A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Brazil: Bahia Birding Bonanza 2023

February 4-18, 2023 with Bret Whitney and local guide Rafael Félix guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Ours was a wonderful bunch of birders and personalities on the second run of Field Guides's new Bahia Birding Bonanza tour, led by me (Bret Whitney) with local guide Rafael Félix and, for the first three days, also with Field Guides's own Marcelo Barreiros (front row, green shirt) with whom I had just finished co-leading an excellent Nowhere But Northeast Brazil tour. Photo by local guide Rafael Félix.

Following a grand birding adventure through Northeast Brazil, three people continued on for the Bahia Birding Bonanza, and we were joined in Salvador by three additional participants and our trusty local guide, Rafael Félix, a native of Bahia. Marcelo Barreiros co-led the Northeast Brazil tour with me, and he was able to continue with us for the first few days of birding north of Salvador. What a GREAT little group were we!

Our first day of birding was pretty spectacular, I must say. Having enjoyed breakfast as a serene sunrise played across the Atlantic Ocean to the beautiful beaches of Bahia, we jumped out of the blocks in a cerrado-like enclave, getting excellent views of ardently hoped-for Horned Sungems, a pair of Spot-backed Puffbirds, Southern Scrub Flycatcher, Plain-crested Elaenia, Swainson’s Flycatcher, and to top it off, a gorgeous, singing male Blue Finch! But wait, there was another amazing event that early morning: our attention was drawn to quite a ruckus happening in one particular tree about 20 feet tall, with everything from gnatcatchers to flycatchers to tanagers and a peppershrike fluttering around and scolding the heck out of... something! I suspected they were mobbing a snake, and sure enough, we soon spotted a long, green, racer-type serpent moving in the upper left part of the tree. The snake immediately dropped a good 15 feet straight to the ground, but even as it did so we could see that it had something in its mouth. We ran over to the tree and found it there in the grass, a South American Green Racer, mouthing a baby bird – a nestling Hooded Tanager! It had dropped out of the tree to avoid getting hit by any of the mobbing birds, and there proceeded the inexorable swallowing of prey. Looking around for a moment, I found the tanagers’ nest near where we had first spotted the snake; it was too high up for us to determine whether or not it held another nestling. This was a rare and fascinating encounter to witness (check out the video, below), but it was already coming up on 10:00 and there were miles to go and birds to behold before we’d rest…

Lunch in the little resort town of Praia do Forte was bracketed with productive birding on a beautifully manicured trail through dense restinga (stunted, woody habitat on ancient, quartzitic deposits with many cacti and terrestrial bromeliads) that yielded our first Spotted Piculets and dynamite views of Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant, and some mangroves that serve as a roosting area for Lesser Nighthawks and a colony of Long-nosed Bats. Next up was a suspenseful but ultimately very successful hunt for the rare Fringe-backed Fire-eye, followed immediately by a fabulous half-hour in the peaceful presence of a low, close Maned Three-toed Sloth, one of the rarest mammals in the Atlantic Forest of Brazil… with a baby! They were within probably 50 meters of where we had found them on the 2022 tour. After this experience, I’ll hazard a guess that they’ll be pretty nearby again, next year ;-)

Northern coastal Bahia harbors some of the most impressive, least-disturbed mangrove forests in eastern South America; many trees are 20-30 feet tall. Wending our way through these stately forests in small boats, we soon found Mangrove Rail, Little Wood-Rail, Rufous Crab-Hawk, Plain-bellied Emerald, and Bicolored Conebill – with hundreds of herons and egrets on all sides. We also birded restingas with some Cecropia trees on high dunes of pure white sand, a special habitat indeed, in search of the parakeet Rafael discovered here just a few years ago – a Pyrrhura related to the rare, and far-disjunct Gray-breasted Parakeet endemic to the Serra de Baturité of Ceará (which we see on the Northeast Brazil tour). We enjoyed wonderful views of a small flock of the parakeets, which was really exciting, and also saw our first Golden-capped Parakeets and Caatinga Cacholotes. Back in town, Rafael learned that a parakeet chick had been taken from its nest cavity by a local man who was holding it for ransom – which, with the influence of local governmental authorities, Rafael managed to rescue. He took the baby bird back to Salvador for his mom to care for until it could grow large and strong enough to (soon) be released to join wild birds in habitat. That beautiful restinga also produced a pair of rare Pectoral Antwrens, which appeared to be feeding young, probably fledglings already out of the nest. Heading back to Salvador, we made a couple of stops to scan extensive cattail- and sedge-dominated marshlands. Boy, was that fun birding! Brian quickly spotted us a Pinnated Bittern, and a second bird appeared shortly thereafter – sweet! Also present were several Azure Gallinules, a couple of which had chicks, a cooperative Ash-throated Crake, a loudly duetting pair of Black-capped Donacobius, and it was fun to directly compare White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Black-backed Water-Tyrant, and Masked Water-Tyrant. An excellent hour or so in a large block of lowland forest produced a pair of rare Pernambuco Foliage-gleaners, a skulking Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, and several handsome Blue-backed Manakins.

