Birding the Americas Trip Report and Planning Repository
Return to the Main Index

Return to the South America Index
Return to the Brazil Index
North-East of Rio Grande do Sul

27 September  - 5 October  1996

by Claudius Feger

An invitation to a conference in Rio Grande do Sul (RS), the southernmost state of Brazil, gave opportunity to plan some birding. I had an extended weekend, September 27-29, which I spent in the Mostardas area, and added a few days October 3-5, which I spent close to the conference site in the area of Canela/Sao Francisco de Paula/Cambara do Sul. The weather during the first day was very stormy with strong rains, but it improved to overcast and partial sunny subsequently. On October 3 and 5 the weather was overcast or partial sunny, on October 4 it was sunny. Sunny early mornings were more productive than overcast mornings, but overcast days were more productive than sunny days. For the trip to the National Park on the Mostardas peninsula I had a guide whom I obtained by writing to the IBAMA Headquarters in Rio Grande do Sul (Address in B. C. Forrester's Birding Brazil: A Check-list and Site Guide, available through ABA sales). This guide was not cheap but brought his own 4 wheel drive truck without which some of the roads would have been impassable. He knew shorebirds, terns, gulls, and ducks very well, but wasn't very interested in songbirds. He also provided his own camper on the grounds of the National Park. He spoke only Portuguese but used Latin names for all birds. Fortunately I do speak some Portuguese myself and knowing that Latin names are used by Brazilian birders had learned as many as I could. He also had a field guide in Spanish. On my next trip I would attempt to go to Mostardas on my own in a rented car. It seems no problem to drive on the beach. However, some of the roads are terrible particularly after rain.

The Lagoa do Peixe Natl. Park consists of a huge shallow lagoon surrounded by wetlands, freshwater lakes, meadows, and some brushy areas. This area is the wintering ground for birds from North America and from birds of southern South America. This particular time was an excellent time for a visit because some of the austral wintering birds were still there, some of the North American winter guests had already arrived, migration from further north was happening and the breeding birds started arriving.

For the second part of my birding trip I rented a car at the airport in Porto Alegre, capital of RS and drove to the conference location, Gramado, and from there to Francesco de Paula where I stayed at the very birdy Hotel Veraneio Hampel (address and phone number can be found on the internet). Unfortunately I didn't have a guide. Furthermore, the Aparados National Park was closed because of a recent accident. Because I didn't know the area well and needed time to identify particularly the flycatchers and horneros, I spend quite some time in fruitless areas. If you have only little time I would try to spend at least a full morning on the Hotel VH grounds and a good amount on the road to Tainhas rather than attempting to go all the way to the Natl. Park. However, my opinion might have been different if the park would have been open!

This wasn't my first trip to Rio Grande do Sul. But previously I had difficulties identifying birds I had seen because of the lack of a field guide. For this trip I had prepared my own guide with the help of a color copier and any identification book on South-American birds I could put my hands on. This guide contained pictures and in some cases short descriptions of nearly all the birds that were listed in Forrester's check lists for the two sites I was going to visit. From past experience I realized a tape recorder was indispensable to record features of the birds seen while I was seeing it. It's otherwise very frustrating to try to rely on your memory when you have seen 7 new species in a short time and you are supposed to remember if the 3rd bird you saw had a bar on the wing or not! I usually tried to do my identifications with help of the guide immediately after the bird flew off or dropped down except in cases where the bird was cooperative and I could check fieldmarks back and forth. I listed only birds the identification of which I felt sure. Order of listing follows B. C. Forrester's "Birding Brazil: A Check-list and Site Guide."

A few up-dates to the mentioned site guide can be made:

1. The road from Capivari to Mostardas is now paved; rain will only turn the road between Mostardas and the beach to deep mud. However, birding along this last mentioned stretch is very good.

2. The road between Sao Francisco de Paula and Tainhas is now excellent. Birding along this road is very good. The road from Tainhas to Cambara do Sul is still dirt but work on a paved road is progressing.

3. Long-winged Harrier (Circus buffoni) seems to be pretty regular near Mostardas according to my guide in contrast to the indications in the check-list.


