BRAZIL'S PANTANAL


Following our trip in October 2009 to South-east Brazil's Atlantic Rain Forest, we went on to Birdseekers other Brazil trip to the Pantanal in Matto Grosso in south west Brazil near the border with Bolivia. The trip included 5 days down the Transpantaneira south from Cuiaba followed by two days in the Serra das Araras north-west of Cuiaba and two days north-east of Cuiaba in Chapada dos Guimaraes on the edge of the Brazilian Plateau.  Our guides for this tour were Miguel Castelino of Trogon Tours and Steve Bird and Gina Nichol of Birdseekers. Chico Tours provided an air-conditioned coach and excellent driver, Manoel. The accommodations at Santa Tereza, Hotel Porto Jofre, Currupira das Araras and Pousada do Parque were all very good. Other trip members were 'Dicky' and Doreen Bird, Maurice Ewart, Derek Larner, Leslie Raven and David Todd. We saw 291 species of birds and heard another 8. We also saw 17 species of mammals and many reptiles, amphibians, butterflies and other insects. An altogether great trip.

Itinerary:

   14th Oct        via Rio de Janeiro and Sao Paulo to Cuiaba (with GOL) and on to Pocone and Santa Tereza

   15th Oct        Pixaim River at Santa Tereza and down the Transpantaneira to Porto Jofre

   16th Oct        Porto Jofre and the Cuiaba River

   17th Oct        from Porto Jofre via Santa Isavel to Santa Tereza

   18th Oct        from the Pixaim River and Santa Tereza via Cuiaba to Serra das Araras

    19th Oct        Serra das Araras

   20th Oct        from Serra das Araras via Cuiaba to Chapada dos Giuimaraes

   21st Oct        Chapada dos Guimaraes, Penhasco and Bridalveil Falls

   22nd Oct       Chapada dos Guimaraes and Vale do Jamaca to Cuiaba and Sao Paulo (with TAM)

   23rd Oct        Sao Paulo to Heathrow (with TAM)

Site Profiles:

Pantanal(PN): a huge complex of river channels and seasonal washlands which in the dry season, when we visited, offers a range of habitats including pasture and savanna grassland, rivers, pools and marshes, gallery forest, scrub and dry forest. Much of the area is managed by huge ranches and there is some seasonal burning of scrub and grassland.

Transpantaneira: a dirt road from Pocone in the north to Porto Jofre on the Cuiaba River in the south.

Santa Tereza(ST): this small settlement with a couple of hotels is situated on the Pixaim River about half way down the Transpantaneira. We stayed at the Pantanal Wildlife Centre otherwise known as the Hotel Fazenda Santa Tereza which had open grounds with bird tables, a tower hide overlooking a Jabiru nest, pastures and adjoining river bank with a trail through gallery forest and dry forest.

Pixaim River(PR): at Santa Tereza we hired boats on two occasions to ply the river in both directions exploring the  waters, lagoons and marshes of the river and its variably wooded and open banks.

Porto Jofre(PJ): Porto Jofre is situated at the end of the Transpantaneira on the banks of the Cuiaba River. Behind the Hotel Porto Jofre was a marsh and nearby were two areas of dry forest with broad tracks leading to the river. Surrounding all were cattle pastures with seasonal pools and palm groves.

Cuiaba River(CR): one afternoon we hired a boat for 6 hours on the Cuiaba River ostensibly to search for Jaguars. We failed in this but enjoyed other wildlife including Brazilian Tapir, Giant Otter, Sungrebe, Band-tailed Nighthawks and Fishing Bats along its wide waters and mainly forested banks.

Santa Isavel(SI): a private ranch with pasture and palm groves between Porto Jofre and Santa Tereza..

Serra das Araras(SA): near the town of Barras do Bugres, north west of Cuiaba, begins the southern Serras of the Amazonian region including the Serra das Araras. These are forested ridges and valleys with ranchlands in the lower parts. We stayed at the Currupira das Araras, a fazenda hotel, famous for its breeding Harpy Eagles. Forest and grassland intermingle to provide some dense forest but some open parkland, a good mix for the many raptors present. There were also some man-made pools and marshy areas, palm groves and gardens with fruiting and flowereing trees and bushes.

