed Vulture

Cathartes melambrotus

 

 

Ospreys (Pandionidae)

Western Osprey

Pandion haliaetus

 

 

Kites, Hawks, Eagles (Accipitridae)

Pearl Kite

Gampsonyx swainsonii

Swallow-tailed Kite

Elanoides forficatus

Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle

Spizaetus melanoleucus

Double-toothed Kite

Harpagus bidentatus

Long-winged Harrier

Circus buffoni

Plumbeous Kite

Ictinia plumbea

Black-collared Hawk

Busarellus nigricollis

Snail Kite

Rostrhamus sociabilis

Crane Hawk

Geranospiza caerulescens

Rufous Crab Hawk

Buteogallus aequinoctialis

Savanna Hawk

Buteogallus meridionalis

Great Black Hawk

Buteogallus urubitinga

Roadside Hawk

Rupornis magnirostris

White-tailed Hawk

Geranoaetus albicaudatus

White Hawk

Pseudastur albicollis

Black-faced Hawk

Leucopternis melanops

Grey-lined Hawk

Buteo nitidus

Zone-tailed Hawk

Buteo albonotatus

 

 

Owls (Strigidae)

Burrowing Owl

Athene cunicularia

Amazonian Pygmy Owl

Glaucidium hardyi

Ferruginous Pygmy Owl

Glaucidium brasilianum

Tropical Screech Owl

Megascops choliba

Tawny-bellied Screech Owl

Megascops watsonii

Crested Owl

Lophostrix cristata

Black-banded Owl

Strix huhula

 

 

Trogons (Trogonidae)

Green-backed Trogon

Trogon viridis

Guianan Trogon

Trogon violaceus

Kingfishers (Alcedinidae)

Amazon Kingfisher

Chloroceryle amazona

American Pygmy Kingfisher

Chloroceryle aenea

Green Kingfisher

Chloroceryle americana

Ringed Kingfisher

Megaceryle torquata

 

 

Jacamars (Galbulidae)

Yellow-billed Jacamar

Galbula albirostris

Rufous-tailed Jacamar

Galbula ruficauda

Green-tailed Jacamar

Galbula galbula

Bronzy Jacamar

Galbula leucogastra

Paradise Jacamar

Galbula dea

Great Jacamar

Jacamerops aureus

 

 

Puffbirds (Bucconidae)

Guianan Puffbird

Notharchus macrorhynchos

Spotted Puffbird

Bucco tamatia

Black Nunbird

Monasa atra

Swallow-winged Puffbird

Chelidoptera tenebrosa

 

 

New World Barbets (Capitonidae)

Black-spotted Barbet

Capito niger

 

 

Toucans (Ramphastidae)

Green Aracari

Pteroglossus viridis

Black-necked Aracari

Pteroglossus aracari

Guianan Toucanet

Selenidera piperivora

Channel-billed Toucan – VU

Ramphastos vitellinus

Toco Toucan

Ramphastos toco

White-throated Toucan

Ramphastos tucanus

 

 

Woodpeckers (Picidae)

White-bellied Piculet – VU

Picumnus spilogaster

Yellow-tufted Woodpecker

Melanerpes cruentatus

Blood-colored Woodpecker

Veniliornis sanguineus

Golden-collared Woodpecker

Veniliornis cassini

Waved Woodpecker

Celeus undatus

Cream-colored Woodpecker

Celeus flavus

Ringed Woodpecker

Celeus torquatus

Lineated Woodpecker

Dryocopus lineatus

Red-necked Woodpecker

Campephilus rubricollis

Crimson-crested Woodpecker

Campephilus melanoleucos

 

 

Caracaras, Falcons (Falconidae)

Black Caracara

Daptrius ater

Red-throated Caracara

Ibycter americanus

Crested Caracara

Caracara plancus

Yellow-headed Caracara

Milvago chimachima

Laughing Falcon

Herpetotheres cachinnans

Barred Forest Falcon (H)

Micrastur ruficollis

Lined Forest Falcon (H)

Micrastur gilvicollis

Aplomado Falcon

Falco femoralis

Bat Falcon

Falco rufigularis

Peregrine Falcon

Falco peregrinus

 

 

African & New World Parrots (Psittacidae)

