NEW! South East Brazil - The Atlantic Forest

Exciting birding in one of the most fragile habitats in the world!

Destination
Focus
2022 Dates
  • 18 Jun - 03 Jul 2022
Duration16 Days
Guides
2022 Price
Price TBC
Max Group Size10

The Atlantic Rainforest in SE Brazil is arguably the most threatened rainforest in the world. It is one of the planet’s richest places for bird diversity and should be on most birders' ‘to-do' list. The remnant protected areas, on which we focus, are home to over 900 bird species, of which 140 are endemic and another 105 near endemic, and most of these are threatened. On this Brazilian rainforest adventure, timed to coincide with the best weather and time of year for birding, we hope to see in excess of 350 birds, many present nowhere else in the world, and by visiting these protected areas we will be actively supporting their important conservation work.

Within only three hours of Rio de Janeiro, we initially base ourselves around Itororo Lodge for 5 days birding in the grounds and trails. The lodge’s feeders provide brilliant photographic opportunities as literally hundreds of hummingbirds and tanagers can be seen. We will bird in high, middle and low altitude rainforest trails and target some of the iconic Atlantic Forest species such as Three-toed Jacamar. We then fly to Belo Horizonte and drive to Santuario do Caraça, where we hope to see Maned Wolf and many special birds. From there we transfer to Trilha dos Tucanos, a superb lodge with wonderful feeding stations and trails. We move on to Cananeia where on a boat trip rare species such as Fasciated Tiger-heron, Crypic Ant-thrush and Helmeted Woodpecker will be our targets. Our final destinations will be Caverna do Diabo State Park and Intervales State Park, where one morning will be spent looking for raptors including impressive Ornate Hawk Eagle, and the rest of the time looking for other highly desirable birds such as Royal Flycatcher, Sharpbill, Long-trained Nightjar, Rufous-sided Crake and Red and White Crake.

Enjoy your complimentary pre-flight overnight hotel before your holiday begins. Full details from our office! Read more about our Pre-flight Service here!

Days 1 and 2: Sat 18 & Sun 19 June 2022             London – Rio de Janeiro
After relaxing in our complimentary VIP Airport Lounge, we fly overnight from London to Rio, before transferring (3 hours) to Itororo Lodge in the heart of the Atlantic forest. Once settled in, we have time to explore trails around the grounds, while excellent feeders at the lodge present good photographic opportunities. Among the species we might see early on the tour are Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Scale-throated Hermit, Plovercrest, Violet-capped Woodnymph, White-throated and Brazilian Ruby Hummingbird, Black-throated Trogon, Spot-billed Toucanet, Yellow-browed, White-throated and Scaled Woodpecker, Pallid Spinetail, White-collared Foilage-gleaner, Black-billed Scythebill, Bertoni’s and Ochre-rumped Antbird, Brazilian Antthrush, Blue and Pin-tailed Manakin, White-rimmed Warbler, Fawn-breasted, Golden-chevroned, Azure shouldered, Ruby-crowned and Brassy-breasted Tanager, Uniform Finch and Green-winged Saltator. Overnight at Itororo Lodge for the next four nights.

Day 3: Mon 20 June               High altitude birding at Pico da Caledonia 
A full day specifically targeting the high altitude endemics at Pico de Caledonia, one of the highest peaks (at 2200m above sea level) in the Serra dos Orgaos mountain range. A short drive will get us to altitude,  and as we continue on foot habitats change to small stunted trees, bamboo and low vegetation, often over exposed ground. As we climb the birdlife changes with us, the day perhaps beginning with Bay-chested Warbling Finch, Diademed Tanager, Blue-billed Black Tyrant, Mouse-coloured Tapaculo and Rufous-tailed Antbird. Endemic Grey-winged Cotinga is a prized target, others being Serro do Mar Tyrannulet, Swallow-tailed and Black and Gold Cotinga and If visibility near the summit is good we hope to see Itatiania Thistletail too. A great day in the forested hills.