Our next venues were very, very different from those north-coastal habitats! Three days around Poções and Boa Nova, in southern Bahia, saw us birding these distinct biomes: “mata-de-cipó” (“vine forest” maintained on the highest hilltops by the vestiges of humidity from persistent Atlantic tradewinds); humid, hilly Atlantic Forest between about 400 and 900 meters elevation; and even some remnant caatinga scrub, much like some areas of the interior Northeast. Highlights included a host of rare and local antbirds and ovenbirds: Narrow-billed Antwren, Slender-billed Antbird, White-bibbed Antbird, Rio de Janeiro Antbird; Spot-backed, Tufted, Silvery-cheeked and Barred (Caatinga) antshrikes; Black-capped, Ochre-breasted, and White-eyed foliage-gleaners; Pale-browed Treehunter, Striated Softtail, Bahia Spinetail, Sharp-tailed Streamcreeper, and Black-billed Scythebill. In the “drop-dead gorgeous” category were Swallow-tailed and Pin-tailed manakins, and big numbers of Gilt-edged Tanagers. A fun couple of hours birding a rocky outcrop with scattered flowering cacti produced lots of fancy Swallow-tailed Hummingbirds, several male and female Ruby Topaz, Sapphire-spangled Emerald, Amethyst Woodstar, and a Stripe-breasted Starthroat, plus Caatinga Antwren, Narrow-billed Woodcreeper, and White-crested Tyrannulet. We also enjoyed wonderful views of East Brazilian Chachalaca, Surucua Trogon, several displaying Red-ruffed Fruitcrows (wow!), and Fork-tailed and Drab-breasted pygmy-tyrants in humid forest, and in drier habitats, Cactus Parakeets, White Monjitas, Hangnest Tody-Tyrant, and the recently split (now endemic) Bahia Wagtail-Tyrant. But the rare and local Bahia Tyrannulet escaped our diligent procurement on a rather rainy day…

As we pulled up to an extensive cacao plantation east of Boa Nova, on the longest (half-day) drive of the tour, en route to Itacaré and Serra Bonita, I was still beating myself up over having missed Pink-legged Graveteiro on our 2022 tour. But I was also feeling good about our chances on that beautiful late morning, and sure enough, within one minute of getting out of the van, I heard the graveteiro deliver a full song! It was very far away, so we hustled down the road to get under the huge, native trees that have been left to shade the cacao, where we expected to find the birds foraging high in the canopy with a mixed-species flock. We found the flock immediately, but it was a full 10 minutes, not a peep out of the birds, before I finally glimpsed the graveteiro. As everyone was getting on it, I gave it more playback and a graveteiro flew across to another tree, and landed much lower, staring down at us. I told everyone to watch closely, that I thought the bird was ready to drop towards us… and with one more playback, it did just that, plummeting at least 40 feet to land in the top of a cacao tree only 10 feet above ground and 15 feet from us! Everyone scrambled to get photos, and I to make video, but the bird stayed put for only a few seconds before returning to the canopy to join its mate. Watching a while (now much more leisurely!), we saw the graveteiro fly about 100 meters to its nest, entering briefly, probably feeding small chicks. The whole show, start to finish, was simply fantastic, a really rewarding experience with this rare and highly distinctive furnariid, which Brazilian colleagues and I described in a monotypic genus new to science in 1996. Also present in the flock were good numbers of brilliant Green-headed Tanagers and several other birds hanging on in the canopies of these very old cacao plantations, the understory and midstory of which have been completely removed and replaced with cacao, which was introduced into southern Bahia from the Brazilian Amazon in the middle 1700s.

Itacaré, near the coast, produced another haul of fabulous birds, foremost among them (from a rarity standpoint, at least) Bahia Tapaculo, which, after a good deal of effort, positioning, and patience as fairly heavy rain interrupted us every 30 minutes… finally answered our proffered territorial challenge, and sneaked in, hopping through precisely the place we were all intently watching. The bird then did a repeat performance, the other direction! We were lucky dogs, indeed, but what was also really great there was a Green-and-rufous Kingfisher that delivered a partial song or two in the distance, then flashed in a couple of times to playback. The dark, wet weather may have helped us a bit with that one (although it never allowed a good look). The beautiful little Kinglet Manakin performed perfectly, as did White-bearded, White-crowned, and Red-headed manakins. A low, close Least Pygmy-Owl, Golden-spangled Piculet, Yellow-fronted and Green-barred woodpeckers, Chestnut-backed Antshrike, Band-tailed Antwren, Red-billed Scythebill (this being the rare, nominate subspecies with highly distinctive voice), Bare-throated Bellbird, and glowing Red-necked and Brazilian tanagers were also tops around Itacaré. Brian made a stellar spot of our first White-winged Cotinga, crazy far away even with the scopes, but it was a start, and we hoped for improvement on that one.

The serene mountain forests of Serra Bonita were such a delight to bird. We left our van behind to make the steep, one-hour, 4-WD climb on a narrow, winding road to reach the lodge, for a two-night stay. The road itself is wonderful birding, and a couple of forest trails allowed us to pick up some of the understory rarities we were after, like Plumbeous Antvireo and White-collared Foliage-gleaner. Rafael found us a tremendous Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle that continued to soar overhead for several minutes. Black-necked Aracari, Spot-billed Toucanet, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Yellow-throated Woodpecker, and Sharpbill all showed extraordinarily well, but several Ochre-marked Parakeets that landed in a dense treetop were unfortunately against the light and took off before we were able to get a better angle. Rufous-brown Solitaires were quiet, which makes them tough to find, but we did have fine views on both of our mornings at Serra Bonita, which is perhaps the best place in the Atlantic Forest to see this poorly known species. Finally, on the back end of our longest forest birding trail, I stopped to try for Bahia Tyrannulet (again), and lo and behold, a pair bombed in and stayed around for 2-3 minutes, allowing all to see and photograph this rare little endemic to their heart’s content… in the bottom of the 9th inning. Also wonderful to find at Serra Bonita was a group of 2-3 rarely seen Wied’s Black-tufted-ear Marmosets.

