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Northeastern Brazil

  1. 2023
    Tuesday, September 5, 2023 to Saturday, September 16, 2023
    Tour Duration: 
    12 days
    Tour Starts/Ends: 
    Porto Seguro/Lencois, extension (Sep. 16 - 20) ends in Juazeiro do Norte
    Extension for Lear's Macaw and Araripe Manakin TBA
    Number of Persons Limit: 

• Birding across diverse landscapes from beautiful beaches to towering cliffs.

• A large number of endemic and range-restricted species



Our Northeastern Brazil birding tour opens the door on a wealth of birding experiences in this magnificent region of Brazil. The habitat diversity in the state of Bahia makes for exceptional birding, with a host of endemic and range-restricted species, and a total of 800 bird species. This itinerary features Atlantic Forest at its best plus dry forest Caatinga and open woodland Cerrado. We begin at the coast in the Atlantic lowland forest near the beautiful beach town of Porto Seguro searching for a couple of extremely rare and beautiful cotingas (Banded and White-winged) and many other birds, some of them difficult to find anywhere else. Then we move upslope to stay in the 6,100 acre Serra Bonita reserve for exciting birding in middle elevation Atlantic Forest. Tanagers and Neotropical forest raptors are specially well represented. One of the bird species that is quite common here (Pink-legged Graveteiro) was only discovered in 1996 and was surprising because it represented a completely new genus, not only a new species—we will make every effort to see this species well. Our next stop is Boa Nova, famous for its birding at the boundary between the wet Atlantic forest and dry Caatinga. A short drive to the east, montane humid forest contains Atlantic Forest specialties whereas from town westwards we will find species from the dry forest biome. Lists of 150 species of birds in one day is a typical number around Boa Nova. The main tour ends in the stunningly beautiful tablelands of Chapada Diamantina National Park, searching for such gems as the two extraordinary hummingbirds Hooded Visorbearer and Horned Sungem, The habitats here include rocky slopes, towering cliffs, grasslands, open woodland, and tall forests.

We also have an optional extension further north for two stunning range-restricted species; Lear’s Macaw and Araripe Manakin. And while looking for these we will see additional species as well.

Birding such a rich and diverse region of Brazil is an experience not to be missed!

Itinerary View Short Itinerary

Day 1 – Arrival in Porto Seguro

Our Northeastern Brazil birding tour begins in Porto Seguro, which has direct flights from several Brazilian hubs. You may be arriving from our Central Brazil birding tour on a direct flight from Brasilia. We will meet for dinner and discuss the general aspects of the exciting tour ahead and, particularly, the next day. Night in Porto Seguro.

Days 2 & 3 – Around Porto Seguro

As this will practically be our only opportunity to see some birds of the Bahia lowlands, we will spend two full days in this area of Atlantic Forest. Much of the time will be spent birding at the privately-owned Veracel Reserve. One of the microhabitats here is patches of white-sand forest with trees of medium height, which is the perfect habitat for this reserve’s two spectacular cotingas, White-winged and the very rare Banded Cotinga. Other endemics and special species abound here too, including the colorful Blue-throated Parakeet (also known as Ochre-marked Parakeet) and the rare Racket-tailed Coquette. There are even a few recent records of Harpy Eagle!

Seafood is the specialty at Porto Seguro and we will have ample opportunity to taste the wide variety available. Nights in Porto Seguro. 

Day 4 – Transfer to Serra Bonita

After another morning’s birding at Veracel Reserve, we will transfer to Serra Bonita (just over 4 hours drive), where we may have time to do a little birding in the afternoon. Serra Bonita is another private reserve, but this one protects a gradient of lowland to middle elevation Atlantic Forest. The owners, the retired entomologist Dr. Vitor O. Becker and his wife Clemira, have built a lodge and research station next to their home in the reserve; staying here is a great way to support their ongoing conservation efforts and will also enable us to see a number of great birds. Night at Serra Bonita Lodge. 

Day 5 – Serra Bonita Reserve

A large number of Atlantic Forest endemics abound in this reserve, and some of the species we will be searching for include the very colorful Golden-capped Parakeet and the recently described Pink-legged Graveteiro, perhaps even our first chance to find the even more recently described Boa Nova Tapaculo (described to science 2014). A high diversity of tanagers and hummingbirds visit feeders at the research center. Night at Serra Bonita Lodge. 

Day 6 – Transfer to Boa Nova

After a last morning birding at Serra Bonita, we will drive 4 1/2  hours to Boa Nova, probably arriving in the late afternoon. Night in Boa Nova.

Days 7 & 8 – Around Boa Nova

We will have 2 ½ days to bird this area of very high biodiversity, with dry caatinga vegetation to the west and humid montane Atlantic Forest to the east. We will be looking for birds in special microhabitats such as “lajeiros” (slopes with large slabs of rock, favorite roosting sites for Pygmy Nightjar) and “mata de cipó” (dry forest with ground bromeliads and cacti), as well as the typical caatinga (dry, thorny forest) and montane Atlantic Forest. This is another area with an impressive number of Atlantic Forest species. Temperatures will range from warm to comfortable. Nights in Boa Nova.

Day 9 – Transfer to Lencois

Today we will get up a little later than usual and we will spend the whole day on the road, stopping to bird at a couple of areas on the way to Lencois. After breakfast, we will drive about 4 hours to Ibicoará, where we will have lunch and look for the endemic Diamantina Tapaculo. After this we will continue on our way, driving another hour or so before looking for the recently described Sincorá Antwren (described 2007) and birding the cerrado (open low woodland) near Mucugé. Finally, we will drive the rest of the way to our hotel in Lencois, a drive of just over 2 hours. Night in Lencois. 

Days 10 & 11 – Chapada Diamantina National Park

A change of scenery from the places we will have visited, the Chapada Diamantina is an area of deep rocky canyons, scrubby cerrado vegetation and patches of dry montane scrub, caatinga and humid forest. Again, this is an area with a huge number of bird species, some of them practically only found here. These include the spectacular Hooded Visorbearer, Sao Francisco Sparrow, Pale-throated Sierra-Finch and Gray-backed Tachuri. We have two full days to explore this region of interesting landscapes and birdlife.

Day 12 – Departure from Lencois or joining the extension

Those not taking the extension may depart today from the Lencois airport, flying to Salvador to connect to flights home.



Day 12 – Transfer to Canudos

After breakfast we will depart on a 7 hour drive to Canudos, where we will stay at very nice, rustic accommodations in the reserve, next to the only known roosting site of the Lear’s Macaw. 

Day 13 – Lear’s Macaw search around Canudos

The exodus of Lear’s Macaw from their roost site early in the morning is a thrilling spectacle. Other interesting birds of this region include Scarlet-throated Tanager, Red-legged Seriema, Red-shouldered Spinetail, White-throated Seedeater and other caatinga specialties. 

Day 14 – Transfer to Crato

After a morning’s birding near Canudos, it will be roughly a 5 hour drive to Crato, our base for searching for Araripe Manakin and other birds.

Day 15 – Araripe Manakin search around Crato

Our main target will be the spectacular and critically endangered Araripe Manakin at its only locality in the world. Other noteworthy birds we will be on the lookout for include Silvery-cheeked Antshrike, Caatinga Antshrike, Caatinga Antwren and Tawny Piculet.

Day 16 – Departure

Our Northeastern Brazil birding tour ends today.  You can depart for flights home anytime today. There are direct flights from Juazeiro do Norte airport, 40 minutes drrive from Crato, to Sao Paulo, Brasilia, Fortaleza and Recife. 

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