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Days 1 and 2: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: 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: Return flight São Paulo - London
Our tour at its end, we transfer to São Paulo for our flight back to the UK.
Day 17: Arrive in London