The justly famed VERACEL Reserve, near Porto Seguro in southern coastal Bahia, was our focus for the final couple of days of the tour. Weather had improved considerably, which was most welcome, and we would have a beautiful moon to aid us in our attempt to find White-winged Potoo. One by one, our hoped-for species were showing up, starting with outstanding views of rare Hook-billed Hermits, which seemed to be especially active this trip. Other hummers were also excellent: Racket-tipped Thorntail (a female/imm. male low and close), Violet-capped Woodnymph, and Rufous-throated, White-chinned, and Blue-chinned sapphires. Kalan made an excellent spot of a distant adult male White-winged Cotinga (to go with 2-3 females/immatures we had seen up close), which showed its bright-gold eye in the scope. We had nice scope views, too, of perched Maroon-faced Parakeets, saw some fly-by Ochre-marked Parakeets, and pairs of Red-browed Parrots provided fly-bys in good light a couple of times. Bahia Antwren and Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike were seen very well, a shy Rufous-capped Antthrush permitted at least a few of us to see it, and Turquoise Tanagers (probably to be split as endemic “White-bellied” Tanager) came in for close viewing, but we could do no better than a single “heard-only” Ringed Woodpecker (Atlantic Forest endemic subspecies tinnunculus), and Black-headed Berryeater remained eerily quiet.

We took advantage of the perfectly clear evening of 15 February to go for White-winged Potoo. A Solitary Tinamou scuttled up the road ahead, but was seen by only the two or three of us up toward the front of the group. As night fell, the sky grew starry-black. The moon rose nearly full. As we walked along the road through VERACEL, I stopped to send out my whistled imitation of the potoo now and then. I also occasionally tried Black-capped Screech-Owl, and a bird answered from fairly close, which allowed me to locate it with my thermal heat-sensing scope and get the light on it for all to see, which was a great start to our “owling”. We had walked a good half-mile or so, me whistling the song of the potoo, when… there came a rather distant, but unmistakable, response from a White-winged Potoo! As the bird continued to sing once every minute or so, I positioned our group near a perfect snag for the bird to perch on, and whistled the song some more. After about 5 songs, the bird flashed overhead, passing very near the snag. Lights off. Total silence, please. We waited a moment longer, and, get ready… that male White-winged Potoo circled over, landed on the snag, and sat there with our lights on it for the next several minutes as we thoroughly admired it through the scopes, and made photos and video. The bird even sang one time with the lights on it, which is pretty unusual!

Our final morning of the tour, at VERACEL, was devoted to the search for a Black-headed Berryeater. It looked grim, I must say, but we did eventually manage to get a bird to sing. But try as we might, we couldn’t get it to move, and it soon fell silent. Time was up; we had to hightail it back to the hotel to pack up, have lunch, and get to the airport for the flight to São Paulo. As we were nearing the end of the trail out to the van, the berryeater sang again. We stopped and I gave it a couple of quiet, whistled imitations of the song. After what seemed an interminable wait (probably about a minute haha), the bird flashed in, landing directly overhead. It was hard to see there, but after a moment, it changed perches, this time landing where all could get on it. WHEW! Another homer in the bottom of the 9th!

My friends, I really enjoyed our tour of Bahia. Ours was a truly outstanding group! We had lots of fun, lots of laughs, along with all of the wonderful places, birds, and a few rare mammals. Until we meet again, com grandes abraços para todos,


One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Tinamidae (Tinamous)

SOLITARY TINAMOU (Tinamus solitarius) [E]

One was seen by folks near the front of the group as it ran up the road at dusk.

LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]

BROWN TINAMOU (Crypturellus obsoletus)

A bird that I spotted downslope on the hike to the hilltop near Boa Nova was hard to see in the undergrowth, but I think a couple of folks at least got a glimpse.

VARIEGATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus variegatus)

SMALL-BILLED TINAMOU (Crypturellus parvirostris)

TATAUPA TINAMOU (Crypturellus tataupa) [*]

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata)

BRAZILIAN TEAL (Amazonetta brasiliensis)

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)


Superb views at Boa Nova

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East Brazilian Chachalaca (a recent split from widespread Variable Chachalaca) posed for great views near Boa Nova. Photo by tour participant Eileen Keelan.
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

SPOT-WINGED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus capueira)

Five birds ran off and flushed from a trailside near Boa Nova.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)

PIED-BILLED GREBE (Podilymbus podiceps)

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa)

PICAZURO PIGEON (Patagioenas picazuro)

PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea) [*]


RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

SCALED DOVE (Columbina squammata)

PICUI GROUND DOVE (Columbina picui)

BLUE GROUND DOVE (Claravis pretiosa)

RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana) [*]

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) [*]

GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla) [*]

EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GUIRA CUCKOO (Guira guira)

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

DARK-BILLED CUCKOO (Coccyzus melacoryphus) [*]

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (NATTERERI) (Lurocalis semitorquatus nattereri)

Large subspecies nattereri breeds in the Atlantic Forest of SE Brazil, and winters in the central-western Amazon basin, where it may meet other subspecies.

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)

SCISSOR-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis torquata)

One male, possibly, also a female, were a nice consolation prize for the absent Giant Snipe.

Nyctibiidae (Potoos)

COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus)

A half-grown chick on its probably nest stub at VERACEL was present both of the days we were there, a great sighting.

WHITE-WINGED POTOO (Nyctibius leucopterus)

Certainly one of the tour highlights was the whole experience of getting our spotlights and binoc's on a fabulous, singing White-winged Potoo only 20 feet away on an open snag. Check out the video, toward the end of the list!