Lilac-tailed Parrotlet

Touit batavicus

Caica Parrot

Pyrilia caica

Dusky Parrot

Pionus fuscus

Blue-headed Parrot

Pionus menstruus

Blue-cheeked Amazon

Amazona dufresniana

Southern Mealy Amazon

Amazona farinosa

Orange-winged Amazon

Amazona amazonica

Green-rumped Parrotlet

Forpus passerinus

Black-headed Parrot

Pionites melanocephalus

Red-fan Parrot

Deroptyus accipitrinus

Painted Parakeet

Pyrrhura picta

Brown-throated Parakeet

Eupsittula pertinax

Sun Parakeet – EN

Aratinga solstitialis

Red-bellied Macaw

Orthopsittaca manilatus

Blue-and-yellow Macaw

Ara ararauna

Red-and-green Macaw

Ara chloropterus

Red-shouldered Macaw

Diopsittaca nobilis

 

 

Ovenbirds (Furnariidae)

Long-tailed Woodcreeper

Deconychura longicauda

Plain-brown Woodcreeper

Dendrocincla fuliginosa

Wedge-billed Woodcreeper

Glyphorynchus spirurus

Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper

Dendrexetastes rufigula

Buff-throated Woodcreeper

Xiphorhynchus guttatus

Straight-billed Woodcreeper

Dendroplex picus

Plain Xenops

Xenops minutus

Pale-legged Hornero

Furnarius leucopus

Yellow-chinned Spinetail

Certhiaxis cinnamomeus

Hoary-throated Spinetail – CR

Synallaxis kollari

 

 

Antbirds (Thamnophilidae)

Brown-bellied Stipplethroat

Epinecrophylla gutturalis

Guianan Streaked Antwren

Myrmotherula surinamensis

White-flanked Antwren

Myrmotherula axillaris

Long-winged Antwren

Myrmotherula longipennis

Grey Antwren

Myrmotherula menetriesii

Southern White-fringed Antwren

Formicivora grisea

Rufous-bellied Antwren

Isleria guttata

Dusky-throated Antshrike (H)

Thamnomanes ardesiacus

Cinereous Antshrike

Thamnomanes caesius

Spot-tailed Antwren

Herpsilochmus sticturus

Northern Mouse-colored Antshrike

Thamnophilus incomtus

Northern Slaty Antshrike

Thamnophilus punctatus

Black-crested Antshrike

Sakesphorus canadensis

White-plumed Antbird

Pithys albifrons

Rufous-throated Antbird

Gymnopithys rufigula

Common Scale-backed Antbird

Willisornis poecilinotus

Guianan Warbling Antbird

Hypocnemis cantator

Rio Branco Antbird – CR

Cercomacra carbonaria

Ferruginous-backed Antbird

Myrmoderus ferrugineus

Black-chinned Antbird

Hypocnemoides melanopogon

Silvered Antbird

Sclateria naevia

White-bellied Antbird

Myrmeciza longipes

 

 

Antthrushes (Formicariidae)

Rufous-capped Antthrush

Formicarius colma

 

 

Antpittas (Grallariidae)

Spotted Antpitta

Hylopezus macularius

 

 

Tyrant Flycatchers, Calyptura (Tyrannidae)

Yellow-bellied Elaenia

Elaenia flavogaster

Plain-crested Elaenia

Elaenia cristata

Lesser Elaenia

Elaenia chiriquensis

Rufous-crowned Elaenia

Elaenia ruficeps

Mouse-colored Tyrannulet

Phaeomyias murina

Bearded Tachuri

Polystictus pectoralis

Crested Doradito

Pseudocolopteryx sclateri

Short-tailed Pygmy Tyrant

Myiornis ecaudatus

Helmeted Pygmy Tyrant

Lophotriccus galeatus

Pale-eyed Pygmy Tyrant

Atalotriccus pilaris

Ochre-lored Flatbill

Tolmomyias flaviventris

Cliff Flycatcher

Hirundinea ferruginea

Vermilion Flycatcher

Pyrocephalus obscurus

Amazonian Black Tyrant

Knipolegus poecilocercus

Pied Water Tyrant

Fluvicola pica

White-headed Marsh Tyrant

Arundinicola leucocephala

Piratic Flycatcher

Legatus leucophaius

Rusty-margined Flycatcher

Myiozetetes cayanensis

Great Kiskadee

Pitangus sulphuratus

Lesser Kiskadee

Philohydor lictor

Yellow-throated Flycatcher

Conopias parvus

Streaked Flycatcher

Myiodynastes maculatus

Tropical Kingbird

Tyrannus melancholicus

Fork-tailed Flycatcher

Tyrannus savana

Grey Kingbird

Tyrannus dominicensis

Short-crested Flycatcher

Myiarchus ferox

Cinnamon Attila

Attila cinnamomeus

 