Day 4: Tues 21 June       Three-toed Jacamar and open country birding
Three-toed Jacamar is a highly sought-after Atlantic forest endemic, and today we visit several favoured sites where it is regularly found. During the search, we will be assured a great day's birding, with Whistling and Capped Heron, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Savanna and White-tailed Hawk, Laughing and Aplomado Falcon, Red-legged Seriema, Blue-winged Macaw, White-eyed Parakeet, Blue-winged Parrotlet, Striped Cuckoo, Planalto Hermit, Glittering-bellied and Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Amethyst Woodstar, White-eared and Crescent-chested Puffbird, Black-necked Aracari, White Woodpecker, Band-tailed Horneo, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Ochre-faced Tody-flycatcher, Grey and White-rumped Minjita, Streamer-tailed, Yellow-browed and Long-tailed Tyrant, White-rumped and Tawny-headed Swallow, Tawny-headed Swallow, Black-capped Donacobius, Curl-crested Jay, Hooded, Hepatic and Gilt-edged Tanger and Hooded Siskin all possible.

Day 5: Wed 22 June                                                          Itororo Lodge trails
With a superb section of the Atlantic forest right on our doorstep, well marked trails from Itororo lodge itself offer chances to see endemics plus a range of other birds. Over 100 species are possible today, perhaps including Brown Tinamou, Dusky-legged Guan, Spot-winged Wood-Quail, Black and Black and White Hawk Eagle, Barred Forest-Falcon, Scaly-headed Parrot, Surucua Trogon, Saffron Toucanet, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Rufous-caped, Grey-bellied and Chicli Spinetail, White-browed, Buff-browed and Buff-fronted Foliage-gleaner, White-throated, Lesser, Scaled and Olivaceous Woodcreeper, Giant and Variable Antshrike, Star-throated Antwren, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Cryptic Anthrush, Rufous Gnateater, Spotted Bambooren, White-breasted Tapaculo, Grey-hooded Flycatcher, Drab-breasted Bamboo-Tyrant, Grey-hooded Attila, Sharpbill, Greenish Schiffornis, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Yellow-legged Thrush, Chestnut-headed, Black-goggled, Burnished-buff Tanager and many more.

Day 6: Thurs 23 June                                     Transfer to Serra do Caraca
Leaving Itororo, we transfer to Rio de Janerio for the short (c. 1 hour) midday flight to Belo Horizonte. From here we continue on to Serra do Caraca where a special target for the tour will be Maned Wolf. We undertake nightly excursions near to our accommodation to try and see this rare mammal. Staying for two nights near Santuario do Caraca we have every chance of success.

Day 7: Fri 24 June                                                   Birding Serra do Caraca
A full day birding at Serra do Caraca where we hope to connect with a range of scarce Atlantic Forest possibilities. Targets include Dusky-legged Guan, Blackish Rail, Swallow-tailed Cotinga, Bisculate Swift, Pale-browed Treehunter, Dusky-tailed Antbird, Grey-eyed Greenlet and Magpie Tanager. If required we make a second attempt to try and see Maned Wolf and there is also an outside chance of other mammals such as Giant Anteater.

Days 8 and 9: Sat 25 and Sun 26 June                        Trilha dos Tucanos
we return to Belo Horizonte for another short (c. 1 hour) flight south-east to Campinas. From the airport we transfer to Trilha dos Tucanos Lodge, a wonderful location with superb feeding stations. Saffron Toucanet is the main target here and usually comes to feed each day. Other birds we may observe at close quarters include Blond-crested Woodpecker, Green-headed and Olive-green Tanager, Black-throated Grosbeak, Plain Parakeet and Blue Dacnis. Walking the forested trails we aim to see Pin-tailed Manakin, Atlantic Royal Flycatcher, Bare-throated Bellbird, Spot-billed Toucanet, Red-breasted Toucan, White-rumped Hawk, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Hooded and Black-headed Berryeater, Salvadori’s Antwren and many others. Overnight Trilha dos Tucanos Lodge for two nights.