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White-winged Potoo! Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.
Apodidae (Swifts)

SICK'S SWIFT (Chaetura meridionalis)

We saw remarkably few swifts anywhere, until the last day at VERACEL, when Sick's and the next two showed up over the sandy-soil forest there.

GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris)

LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis)

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

BLACK JACOBIN (Florisuga fusca) [E]

HOOK-BILLED HERMIT (Glaucis dohrnii) [E]

Perfect views of this very rare hermit perched at close range.


REDDISH HERMIT (Phaethornis ruber)

SCALE-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis eurynome)

A montane species seen well at both Boa Nova and Serra Bonita.

HORNED SUNGEM (Heliactin bilophus)

Another tour highlight was the several sightings of Horned Sungems, including what appeared to be a courtship flight (see the video I have attempted to slow down enough to see the female staying above the male).

BLACK-EARED FAIRY (Heliothryx auritus)

One at Itacaré spotted its reflection in the van window, and really buzzed it for a while, which Whitney caught with her camera, for a really cool image!

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This Black-eared Fairy became obsessed with its image reflected in the van window, which Whitney managed to capture to perfection -- I love this shot! Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.

RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus)

A few of these fantastic hummers were guarding the few remaining flowers on clumps of Melocactus -- wonderful sightings!

BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis)

RACKET-TIPPED THORNTAIL (Discosura longicaudus)

We picked up a single female or possibly immature male at VERACEL.

STRIPE-BREASTED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster squamosus) [E]

Thanks to Kalan for spotting the one and only starthroat we saw this year -- nice!

AMETHYST WOODSTAR (Calliphlox amethystina)

A couple of these tiny hummers were nectaring at non-cactus flowers just above the terrestrial Melocactus.

GLITTERING-BELLIED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon lucidus)

VIOLET-CAPPED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania glaucopis)

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Handsome Swallow-tailed Hummers were seen well on several days of the tour. Photo by tour participant Eileen Keelan.


SOMBRE HUMMINGBIRD (Eupetomena cirrochloris)

PLAIN-BELLIED EMERALD (Chrysuronia leucogaster)


RUFOUS-THROATED SAPPHIRE (Hylocharis sapphirina)

We had all three of the sapphires perched less than 15 feet away, all at once!

WHITE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes cyanus)

BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes notata)

Field Guides Birding Tours
At least 3 brilliant male Ruby Topaz hummingbirds were vying for nectar from the remnant flowers of scattered Melocactus sp. near Poções -- it was a thrilling show! Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

MANGROVE RAIL (Rallus longirostris)

Rafael really had the number for this one, pulling it out of some scrubby mangroves almost exactly where we had seen one on the 2022 tour -- thanks, man!

ASH-THROATED CRAKE (Mustelirallus albicollis)

It took quite a bit of coaxing and repositioning, but we finally managed to get a persistently singing bird to show itself very nicely.

BLACKISH RAIL (Pardirallus nigricans)

Great at Boa Nova.

LITTLE WOOD-RAIL (Aramides mangle)

Just one good sighting this year, thanks to Brian spotting it ahead of the boats. We were fortunate, actually, as it was difficult for us to coincide with a low tide this year.

COMMON GALLINULE (Gallinula galeata)

PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)

AZURE GALLINULE (Porphyrio flavirostris)

At least a couple of pairs near the northern coastal mangrove belt, one of which had a chick.

RUSSET-CROWNED CRAKE (Anurolimnas viridis) [*]

We tried several decent-looking spots, but no luck getting close to one.

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Rafael showed us this Mangrove Rail even before we made our way down to the boats for our trip through the mangroves. This is a split from the Clapper Rail group. Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.
Aramidae (Limpkin)

LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER (Pluvialis squatarola)

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

COLLARED PLOVER (Charadrius collaris)

SEMIPALMATED PLOVER (Charadrius semipalmatus)

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

WHIMBREL (Numenius phaeopus)

RUDDY TURNSTONE (Arenaria interpres)

SANDERLING (Calidris alba)

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)

WILLET (Tringa semipalmata)

Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)


This video features a few of the highlights from the first 3 days of our tour. Birds, in order of appearance: male and female Horned Sungems in what appeared to be a courtship flight; a nestling Hooded Tanager being consumed by a South American Green Racer; Stripe-necked Tody-Tyrant; Lesser Nighthawk; Long-nosed Bats; Reddish Hermit; Spotted Piculet; Maned Three-toed Sloth with a baby(!); Gray-breasted (for the moment!) and Golden-capped parakeets; Pectoral Antwren; Plain-bellied Emerald; Rufous Crab Hawk, Pinnated Bittern, and Ash-throated Crake. HD video by Bret Whitney.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

PINNATED BITTERN (Botaurus pinnatus)

Two birds seen very well.

RUFESCENT TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma lineatum)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nyctanassa violacea)

Lots in the mangroves, where they're after crabs.

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa)

Up to 6 circling high over the lodge at Serra Bonita one evening.

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus)

One or two at Serra Bonita.

BLACK-AND-WHITE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus melanoleucus)

Rafael had seen a bird from a forest overlook at Serra Bonita a year or so earlier, so we tried a recording... and AMAZINGLY, as we were walking away, a gorgeous adult male wheeled past the overlook, and a few minutes later, we had a pair of birds soaring right over the lodge -- fantastic show!

SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis)

RUFOUS-THIGHED KITE (Harpagus diodon)

PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea)

RUFOUS CRAB HAWK (Buteogallus aequinoctialis)

4 seen around the mangroves, the closest of which was in an interesting subadult plumage. This is the only reliable place to see Rufous Crab Hawk in Brazil.

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus)

Brian spotted the only one on the tour for us, near Itacaré.

Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)

BARN OWL (Tyto alba) [*]

Strigidae (Owls)

BLACK-CAPPED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops atricapilla) [E]

We had a singing bird full-on in the spotlight for nearly a minute, but unfortunately it was looking away most of the time.

LEAST PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium minutissimum) [E]

The first one we saw, near Itacaré, was exceptionally low and close, singing away! This is near the type locality of true Least Pygmy-Owl.

BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia)

Trogonidae (Trogons)

GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis)

BLUE-CROWNED TROGON (Trogon curucui)

SURUCUA TROGON (Trogon surrucura) [E]

BLACK-THROATED TROGON (CHRYSOCHLOROS) (Trogon rufus chrysochloros) [E*]

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)


Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

SPOT-BACKED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus maculatus)

An excellent sighting on our first morning afield.

CRESCENT-CHESTED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila striata) [E]

We had a whopping 6 birds in 5 different places in one day at Serra Bonita, gotta be some kind of record.

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We saw 6 Crescent-chested Puffbird in one day at Serra Bonita, which is crazy! We'll probably miss it next year (but not for lack of trying)! Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.

SWALLOW-WINGED PUFFBIRD (Chelidoptera tenebrosa)

Galbulidae (Jacamars)

RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda)

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

BLACK-NECKED ARACARI (Pteroglossus aracari)

SPOT-BILLED TOUCANET (Selenidera maculirostris) [E]

Superb studies of this one.

CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus)

This is distinctive subspecies ariel.

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

GOLDEN-SPANGLED PICULET (BAHIA) (Picumnus exilis exilis) [E]

SPOTTED PICULET (Picumnus pygmaeus)

Seen especially nicely around Praia do Forte.

WHITE WOODPECKER (Melanerpes candidus)

It was a bit of a surprise to see a couple of these fancy woodpeckers in disturbed areas near Serra Bonita. This and quite a few other species have spread into the Atlantic Forest region following the long period of forest clearance.

YELLOW-FRONTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes flavifrons)

What a beauty!

Field Guides Birding Tours
Yellow-fronted Woodpecker, a gorgeous endemic! Photo by tour participant Eileen Keelan.

LITTLE WOODPECKER (Dryobates passerinus)

RED-STAINED WOODPECKER (Dryobates affinis)

CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos)

Rafael spotted one for us.

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

RINGED WOODPECKER (ATLANTIC BLACK-BREASTED) (Celeus torquatus tinnunculus) [E*]

Aarrgh, just could not dig one up this trip, although a bird did sing back one time, rather far away, at VERACEL.


What a great looking bird, eh?

Field Guides Birding Tours
This Spot-billed Toucanet was very interested in something inside the knot-hole it was perched on. Photo by local guide Rafael Félix.

YELLOW-THROATED WOODPECKER (Piculus flavigula erythropis) [E]

Seen rather fleetingly a couple of times before we finally caught up for great views the last couple of days of the tour. This sharply red-throated subspecies, endemic to the Atlantic Forest, is sure to be split one of these days.

GREEN-BARRED WOODPECKER (Colaptes melanochloros)

CAMPO FLICKER (Colaptes campestris)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

CRESTED CARACARA (SOUTHERN) (Caracara plancus plancus)

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Laughing Falcon. Photo by tour participant Eileen Keelan.

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis)

Just one, outside Boa Nova.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

PLAIN PARAKEET (Brotogeris tirica)

SCALY-HEADED PARROT (Pionus maximiliani) [*]

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (REICHENOW'S) (Pionus menstruus reichenowi) [E]

This distinctive subspecies, endemic to the northern Atlantic Forest region, is highly disjunct from the nearest sister populations in eastern Amazonia.

RED-BROWED PARROT (Amazona rhodocorytha) [E]

Just a couple of sightings of fly-bys, but they were close and in great light.

ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica)

COBALT-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus xanthopterygius)

OCHRE-MARKED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura cruentata) [E]

MAROON-BELLIED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura frontalis)

GRAY-BREASTED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura griseipectus) [E]

This is what we're calling the new population discovered by Rafael a few years ago, near Siribinha in the north coast of Bahia. It will be fascinating to see the results of upcoming genetic analyses, to get an idea of the amount of differentiation of these birds from the (probable) closest relative in Ceará state.

MAROON-FACED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura leucotis) [E]


CACTUS PARAKEET (Eupsittula cactorum) [E]

GOLDEN-CAPPED PARAKEET (Aratinga auricapillus auricapillus) [E]

Good views of a bunch of these gorgeous parakeets in the lower region of Serra Bonita.

BLUE-WINGED MACAW (Primolius maracana)

WHITE-EYED PARAKEET (Psittacara leucophthalmus) [*]

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

SPOT-BACKED ANTSHRIKE (Hypoedaleus guttatus) [E]

An excellent view of this great bird, a monotypic genus endemic to the Atlantic Forest, near Boa Nova.

Hilltops above about 900 meters elevation is southern Bahia support a strange forest type called "mata-de cipó" or vine forest, which is home to several rare and Endangered antbirds and other species. Here's a brief video of some of them, in order of appearance: Narrow-billed Antwren; Slender Antbird (male and female); White-shouldered Fire-eye; Red-ruffed Fruitcrow; Bret, Rafael, and Kalan Ickes waiting out a rain shower; Pale-browed Treehunter; the Ickes borthers, Kalan and Scott beneath the entrance arch at Boa Nova; Pink-legged Graveteiro, and its nest!; and Green-headed Tanagers. HD video by Bret Whitney.