 

Cotingas (Cotingidae)

Guianan Cock-of-the-rock

Rupicola rupicola

Guianan Red Cotinga

Phoenicircus carnifex

Crimson Fruitcrow

Haematoderus militaris

Purple-throated Fruitcrow

Querula purpurata

Capuchinbird

Perissocephalus tricolor

Screaming Piha

Lipaugus vociferans

Spangled Cotinga

Cotinga cayana

Pompadour Cotinga

Xipholena punicea

 

 

Manakins (Pipridae)

Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin

Neopelma chrysocephalum

White-throated Manakin

Corapipo gutturalis

Black Manakin

Xenopipo atronitens

White-crowned Manakin

Pseudopipra pipra

Golden-headed Manakin

Ceratopipra erythrocephala

 

 

Tityras, Becards, Sharpbill (Tityridae)

Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher

Terenotriccus erythrurus

Black-crowned Tityra

Tityra inquisitor

Black-tailed Tityra

Tityra cayana

Dusky Purpletuft

Iodopleura fusca

White-naped Xenopsaris

Xenopsaris albinucha

 

 

Vireos, Greenlets, Shrike-babblers (Vireonidae)

Rufous-browed Peppershrike

Cyclarhis gujanensis

Chivi Vireo

Vireo chivi

 

 

Crows, Jays (Corvidae)

Cayenne Jay

Cyanocorax cayanus

 

 

Swallows, Martins (Hirundinidae)

White-winged Swallow

Tachycineta albiventer

White-banded Swallow

Atticora fasciata

Black-collared Swallow

Pygochelidon melanoleuca

Southern Rough-winged Swallow

Stelgidopteryx ruficollis

Grey-breasted Martin

Progne chalybea

Barn Swallow

Hirundo rustica

 

 

Black-capped Donacobius (Donacobiidae)

Black-capped Donacobius

Donacobius atricapilla

 

 

Wrens (Troglodytidae)

Bicolored Wren

Campylorhynchus griseus

Buff-breasted Wren

Cantorchilus leucotis

House Wren

Troglodytes aedon

 

 

Gnatcatchers (Polioptilidae)

Tropical Gnatcatcher

Polioptila plumbea

 

 

Mockingbirds, Thrashers (Mimidae)

Tropical Mockingbird

Mimus gilvus

 

 

Thrushes (Turdidae)

Pale-breasted Thrush

Turdus leucomelas

 

 

Wagtails, Pipits (Motacillidae)

Yellowish Pipit

Anthus chii

 

 

Finches, Euphonias (Fringillidae)

Red Siskin – EN

Spinus cucullatus

Finsch’s Euphonia

Euphonia finschi

Violaceous Euphonia

Euphonia violacea

 

 

New World Sparrows (Passerellidae)

Grassland Sparrow

Ammodramus humeralis

 

 

Oropendolas, Orioles, Blackbirds (Icteridae)

Eastern Meadowlark

Sturnella magna

Red-breasted Blackbird

Leistes militaris

Crested Oropendola

Psarocolius decumanus

Green Oropendola

Psarocolius viridis

Yellow-rumped Cacique

Cacicus cela

Red-rumped Cacique

Cacicus haemorrhous

Yellow Oriole

Icterus nigrogularis

Orange-backed Troupial

Icterus croconotus

Epaulet Oriole

Icterus cayanensis

Giant Cowbird

Molothrus oryzivorus

Shiny Cowbird

Molothrus bonariensis

Carib Grackle

Quiscalus lugubris

Yellow-hooded Blackbird

Chrysomus icterocephalus

 

 

New World Warblers (Parulidae)

American Yellow Warbler

Setophaga aestiva

 

 

Cardinals & Allies (Cardinalidae)

