Manaus, Brazil: Amazon Rainforest & River Islands: Sep 04—17, 2017

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Price: $4,995
Departs: Manaus
Tour Limit: 8
Operations Manager: Erik Lindqvist
Download Itinerary: PDF (7.8 MB)

Route Map


Tour Leaders


Andrew Whittaker

Andrew Whittaker was born in England but considers himself to be Brazilian, having moved to ...

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Register for this Tour

Register for this tour by phone (800/328-VENT or 512/328-5221), or by downloading a tour registration form. Signed and completed forms can be faxed, mailed, or scanned and emailed to the VENT office.

Guianan Cock-of-the-rock

Guianan Cock-of-the-rock— Photo: Andrew Whittaker

An exploration of the magical Amazon rainforest and its mighty rivers; excellent birding along flat forested trails, wonderful canopy towers, and covered boats along the mighty Amazon and delightful Rio Negro; great exotic food and creature comforts, with midday breaks during the heat of the day.

Manaus is nestled deep in the heart of the immense Amazon rainforest, home to the greatest avian-rich ecosystem on our planet. This bustling city is positioned at the junction of the world’s two mightiest rivers, the Amazon and the Rio Negro, where vast quantities of warm black water collide with immense volumes of cooler, silt-laden white water from the Andes, forming the “wedding of the waters,” flowing side by side for miles. These two rivers have formed a natural barrier to countless birds and other fauna, causing many replacement sibling species to be found on opposite banks, thus making Manaus a perfect base for exploration of its lush, lowland rainforest and the biogeographic barriers that are home to a mega-diversity of plants and animals.

During the early twentieth century Manaus was the center of the Amazon’s rubber boom, which financed its famous Opera House (now restored to its full glory). A floating harbor constructed in 1902 is still intact and receives ocean-going vessels, an amazing 1,500 km inland from the Atlantic Ocean.

We have designed this tour to sample the special birds of both the Guianan and Imeri endemic centers while based at well-positioned forest lodges. We will bird trails through lush, towering lowland rainforest and orchid-rich stunted campina (sandy-belt forest), searching for vibrantly colorful cotingas, leks of colorful manakins, neat puffbirds, ant swarms, and huge mixed-species flocks, as well as working for shy forest-falcons and skulky antpittas, and delighting over amazing hummers such as Crimson Topaz.

Wire-tailed Manakin, male

Wire-tailed Manakin, male— Photo: Andrew Whittaker


On relaxing boat trips to bird-rich Amazon riverine islands, we will float through seasonally flooded igapó (black-water) and varzea (white-water) forests where annual floods cause the rivers to rise and fall a staggering 15 meters or more. We will seek many unique specialists (known only from these dynamic habitats) and admire the two species of fresh water river dolphins, including the legendary Pink River Dolphin, which has to be seen to be believed!

One of the many highlights of our trip to this majestic rainforest will be a visit to the famous INPA and Ducke canopy towers where colorful cotingas, macaws, parrots, toucans, puffbirds, jacamars, tanagers, trogons, and primates will pass by at eye level. On previous trips here we have seen Harpy or Crested Eagles and the rare Crimson Fruitcrow.

This tour will provide exceptional opportunities to see some of South America’s most wanted birds such as Guianan Cock-of-the-rock (at a lek), Crimson Topaz, Pompadour Cotinga, Guianan Red-Cotinga, countless parrots, manakins, antbirds, and up to four species of potoos, including the much sought after Rufous and White-winged, as well as several species of primates and much more.

Magnificent panoramic sunsets; starlit nights along secluded rivers while searching for mythical potoos; gazing upon the breathtakingly clear Milky Way—nothing can fully describe the magic of Amazonia. Its mega-biodiversity represents the most complex ecosystem anywhere on earth.

Good accommodations; two lodges in jungle clearings; electricity, air-conditioning, and private bathrooms; good food; birding excursions along forested trails; motorized covered canoes; two mornings at canopy towers; midday breaks; climate warm and humid, and very pleasant at night.