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24 February - 4 March 1997

by David F.  Abbott


My abbreviated trip report and bird list for SE Brazil Feb 97.  My seventh trip (first exclusively for birding) to SE Brazil, I spent over a week in NE Rio de Janeiro state.  If anyone would like the full itenerary and details just email me and I'll pass it on...

This trip to SE Brazil Feb 24 - Mar 4 reinforced my impression that SE Brazil (my 7th trip to SE Brazil) is one of the birdiest and poorly studied areas.  (It is very difficult accumulating bird information--but that is rapidly changing thanks to Victor Emanuel Tours - no affiliation!- and a few others.)

SE Brazil is, at this timeof year, HOT AND HUMID.  But spots along the forested, rocky Atlantic Coast can be quite refreshing, as afternoon may be passed studying 100's of Magnificent Frigatebirds, Kelp Gulls and Brown Boobies.

I recorded 194 species including 48 endemics (some I'd seen before).

The areas visited were Cappacapana (no, for the birds) and portions of Tijuca in Rio de Janeiro city, Serra dos Orgaois and surrounding remnants of the critically endangered Atlantic Forest, Saquarema and its jungled lagoons and forested slopes, Lagoe de Araruama, Cabo Frio, Buzios (made famous by Brigitte Bardot), and Sao Joao in extreme NE Rio state.

Vehicle rental:  -is expensive.  Not recommended if you are alone.  I used bus transport with is reliable and goes virtually anywhere.  For slightly more than renting a car, I'd recommend hiring a guide who knows where to go and is at your disposal.

Accommodations:  -Brazil has a good network of accomodations.  All depends on your needs.  The least expensive hotels give a whole new meaning to "roof over your head" while the expensive hotels, $130+ night, are OK.  Be sure you stay at a Hotel and NOT a Motel (unless you need to be at a Motel.....)

Brazil with its 1,661 species of birds is a mere third place in South American, lagging behind Peru and Columbia.  However, Brazil has more endemic species than any country in South America and one of the highest totals for any country in the world, 179 today and more are being discovered.  Long isolated from the Amazon by vast brush and grassland plateau, SE Brazil offers many very rare species, most of which are found no where else.  While much has been advanced about the troubles with loss of the Amazon the greatest concern to many Brazillian ornithologists is the rapid depletion of the once great coastal rainforest, known as Mata Atlantica.  Once a thick lush carpet covering the narrow Brazillian coast from Brazil's easternmost state Rio Grande do Norte to the extreme SW state of Rio Grande do Sul, it had (and still does...) an even richer biodiversity than the Amazon.  As recently as 200 years ago it covered more than 1.5 million sq km of coastline.

Outside of Rio the lush, humid mountainous forest remnants near Serra dos Orgaos and remnant patches near Teresopolis, 50 km NE of Rio, were explored.  Seward in Rio state coastal forests, rolling ranchlands and agricultural areas, and dense ravines boardered by palms near Macae, Rio Bonito, Siva Jardim and the Poco das Antas area were productive and rewarding.


DAY 1 -- February 24 --  Rio de Janeiro.

Beaches of Praia do Leblom, Botafogo, Copacabana for seabird watching; Atlantic forest remnants of Estrada do Redentor and Tijuca for some of the localized endemics.  The tangled, humid, steep forested slopes of Estrada do Redentor offered the likes of Scaled Antbird and Pin-tailed Manakin.  Its nearly mid-day and taxingly hot but birds are active.  In the forest edges and canopy were Plain Antvireo, Eye-ringed Tody-tyrant among others.  Logoa Piratininga, on the east side of the harbor, has a few Southern Pochard.  After crossing a number of small tributaries on the outskirts the Rio, roadside stops include several extensive papyrus marshes where such species as Whistling Heron, Striated and Rufescent Tiger-heron, Pinnated and Stripe-backed Bittern, Long-winged Harrier and Southern Lapwing were present.

DAY 2 -- February 25

Working NE of Rio with brief visits along the mangrove edged lagoons such as those outside Ipiba, Neterio and the long stretch through Saquarema, all within 100 km of Rio.  Saquarema is 100 km NE of Rio, surrounded by long stretches of beach, vegitation choked lagoons and tropical jungled mountains.  This small town in the foothills is a horse-breeding and fruit-growing center.  The steep jungled slopes lead to bueatiful waterfalls.  Travel is slow, roads jarring, but traffic is light.  Seedeaters and grassquites were seen frequently, including several Blackish-blue Seedeaters.