TUFTED ANTSHRIKE (Mackenziaena severa) [E]

Ditto that remark!

GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major)

SILVERY-CHEEKED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus cristatus) [E]

Excellent at Poções and also Boa Nova.

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (CAATINGA) (Thamnophilus doliatus capistratus) [E]

Right down to the bright-red eye that is such a distinctive character of this subspecies, endemic to the semi-arid caatinga of NE Brazil.

CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus palliatus)

PLANALTO SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus pelzelni)

SOORETAMA SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus ambiguus) [E]

Several good, tail-jiggling sightings.

VARIABLE ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus caerulescens) [E]

A male seen well near Boa Nova, where a rather dark, isolated population occurs (which has never been studied or named).

SPOT-BREASTED ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus stictothorax) [E]

PLUMBEOUS ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus plumbeus) [E]

It took a little longer than I was comfortable with to find this one, but in the end, it was high-fives all around.

CINEREOUS ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes caesius)

WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (SILVERY-FLANKED) (Myrmotherula axillaris luctuosa) [E]

Still not split from the rest of White-flanked Antwren, but that day is coming.

BAND-TAILED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula urosticta) [E]

Seen well a couple of times, Itacaré and VERACEL. We don't get this rare little bird on any other tour.

STRIPE-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmorchilus strigilatus strigilatus) [*]

We coincided with a strangely quiet period for this bird, just could not get one interested in showing up.

CAATINGA ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus sellowi)

This one had a name change just before the tour: it is now in the monotypic genus Radinopsyche, which means "slender/graceful being/spirit". Described as a species new to science by me and Brazilian colleagues back in 2000, it turns out to be very highly distinctive genetically, such that its closest living relative is the rare White-beaded Antshrike of southeast Brazilian mountains! We saw Caatinga Antwren well near Poções.

BAHIA ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus pileatus) [E]

In the same paper describing Caatinga Antwren new to science, we showed that this species, Bahia Antwren, which had been considered a population of widespread Black-capped Antwren, is restricted to sandy-soil woodlands along the coast of Bahia, and barely into the tiny state of Sergipe. It was numerous, especially around VERACEL.

BLACK-CAPPED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus atricapillus)

Good views of this one near the easternmost extension of its wide range, at Poções.

PECTORAL ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus pectoralis) [E]

Fortunate were we to pick up a retiring pair of this rare antbird near Siribinha. They were carrying food, apparently feeding young out of the nest.

RUFOUS-MARGINED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus rufimarginatus) [E]

Great, rather low views near Boa Nova. This one was called Rufous-winged Antwren until quite recently.

NARROW-BILLED ANTWREN (Formicivora iheringi) [E]

Fabulous, close view of a male, foraging in the mata-de cipó.

WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (Formicivora grisea)

BLACK-BELLIED ANTWREN (Formicivora melanogaster) [*]

A caatinga species we heard once near Boa Nova (common on the NE Brazil tour).

FERRUGINOUS ANTBIRD (Drymophila ferruginea) [E*]

This one eluded being seen near Boa Nova; what with rain interruptions, the timing never meshed.

SCALED ANTBIRD (Drymophila squamata) [E]

This handsome little antbird showed nicely near Boa Nova.

STREAK-CAPPED ANTWREN (Terenura maculata)

Seen well at Serra Bonita.

RIO DE JANEIRO ANTBIRD (Cercomacra brasiliana) [E]

Whew, this one took some due diligence, but it paid off with a couple of nice views, especially that second male.

FRINGE-BACKED FIRE-EYE (Pyriglena atra) [E]

A reluctant pair, heard quite far away, eventually worked over to us, allowing really nice views. This is a rare endemic that we sometimes pick up on our NE Brazil tour as well.

WHITE-SHOULDERED FIRE-EYE (Pyriglena leucoptera) [E]

SLENDER ANTBIRD (Rhopornis ardesiacus) [E]

A highly distinctive endemic of the mata-de-cipó; a pair was seen well near Poções.

WHITE-BIBBED ANTBIRD (Myrmoderus loricatus) [E]

Another wonderful antbird seen well near Poções.

Conopophagidae (Gnateaters)

BLACK-CHEEKED GNATEATER (Conopophaga melanops perspicillata) [E*]

It was unusual to hear just one on the whole tour -- and even more unusual to encounter not a single Rufous Gnateater...not sure what was up with that, but most likely just bad luck + untimely rains.

Grallariidae (Antpittas)

VARIEGATED ANTPITTA (Grallaria varia) [*]

Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)

BAHIA TAPACULO (Eleoscytalopus psychopompus) [E]

This one -- despite fairly miserable rain -- finally ended with everyone getting a good view, thanks to the highly practiced efforts of our local guide, Nido, near Itacaré. This was the first time this rare and local bird has been seen on a Field Guides tour!

Formicariidae (Antthrushes)


One stand-offish individual sang persistently, and was seen well by a few of us, but never did show enough for all to get on it.

SUCH'S ANTTHRUSH (Chamaeza meruloides) [E*]

One very distant "heard-only" above Boa Nova.

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (OLIVACEOUS) (Sittasomus griseicapillus olivaceus)

Seen in a couple of the more northerly places.

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (OLIVACEOUS) (Sittasomus griseicapillus sylviellus) [E]

This one replaced olivaceus in the humid forests later in the tour.