Amazonian Grosbeak

Cyanoloxia rothschildii

 

 

Tanagers & Allies (Thraupidae)

Purple Honeycreeper

Cyanerpes caeruleus

Blue Dacnis

Dacnis cayana

Blue-black Grassquit

Volatinia jacarina

White-shouldered Tanager

Loriotus luctuosus

Silver-beaked Tanager

Ramphocelus carbo

Wing-barred Seedeater

Sporophila americana

Yellow-bellied Seedeater

Sporophila nigricollis

Plumbeous Seedeater

Sporophila plumbea

Chestnut-bellied Seedeater

Sporophila castaneiventris

Ruddy-breasted Seedeater

Sporophila minuta

Chestnut-vented Conebill

Conirostrum speciosum

Grassland Yellow Finch

Sicalis luteola

Red-capped Cardinal

Paroaria gularis

Spotted Tanager

Ixothraupis punctata

Blue-grey Tanager

Thraupis episcopus

Palm Tanager

Thraupis palmarum

Burnished-buff Tanager

Stilpnia cayana

Bay-headed Tanager

Tangara gyrola

Turquoise Tanager

Tangara Mexicana

Species Seen

301

Total heard only

6

Total recorded

307

Mammal List

Common Name

Scientific Name

Anteaters (Myrmecophagidae)

Giant Anteater – VU

Myrmecophaga tridactyla

 

 

Two-toed Sloths (Megalonychidae)

Hoffmann’s Two-toed Sloth

Choloepus hoffmanni

 

 

Agoutis and Acouchis (Dasyproctidae)

Red-rumped Agouti

Dasyprocta leporina

 

 

Howler and Prehensile-tailed Monkeys (Atelidae)

Guianan Red Howler Monkey

Alouatta macconnelli

Guianan Spider Monkey – VU

Ateles paniscus

 

 

Bulldog Bats (Noctilionidae)

Lesser Bulldog Bat

Noctilio albiventris

Greater Bulldog Bat

Noctilio leporinus

 

 

Free-tailed Bats (Molossidae)

Brazilian Free-tailed Bat

Tadarida brasiliensis

 

 

Tapirs (Tapiridae)

Lowland Tapir – VU

Tapirus terrestris

 

 

Deer (Cervidae)

Red Brocket – DD

Mazama americana

Species Seen

10

Reptile List

Common Name

Scientific Name

Alligators and Caimans (Alligatoridae)

Common Caiman

Caiman crocodilus

Black Caiman

Melanosuchus niger

 

 

Boas (Boidae)

Garden Tree Boa

Corallus hortulana

Green Anaconda

Eunectes murinus

 

 

Whiptails and Tegus (Teiidae)

Amazon Racerunner

Ameiva ameiva

Gold Tegu

Tupinambis teguixin

 

 

Tortoises (Testudinidae)

Brazilian Giant Tortoise – VU

Chelonoidis denticulatus

Species Seen

7

Amphibian list

Common Name

Scientific Name

Cryptic forest frogs (Aromobatidae)

Golden Rocket Frog – EN

Anomaloglossus beebei

Species Seen

1

 

DOWNLOAD TRIP REPORT

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

GUYANA GENERAL INFORMATION

 

Guyana possesses an impressive country list of 788 bird species with a significant number of these species being endemics, or near-endemics shared with neighboring northwest Brazil, Suriname, and French Guyana. Our set departure tour is focused on finding many of these endemics and specials, while also uncovering the exciting wildlife and untouched landscapes of this remote country. We are also able to put together custom and private Guyana birding tours. Some of the exceptional birds we hope to find on our bird tours of Guyana include Capuchinbird, Black and Crestless Curassows, Grey-winged Trumpeter, Red Siskin, Sun Parakeet, Black Nunbird, Crimson Fruitcrow, Spotted Antpitta, Harpy Eagle, Red-fan Parrot, Guianan Trogon, Guianan Toucanet, Guianan Red Cotinga, Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock, Pompadour Cotinga, Red-and-black Grosbeak, and many more!