In the outskirts of the small town Silvo Jordam, where there is expansive agricultural areas interspersed very infrequently with long trees in the NE corner of the state, I had nice views of the rare Forbes' Blackbird, a male.This rare bird was a complete surprize as it apparently is poorly known.  It may be more widespread than formally thought.

Day 3 -- February 26

Spent most of the morning birding the coastal forests around Cabo Frio and Buzios including some of the scenic inland habitats, covering a variety of elevations.  Birds seem to have their own space to occupy and each level or change in habitat produced its own special birds.  Magnificent Frigatebirds are abundant and this area is recommended to anyone wanted to study west Atlantic frigatebird plumages.  By far the most abundant bird is the Black Vulture.

Day 4 -- February 27

As 2/26 with evening seawatching in Buzios.  Wonderful views of a Bicolored Conebill in dense growth right along a steep seaside cliff.  Flycatchers everywhere.  As with each day, as the day progresses and the vultures begin to rise, I found that many other species join them.  Spiralling funnels of hundreds of Black Vultures ride over each hillside, avoiding the immediate coastline.  Kites and some buteos don't seem to mind the coast.

Day 5 -- February 28

Through a lush primary growth forest, I work toward the atlantic coast back to Buzios.  The walking is fairly easy and I see scenic overlooks, waterfalls, and rich bamboo thickets.  Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant, River Warbler were interesting.  Nice views of White-necked Hawk, Barred Forest-falcon, Cinamon-vented Piha and others.

Day 6 -- March 1

As with every morning, I awake to the loud "ban-CHA-VEEEE" of the Great Kiskadee.  I spend most of the day around Buzio, trying the various coast elevations up to about 800 m.  Reserva Biologica do Pocos das Antas.  Activity came in the form of Rufous-thighed Kite, Uniform Finch, White-throated and Saphire-spangled Emeralds, and others.  Finally saw a Collared Forest-falcon and had a good view of a pair of Purple-winged Ground-doves.

Day 7 -- March 2

Rain off-and-on, dark.  Interior coastline.  Remnant patches of forest near Nova Fribugo.  Moderate hiking, clear trails but much of it not accessable.  Explored surrounding hillsides, pockets of forests and other coastal havens, all within 45 minutes of Buzios.  Roving flocks of small birds were found to contain foliage-gleaners, tyrannulets, a rare Red-eyed Thornbird, numerous hummingbirds, the Dusky-tailed Antbird, a nice Shear-tailed Gray-tyrant and more.  There are lots of open areas where we can see down into the canopy.  A Tiny Hawk rose into the heat and briefly joined a milling group of Black Vultures.

Day 8 -- March 3

Overcast, hot.  Take a cruise to some of the spectacular islets offshore.  Noted an oystercatcher on a offshore rock outcropping.  Appears to be American but is smudged on breast and flanks with blackish--oil?  Plumbeous Kites at eye-level in the early morning.  Double-toothed Kite later and a Bicolored Conebill in the afternoon.  A fly-by Large-billed Tern just offshore.

Day 9 -- March 4

Scrub growth and forested hillsides as I weave my way back to Rio from Buzios for plane trip home.  A stormy, cool day.  Lots of swifts, and nighthawks working over the hillsides.