Days 10 and 11: Mon 27 and Tues 28 June                                    Cananeia
We spend the morning birding for sought-after species at Trilha dos Tucanos, transferring later to Cananeia with birding en-route. Offering a number of new possibilities, targets include Yellow-legged Tinamou, Black-fronted Piping-guan, Dusky-legged Guan, Muscovy Duck, Red-tailed Parrot, Bicolored Hawk, Green-headed Tanager, Ochre-collared Piculet, Sombre Hummingbird, Black-backed Tanager, Restinga Tyrannulet, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Long-billed Wren, Plain Antvireo, White-browed Warbler, Squamate Antbird, Black-cheeked and Rufous Gnateater, Cannel-billed Toucan, Scarlet Ibis, Royal Tern, Bicolored Conebill, Grey-necked Wood-rail, Clapper Rail, Green Kingfisher, Neotropic Cormorant, Chimango Caracara and  Yellow-crowned Night Heron. Overnight Cananeia for two nights.

Day 12: Wed 29 June                                    Serra do Mar foothills
After breakfast we drive north-east heading for Iporanga with a few roadside birding stops on the way. We take lunch in the town of Eldorado before continuing into the Serra do Mar foothills, where the mountainous landscape is covered by Atlantic Forest. One of the richest bird areas in Brazil, we specifically look for rare species such as Fasciated Tiger-Heron, Cryptic Antthrush and Helmeted Woodpecker. Overnight Gamboa Eco Refúgio.

Day 13: Thurs 30 June                                 Caverna do Diabo State Park
With a vibrant eco-system and an abundance of prey, raptors thrive in the State Park and we enjoy a morning scouring the forested slopes for them. Impressive Ornate Hawk Eagle is one of the main targets and we also aim to see Grey-bellied and Mantled Hawk, Black Hawk Eagle and Rufous-thighed Kite and a range of other species. In the afternoon we transfer to Intervales, where we overnight inside the State Park for two nights.

Days 14 and 15: Fri 1 and Sat 2 July                Intervales State Park
Having recorded over 500 bird species, the Intervales State Park holds great potential and will be a fitting final location for our holiday. We focus on the Park's special birds, which include Helmeted Woodpecker, Blue-bellied Parrot, Black-fronted Piping-Guan, Atlantic Royal Flycatcher, White-bearded Antshrike, Slaty Bristlefront, Long-trained Nightjar, Least Pygmy-Owl, Rusty-barred Owl, Long-tufted and Black-capped Screech-Owl. Feeders at the lodge attract several different species and marshland beside the reception gives us a great chance with patience of seeing Rufous-sided and Red and White Crake. There are several trails to walk and with time to explore we may also see Solitary Tinamou, Brazilian Ruby Hummingbird, Pileated Parrot,  Rufous-capped Motmot, Giant and Spot-backed Antshrike, Streak-capped and Star-throated Antwren, Squamate, Scaled, Ferruginous and Dusky-tailed Antbird, Black-cheeked Gnateater, White-breasted Tapaculo, Blue Manakin, Cinnamon-vented Piha, Black-legged Dacnis and many more.

Day 16: Sun 3 July                                 Return flight São Paulo - London
Our tour at its end, we transfer to São Paulo for our flight back to the UK. 

Please note: all itineraries are given as a guide only. Actual holiday content may vary according to the judgement of your guide, and elements beyond our control (eg weather).

What's included in your holiday price:

  • scheduled flight from London – Rio de Janeiro and return from São Paulo - London. All internal flights and airport taxes, transfers from and to airports as appropriate.
  • full-board accommodation at hotels and lodges, picnic lunches
  • ground transportation in comfortable mini-bus all State Park entry fees
  • the services of your leaders.
  • The Heatherlea Pre-Flight Service offers everything you need at the airport, including hotels, car parking, airport lounges, regional flights, and upgrades. Let Heatherlea take the strain! Pre-flight airport hotel and lounge included, subject to terms and conditions. Read more....

Free Field Guide -'Wildlife Conservation Society Birds of Brazil: The Atlantic Forest of Southeast Brazil' by Robert S. Ridgely is included in your holiday price. One copy per room booked.

