We visited SE Brazil again in October 2015. Pat Cole sent us a selection of her lovely photographs for your enjoyment!


The Maned Wolf that visits the monastery at Caraca every night makes quite a sight. This year it gave us the run around, but thankfully appeared just after 8pm on our last night.


We found a day-roosting Tawny-browed Owl at REGUA.


Brassy-breasted Tanager is just one of a number of colourful tanagers that are regularly seen.


This Scaly-throated Hermit was a frequent visitor to the feeders at Itororo Lodge.


A male Masked Yellowthroat sings from a small marsh near Caraca.


Masked Water Tyrants were seen every day.


Cipo Cinclodes - a bird new to science! It was discovered in 2011 and described in 2012. Its nearest close relative is over 1000km to the south, in southern Brazil. It is distinctive, not skulking, occurs a couple of hours north of a city of six million people, and can be found along a track to a waterfall, popular with tourists. If this bird can go so long undetected, what else must be lurking unseen in South America?


This male Hooded Tanager put on a fantastic display.


This skulking Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper.


Only rarely can the red crown of the male Pileated Finch be seen well.



Here are a few of Paul's photographs, plus a short video, from the 2015 trip.



We saw many flycatchers during the trip. This Yellow Tyrannulet was particularly confiding.


Three-toed Jacamar is a rare but reliable highlight.


Swallow-tailed Cotingas were seen at Caraca and Pico da Caledonia


Squirrel Cuckoos are widespread, but always nice to see.


This Solitary Tinamou chick was a surprise find along a trail. It wanted to come home with us!


Saffron Toucanets can be tricky to find, but this year we had multiple sightings.


Reddish-bellied Parakeets are regular on the feeders at Itororo Lodge, the new base for Serra dos Tucanos Tours.


Orange-eyed Thornbirds rarely show this well.


This Northern Crescent-chested Puffbird was the first we have seen on this itinerary.


Hooded Berryeater was one of six cotingas we saw.


Golden-chevroned Tanagers look dull in the canopy, but not so at eye level on the lodge bird table!


Gilt-edged Tanagers do not visit the bird tables, but great views are still possible.


The unusual Magpie Tanager is a regular visitor to Itororo Lodge.


This year we visited the REGUA reserve and saw wetland species, including this Capybara.


Blue Dacnis was regularly seen throughout the trip.


Anhinga at the REGUA Reserve.







Tim Parkinson was a customer on our 2013 trip. He took lots of lovely photographs.  Here is a link to some of his best shots.


Green-headed Tanager is a common bird on the birdtables at Tucanos Lodge. Brasilia Tapaculo is a globally scarce and local bird. We got amazing views this year.



In October 2013 Paul accompanied a group to the south-east Brazilian states of Minas Gerais and Rio de Janeiro. They visited Canastra, Cipo, Caraca and Serra dos Tucanos Lodge.

A fun time was had by all!


Here is the group at Cipo, having just seen the newly discovered Cipo Cinclodes (below).


Cipo Cinclodes - a bird new to science! It was discovered in 2011 and described in 2012. Its nearest close relative is over 1000km to the south, in southern Brazil. It is distinctive, not skulking, occurs a couple of hours north of a city of six million people, and can be found along a track to a waterfall, popular with tourists. If this bird can go so long undetected, what else must be lurking unseen in South America?


White-eyed Parakeets are common. This one was in the garden of our Pousada at Canastra.


The plumage of this male Swallow Tanager perfectly matches the colour of the sky. We had great weather for much of the trip. Only near Rio did the skies turn grey, but even then we kept dry most of the time.


This Short-crested Flycatcher is one one several very similar species. Ricardo Parrini, our ace local guide, was able to identify all the tricky species by call.

Striped Cuckoos are normally very skulking, but this one put on a great show for us at Canastra.


We found this Yellow-olive Flycatcher's nest, hanging down from a bare twig like a bit of rubbish.


This Streaked Flycatcher was nesting in the same spot as the Yellow-olive Flycatcher. Its nest was in a broken bamboo branch.


Rare Golden-capped Parakeets we seen regularly in the garden of our pousada at Canastra. Here the pair engage in a bit of allopreening. Sweet!


A pair of Red-legged Seriemas was seen in the garden of the pousada at Canastra. They were unbelievably tame.


Every birdwatcher who visits Canastra wants to see a Brazialian Marganser, one of the rarest ducks in the world. We have a 100% success rate on this itinerary.


Rather most colourful and obliging than the merganser, Toco Toucan were seen every day at Canastra.


Burrowing Owls are common at Canastra, and are often seen perched on termite mounds...


... as well as old pipes.


Here is one sat by the entrance to its burrow.


Another speciality of Canastra is the Giant Anteater. We found two this year on the plateau.