E = Endemic
CF = Cabo Frio
Brown Booby Sula leucogaster All Atlantic sites
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus Rio
Magnificent Frigatebird  Fregata magnificens Atlantic coast; Buzios
Pinnated Bittern Botaurus pinnatus E
Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi -
Whistling Heron Syrigma sibilatrix Rio
Great Egret Casmerodius albus Abundant
Snowy Egret Egretta thula -
Little Blue Heron Egretta caerulea -
Cattle Egret Bubulcus ibis -
Striated Heron Butorides striatus -
Capped Heron Pilherodius pileatus -
Rufescent Tiger-Heron Tigrisoma lineatum Saquarema
Southern Pochard Netta erythrophthalma E
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus daily; Abundant
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura -
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus CF
Hook-billed Kite Chondrohierax uncinatus CF
Gray-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis -
Rufous-thighed Kite Harpagus diodon NE Rio
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus NE Rio
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea -
Long-winged Harrier Circus buffoni Rio
Tiny Hawk Accipiter superciliosus Buzios
Rufous-thighed Hawk Accipiter erythronemius CF
Bicolored Hawk Buzios Accipiter bicolor -
Black-chested Buzzard-Eagle Geranoaetus melanoleucus E
Savannah Hawk Heterospizias meridionalis -
Roadside Hawk Buteo magnirostris many sites
Grey Hawk Asturina plagiata many sites
Short-tailed Hawk Buteo brachyurus BZ
White-rumped Hawk Buteo leucorrhous E
Mantled Hawk Leucopternis polionota E (Nova Friburgo)
White-necked Hawk Leucopternis lacernulata E
White-tailed Hawk Buteo albicaudatus -
Great Black-Hawk Buteogallus urubitinga Frequent
Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis -
Black-and-White Hawk-Eagle Spizastur melanoleucus Buzios
Black Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus tyrannus Cabo Frio
Crested Eagle Morphnus guianensis -
Ornate Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus ornatus -
Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens -
Crested Caracara Polyborus plancus -
Yellow-headed Caracara  Milvago chimachima CF
Laughing Falcon  Herpetotheres cachinnans CF
Collared Forest-Falcon  Micrastur semitorquatus CF
Barred Forest Falcon Micrastur ruficollis -
Aplomado Falcon Falco femoralis -
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis -
American Oystercatcher Buzios Haematopus palliatus -
Spotted Sandpiper Tringa macularia BZ
Kelp Gull Larus dominicanus Atlantic coast
Snowy-crowned Tern Sterna trudeaui -
Large-billed Tern Phaetusa simplex BZ
Rock Dove Columba livia Rio
Picazuro Pigeon Columba picazuro -
White-winged Dove Zenaida asiatica Buzios
Ruddy Ground-Dove Columbina talpacoti Daily
Purple-winged Ground-Dove Claravis godefrida E
Greater Ani Crotophaga major Cabo Frio
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani Daily
Burrowing Owl Speotyto cunicularia BZ
Chestnut-banded Nighthawk Lurocalis nattereri E
Least Nighthawk Chordeiles pusillus -
Nacunda Nighthawk Podager nacunda -
Scissor-tailed Nightjar Hydropsalis brasiliana -
Great Dusky Swift Cypseloides senex NE Rio
Sooty Swift Cypseloides fumigatus Rio Bonito
Biscutate Swift Streptoprocne biscutata E
Fork-tailed Palm-Swift Rio Bonito Tachornis squamata -
Ashy-tailed Swift Chaetura andrei -
Reddish Hermit Phaethornis ruber -
Minute Hermit Phaethornis idaliae E
Saw-billed Hermit Ramphodon maevius E
Swallow-tailed Hummingbird Eupetomena macroura Beautiful; very common
Black Jacobin Melanotrochilus fuscus E
White-vented Violet-ear Colibri serrirostris -
Black-bellied Thorntail Popelairia langsdorffi -
Glittering-bellied Emerald Chlorostilbon aureoventris -
Brazillian Ruby Clytolaema rubricauda E
Violet-capped Woodnymph Thalurania glaucopis -
White-chinned Sapphire Hylocharis cyanus E
White-tailed Goldenthroat Polytmus guainumbi -
White-throated Hummingbird Leucochloris albicollis -
Sapphire-spangled Emerald Amazilia lactea -
Glitering-throated Hummingbird Amazilia fimbriata -
Band-tailed Hornero Furnarius figulus -
Firewood-gatherer Anumbius annumbi Sao Joao
Red-eyed Thornbird Phacellodomus erythrophthalmus  E
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Philydor rufus -
Ochre-breasted Foliage-gleaner Philydor lichtensteini E
White-browed Foliage-gleaner Anabacerthia amaurotis E
Variable Antshrike Thamnophilus caerulescens -
Rufous-capped Antshrike Thamnophilus ruficapillus -
Slaty Antshrike Thamnophilus punctatus E
Plain Antvireo Dysithamnus mentalis -
Rufous-backed Antvireo Dysithamnus xanthopterus E