M: Mostardas, town and/or nearby swamp
B: beach from Pinhal to Mostardas
L: littoral inland (Porto Alegre to Mostardas)
A: near Aparados da Serra Natl. Park
LP: Lagoa do Peixe Natl. Park
LR: Lagoa da reserva, reservation land northwest of Mostardas, only accessible with guide
SF: Sao Francisco de Paula area
VH: garden of Hotel Veraneio Hampel
G: generally distributed (in suitable habitat)
GL: generally distributed in lowlands
GH: generally distributed in highlands
common means that one couldn't miss the bird in that locality in the right habitat
* lifebird

  1. Magellanic Penguin* Spheniscus magellanicus. B: There were literally hundreds of dead birds, only one immature was still alive.
  2. Greater Rhea* Rhea americana. L: 4 in a group beside the road from Capivari to P. Alegre
  3. Spotted Nothura* Nothura maculosa. L: 2 on the road between Mostardas and Capivari
  4. Pied-billed Grebe Podilymbus podiceps. L, SF: quite common but small numbers
  5. Great Shearwater Puffinus gravis. B: 1 imm., 1 ad., both dead
  6. Neotropic Cormorant Phalacocorax brasilianus. L, B: very common
  7. Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi. LP, B: at least 1 or 2 per day
  8. Great Egret Casmerodius albus. GL: common, one sighting close to SF
  9. Snowy Egret Egretta thula. GL: common
  10. Striated Heron Butorides striatus. M: 1 outside Mostardas
  11. Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis. GL: very common
  12. Whistling Heron Syrigma sibilatrix. G: a few every day
  13. Wood Stork Mycteria americana. L: 1 on road from Porto Alegre to Capivari
  14. Maguari Stork* Ciconia maguari. L, LP: a few per day
  15. Buff-necked Ibis* Theristicus caudatus. SF, A: pretty common , but spotty, e g., 21 in one tree close to farmhouse near entrance to A
  16. Bare-faced or Whispering Ibis* Phimosus infuscatus. L, LP: very common (thousands)
  17. White-faced Ibis Plegadis chihi. L, LP: very common (thousands)
  18. Roseate Spoonbill Ajaia ajaia. LR: only 1
  19. Chilean Flamingo Phoenicopterus chilensis. LP: > 200 at LP
  20. Southern Screamer* Chauna torquata. LR: 12 huge birds at LR
  21. Fulvous Whistling-Duck Dendrocygna bicolor. LP: one large flock (>150)
  22. White-faced Whistling-Duck* Dendrocygna viduata. L, LP: common, in large flocks
  23. Coscoroba Swan* Coscoroba coscoroba. LP: 200, only at LP
  24. Black-necked Swan* Cygnus melancorypha. LP: 15, only at LP
  25. Speckled Teal* Anas flavirostris. G: common at GL(>40), a few throughout
  26. Yellow-billed Pintail* Anas georgica. G: common at lowlands, a few throughout
  27. Silver Teal* Anas versicolor. GL: quite common in lowlands (always in pairs)
  28. Red Shoveler* Anas platalea. LP: 1 pair only
  29. Brazilian Duck* Amazonetta brasiliensis. G: common at GL, a few throughout
  30. Masked Duck* Oxyura dominica. M: 1 female (from about 8 m!), outside Mostardas
  31. Black Vulture Coragyps atratus. G: common, prevalent in L
  32. Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura. prevalent in H, uncommon in L
  33. Snail Kite* Rosthramus sociabilis. L, LP: quite common
  34. Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris. G: common
  35. Savanna Hawk* Heterospizias (Buteogallus) meridionalis. GL: 2 on road two and from Porto Alegre
  36. Long-winged Harrier* Circus buffoni. M: 1 (from as close as 7 m) outside. Mostardas
  37. Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima. G: very common
  38. Chimango Caracara Milvago chimango. G: very common
  39. Crested Caracara Polyborus (Caracara) plancus. G: common
  40. Aplomado Falcon* Falco femoralis. SF: 1 male, 1 female sitting on fence posts about 10 m from my car, outside SF town
  41. American Kestrel Falco sparverius. G: common in low numbers
  42. Limpkin Aramus guarauna. L, LP: very common (many hundreds) and conspicuous
  43. Blackish Rail* Rallus (Pardirallus) nigricans. M, SF: 1 outside Mostardas, 2 SF
  44. Slaty-breasted Wood-Rail* Aramides (Eulabeornis) saracura. VH: twice 2 on the hotel grounds
  45. Spot-flanked Gallinule* Porphyriops (Gallinula) melanops. LP: 2 on swampy lake near Mostardas