PLAIN-WINGED WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla turdina) [E]

WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (CUNEATUS GROUP) (Glyphorynchus spirurus cuneatus)

PLANALTO WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes platyrostris)

WHITE-THROATED WOODCREEPER (Xiphocolaptes albicollis)

A nice view of this huge, endemic woodcreeper.

LESSER WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus fuscus tenuirostris) [E]

BUFF-THROATED WOODCREEPER (BUFF-THROATED) (Xiphorhynchus guttatus guttatus)

Nominate guttatus in eastern Bahia, which actually has a strongly buffy throat.


Local, east-Brazilian subspecies bahiae.

RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris trochilirostris) [E]

Excellent views of exactly one, a great bird to pick up. It occurs only in sandy-soil forests of southeastern Bahia.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Red-billed Scythebill, nominate subspecies C. t. trochilirostris, is a rare bird! Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.

BLACK-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus falcularius) [E]

Got it near Boa Nova and again at Serra Bonita.

NARROW-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes angustirostris)

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)

STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans)

WING-BANDED HORNERO (Furnarius figulus)

Nice studies of all three horneros.

PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (Furnarius leucopus)

RUFOUS HORNERO (Furnarius rufus)


Thanks to Whitney for finding just the right angle for everyone, even though the bird was only 15-20 feet away!


We heard this one a couple of times near Boa Nova, but no luck getting one in close enough to see. Then, at Serra Bonita, we came onto a family group, and managed great views of adults and 1-2 juveniles with them.

PALE-BROWED TREEHUNTER (PALE-TAILED) (Cichlocolaptes leucophrus leucophrus) [E]

One bird showed very nicely at the top of our climb above Boa Nova. This is the nominate subspecies, which occurs south to about the Rio de Janeiro/São Paulo state line, south of which it is replaced by very different subspecies holti.

BLACK-CAPPED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor atricapillus) [E]

Beaut views of this fine bird a couple of times.


We had one decent shot at finding this local endemic, and it worked really well, graças a Deus.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Pin-tailed Manakin showed well for us. Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.

WHITE-EYED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Automolus leucophthalmus leucophthalmus)

RUFOUS-FRONTED THORNBIRD (RUFOUS-FRONTED) (Phacellodomus rufifrons rufifrons)

PINK-LEGGED GRAVETEIRO (Acrobatornis fonsecai) [E]

YEAH! What a great experience!

STRIATED SOFTTAIL (Thripophaga macroura) [E]

Another endemic species that we get only on this Bahia tour. It was especially conspicuous this time around (Boa Nova, Itacaré, Serra Bonita), and we even found an active nest.

PALLID SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca pallida) [E]

We finally connected with this one at Serra Bonita.

CAATINGA CACHOLOTE (Pseudoseisura cristata) [E]

YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus)

BAHIA SPINETAIL (Synallaxis cinerea) [E]

Intimate studies a couple of times; this species was described new to science only in 1995, and was named for me, S. whitneyi, by two Brazilian colleagues. That was a great honor, to be sure, but a few years later, I discovered that the bird actually already had a name, and that proper application of the ICZN Law of Priority would make it clear that the much older S. cinerea was the valid name -- so, I and one of those colleagues published a note to synonymize whitneyi under cinerea.


SOOTY-FRONTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis frontalis)

Pipridae (Manakins)


BLUE-BACKED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia pareola)

Wonderful views a couple of times.

SWALLOW-TAILED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia caudata) [E]

This great bird showed off really well at Boa Nova.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We enjoyed several nice views of handsome Swallow-tailed Manakins. Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.

PIN-TAILED MANAKIN (Ilicura militaris) [E]

Ditto that remark! Several attempts to get a view had produced a couple of views of female-plumaged birds, but an adult male finally popped up!


KINGLET MANAKIN (Machaeropterus regulus) [E]

Certainly one of the tour highlights was getting such fine views, even scope views of this gorgeous little bird. The better-known Striped Manakin (Machaeropterus striolatus) of western Amazonia was split from nominate regulus fairly recently. This is another range-restricted endemic we don't get on any other tour.

WHITE-CROWNED MANAKIN (WHITE-CROWNED) (Pseudopipra pipra cephaleucos) [E]

An adult male at Itacaré performed its display flights several times. This subspecies, one of several disjunct ones, inhabits the central section of the lowland Atlantic Forest.

RED-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra rubrocapilla)

Good views above Serra Bonita.

Cotingidae (Cotingas)

BLACK-HEADED BERRYEATER (Carpornis melanocephala) [E]

Got it right at the buzzer, whew!

RED-RUFFED FRUITCROW (Pyroderus scutatus)

Seeing several males in active display mode was an unexpected experience. In fact, seeing this bird at all on this tour is low probability -- but we hit it just right! I recall hearing a display "boom" up that slope, and waiting for another one to point it out to y'all... but then, when several booms came, and we started to see big males moving around upslope, I got really excited, and, thankfully, we found a spot where we could get the scope on a couple of those males.

SCREAMING PIHA (Lipaugus vociferans)

Screaming Pihas are mostly of Amazonian distribution, but there is an Atlantic Forest population centered in southern Bahia and northern Espírito Santo states. A lek really got going bigtime as we were walking by on the road. We saw them well, but it was tough to get video -- I'll drop in a little bit that I got -- it's the audio that's really impressive.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Our single sighting of Buff-throated Purpletuft was too brief for good views, but Whitney managed to grab this nice photo seconds before it flew off, well out of sight. Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.