 

ARRIVAL INFORMATION

Our tour will start in the city of Georgetown, at Georgetown Guyana Cheddi Jagan International Airport (GEO) which can be reached by flights from most major airports from the US (New York and Miami) and UK (with a connection in Barbados). You may wish to consult your travel agent to book the most convenient flight, but please contact us if you need any guidance. Your tour leader will be waiting for you at Georgetown Airport with the Birding Ecotours logo displayed, and will then transfer you to your hotel. Please remember to keep your luggage tags, as they are required to exit the terminal at the Georgetown Airport. Please be aware that most international flights arrive in Georgetown around midnight. For this reason, many participants prefer to arrive a day earlier than the official tour starting date.

When filling out the customs declaration form, or when asked for the address you are staying at, please use the hotel address below:

Cara Lodge, 294 Quamina St, Georgetown, Guyana. Telephone: +592 225 5301

 

PASSPORT AND VISAS

To enter Guyana, you will need a valid passport that will not expire within 90 days of your arrival in Guyana. However, some international flights require a passport that is valid for at least six months from your departure to Guyana. It would be best to follow the latter to be on the safe side. Visas are not required for citizens of the USA, Canada and the United Kingdom. Citizens of any other country should check with their local Guyana consulate about any requirements needed to enter Guyana.

It is always a good idea to make a copy of your passport and keep it somewhere separate from your actual passport. Having a spare copy will make securing a new passport easier in case you should lose your passport while on tour.

 

MEDICAL AND TRIP CANCELLATION INSURANCE

As referenced in our standard Terms and Conditions, we strongly recommend that you purchase a comprehensive trip cancellation insurance to protect against unexpected events that might cause delays and interruptions to travel. This insurance should also cover illness, medical issues, accidents, repatriation, loss of luggage or any valuable items, etc.

 

MEDICAL CONDITIONS

Please make sure you are suitably covered with comprehensive medical insurance in the instance of any emergency while on any of our Guyana birding tours. Without insurance, the cost of medical care is likely to be very high. As detailed in Birding Ecotours’ general Terms and Conditions, when signing up for this tour, we require you to notify us of any medical conditions that we should be aware of. The sort of things we should know about include, but are not to be limited to, any walking/mobility issues, diabetes, epilepsy, food and medicinal allergies, heart conditions, and long-term illnesses etc.

Some of the places we travel to are very remote and will not have many nearby medical facilities. In the case of medical treatment being required, this might necessitate flying back to the capital – the costs for these arrangements can be expensive (requiring extra flights etc.).

 

HEALTH

Please consult your local travel clinic or doctor regarding vaccine requirements before your tour to Guyana. We recommend doing this about two months prior to the tour start date so that any vaccine courses can be completed in time. There are no vaccination requirements to enter Guyana, although some are recommended. Yellow fever vaccination proof may be required if you come from a country with a proven risk of yellow fever.  Please refer to the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) website here for further information on vaccines and how to stay healthy in Guyana.

Everyone visiting Guyana should be up to date with standard vaccinations and boosters, like Diphtheria-Tetanus-Polio and yellow fever. Most people should be vaccinated for Hepatitis A, Polio, Tetanus, and Typhoid. Some people should be vaccinated for Cholera, Hepatitis B, and Rabies.

Malaria is low-risk throughout most of Guyana. Other insects can cause Dengue (especially during the rainy months), Zika, Chikungunya, and Leishmaniasis, which are recorded in the country, and although not very common, are all worth being aware of. Insect repellent with a high DEET content is highly recommended for most of the areas we visit in Guyana (DEET works against both ticks and mosquitoes).

Most people visiting Guyana do not experience any problems at all. But we of course strongly recommend you take note of the advice given by the CDC, a travel clinic, or your family doctor.

Again, please let us know about any medical conditions you may have, such as diabetes, asthma, allergies, heart conditions, or knee problems, also including phobias or anything you think we should know about in order to take care of you so that you can have an enjoyable and stress-free trip.

 

INSECTS

Mosquitoes and other insects are present throughout the trip. We recommend that you wear loose-fitting long pants and long-sleeved shirts and keep insect repellent handy. Spraying your feet, socks, shoes, and the lower portion of your pants with insect repellent will help reduce chigger bites. Chiggers are burrowing mites that are frequently encountered in southern USA, although residents of the UK and other countries may not be familiar with them. They are relatively harmless but can be a real nuisance and are abundant in the cattle pastures of Guyana. Spraying your trousers, socks, shoes, and waistline with a repellent containing Deet (N, N-Diethyl-meta-toluamide) is a good deterrent. Applying anti-itch cream is about all you can do for them once the redness and itching begins, although a swim in saltwater may also calm these effects. 

