Southeastern Brazil: Best of the Atlantic Forest Oct 08—22, 2017

Posted by Andrew Whittaker

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Andrew Whittaker

Andrew Whittaker was born in England but considers himself to be Brazilian, having moved to this biodiverse country in 1987 to work for the Smithsonian Institution, banding...

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Once again, our Brazilian flagship tour visiting the lovely southeast rocked, delivering a bonanza of Atlantic Forest endemics, spectacular scenery, all-around great birding, and wonderful Brazilian cuisine that we have come to expect from this fantastic biologically rich region. First and foremost we tallied 391 species, a whopping 140 of which were regional and/or Brazilian endemics! These figures become all the more impressive when you consider that many of the wider ranging species not included as “endemics” in the preceding tallies are represented in southeast Brazil by distinctive subspecies endemic to the Atlantic Forest region, and that at least 15–25 of these subspecies that we recorded during our tours are likely to be elevated to separate species status in the near future!

Buff-fronted Owl

Buff-fronted Owl— Photo: Andrew Whittaker

 

Beginning in São Paulo, our first destination was Intervales State Park, my own personal favorite among the many great birding spots included in our southeast Brazil trip. Intervales never fails to deliver a huge serving of Atlantic Forest endemics and just plain fantastic birding experiences, and such was the case again this trip. We began the first evening with one of my personal highlights, the fabulous and incredibly cooperative male Long-trained Nightjar. In fact, the male Long-trained Nightjars put on a show for us on two consecutive nights, treating us to multiple close passes, with two males chasing each other just above our heads. On a couple of occasions the dominant male’s ridiculously long tail almost touched our heads as it danced over us, swooping down and carefully landing right in front of us, and yes, ever so slowly bringing down its white tail streamers (as if in slow motion) so as not to damage them. They are extremely important to attract females. WOW! He then sat frozen in our spotlight beam within 20 feet of us! 

Read Andrew’s full report in his Field List.