Chapada dos Guimaraes(CG): north east of Cuiaba near the town of Chapada dos Guimaraes one encounters the edge of the Brazilian Plateau or planalto. At the edge of the plateau are high sheer sandstone cliffs with some waterfalls and on top are extensive areas of low scrub forest known as cerrado. Here has been designated the Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park. We stayed in the National Park at the lovely Pousada do Parque. There are several dirt roads in the Park offering good transects of the habitat.

Penhasco(PH): the Pousada Penhasco is a large hotel overlooking the cliff-line forming the edge of Chapada dos Guimaraes. We had lunch here one day and explored the trail down the forested cliff and forest edge on the top of the cliff.

Bridalveil Falls(BF): at another area near the edge of the Chapada is a trail through open scrub (cerrado) to the cliffs and waterfall which gives its name to this site. Panoramic views can be had over the falls and the gorge leading from them.

Vale do Jamaca(VJ): at this small settlement not far from Chapada dos Guimaraes is a private track through gallery forest leading down to a stream and then ascending to open fields at the forest edge. The owner has a garden and house near the entrance.

Birds Recorded:



Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Little Tinamou 2 H SA
Great Tinamou 2 H SA
Undulated Tinamou 6 1+ PN,SA,CG
Small-billed Tinamou 3 2 CG
Red-winged Tinamou 3 1 SA,CG
Greater Rhea 3 5 PN,SA
Least Grebe 2 4 SA
Neotropic Cormorant 7 40+ PN,SA
Anhinga 4 20+ PN
Southern Screamer 6 25+ PN,SA
Muscovy Duck 4 5 PN,SA
Brazilian Teal 4 20+ ST,SA
Whistling Heron 3 2 PN
Snowy Egret 7 20+ PN,SA
Little Blue Heron 4 2 PN,SA
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Capped Heron 5 10 PN,SA
Cocoi Heron 5 20+ PN,SA
Great Egret 7 50+ PN,SA
Cattle Egret 7 20+ PN,SA,CG
Striated Heron 7 50+ PN,SA
Black-crowned Night-Heron 5 6+ PN
Boat-billed Heron 3 2 PN
Rufescent Tiger-Heron 5 20+ PN
Bare-faced Ibis 4 10+ PN
Plumbeous Ibis 5 8+ PN
Buff-necked Ibis 6 5 PN,SA
Green Ibis 6 20 PN,SA
Roseate Spoonbill 2 1 PN
Wood Stork 7 20+ PN,SA
Maguari Stork 5 10+ PN
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Jabiru 6 10 PN,SA
Black Vulture 9 30+ PN,SA,CG
Turkey Vulture 5 10 ST,CG
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture 5 25+ PN
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture 1 2+ SA
King Vulture 2 3 SA
Osprey 2 1 CR,PR
Grey-headed Kite 1 1 SA
Hook-billed Kite 1 1 SA
Swallow-tailed Kite 3 4 SA,CG
Pearl Kite 1 1 SA
Snail Kite 5 25+ PN
Mississippi Kite 1 50 CG
Plumbeous Kite 6 20+ PN,SA,CG
Tiny Hawk 2 1 SA
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Great Black hawk 5 6 PN
Savanna Hawk 6 10 PN,CG
Black-collared Hawk 5 10+ PN
Grey Hawk 2 1 SA,CG
Roadside Hawk 5 4 PN,SA,CG
White-tailed Hawk 2 1 PN,CG
Harpy Eagle 1 1 SA
Southern Caracara 9 30+ PN,SA,CG
Yellow-headed Caracara 1 2 CG
American Kestrel 4 2 SA,CG
