Brazil: Southeast Atlantic Forest Endemics
October 17 - November 5, 2024
Leader: Jan Hansen
$6,295 from São Paulo
Planning a visit to Brazil can be a bit of an intimidating experience for birders who have never been there; actually it can be intimidating even for those who have. Brazil is the world’s 5th largest country, nearly as big as the U.S., and that immense size alone presents a dizzying array of options. Compounding that dilemma is the country’s lengthy bird list which currently stands at 1785 species, the third highest list of any country on earth. The truth is is that you could easily make 8-10 multi- week trips to Brazil and still not adequately cover all of its bases. It’s simply too large and there are just too many endemic pockets separated either by enormous distances or impenetrable geographic barriers to allow easy and thorough coverage. How then does one decide where best to delve into this mammoth avian treasure trove without getting quickly overwhelmed by the size and diversity?
No doubt there is likely more than one good answer to that question, but one of them has to be a visit to the Atlantic forests of southeastern Brazil, an area where it is possible to find 170+ species endemic to this area and found nowhere else in the world. This endemic rich region of Brazil has to be on the short list of must-see destinations for any birder interested in maximizing their life lists and this tour will visit all of the area's best birding venues. Beginning in Sao Paulo and ending in Rio de Janeiro, the tour will spend time in a variety of habitats including coastal lowlands, montane cloud forest and high elevation grasslands. Though it requires moving around a fair bit, the habitat diversity and multiple venues will allow us to see a large percentage of the area's endemic birds, some of which are Brazil's rarest and most localized species.
In addition to world class birding, this tour will also give participants who enjoy photography some excellent opportunities to capture images of many colorful tanagers, hummingbirds and psittacids at several elaborate feeding stations that we will visit. Many of these venues are geared towards "natural photography" with many constructed natural settings so that photos are not just of birds eating bananas on a flat board. Since this area lies south of the equator, our tour dates coincide with southeastern Brazil's spring season and many birds will be singing and preparing to breed. Migrants that depart during the winter months will be returning, so species numbers, diversity and breeding activities will be at their peak. Besides the innumerable birding possibilities, throughout the tour there will be magnificent scenery and excellent Brazilian cuisine. Perhaps after reading this you're still intimidated by the thought of where to begin in Brazil, but every journey has to begin somewhere. Why not begin this one with us next year in Brazil's southeastern Atlantic Forests. But be careful....birding in Brazil is addictive and this tour is surely going to make you want to return again and again to see the entire avian cast of characters that Brazil has to offer!