Brazil: Atlantic Forest

12 Days from
$8,925 CAD | $6,250 USD
South America
Land Tour
Highlights

Highlights

  • Experience the best of Brazil's Atlantic Rainforest endemic bird species.
  • Enjoy the culture and cuisine of Brazil.

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Tour Overview

On this exciting new tour we’ll explore the remarkable bird life in Southeast Brazil. The once-vast Atlantic rainforest is not connected to the Amazon, and therefore it holds a mind-boggling number of endemic species. Spending lots of time at only a few sites allows us to counter the birding frenzy with enough downtime to be energized for the next outing! Prepare to be dazzled by the vibrant colours of tanagers, toucans, parrots, woodpeckers and hummingbirds. Then, get ready for the thrill of spotting many species of antbirds, antpittas, woodcreepers, tapaculos and ovenbirds that call this tropical paradise home. 

This tour conveniently links up with our Amazon and Pantanal adventure.

Itinerary

Day 1: Arrival in São Paulo (GRU Airport)

We will meet as a group for dinner where we will discuss the birding adventure ahead.

Aerial view of the famous cable-stayed bridge of Sao Paulo city.

Days 2 - 4: Itatiaia National Park

After breakfast we will drive to Itatiaia National Park. The drive will take approximately 3 hours. We will spend the afternoon and next 2 days birding in this area. Itatiaia is one of the most famous destinations for birding in southeast Brazil. Itatiaia National Park, comprising 28,000 hectares ranging from 600 to 2800 meters of altitude, was the first NP of the country, created in 1937. This altitudinal gradient provides a variety of environments, from humid Atlantic Forest in lower elevations to Mountaintop Grasslands in higher elevations, ensuring a rich avifauna. We will be exploring different altitudinal gradients ensuring great endemics of the Atlantic Forest and many bamboo specialists.

We will spend the next 2 days birding in Itatiaia National Park. One of the most special birds here has the National Park name; the Itatiaia Spinetail, a typical mountaintop bird. On the way to the mountaintops we will have the chance to see other highland birds such as Rufous-tailed Antbird , the magnificent Black-and-gold Cotinga with its remarkable voice, Green-crowned Plovercrest, Bay-chested Warbling-Finch, Buff-throated Warbling-Finch , Mouse-colored Tapaculo, Araucaria Tit-Spinetail, Great Pampa Finch, Velvety Black-Tyrant, Blue-billed Black-Tyrant, Serra do Mar Tyrant-Manakin, Thick-billed Saltator, Rufous-tailed Antthrush and more. In the lower elevations some of the targets include Gilt-edged Tanager, Brassy-breasted Tanager, Ochre-rumped Antbird , Ferruginous Antbird, White-collared Foliage-gleaner, Frilled Coquette, Surucua Trogon, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Eared Pygmy-Tyrant and many more.

Black-and-gold Cotinga (Tijuca atra) adult male perched on branch in Atlantic Brazil

Days 5 - 6: Ubatuba

Ubatuba is an ocean paradise with a mix of surf culture, weekend city escapees and a relaxed local scene. Aside from a beach atmosphere, this coastal zone has a wilderness feel, being backed by a magnificent, forested mountainside: the Serra do Mar. This steep-sided range is chock-full of endemic birds.

We’ll leave Itatiaia and head for the coast at Ubatuba over the sinuous roads on the upper part of Serra do Mar. En route we’ll witness the impact that farming has had upon the once-lush hillsides, but the closer we get to the coast, the more pristine rainforest we’ll encounter. It is indeed impressive. In fact, the Serro do Mar State Park encompasses 332,000 ha of protected jungle, much of it difficult to access.

Bird species in Ubatuba we will look for include: Fork-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, Sao Paulo Tyrannulet, Ochre-breasted Foliage-gleaner, Black-cheeked Gnateater, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Red-necked Tanager, Green Honeycreeper, Slaty Bristlefront, and Rufous-capped Antthrush.

At feeders we could see Saw-billed Hermit, Black-throated Mango, Brazilian Ruby, Sombre Hummingbird, Glittering-throated Emerald, Versicolored Emerald, Black Jacobin, Scale-throated Hermit, Festive Coquette, White-chinned Sapphire and more.

Since this area holds some of the world’s most beautiful beaches, we should have a chance to dip our toes in the sand at some point.