 

SAFETY IN THE BUSH

While in the field remember that, although rarely encountered, there may be venomous snakes around, not to mention numerous ants, wasps, and bees etc.

Do not walk in sandals into the forest or secondary growth, especially at night, and take a flashlight along at night if you cannot easily see where you are stepping. We strongly recommend you do not walk away from the group or walk off forest trails.

It is strongly recommended to not walk by yourself at Atta and Iwokrama, especially at night, or at dawn or dusk, as Jaguars and Pumas (which are not easy to spot) are more active at those times.

 

FOOD AND WATER

We normally have all our meals at the lodges and hotels where we stay. If you have any dietary requirements or food allergies, please let us know when you book the tour, so we can advise whether it will be suitable for you and make sure we can notify the people who will be preparing meals ahead of time.

Guyana is not a gourmet destination and most of the meals are “homemade dishes” which include meat (beef, chicken or pork), rice, manioc or cassava and vegetables. In the city people can choose international food, but in the more rural and remote locations of Guyana where we spend most of the time, the food is simple but still tasty and unpretentious. There is a strong Indian influence in Guyana cuisine.

Tap water is not safe to drink in Guyana. Please only drink bottled water and filtered water provided by the lodges or by your tour guide. We provide all bottled water in the vehicle, however the more expensive bottled water in restaurants and in your rooms, is for your own account, but all lodges provide water containers that are safe to drink from. Please bring a reusable water bottle to help us reduce the amount of plastic waste generated during the tour.

Drinks, including soft drinks, fruit juices, alcoholic beverages, and beer are not included in the tour price. Please note that some lodges and restaurants might charge you a fee if you open your own bottle of wine, if it is not purchased in the restaurant.

Coffee and tea are commonly found across the country but are usually not of the taste/standard familiar in the West, so if you have preferences for hot drinks, it would be worth bringing your own supply with you. Note that getting fresh milk is not possible on most of the tour, but powdered milk or UHT should be possible in most places.

 

CURRENCY AND MONEY

Guyana uses the Guyanese dollar (G$) with notes representing G$20, G$50, G$100, G$500, G$1,000, and G$5,000. The exchange rate of the Guyanese dollar to the American dollar is roughly 1 USD = 200 GYD (September 2023).

We recommend carrying US dollars, although please do not bring US dollar bills that are damaged in any way (broken tips and edges, ink marks, pieces of tape, etc.). Most institutions and people do not accept US dollars that show this kind of damage. We recommend you bring US dollars or draw cash at the airport ATMs, as we cannot spend precious birding time looking for financial institutions to make these transactions.

Your holiday is an almost-all-inclusive tour, so you only need money to cover personal expenses such as drinks, laundry service, internet access, bar expenses, souvenirs and gifts you want to take home, or any non-mandatory gratuities you would like to give to any person who you think has provided exceptional service.

 

ATM MACHINES

ATMs are only available at the international airport when you arrive in the country. Please take note that several international flights land in Georgetown late in the evening when exchange houses are closed and it might be difficult to exchange money later in the tour. Most of the lodges accept US$, and credit cards are only accepted in the city hotels, but the lodges in the remote countryside accept cash only.

 

ELECTRICITY

Guyana uses 240V and the plugs are ITA Type A/B. Adaptors are needed for overseas appliances unless you come from the Unites States. A surge protector is strongly recommended, as is a universal adaptor, to help charge your electrical devices.

Due to high humidity in the Guianan rainforests, we advise you to keep your electronics in original cases with tiny bags of silica.

 

CRIME AND SAFETY

Rural Guyana is safe for most of the tour, but Georgetown has a reputation for street crime. We ask you to take special care of your belongings.

A few simple security measures that are important to remember: do not leave the hotel on your own, do not arrive at the airport displaying your optics and other valuables such as expensive watches, do not use mobile phones in crowded areas, and keep a copy of your passport. If you arrive late in Guyana at the beginning of the tour, phone us and we will do our best to send someone to pick you up at the airport and/or organize a taxi for you. Please do not take any taxis outside the airport.