Amazingly, both had young, which from time to time would climb on to the mothers' back for a free ride!


Two specialities of the cerrado and campo habitats at Canastra, the White-eared Puffbird and Sharp-tailed Tyrant.


A pair of Ferruginous Pygmy-owls was seen at Canastra. One was a grey morph, the other red.


The Cinnamon Tanager is regular in mixed flocks at Canastra.


Chestnut-headed Blackbirds nest around a pond at Canastra, and give superb close views.


Here the group has a well earnt rest on the path to the Casca d'Anta waterfall at Canastra.

Great Dusky Swifts (below) nest behind the waterfall, providing a true Attenborough moment (from The Life of Birds).


This stunning butterfly was later identified as a Plutargas Metalmark (Caria plutargas) - or something very similar (many thanks to Paul Kingsnorth for his detective work)


Even common birds can be stunning. The Rufous-collared Sparrow is one of the most common and conspicuous birds in South America, and as such it is often ignored. This photograph illustrates just how pretty they are.


The Tyrant Flycatchers are a diverse New World group. We saw many species, including Fork-tailed Flycatcher....


Yellow-browed Tyrant....

... and Streamer-tailed Tyrant


Campo Flickers were common in the grasslands at Canastra.

Manakins are a highlight of any visit to the Neotropics. On this tour we saw Pin-tailed, Blue, White-bearded and this stunning Helmeted.


Black-tailed Tityra was seen near our pousada at Canastra.


This Black-tufted Marmoset was a nice find at Cipo.


Crested Black-tyrants are common in the cerrado at Cipo and Canastra.


Moving on to Caraca, we stayed in this beautiful converted monastery. Located in a remote valley east of Belo Horizonte, the monastery is famous for its nightly visits of Maned Wolf....


This Masked Water-tyrant was nesting by a small pond at Caraca.

Great Kiskadee at Caraca.


Cliff Flycatchers find the walls of the monastery very much to their liking.


Given complete protection, Dusky-legged Guans become habituated around the monastery.


This Sapphire-spangled Emerald was feeding at flowers in front of the monastery.


Another common bird that deserves a second look, the Social Flycatcher.


A family of Masked Titi Monkeys included this female with a small baby. Cute?


Caraca is also a great place to see Swallow-tailed Cotinga, a beautiful member of a fascinating family.


Our final port of call was the wonderful Serra dos Tucanos Lodge, set in the heart of the Atlantic Forest near Rio de Janeiro. The grounds are full of birds, and excursions from the lodge are very rewarding.


This Slaty-breasted Wood-rail is one of the less usual visitors to the lodge gardens.


White-tufted-ear Marmosets come to the bird tables daily.


Black Jacobin is the most numerous hummingbird at the lodge's feeders.


Green-headed Tanagers are common in the garden, attracted to bananas that are put out for them.


Birds that can be seen on excursions from the lodge are many and varied. This Southern Lapwing was nesting in some cleared ground near Orgaos National Park.


The call of Bare-throated Bellbirds fills the air at Orgaos.


Grey-hooded Attilas can be seen on trails at the lodge.

This pair of Spot-billed Toucanets was one of the highlights on the lodge trails.


Saffron Toucanet is another speciality of the area.


We saw this Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper at Portao Azul.


The Yellow-throated Spinetail is very disctinctive.


Half-collared Sparrow is a highly sought-after endemic. We got great views this year, after our driver heard it singing.


The localised Three-toed Jacamar is an iconic bird of the area.


Long-tailed Tyrant is fairly common and conspicuous.


This Rufous-breasted Leaftosser chick was being taught how to forage by its parent.


Pin-tailed Manakins are easy to locate at Tucanos Lodge, by their Blue Tit-like call.


A heliconia butterfly at Tucanos.





We have just completed another successful trip to SE Brazil, visiting Cipo, Caraca, Canastra and the Atlantic Forest at Serra dos Tucanos Lodge. As well as seeing the critically endangered Brazilian Merganser (three trips out of three with customers here) we saw masses of other birds such as Black-and-gold Cotinga, Brassy-breasted Tanager and Giant Antshrike. The Maned Wolves were pretty good too. Here we showcase a few photographs sent by customer Paul Kingsnorth, as well as some of leader Paul Willoughby's efforts.




Our first base was Cipo, where we saw the endemic Cipo Canastero, as well as this Grey-backed Tachuri.


This Hyacinth Visorbearer was bird of the day. See how its throat colour changed with angle.


The Tawny-headed Swallow is a scarce bird at Cipo and Canastra, whilst the Southern Beardless Tyrannulet is common and widespread.


Fork-tailed Flycatchers are common and conspicuous through Brazil, and were one of the first spectacular birds we saw as we left the airport.