Star-throated Antwren Myrmotherula gularis E
Unicolored Antwren Myrmotherula unicolor E
Dusky-tailed Antbird Drymophila malura E
Scaled Antbird Drymophila squamata E
Screaming Piha Lipaugus vociferans -
Cinnamon-vented Piha Lipaugus lanioides E
Blue Manakin Chiroxiphia caudata E
Pin-tailed Manakin Ilicura militaris E
White-bearded Manakin Manacus manacus -
Wied's Tyrant-Manakin Neopelma aurifrons E
Yellow-lored Tyrant Todirostrum poliocephalum E
Eye-ringed Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus orbitatus E
Hangnest Tody-Tyrant Hemitriccus nidipendulus E
Common Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum cinereum -
Grey-hooded Flycatcher Mionectes rufiventris E
Planalto Tyrannulet Phyllomyias fasciatus -
White-lored Tyrannulet Ornithion inerme -
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum -
Yellow Tyrannulet Capsiempis flaveola -
Greenish Tyrannulet Phyllomyias virescens -
Grey-capped Tyrannulet Phyllomyias griseocapilla E
Olivaceous Elaenia Elaenia mesoleuca -
White-crested Tyrannulet Serpophaga subcristata -
Yellow-bellied Elaenia Elaenia flavogaster -
SootyTyrannulet Serpophaga nigricans -
Sao Paulo Tyrannulet Phylloscartes paulistus E
Serra do Mar Tyrannulet Phylloscartes difficilis E
Masked Water-Tyrant Fluvicola nengeta -
White-headed Marsh-tyrant Arundinicola leucocephala like cross betw. wheatear & NMock
Cock-tailed Tyrant Alectrurus tricolor E
Shear-tailed Grey Tyrant Muscipipra vetula E
Grey-hooded Attila Attila rufus E
Bright-rumped Attila Attila spadiceus E
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus Abundant
Swainson's Flycatcher Myiarchus swainsoni -
Short-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus ferox -
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua -
Great Kiskadee Abundant Pitangus sulphuratus -
Lesser Kiskadee Philohydor lictor -
Three-striped Flycatcher Conopias trivirgata -
Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis Common
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis -
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus -
Piratic Flycatcher Legatus leucophaius -
Sirystes Sirystes sibilator -
Brown-chested Martin Phaeoprogne tapera -
Gray-breasted Martin Progne chalybea -
White-rumped Swallow Tachycineta leucorrhoa -
White-winged Swallow Tachycineta albiventer -
Blue-and-white Swallow Notiochelidon cyanoleuca -
White-thighed Swallow Neochelidon tibialis -
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis -
Tawny-headed Swallow Stelgiodopteryx fucata -
Bank Swallow Riparia riparia -
Barn Swallow Hirundo rustica -
Long-billed Wren Thryothorus longirostris E
House Wren Troglodytes aedon -
Chalk-browed Mockingbird Mimus saturninus -
White-necked Thrush Turdus albicollis -
Yellow-legged Thrush Platycichia flavipes -
Chivi Vireo Vireo chivi -
Rufous-crowned Greenlet Hylophilus poicilotis E
Lemon-chested Greenlet Hylophilus thoracicus E
River Warbler Basileuterus rivularis -
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola Much < Common than I expected!
Chestnut-vented Conebill Conirostrum speciosum -
Bicolored Conebill Conirostrum bicolor -
Green-chinned Euphonia Euphonia chalybea E
Blue-naped Chlorophonia Chlorophonia cyanea E
Gilt-edged Tanager Tangara cyanoventris E
Rufous-headed Tanager Hemithraupis ruficapilla E
Buff-throated Saltator Saltator maximus -
Green-winged Saltator Saltator similis -
Indigo Grosbeak sometimes  Cyanoloxia glaucocaerulea called Glaucous-blue
Yellow-green Grosbeak Caryothraustes canadensis -
Blue-black Grassquit Volatinia jacarina -
Sooty Grassquit Tiaris fuliginosa -
Chestnut-capped Blackbird Agelaius ruficapillus -
White-browed Blackbird Leistes superciliaris -
Forbes's Blackbird Curaeus forbesi E (excellent views!!)
Chopi Blackbird Gnorimopsar chopi -
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis -
Giant Cowbird Scaphidura oryzivora -
Yellow-bellied Seedeater Sporophila nigricollis -
White-bellied Seedeater Sporophila leucoptera -
Rusty-collared Seedeater Sporophila collaris -
Plumbeous Seedeater Sporophila plumbea -
Blackish-blue Seedeater Amaurospiza moesta E (excellent views)
Pileated Finch Coryphospingus pileatus -
Uniform Finch Haplospiza unicolor -
Lesser Seed-Finch Oryzoborus angolensis -
Grassland Yellow-Finch Sicalis luteola -
Red-rumped Warbling-Finch Poospiza lateralis E
Bay-chested Warbling-Finch Poospiza thoracica E
Long-tailed Reed-Finch Donacospiza albifrons -
House Sparrow Passer domesticus -

David Abbott
43579 Plantation Terr
Ashburn VA 20147

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