 

ACCOMMODATION

We always try to include the best accommodation available on our tours to give our clients the best experience possible. The accommodation we use are considered comfortable, but not luxurious. Guyana is remote and underdeveloped and there are limited options for ecotourism accommodation. The lodges we use provide the best birding and wildlife experiences, and in most cases the lodges provide basic amenities which include private rooms with private bathrooms. Electricity is generally uninterrupted unless there are unscheduled blackouts. There will be air conditioning in the capital, and elsewhere rooms will have fans. Hot showers are not available in the lodges which is usually not a problem after spending the day in temperatures that reach 91°F (33°C).

Most (but not all) remote lodges have Wi-fi available, but this may be charged as an extra cost.

The price of our tour is per person sharing a twin bedroom. Most of our clients, even some couples, prefer to have their own bed to sleep better after long days out birding. The standard matrimonial or double bed in Latin America is the normal double bed size, which might be too small for some people. Bedrooms with queen/king-size beds are not available on this tour.

Do not keep food in your room, unless it is necessary, such as if you are diabetic, and then please ensure you store any snacks in appropriate plastic containers. The smell of food might attract vermin near your room. It is better to leave your snacks with the kitchen staff or in our vehicle. All rooms have mosquito nets.

 

LAUNDRY

Most of the lodges offer laundry facilities which are not included in the tour price, for those wanting to travel light.

 

CLOTHING

Long pants and long-sleeved shirts are best to deter any insects and to provide protection against minor scratches from vegetation. Modern, lightweight outdoor clothes are very comfortable and dry quickly. A lightweight fleece will keep you warm on early morning boat trips which can be chilly. Shorts and T-shirts are also useful.

Light-weight hiking boots will be invaluable, preferably waterproof Gore-Tex boots. Rubber boots are always an option, and some lodges may provide these if available. Sandals are useful around lodges and beaches but should not be worn on the forest trails.

As for wet weather gear, an umbrella or poncho, whichever you feel is more practical, will both work well. Rain suits can be quite uncomfortable in the lowlands, where it is hot and humid, and even though we run our trips in the “dry” season, please note that Guyana can experience rain at any time of year.

 

WHAT TO BRING: OTHER ITEMS

Do not forget: Binoculars, camera, field guide, flashlight (torch – e.g. headtorch), spare batteries, power bank, converter plugs, plug adaptors, chargers, prescription drugs (please bring the generic names for these drugs with you), toiletries, prescription glasses (and a spare pair), insect repellent, sunscreen, sunglasses, alarm clock, money pouch, hiking poles/walking sticks, suggested medical kit (see here), and daypacks.

Our tour leader will have a communal telescope for use during the tour, The communal scope will allow everyone opportunities to look at birds briefly on a rotation basis. If you like to “digi-scope/phone-scope”, or you would like to take prolonged scope views of the birds, please bring your own scope to do so, as the communal scope will be for everyone to look at the birds and not for photography.

Some additional items to remember to bring include important travel documents, passport, cash (or ATM/credit cards to draw money), proof of vaccinations, and your travel or health insurance cards – photocopies of all can be carried by the tour leader in case of emergency.

Bringing a couple of differently colored pens along with a 12-inch (30 centimeter) ruler can make the checklist session easier to follow.

Please refer to the tour-specific documents for further information of items to bring on the individual tours. Additional details on what to bring on a birding tour can be seen on our informative blog post here.

 

PACE, DIFFICULTY AND STYLE

Guyana is ‘old-school’ birding with no bird feeders, lighting bug traps or water pools where we might normally (in other neotropical countries) spend time waiting for birds to come eat/drink. We must rather look for birds in their natural habitat. It involves walking along forest trails and along some dirt roads looking for as many birds as we can find. Several forest birds can be difficult to see, but with the help of knowledgeable guides we will do our best to show you them, even the most secretive species, however photography of some of the more skulking species is not guaranteed and is not the priority of this tour.

We will walk an estimated three and a half miles (five kilometers) per day and in most cases, trails are rough with uneven terrain. Participants should be fit and able to do this without difficulty, including being able to climb 120 steps (up and down) to reach the canopy walkways and suspension bridges to reach canopy platforms located 80 feet (25 meters) above the forest floor. Please take note of this in case you suffer from vertigo.