  46. Common Moorhen Gallinula chlorops. G: common
  47. White-winged Coot* Fulica leucoptera. LP: 3 on lake near LP
  48. Red-legged Seriema* Cariama cristata. A: 3 near A
  49. Wattled Jacana Jacana jacana. G: common
  50. American Oystercatcher Haemotopus palliatus. MB: very common
  51. Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis. G: the most conspicuous and common bird throughout
  52. Black-bellied (Grey) Plover Pluvialis torquata. B, LP: only 1 or 2
  53. American Golden Plover Pluvialis dominica. LP: common, e.g. flock of 50
  54. Semipalmated Plover Charadrius semipalmatus. LP: 1-3/day
  55. Two-banded Plover* Charadrius falklandicus. LP: quite common (up to 7 in a group)
  56. Collared Plover Charadrius collaris. B: very common but small numbers
  57. Ruddy Turnstone Arenaria interpres. LP: group of 20
  58. Lesser Yellowlegs Tringa flavipes. GL: very common (hundreds)
  59. Greater Yellowlegs Tringa melanoleuca. GL: very common (hundreds)
  60. Red Knot Calidris canutus. B: very common (hundreds)
  61. White-rumped Sandpiper Calidris fuscicollis. LP: very common (over 500)
  62. Pectoral Sandpiper Calidris melanotos. LP: only 1 yet
  63. Sanderling Calidris alba. B: very common (hundreds)
  64. Buff-breasted Sandpiper* Tryngites subruficollis. LP: a flock of 12
  65. Hudsonian Godwit* Limosa haemastica. LP: 1 in the Lagoa
  66. South American Snipe* Gallinago paraguaiae (gallinago). LP, L: min. 3/day
  67. White-backed (Common) Stilt Himantopus melanurus (mexicanus). L, LP: very common
  68. Parasitic Jaeger* Stercorarius parasiticus. B: 1 imm. resting after storm on beach
  69. Kelp Gull* Larus dominicanus. B: very common (hundreds)
  70. Gray-hooded (Gray-headed) Gull* Larus cirrocephalus. B: only 1, after storm
  71. Brown-hooded Gull* Larus maculipennis. L, LP: very common (hundreds)
  72. Gull-billed Tern Sterna (Gelochelidon) nilotica. B: 2 after storm
  73. South American Tern Sterna hirundinacea. B: very common (hundreds)
  74. Common Tern Sterna hirundo. B: very common but less than former
  75. Trudeau's (Snowy-crowned) Tern* Sterna trudeaui. B: least common but still 50/day
  76. Yellow-billed Tern* Sterna superciliaris. B, LP: common (a few hundred)
  77. Royal Tern Sterna maxima. B: common (tens)
  78. Cayenne Tern Sterna eurygnatha (sandvicensis). B: very common (hundreds)
  79. Black Skimmer Rynchops niger. LP: common (1 flock of >100)
  80. Rock Pigeon Columba livia. G: of course!
  81. Picazuro Pigeon* Columba picazuro. M: 1 in trees near Mostardas
  82. Eared Dove Zenaida auriculata. L: a few near Mostardas and LR
  83. Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina passerina. M: a few in Mostardas
  84. Picui Ground-Dove Columbina picui. LP, M: 1 at LP, a few around Mostardas
  85. White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi. M: 1 near M
  86. Reddish-bellied Parakeet Pyrrhura frontalis. SF: quite common (flocks of 5 - 18)
  87. Monk Parakeet Myiopsitta monachus. M: 5 near Mostardas
  88. Guira Cuckoo Guira guira. L, LP: a few, conspicuous
  89. Long-eared Screech-Owl* Otus choliba. VH: calling all night around hotel, seen one flying through outside lights
  90. Burrowing Owl Athene (Speotyto) cunicularia. LR, A: spotty but not uncommon
  91. Short-tailed Nighthawk* Lurocalis semitorquatus. VH: 1 during early evening from my balcony
  92. White-collared Swift* Streptoprocne zonaris. A: Only 3 clearly identified among S. biscutata
  93. Biscutate Swift* Streptoprocne biscutata. A: quite common around A
  94. Sooty Swift* Cypseloides fumigatus. flock of 15 in Gramado, flying very low because of bad weather, allowed close views
  95. Gray-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris. L: several in Porto Alegre and Mostardas
  96. Ashy-tailed Swift Chaetura andrei. VH: a small group in good light
  97. Glittering-bellied Emerald* Chlorostilbon aureoventris. SF:. 1 singing beside road to SF
  98. Gilded Sapphire* Hylocharis chrysura. L: 1 at a road stop near Porto Alegre