This pair of Burrowing Owls were in the lower section of Cipo National Park.


Our afternoon in the lower section of the park ended with nice sightings of Wedge-tailed Grass Finch ....


.... and Streamer-tailed Tyrant


On our second morning at Cipo we birdwatched at Serra Morena and saw this White-eared Puffbird, a typical cerrado species.


We then moved on to Caraca, staying at the famous monastery there. The Dusky-legged Guans are protected in the national park here, and are therefore rather confiding.


The endemic Velvety Black-tyrant is common at Caraca.


The Pale-throated Serra finch is both scarce and local, and has a very small world range.


We found this Imperial Moth during the daytime at Caraca. It had probably only recently emerged.


Our next destination was Canastra, where we saw many great birds, despite some unseasonal weather. This Chestnut-headed Blackbird was seen whilst the sun was still shining!


A pair of Plumbeous Kites fed on emerging winged termites following a rain shower.


In the gallery forest at the bottom of Casca d'Anta waterfall, a pair of Rufous Casiornis showed well.


These Great Dusky Swifts were nesting and roosting under the waterfall. A true Attenborough 'Life of Birds' moment.


Whilst waiting for Brazilian Merganser, there were lots of other birds to watch. This Crested Black-tyrant posed beautifully.


Every trip has its record shots, and here is this one. A family of ultra rare Brazilian Mergansers.


Common Thornbird is easy to find. Just look for the large stick nests.


We entered the upper section of the national park, but found the weather to be a challenge. Note that all the birds are photographed in the rain.


This Cock-tailed Tyrant had no way of escaping the weather, but was still a beautiful bird to see.


A Campo Flicker had the same problem, and chose to sit it out on top of a termite mound.


When we revisited the lower section it was raining too. This Great Antshrike looks rather wet!


At last, it has stopped raining and the birds show their true colour again. Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Yellow-browed Tyrant and Band-tailed Hornero.


Our final destination was the Atlantic Forest, just inland of Rio. This is Orgaos National Park, with Rio Bay in the distant background.


Our base was the lovely Serra dos Tucanos Lodge, owned by British birder Andy Foster. In the gardens there are flowering trees and feeders, and birds abound.


There are some great birds attracted to the bird tables. Even this Slaty-breasted Wood-rail.


Green-headed Tanager


Green Honeycreeper


and Chestnut-bellied Euphonia


On an excursion we visited the Theodoro trail. We walked this 'old road' which has been reclaimed by the forest. The last vehicle travelled this road some 25 years ago.


A Horned Frog was found on the path


The scenery was wonderful.


Two mating Giant Land Snails.  Any product placement is purely accidental!

and a frog...


a moth that was imitating a spider. Just look at those fury front legs!


The very localised Three-toed Jacamar is very reliable.


Sheltering from an afternoon shower.


Black-necked Aracari



an eighty eight butterfly


A male Suracua Trogon


Swallow Tanager


the delicate fruiting body of a phallus fungus. The smell was not so delicate!


Slaty-breasted Wood-rail


Green-headed Tanager


Brazilian Tanager


Violet-capped Woodnymph male


The stunning Red-necked Tanager.


Endemic Black Jacobin


Sombre Hummingbird


This Black-cheeked Gnateater was seen on the lodge trail


The beautiful Black-and-Gold Cotinga gave great views, but photographing it was almost impossible. It is an iconic bird of the Atlantic Forest, and has a haunting song.


This Red-legged Seriema surprised us at lunch time.


This female Plovercrest was nice, but the males are amazing. One day we'll get a photograph...


Grey-hooded Attila.



Here are our photographs from previous years.


Brazilian Merganser is one of the rarest ducks in the world. This pair were seen displaying, before they took their family fishing.

Phil and Sue Jones visited Brazil with us in October 2009. The trip was a great success, with Maned Wolf and Giant Anteater amongst the mammalian highlights, plus birds such as Black-and-Gold Cotinga, Bare-throated Bellbird, Hooded Berryeater, Grey-winged Cotinga, Red-ruffed Fruitcrow and Brazilian Merganser. Here is a selection of the photographs they kindly sent us...

Yellow-billed Blue Finch, Cipo

A pair of White Woodpeckers

Swallow-tailed Hummingbird

Swallow-tailed Cotinga at Caraca

Rufous-tailed Jacamar

Plumbeous Kite

Magpie Tanager

Giant Anteater

Fork-tailed Flycatcher

Cliff Flycatcher

Cinereous Warbling-finch

Chequered Woodpecker

Caraca Monastery

Blackish Rail




Please note: The above photographs were taken on previous trips. Itineraries change from time to time and therefore you cannot rely on these photographs as being an exact representation of what can be expected on a future tour. For details of the each tour, you should refer to the brochure write-up.





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