Aplomado Falcon 2 1 PN,CG
Bat Falcon 4 3 PJ,SA,CG
Peregrine Falcon 1 1 CG
Chaco Chachalaca 5 20+ PN
Rusty-margined Guan  2 2 CG
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Chestnut-bellied Guan 1 2 PN
Spix's Guan 2 1 SA
Blue-throated Piping-Guan 2 20+ PN
Red-throated Piping-Guan 2 1 PN
Bare-faced Curassow 6 5 PN,SA
Grey-breasted Crake 1 H PN
Grey-necked Wood-Rail 5 10+ PN
Common Moorhen 1 2 ST
Sungrebe 3 3 PR,CR
Sunbittern 3 5+ PR,CR
Limpkin 5 50+ PN
Red-legged Seriema 2 2 PN
Wattled Jacana 7 10+ PN,SA
Solitary Sandpiper 7 3 PN,SA
Spotted Sandpiper 2 2 CR,PR
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
White-backed Stilt 1 5 PN
Collared Plover 1 1 PJ
Pied Lapwing 3 5 CR,PJ,PR
Southern Lapwing 9 10+ PN,SA,CG
Large-billed Tern 3 5 PR,CR
Yellow-billed Tern 2 1 CR
Feral Pigeon 3 6+ Cuiaba
Scaled Pigeon 5 10+ SA,CG
Picazuro Pigeon 6 2+ PN,CG
Pale-vented Pigeon 5 4+ PN,CG
Plumbeous Pigeon 2 1 SA
Eared Dove 4 6 PN
Scaled Dove 4 2+ PN,CG
Ruddy Ground-Dove 9 30+ PN,SA,CG
Picui Ground-Dove 5 10+ PN,CG
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Long-tailed Ground-Dove 1 2 PN
White-tipped Dove 8 10 PN,SA,CG
Hyacinth Macaw 5 15+ PN
Red-and-Green Macaw 1 3 BF
Red-bellied Macaw 1 5 SA
Blue-winged Macaw 3 10 CG
Golden-collared Macaw 1 2 PR
Red-shouldered Macaw 3 10+ SA
White-eyed Parakeet 5 50+ Pn,CG,BF
Dusky-headed Parakeet 2 6 SA
Peach-fronted Parakeet 2 2 PJ
Monk Parakeet 5 20+ PN
Yellow-chevroned Parakeet 8 50+ PN,SA,CG
Blue-headed Parrot 4 6 SA,CG
Scaly-headed Parrot 1 4 PN
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Blue-fronted Parrot 5 20 PN
Orange-winged Parrot 2 2 SA
Dark-billed Cuckoo 2 3 SA,CG
Squirrel Cuckoo 4 2 PN,SA,CG
Little Cuckoo 1 2 PN
Greater Ani 4 50 PN
Smooth-billed Ani 9 20+ PN,SA,CG
Guira Cuckoo 9 10+ PN,SA,CG
Striped Cuckoo 1 H PN
Pheasant Cuckoo 2 H SA
Great Horned Owl 2 2 PN
Ferruginous Pygmy-Owl 5 2 PN,SA,CG
Burrowing Owl 5 12+ SA,CG
Common Potoo 1 2 SA
Lesser Nighthawk 1 15 CG
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Band-tailed Nighthawk 2 60 PN,CR
Nacunda Nighthawk 1 1 CG
Pauraque 3 6+ PN
Spot-tailed Nightjar 2 1+ PN
Great Dusky Swift 1 20 BF
Biscutate Swift 1 20+ BF
Planalto Hermit 2 2 CG
Swallow-tailed Hummingbird 1 1 CG
White-vented Violet-ear 2 2+ CG
Black-throated Mango 2 2 PJ,SA
Glittering-bellied Emerald 2 2 CG
Fork-tailed Woodnymph 3 1 SA,CG
Glittering-throated Emerald 1 1 PN
Horned Sungem 2 1 CG
Blue-tufted Starthroat 1 1 PJ
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Black-tailed Trogon 1 1 SA
Black-throated Trogon 1 1 SA
Blue-crowned Trogon 5 4 PN
Ringed Kingfisher 5 25+ PN
Amazon Kingfisher 4 20 PN,SA
Green Kingfisher 5 5+ PN
Green-and-Rufous Kingfisher 2 2 PR
American Pygmy Kingfisher 2 2 PR,CR
Blue-crowned Motmot 3 1 SA,CG
Brown Jacamar 1 3 SA
Rufous-tailed Jacamar 2 1 PR,PJ
White-necked Puffbird 1 1 SA
White-eared Puffbird 2 2 CG
Black-fronted Nunbird 6 6 PN,SA
Swallow-wing 4 8 SA,CG