  99. White-throated Hummingbird Leucochloris albicollis. GH: common in woodland
  100. Surucua Trogon* Trogon surrucura. VH: 3-4 singing, only one sitting right above me, during one morning on hotel grounds
  101. Ringed Kingfisher Ceryle (Megaceryle) torquata. G: common
  102. Red-breasted Toucan* Ramphastos dicolorus. VH: 3 flying close overhead during early morning on hotel grounds, striking birds!
  103. Field (Campo) Flicker Colaptes campestroides (campestris). G: very common
  104. Green-barred Woodpecker (Flicker)* Colaptes (Chrysoptilus) melanochloros. SF: two sightings near hotel
  105. White-spotted Woodpecker* Veniliornis spilogaster. VH: a pair sighted on two days
  106. White-throated Woodcreeper* Xiphocolaptes albicollis. VH: 1 on hotel grounds
  107. Scaled Woodcreeper* Lepidocolaptes squamatus. GH: three sightings, two on road from Canela to SF, twice one each at VH
  108. Long-tailed Cinclodes* Cinclodes pabsti. A: quite common; endemic to Brazil
  109. Rufous Hornero Furnarius rufus. G: very common
  110. Striolated Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura striolata. A: only one sighting near A; endemic
  111. Araucaria Tit-Spinetail Leptasthenura setaria. GH: quite common, call very characteristic
  112. Olive Spinetail* Cranioleuca (Certhiaxis) obsoleta. SF: 1 in a mixed flock in woods between Canela and SF
  113. Firewood-gatherer Anumbius annumbi. G: 1 near M, 2 near A
  114. Buff-browed Foliage-gleaner* Syndactyla (Philydor) rufosuperciliata. VH: 1 bird in mixed flock on hotel grounds
  115. Sharp-billed Treehunter* Heliobletus (Xenops) contaminatus. A: near Cambara, woods close to stream
  116. Streaked Xenops* Xenops rutilans. VH: 1 single bird seen twice on hotel grounds
  117. Crested (Plain) Becard* Pachyramphus validus (Platypsaris rufus). VH: 1 male, 1 female on hotel grounds
  118. Black-and-white Monjita Heteroxolmis (Xolmis) dominicana. GH: quite common and conspicuous (low numbers)
  119. Gray Monjita* Xolmis cinerea. SF: only 1
  120. White Monjita Xolmis irupero. GL: quite common and conspicuous (low numbers)
  121. Crested Black-Tyrant* Knipolegus lophotes. SF, A: two near road SF to Tainhas, one near A
  122. Blue-billed Black-Tyrant* Knipolegus cyanirostris. SF, VH: on hotel grounds and road to A
  123. Spectacled Tyrant* Hymenops perspicillata. LR: 2 males, 1 female, only at LR
  124. Yellow-browed Tyrant* Satrapa ichterophrys. L: 1 at rest stop outside Porto Alegre
  125. Cattle Tyrant* Machetornis rixosus. LP, L: a few pairs
  126. Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus (Muscivora) savana. M, L: just started to arrive
  127. Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus. L: only 1 on road from P. Alegre
  128. Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus. G: very common in L, less so in H
  129. Bran-colored Flycatcher* Myiophobus fasciatus. SF: 1 in mixed flock
  130. Warbling Doradito* Pseudocolopteryx flaviventris. LP: 1 nearby camper, others possible but far away (guide didn't know this one)
  131. White-crested Tyrannulet* Serpophaga subcristata. GH: common in dense brush
  132. Sooty Tyrannulet Serpophaga nigricans. GH: very common along streams
  133. Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet* Camptostoma obsoletum. VH, SF: several on hotel grounds and elsewhere around SF and close to A
  134. White-rumped Swallow Tachycineta leucorrhoa. G: very common
  135. Brown-chested Martin* Phaeoprogne tapera. M: 8 birds some sitting on fence 3 m away, near Mostardas (migrating?)
  136. Gray-breasted Martin* Progne chalybea. LP, L: common (20-40), nesting at LP
  137. Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca. G: very common
  138. Southern Rough-winged Swallow* Stelgidopteryx ruficollis. A: flock of 4 (migrating?)
  139. Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica. A: 1 in large flock of swallows and swifts
  140. Azure Jay* Cyanocorax caeruleus. SF, A: 2 on road SF to Canela, one near Cambara
  141. House Wren Troglodytes aedon. G: common in towns
  142. Chalk-browed Mockingbird Mimus saturninus. G: pretty common