What's not included in your holiday price:

  • holiday insurance, optional tips to local guides/other staff, drinks, and other personal expenses.

More holiday information:

Accommodation is in comfortable hotels and lodges. All accommodation is en-suite.
Food: good quality local dishes, with packed lunches in the field. Evening meals usually consist of local meat and fish combined with rice, beans and vegetables. Vegetarian and other diets can be catered for, please tell us in advance.
Walking: is generally light/moderate. An average level of fitness is required on good trails. There will be some uphill walking at Pico da Caledonia in order to see high altitude species.
Weather: will be mostly hot and quite humid. Temperatures are hot by day and cool by night, with occasional short bursts of rain. Temperatures in the Atlantic Forest usually peak at (35C/100F).
Insects: Mosquitoes can be a problem in some areas. A good insect repellent is recommended.
Group size: is restricted to 12 clients maximum.
Flights: are by scheduled airline from a London airport. We may be able to offer flight arrangements from another airport and/or or quote without flights so you can make your own arrangements. If you wish to add an extension either before or after your holiday, please contact us and we will be happy to arrange this for you.
Bird Photography: Opportunities are good, especially at bird feeders and around the lodges.

Your leaders:

Peter Cosgrove will be accompanied by experienced local ornithologist/guide to give you the best possible experience on this trip.  With a maximum of 12 clients on the trip, the ratio of 'guides' to 'clients' will be very favourable.  Peter is a professional eco-consultant and has a passion for birding everywhere, particularly in tropical climes, with a real love for the Americas. He looks forward to joining you in Brazil.

Peter Cosgrove

Other birding and wildlife holidays in Brazil

Why choose Heatherlea for your birding and wildlife holiday in the Americas?

Our overseas holidays are planned with care to offer great birding and wildlife, led by capable Leaders who really look after you. Every holiday is run the 'Heatherlea Way', and we hope our Overseas Adventures remind you of the quality and care so many of you enjoy in Scotland. That means rewarding and exciting days in the field, and good quality accommodation and meals, with a real flavour of the country we are visiting. Heatherlea always seek to include the personal touches that make all the difference.

Heatherlea holidays are not ‘dawn to dusk’ expeditions. Our less-intensive approach is ideal for those who want to relax whilst experiencing the best wildlife watching, and wherever possible we organise early or late activity on an optional basis. We also take sensible breaks when in very hot places and regular comfort breaks on every holiday whenever possible. All itineraries are planned carefully around the best wildlife opportunities, and you won’t miss out on memorable wildlife, whilst enjoying relaxed, informal days that are great fun.

The really important part of any wildlife holiday is the experience for you, our valued customer. Heatherlea invest in many things to offer you the best possible service;

  • We have been organising birding and wildlife holidays for over 30 seasons, and have a highly experienced and capable office team. We also offer a telephone and email service outside normal office hours.
  • Heatherlea overseas holidays have a maximum of 12 clients per trip, putting the emphasis on personal service, and helping you get the best possible experience.
  • Our holidays often include things which others might invite you to pay yourself, for instance Departure Taxes and tips to hotels.
  • All elements of our holidays are sold under our own licence, ATOL 6113. Under ‘Flight-Plus’ legislation it is a legal requirement of any tour operator to hold an ATOL licence for the supply of any overseas holiday where a flight is involved, if that holiday includes either overseas accommodation and/or car hire. It can be a criminal offence for an operator to book flights as part of a package without an ATOL licence. Heatherlea also hold full Tour Operator Insurance for your added protection.
  • Heatherlea is your complete wildlife holiday provider. Our ‘Back Office’ team can organise all your pre-flight and other travel needs. Our specialists will help you book the right services, at the best price. Book holiday extensions through us, and your ATOL protection is extended further. We don’t charge extra for this service.
  • Heatherlea is a limited company, registered in Scotland, and registered to pay VAT (applies to all holidays within the European Union).

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The Mountview Hotel, Nethybridge,
PH25 3EB Scotland

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