Type of Journey
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Atlantic Rainforest in Brazil is well-known for its biodiversity and birds. This tour intends to provide a short introduction to the remarkable winged creatures of the Atlantic Rainforest area such as Brazil hummingbirds. The 8-day tour starts from Rio de Janeiro and ends at the same location. During the tour, four nights would be spent at the lodge positioned at the base of the mountains of Serra dos Órgãos. The restored wetlands here are the finest in the region and are known to be brimming with a variety of birds. For the next three nights, the stay would be at the Itororó Lodge located on the mountain top in a forested valley.
Journey from Rio de Janeiro to GuapiaÃ§u
The tour gets started at 11.00 AM (or prior depending on everybody’s arrival) from the Galeao Airport at Rio de Janeiro. Most of the time it takes about an hour to complete the immigration and the customs procedures. After arriving in Guapiaçu, we would drive to the northeast and will reach the lodging in about two hours where we would be spending the following four nights.
After having scrumptious lunch, we will hike through the wetlands and woodlands around the lodge for birding. In wetlands, we are likely to find aquatic birds like Capped Heron, White-confronted Whistling-Duck, and Brazilian Teals while in the woodland we can spot birds like Rufous-tailed Jacamar, White-barred Piculet, Wing-banded Hornero, Hooded Tanager, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, and Greater Ani. Few nights during our stay, we can stay up and look out for the nocturnal species.
Traversing GuapiaÃ§u Reserve
The next day, if the weather permits we will traverse full-day to the higher altitude of the reserve by taking a 4WD. By observing the clearing in an abandoned farm which gives a good view of the surrounding trees, we would be seeing brazil birds like Channel-billed Toucan, Ruby-crowned and Green-headed Tanagers, Plain and Maroon bellied Parakeets and many other such canopy birds. If the luck favours us, we might even find bare throated, white Bellbirds bonking from the distant treetop.
As the day goes by we would track down a forest looking for Crescent-chested Puffbird, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, Streak-capped and Rufous-winged Antwren, and various Foliage-gleaner and Woodcreepers. We will be spending the afternoon around the nearby trails and wetlands looking for Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, and Rufous-capped Motmot.
Another Day At GuapiaÃ§u Reserve
On the third day of the tour, we would be visiting a spectacular waterfall and spot some more interesting brazil birds. After having a delightful breakfast we would drive for about 20 minutes to reach a spot from where, after climbing up an easy trail through the rainforest we will reach our destination. Enjoying the mesmerizing beauty around us, we would try to spot birds like the alluring grey-hooded Attila, adorable pin-tailed and swallow-tailed Manakins, brooding Scaled Antbird, Southern Antpipit, Black-cheeked Gnateater, and the gaudy spot-billed Toucanet. If we are fortunate enough, we may even come across the rare shrike-like Cotinga, which is considered to be one of the star brazil birds of Guapiaçu. We will head back to the lodge after enjoying an amazing lunch at the waterfall.
A Visit to Atlantic Coast
The targeted bird for this day is, Restinga Antwren, a critically endangered bird species that can be only found in the coastal vegetation to the east of Rio. For watching this endemic species along with some others, we would be heading to the Atlantic Coast which is about a two-hour drive. Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, Hangnest Tody-Tyrant, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Black-backed Tanager, Brazilian Tanager, Magnificent Frigatebirds, Brown Boobies, and Terns are some of the other potential possibilities. We would be having lunch at Guapiaçu and would either be visiting wetlands or nearby farms in the afternoon to try for Yellow-browed Tyrant, Ash-throated Crake, Giant Snipe, and others.
Off to ItororÃ³ Lodge
After spending four-nights at Guapiaçu Reserve, we would now head towards the second leg of our tour. We would be having an early start as this would be a long day. First, we will be visiting the other side of the Serra dos Órgãos range bypassing the famous mountain of Dedo de Deus or the “God’s Finger”. This route hosts a limited number of vulnerable populations of the Three-Toed Jacamar with a large variety of other brazil birds. This region also contains a large number of rare open country birds, such as White-rumped Monjita, Red-legged Seriema, Streamer-tailed Tyrant, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, and Firewood-gatherer.
We will then drive through the town of Nova Friburgo after a field lunch and reach Itororó Lodge late in the afternoon, which would be the stay for the rest of our trip. Birds like Black Jacobin, Brazilian Ruby, Violet-capped Woodnymph, White-throated Brazil Hummingbird, and Scale-throated Hermit are brought around by the hummer feeders here. The fruit feeders attract Magpies, Parakeets and the beauties of Tanagers like black-goggled, azure-shouldered, ruby-crowned, golden-chevroned etc, and even sometimes the unique saffron Toucanet.
At the ItororÃ³ Lodge
This lodge boasts of a fine trail network. So after breakfast, we would be spending the entire day in the exploration of great and unique brazil birds. The birds that are mostly found here are sharp-billed Treehunter, Bertoni's and ochre-rumped Antbirds, chestnut-headed Tanager, giant Antshrike, spot-winged Wood-Quail, rufous Gnateater, such’s Antthrush, Surucua Trogon, pallid spinetail half-collared Sparrow, white-collared Foliage-gleaner, white-breasted Tapaculo, and others
Most of our time here would be spent at the amazing feeder here that keeps on attracting a variety of birds. At dusk, we would look out for the nocturnal species of birds such as the intriguing long-trained Nightjar, Rusty-barred Owl, and Tropical Screech-Owl.
The Mighty Pico da CaledÃ´nia
On this day we would pay our visit to the highest mountain range in the region, the Pico da Caledônia. This mountain stands high at 2200 m (7200 ft) with the very steep, cobblestoned paved route. We would try to go as far as possible on this route. This region is the only home to many high altitude species as well as to the world’s most confined range of birds. The possible species to be spotted are bay-chained warbling-finch, rufous-tailed Antbird, Diademed Tanager, green-crowned Plovercrest, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, Itatiaia Spinetail, and black-and-gold Cotinga. After having a field lunch we will move down to lower elevation to look for the amazing red-legged Seriema and then make our way back to the lodge. In the afternoon, we will go birding again on the nearby trails.
Head back to Rio
We would spend the last morning of our tour by either birding at the trail nearby the lodge or driving a short distance to different areas to look for other species of birds. Then after having a hearty lunch at the lodge, we will drive back to the airport of Rio De Janeiro, bid our farewells and fly back to our homes.