We will have daily predawn starts, and will be out birding and driving in the morning with a short break after lunch and then continue birding in the afternoon. Midday breaks will not be possible when changing accommodations. We will take a few boat trips to explore rivers during the trip, and we will deal with bad roads and some long drives in the remote countryside. Participants should be fit and have enough stamina to deal with these conditions.

We ask you to please be patient and understand that Guyana is a developing country that is relatively new to the ecotourism industry with a very small number of businesses and a couple of local communities running the entire industry. Some issues that can be experienced include unscheduled blackouts at the accommodation, mechanical problems with some vehicles, flight delays, or some birding hotspots that may have disappeared due to a natural fire or deforestation. Birding Ecotours will do its best to fix any potential issues and provide the fastest solution to any unforeseen challenges that may occur.

There are no high elevation locations on this trip, therefore altitude sickness should not be a problem, as we will be birding in a lowland country.

 

WEATHER

The weather will be hot and humid reaching 91-95°F (33-35°C) throughout the trip. Although we run our Guyana birding tours during the dry season, there is still a chance of rain on this tour.

 

PLANES AND LOCAL FLIGHTS

Depending on the size of our fixed groups, or for private tours, we will take small single- engine passenger planes or twin-engine propeller planes. Please note that sometimes weather can cause flights in rural Guyana to be postponed, and delays on arrival and departure may occur.

We will fly from Georgetown to the Kaieteur Falls and to Surama Eco-Lodge on a charter flight (as described above). The ground fixers will ask for your individual body weight before we board the plane. To return to Georgetown from Letham we will take a commercial flight where there are luggage restrictions – any extra fees from this are not included in the tour price.

 

TOUR VEHICLES & SEAT ROTATION

For our Guyana birding tour we will mostly use a large van, to ensure each participant has their own window, unless the group is very small in which case, we will use a smaller van. Either way, at Birding Ecotours we follow a seat rotation policy on all set departure tours. This will ensure everybody has equal opportunities throughout the tour. Unfortunately, motion sickness will not excuse you from our seat rotation policy and thus if you are prone to motion sickness, you should ensure you bring the necessary medication. We also require that you are fit and flexible enough to maneuver yourself to the back of the vehicle. Tour participants should also be mindful of the extra equipment they bring into the general seating area of the vehicle (rather than the luggage section) and should ensure they do not clog up the general thoroughfare or extra seats with camera equipment, tripods, etc. from a comfort and health and safety point of view.

 

BOOKS

Sadly, to date, Guyana lacks a proper bird field guide. We recommend the following books to help you during your birding trip to Guyana:

 

Birds of Venezuela – David Ascanio (2021), Helm Edition.

Birds of Northern South America: An Identification Guide, Vol: 2 – Robin Restall (2007), Helm Edition.

Guyana: Bradt Travel Guide – Kirk Smock (2018). Bradt Travel Guides.

Guyana Travel Guide: An ultimate travel guide to Guyana – Annie Priest (2023), Independently published.

Birding Ecotours

Download Guyana General Information

‘This is truly the trip of a lifetime to an area that not a lot of US birders get to enjoy. Guyana is a place where you will see birds, wildlife, and nature in a state that most people can only dream about. From the gardens of Georgetown, to the rainforest, to the top of Kaieteur falls, to the shores of rivers, to the vast southern savanna. Every day brought new species and unforgettable experiences. Our guide Eduardo and our local guide Gary worked extremely hard to make sure everyone saw every bird. Their knowledge, diligence, and patience really made the experience special.’

Sherry


‘Eduardo is an excellent birding guide but more importantly an outstanding, patient, and thoroughly knowledgeable person who really went the extra mile to make sure everyone had a great experience. His knowledge of the neotropics and birds and nature is vast, and his enthusiasm for the trip was inexhaustible. Long days, early mornings, and vast distances never once detracted from his positive demeanor and his willingness to entertain questions and share explanations and knowledge

Eduardo’s knowledge of birds and nature is only surpassed by his friendly nature, his incredible work ethic and his true desire for everyone on his trip to both see the birds and have a really positive experience. I cannot wait to sign up for another of his tours.’

Sherry

Join our newsletter for exclusive discounts and great birding information!

 

Thank you!