  143. Rufous-bellied Thrush Turdus rufiventris. G: in gardens in small numbers
  144. Creamy-bellied Thrush Turdus amaurochalinus. M: 2 near M
  145. White-necked Thrush* Turdus albicollis. VH: several singing on hotel grounds but only 1 seen
  146. Short-billed Pipit* Anthus furcatus. LP: guide thought all pipits were only one species; however, on the last morning I took a trip by my own (very early) and discovered that there were actually three species at LP: A. furcatus was identified by different song, heavy streaks on breast and none on sides. I found only two of these.
  147. Hellmayr's Pipit* Anthus hellmayri. SF, A: singing, quite common and not shy
  148. Yellowish Pipit* Anthus lutescens. LP, L: I didn't have time to identify all pipits there, but at least one was actually A. lutescens
  149. Correndera Pipit* Anthus correndera. LP: Two birds of this species at only 4-5m distance gave the clue that not all pipits were A. lutescens because of the obvious white longitudinal stripes forming V on back
  150. Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus (chivi). SF: singing in woods on the slopes to lowland
  151. Rufous-crowned Greenlet* Hylophilus poicilotis. SF: 1 in mixed feeding flock
  152. Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariesnis. G: very common in L, common in H
  153. Golden-winged Cacique* Cacicus chrysopterus. SF: twice several birds in mixed flocks
  154. Yellow-winged Blackbird* Agelaius thilius. LP, M: relatively common
  155. Chestnut-capped Blackbird Agelaius ruficapillus. GL: very common (>1000)
  156. Saffron-cowled Blackbird Agelaius (Xanthopsar) flavus. GH: common and conspicuous
  157. Yellow-rumped Marshbird Pseudoleistes guirahuro. G: common and conspicuous
  158. Brown-and-yellow Marshbird* Pseudoleistes virescens. M: 8 near M
  159. White-browed Blackbird* Sturnella (Leistes) superciliaris. LP, M: relative common but shy
  160. Tropical Parula Parula pitiayumi. G: very common
  161. Masked Yellowthroat* Geothlypis aequinoctialis. SF: only one seen, more heard
  162. Golden-crowned Warbler Basileuterus culicivorus. SF: one briefly in mixed flock
  163. White-rimmed (-browed) Warbler* Basileuterus leucoblepharus. VH: group of 3 very noisy and fearless on hotel grounds
  164. Bananaquit Coereba flaveola. G:common
  165. Violaceous Euphonia* Euphonia violacea. L: 1 male and female at rest stop near P. Alegre
  166. Green-chinned Euphonia* Euphonia chalybea. VH: 1 male and female on hotel grounds
  167. Fawn-breasted Tanager* Pipraeidea melanonota. SF, VH: quite common in mixed flocks (but didn't see at previous visit)
  168. Chestnut-backed Tanager Tangara preciosa. SF, VH: quite common in mixed flocks
  169. Diademed Tanager Stephanophorus diadematus. SF, VH: quite common in mixed flocks
  170. Sayaca Tanager Thraupis sayaca. G: common (usually not in mixed flocks)
  171. Blue-and-yellow Tanager* Thraupis bonariensis. L, SF, VH: quite common in mixed flocks (but didn't see at previous visit)
  172. Ruby-crowned Tanager* Tachyphonus coronatus. SF: 1 male and female in a mixed flock
  173. Red-crested (Brazilian) Cardinal Paroaria coronata. L: 1 on the road from Mostardas to Pinhal and a pair in P. Alegre
  174. Saffron Finch Sicalis flaveola. G: common in small flocks
  175. Grassland Sparrow* Ammodramus (Myospiza) humeralis. SF, A: singing on road from SF to A
  176. Rufous-collared Sparrow Zonotrichia capensis. G: very common
  177. Long-tailed Reed-Finch* Donacospiza albifrons. SF: a flock of 5 in reed road SF to Tainhas
  178. Black-and-rufous Warbling-Finch* Poospiza nigrorufa. VH: 1 in mixed flock on hotel grounds
  179. Gray-throated Warbling-Finch Poospiza cabansi (lateralis). GH: each mixed flocks seems to have a pair
  180. Great Pampa-Finch Embernagra platensis. GH: in reed fields along road from Canela to SF and SF to Tainhas
  181. Hooded Siskin* Carduelis (Spinus) magellanica. A: 1 in pine near A
  182. House Sparrow Passer domesticus. G: very common

Claudius Feger; or


Birding Top 500 Counter