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Lettered Aracari 2 5 SA
Chestnut-eared Aracari 5 6 PN,SA,CG
Yellow-ridged (Channel-billed) Toucan  2 2 CG
Toco Toucan 8 6 PN,SA,CG
White Woodpecker 2 3 PN.SA
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker 4 4 SA,CG
Little Woodpecker 3 2 PN,SA,CG
Golden-Green Woodpecker 1 1 PJ
Green-barred Woodpecker 1 1 Pocone
Campo Flicker 4 2+ PN,CG
Pale-crested Woodpecker 2 1 PJ,SA
Cream-coloured Woodpecker 2 1 ST,SA
Lineated Woodpecker 2 2 SA
Crimson-crested Woodpecker 1 2 PN
Straight-billed Woodcreeper 1 1 SA
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Buff-throated Woodcreeper 2 1 PN,SA
Narrow-billed Woodcreeper 3 1 PN,BF
Red-billed Scythebill 2 2 PJ
Pale-legged Hornero 3 6+ PR,CR
Rufous Hornero 9 20+ PN,SA,CG
Chotoy Spinetail 1 1 PJ
Sooty-fronted Spinetail 1 1 PH
Pale-breasted Spinetail 1 1 CG
White-lored Spinetail 2 3+ PR,PJ
Rusty-backed Spinetail 1 6+ PR
Yellow-chinned Spinetail 1 1 PN
Rufous-fronted(Common) Thornbird 1 4 PN
Greater Thornbird 4 2+ PN
Grey-crested Cachalote 5 2 PN
Great Antshrike 1 1 PJ
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Barred Antshrike 4 2 PN,CG
Rufous-winged Antshrike 1 1 CG
Plain Antvireo 2 2 SA,CG
Large-billed Antwren 2 2 ST,CG
Rusty-backed Antwren 1 1+ CG
Matto Grosso Antbird 1 2 ST
White-backed Fire-eye 1 1 SA
Band-tailed Antbird 1 2 ST
Band-tailed Manakin 2 2 SA,VJ
Helmeted Manakin 1 1+ PH
Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant 1 1 PJ
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant 1 1 ST
Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher 3 1 PN
Common Tody-Flycatcher 1 1 PN
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet 4 1 PN,CG
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Chapada Flycatcher 1 2 CG
Forest Elaenia 2 2 PN,SA
Yellow-bellied Elaenia 1 1 CG
White-crested Elaenia 1 6+ CG
Plain-crested Elaenia 2 2 CG
Lesser Elaenia 1 2+ CG
Yellow-Olive Flycatcher 1 H ST
Swallow (Cliff) Flycatcher 1 2 BF
Fuscous Flycatcher 2 3 PN
Vermilion Flycatcher 1 1 ST
Grey Monjita 1 2 CG,Campo Grande
Black-backed Water-Tyrant 4 3 PN
White-headed Marsh-Tyrant  4 2+ PN
Cattle Tyrant 5 50 PN
Dull-capped Attila 2 1 PJ,SA
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Swainson's Flycatcher 1 2+ ST
Short-crested Flycatcher 3 3 PN
Tropical Kingbird 9 10+ PN,SA,CG
Fork-tailed Flycatcher 4 4 PN,SA
Variegated Flycatcher 2 1 SA,CG
Boat-billed Flycatcher 6 10 PN,CG
Streaked Flycatcher 4 1 PN,SA
Rusty-margined Flycatcher 5 10 PN,SA
Piratic Flycatcher 2 1 PN
Lesser Kiskadee 3 1+ PR,CR
Great Kiskadee 9 20+ PN,SA,CG
White-winged Becard 1 1 PJ
Black-tailed Tityra 1 1 PJ
Masked Tityra 3 2 SA,CG
Black-crowned Tityra 2 2 PN,CG
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Purplish Jay 7 6 PN,CG
Curl-crested Jay 2 10+ CG
Rufous-browed Peppershrike 3 2 PR,SA,CG
Ashy-headed Greenlet 3 1 PN
Rufous-bellied Thrush 5 2+ Pocone,SA,CG
Pale-breasted Thrush 3 4 CG
Creamy-bellied Thrush 1 1 CG
