Trip report: Brazil: The Pantanal and Amazon (Aug-Sept 2018) by Tropical Birding

Guided by Fito Downs. This was a set departure tour.

When most people talk about Brazil the first picture coming to our minds is the vast amazon rainforest. However, Brazil is much more than that. There are so many different habitats and some of them are highly endangered even more that the amazon, such as the cerrado (savanna) forest.

We started our trip by visiting the scenic Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park. It is located just 40 miles east from the fast-growing city of Cuiaba. Just outside the town is the geographic center of South America. Here, we saw some of the main cerrado species such as White-rumped Tanager, Black-throated Saltator, White-banded Tanager and the newly-described Chapada Flycatcher.

We then continued towards the Southern – Central Amazon portion of the trip at Cristalino Jungle Lodge. A very comfortable lodge surrounded by rainforest, daily boat rides, delicious food, forest trails and two observation towers gave us the key ingredients to fully enjoy our amazon experience.

At Cristalino we had unforgettable memories such as the amazing water pools where we saw our “most wanted” antbirds, pleasant boat trips with numerous sightings of Sunbitterns and Agami Herons, lovely views of the rainforest from the towers and the “Serra” view point and wonderful sunrise seen from the tower on one of the mornings. In addition to the birds, we also enjoyed encounters with monkeys, cayman, tapirs and river otters.

The Pantanal was simply spectacular. There is no other place in all of South America where you can combine birdwatching with photography so well like there. Birds and mammals share this unique ecosystem and we dedicated good time to finding our main targets such as Hyacinth Macaw, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Scarlet-headed Blackbird, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant and Helmeted Manakin. But, another reason to be in Pantanal was the fascinating Giant Anteater and the majestic Jaguar, both of which were seen very well indeed.