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GREAT RIVERS OF THE AMAZON II: Birding the Madeira-Tapajos Interfluvium
Live-aboard luxury on an adventurous birding tour through the lower Madeira-Tapajos interfluvium of central Amazonian Brazil; be ready for the unexpected!

Satellite view of our destination, the wilderness of the Madeira and Tapajos rivers! (Colorized version of original image courtesy of USGS/NASA Landsat)

For an informative overview of all our current itineraries to this country--and how to choose among them--see Field Guides Brazil Tours.

Ola amigos, we have another boat-based Great Rivers birding voyage ready for you! It will take us up tributaries and into forests that few birders (besides Bret and colleagues, on research expeditions) have ever seen, and give us a chance of finding many of the poorly known birds and some tiny primates endemic to the Madeira-Tapajos interfluvium. Both rivers are south-bank tributaries of the Rio Amazonas and are only about 270 miles apart at their mouths, but they could hardly be more different watercourses.

The Madeira is the single longest tributary of the Amazon, born in the Andean snowfields of Bolivia; it carries an unfathomable load of rich, volcanic silt to the wide floodplains of her lower reaches and those of the Amazon itself. Across the interfluvium to the east, the Tapajos finds its headwaters on the ancient Brazilian Shield. These Precambrian uplands are heavily eroded, their fertile topsoils long ago weathered away. Thus, the Tapajos runs relatively straight and free of particulate matter, with only a narrow band of seasonally flooded vegetation lining its banks. These great rivers define the ranges of numerous species and subspecies of birds.

A few of the more range-restricted species we'll be searching for along our transect include Bald and Vulturine parrots, Golden Parakeet (Ararajuba!), White-crested and "Blue-faced" (we'll fill you in) guans, Brown-breasted Barbet, Fiery-tailed Awlbill, Hoffmann's and Ocellated (the little-known, nominate form) woodcreepers, the distinctive snethlageae subspecies of Red-billed Scythebill, both White-breasted and Harlequin antbirds, Pale-faced Antbird, Opal-crowned and Flame-crested manakins, and Buff-cheeked Tody-Tyrant. We'll also be the first group to lay eyes on the recently described Sucunduri Flycatcher, described by Bret and Brazilian colleagues in 2013. Some exciting nightbirding could be in store at a couple of our stops as well.

Read or download formal descriptions from the "Special Volume" of the Handbook of Birds of the World (July 2013) of 15 new species of Amazonian birds, some of which may be found on this tour. Also available is the introduction to this chapter of the book in which Bret Whitney and Mario Cohn-Haft provide perspectives on new species discoveries across the Amazon basin.

Note: Many of you have been with us on these beautifully appointed boats over 20+ years of our Rio Negro Paradise: Manaus tours, and you know what a pleasure it is to travel the Amazon in this level of comfort and safety with your Field Guides guides calling the shots (there's nothing like some top-deck grilling like you see at right at the close of a great day of birding in the Amazon -- fresh-caught Peacock Bass with steaks and sausage!). So, we invite you to return for another run of a very different nature, or jump aboard for your first thrilling Amazon journey. Unfortunately, we'll be taking only 10 or 11 participants, so be sure to grab your space(s) as soon as you can!

Download an itinerary, triplist(s), request space, and see more about this tour...

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2019 Departures
Aug 2-17 ($7775)

2021 Departures
Jul 30 - Aug 14



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Guides for our tours
Bret Whitney
Tom Johnson

What to Expect
Moderate terrain, warm to hot climate, cool rivers.

Our staff travel agents can assist you with tour information, flight reservations and tour bookings. Contact us at (800) 728-4953
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