White-necked Thrush 1 H VJ
Chalk-browed Mockingbird 6 10 PN,SA,CG,BF
Black-capped Donacobius 5 10 PN
Thrush-like Wren 6 4+ PN,SA
Moustached Wren 4 1 PJ,SA
Buff-breasted Wren 1 H ST
Fawn-breasted Wren 2 2 PJ
Masked Gnatcatcher 3 2 PJ
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
White-winged Swallow 5 20+ PN
White-rumped Swallow 1 2+ CR
Brown-chested Martin 6 6+ PN,CG
Grey-breasted Martin 7 10+ PN,SA,CG
Blue-and-White Swallow 1 4 CG
Southern Rough-winged Swallow 6 10+ PN,SA,CG
House Sparrow 5 10+ PN,CG
Yellowish Pipit 1 2 SI
(Southern)Masked Yellowthroat 1 1 PH
White-bellied Warbler 2 6+ CG,PH
Rufous-collared Sparrow 1 1 CG
Grassland Sparrow 3 5 SI,CG
Saffron-billed Sparrow 1 1 PH
Red-crested Cardinal 2 2 ST
Yellow-billed Cardinal 5 20+ PN
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Black-faced Tanager 2 4 CG
White-banded(Shrike-like) Tanager 2 2+ CG
White-rumped Tanager 2 2+ CG
Cinnamon Tanager 1 1 CG
Magpie Tanager 3 4+ SA
Guira Tanager 1 2 CG
Grey-headed Tanager 1 1 SA
White-shouldered Tanager 1 2 SA
White-lined Tanager 3 10+ CG
Hepatic Tanager 2 2 CG,BF
Silver-beaked Tanager 6 10+ PN,CG
Sayaca Tanager 6 10+ PN,CG
Palm Tanager 10+ PN,SA,CG
Purple-throated Euphonia 2 1 CG
Thick-billed Euphonia 1 2 VJ
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Burnished-Buff Tanager 1 4 CG
Blue Dacnis 2 4 CG
Red-legged Honeycreeper 1 1+ CG
Swallow-Tanager 3 10+ CG
Red-crested(Red Pileated) Finch 1 3+ CG
Saffron Finch 5 20+ PN
Blue-Black Grassquit 7 6+ PN,SA,CG
Plumbeous Seedeater 2 5 CG
Rusty-collared Seedeater 4 6+ PN
Lined Seedeater 1 1 PJ
Double-collared Seedeater 3 2 PN,CG
White-bellied Seedeater 2 2 PJ
Dark-throated Seedeater 1 2 PJ
Lesser(Chestnut-bellied) Seedfinch  2 1 PJ
Buff-throated Saltator 1 2 PH
Species No. of Days Max No. Sites Recorded
Greyish Saltator 5 2+ PN,SA
Black-throated Saltator 3 2 SA,CG
Green-winged Saltator 1 1 BF
Crested Oropendola 2 4+ CR,VJ
Yellow-rumped Cacique 8 30+ PN,SA,VJ
Solitary Cacique 3 10+ PN
Epaulet Oriole 2 6+ PJ,CG
Orange-backed Troupial 5 2 PN,SA
Unicoloured Blackbird 4 50+ PN
Scarlet-headed Blackbird 1 1 PN
Chopi Blackbird 6 20+ PN,SA,CG
Bay-winged Cowbird 3 6+ PN
Shiny Cowbird 5 10+ PN,SA
Giant Cowbird  5 2+ PN,SA

Mammals Recorded: 

Giant Anteater, Fishing(Lesser Bulldog) Bat, Bare-eared Marmoset, Brown Capuchin Monkey, Black-and-Gold Howler Monkey, Maned Wolf, Crab-eating Fox, Crab-eating Racoon, South American Coati, Giant Otter, Ocelot, Brazilian Tapir, Red Brocket Deer, Marsh Deer, Brazilian Cavy, Capybara and Azara's Agouti.

Other Records:

Pantanal Cayman, Common Iguana, Common Tegu Lizard, Tropidurus oreadicus, Common House Gecko, Amazon Race-Runner, Cane Toad, Hila sp. Tree Frog, Giant Swallowtail Butterfly, Malachite Butterfly, Cattleheart White Butterfly, Crescent sp. Butterfly, Blue Morpho Butterfly, Owl Butterfly and Microceris variicolor (Firetip Butterfly).


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