Frilled Coquette

Day 7: Ubatuba to Salesópolis

We will begin the morning birding around Ubatuba to try to pick up any birds we haven't seen yet. We will then transfer to Salesópolis. This is one of the very few places in the world where you can see the critically endangered Marsh Antwren, described to science in 2014. The species is restricted to preserved wetlands surrounded by Atlantic forest.

Of course, a few other goodies are possible anywhere we stop, and in this case might include: Bertoni’s Antbird, Orange-breasted Thornbird, Drab-breasted Pygmy-Tyrant, Gilt-edged Tanager, Red-and-white Crake and Spix’s Spinetail. We’ll keep an eye out for Pileated Parrots flying overhead, and in the understory, the bamboo-loving Blackish-blue Seedeater. Night in Salesópolis.

Sao Paulo Antwren

Days 8 - 11: Intervales State Park

After a morning birding around Salesópolis, we continue on a half-day drive beyond the city to the southwest, for a couple of days at the most diverse birding site in the entire Atlantic rainforest: Intervales State Park. As a UNESCO Natural World Heritage Site, it is a critical parcel of protected mid-elevation rainforest. We will be sleeping and eating practically inside the forest, so in “resting hours” we can explore the surroundings at ease.

The area is excellent for birds, mammals, reptiles and botany. Some of the avian delights we might encounter here over four mornings include Variegated Antpitta, Short-tailed Antthrush, Spot-billed Toucanet, Squamate Antbird, Long-tufted Screech-Owl, Chestnut-backed Tanager, Chestnut-crested Puffbird, Oustalet’s Tyrannulet, Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Pearl-breasted Cuckoo, Hooded Berryeater, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow, Ash-throated Crake, Black-fronted Piping-Guan, Long-trained Nightjar and Blue-bellied Parrot. Two rare species we have a chance of seeing are Helmeted Woodpecker and Russet-winged Spadebill. Jaguar, tapir, peccary, monkeys and three species of brocket deer are found in this vast forest, along with other mammals.

Red-and-white Crake

Day 12: Morning birding then transfer to São Paulo (Guarulhos Airport) for evening International flights

We will spend our last morning birding in Intervales. After lunch, we will drive (~4.5 hours) to the airport in São Paulo, where you can catch your evening International flight home.

Solitary Tinamou
Departures & Prices

Departures

What's Included

Tour Price Includes

  • All accommodations (comfortable hotels in good birding locations)
  • All meals
  • Ground transportation (Bus or van with driver and AC)
  • Airport transfers
  • Eagle-Eye Tours guide + a local guide with 5 - 8 participants
  • All park, conservation, entrance fees

Tour Price Does Not Include

  • Travel to and from start/end location
  • Travel Insurance
  • Items of a personal nature

What to Expect

Overview
Our Brazil Atlantic Forest tour is primarily a birding tour. You can expect mostly early mornings with excursions before breakfast, or transfering to a new location. We will spend the majority of the day out birding. In the evening, after dinner, we will discuss the day’s events and sightings, listing the birds and other wildlife seen, and have a briefing for the next day’s activities.

Food
Most meals will be taken at the lodges, but on some days we have picnic lunches prepared, in order to maximize time in the field and allow for a more flexible schedule.

Accommodation

In general, the accommodations on this tour are good to basic. Accommodations don’t have heating systems.

Walking

Generally the walking on this tour is easy. In most of the places, there is very little walking, however, the longest walk might be up to 5km. We will do some birding by car stopping in strategic spots.

Driving
Our tour includes a few days with half-day drives of 3-4 hours and 1 drive of 6 hours, with stops along the way.

Climate

Temperatures can vary from 15 to 30ºC, during the day we can face warm temperatures, but at night and early morning it can be very cold, please bring warm and light clothes, a hat, and a raincoat; Rubber boots are useful in case of rain and for those who don’t like to have their boots full of mud or wet.

Featured Wildlife

Even though we cannot guarantee a sighting of the animals below, we feel quite confident that an encounter with the ones listed below is quite likely.

  • White-necked Hawk
  • Swallow-tailed Cotinga
  • Bare-throated Bellbird
  • Saffron Toucanet
  • White-bearded Antshrike
  • Green-crowned Plovercrest
  • Brazilian Tanager
  • Gilt-edged Tanager
  • Spotted Bamboowren
  • Slaty Bristlefront
  • Black-cheeked Gnateater
  • Such’s Antthrush
  • Itatiaia Spinetail
  • Fork-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant
  • Orange-eyed Thornbird
  • Marsh Antbird