BARE-THROATED BELLBIRD (Procnias nudicollis) [E]

Rather distant but good scope views of bonging males near Itacaré.

WHITE-WINGED COTINGA (Xipholena atropurpurea) [E]

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

BROWN-WINGED SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis turdina)

One responsive bird was seen well near Itacaré.

GREENISH SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis virescens) [E*]


Darn! A bird perched right on top of a tree in perfect view just did not stay long enough for most folks to get a satisfying look at it. So, you can at least substitute Whitney's nice photo, taken in the seconds before it flew off.

GREEN-BACKED BECARD (Pachyramphus viridis)

CHESTNUT-CROWNED BECARD (Pachyramphus castaneus)

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) [*]

BLACK-CAPPED BECARD (Pachyramphus marginatus) [*]

Field Guides Birding Tours
We eked out this fine male Black-headed Berryeater literally as we were preparing to get to the van for the ride back to the hotel and flight to São Paulo -- a true nail-biter with a very happy ending! Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.

CRESTED BECARD (Pachyramphus validus)

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

SHARPBILL (Oxyruncus cristatus)

Absolutely killer views of a bird that stayed put for a couple of minutes, low and close -- a most unusual situation (but we'll take it)!

WHISKERED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius barbatus)

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

WHITE-THROATED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus mystaceus)

Extraordinary views on the trail near Boa Nova.

OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)

SEPIA-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon amaurocephalus)

BAHIA TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes beckeri) [E]

Eked it out "in the late innings" at Serra Bonita, where a pair stuck around for multiple perfect views at about eye-level.

OUSTALET'S TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes oustaleti) [E*]

We just plain ran out of time to deal with this one, as there were too many other birds around at the time. But what a nice problem.

EARED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis auricularis)

Excellent views of this diminutive beast.

DRAB-BREASTED PYGMY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus diops) [E]

STRIPE-NECKED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus striaticollis)

Superb views near Praia do Forte.

HANGNEST TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus nidipendulus) [E]

PEARLY-VENTED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer)

FORK-TAILED PYGMY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus furcatus) [E]

I was worried about getting this great bird, as it's become really scarce on our tour route due to natural die-off of bamboos, but sure enough, one called from the traditional territory before I even tossed out playback, and we soon got a very nice view.

OCHRE-FACED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus plumbeiceps) [*]

GRAY-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum poliocephalum) [E]

COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)

YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (SOORETAMA) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens sulphurescens) [E]

GRAY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias poliocephalus)

YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris)




YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola)

GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata)

PLAIN-CRESTED ELAENIA (Elaenia cristata)

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)

LARGE ELAENIA (Elaenia spectabilis)

WHITE-CRESTED TYRANNULET (Serpophaga subcristata)

PLANALTO TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias fasciatus)

GRAY-CAPPED TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias griseocapilla) [E]

RUFOUS-CROWNED PYGMY-TYRANT (Euscarthmus meloryphus)

The name is Fulvous-crowned Scrub-Tyrant going forward. We saw one rather poorly in the drier habitat near Boa Nova.

LESSER WAGTAIL-TYRANT (BAHIA) (Stigmatura napensis bahiae) [E]

Now called Bahia Wagtail-Tyrant.

BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus)

EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri)

TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus)

The name is now Southern Tropical Pewee.


WHITE MONJITA (Xolmis irupero niveus) [E]

Several sightings of this lovely open-country flycatcher.

Field Guides Birding Tours
White Monjitas brightened up a couple of mornings for us. Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.

WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala)

BLACK-BACKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola albiventer)

MASKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola nengeta)

LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus)


We finally got one to show itself at Serra Bonita.

TODD'S SIRYSTES (Sirystes subcanescens) [*]

GRAYISH MOURNER (Rhytipterna simplex)

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)

SWAINSON'S FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus swainsoni)


BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)

CATTLE TYRANT (Machetornis rixosa)

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

Field Guides Birding Tours
We were focused on a close Slender Antbird when Eileen Keelan captured the moment.

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)

PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)

VARIEGATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus varius)

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)


GRAY-EYED GREENLET (Hylophilus amaurocephalus) [E]

CHIVI VIREO (MIGRATORY) (Vireo chivi chivi)

Donacobiidae (Donacobius)

BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla)

After early alignments with wrens, then babblers, this highly distinctive bird now has a family of its own.

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)


WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer)

WHITE-RUMPED SWALLOW (Tachycineta leucorrhoa)

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus)

Good views were had, with a little patience.

This video of goodies from Itacaré and Serra Bonita should jog some deep memories for y'all! In order of appearance: Kinglet Manakin; Bahia Tapaculo; White-crowned Manakin; Red-crowned Scythebill; Yellow-fronted Woodpecker; Red-legged Honeycreeper, Turquiose (soon to become White-bellied) Tanager; Bahia Antwren; Opal-rumped (soon to become Silver-breasted) Tanager; Least Pygmy-Owl, Bahia Tyrannulet; Sharpbill; Plumbeous Antvireo; Wied's Black-tufted-ear Marmoset; Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle; and Spot-billed Toucanet. HD video by Bret Whitney.

TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea)

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

THRUSH-LIKE WREN (Campylorhynchus turdinus turdinus) [E]

MOUSTACHED WREN (Pheugopedius genibarbis)

LONG-BILLED WREN (Cantorchilus longirostris bahiae) [E]

Try as we might, the birds we heard in the Poções and Boa Nova areas refused to budge.

Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)


TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (TROPICAL) (Mimus gilvus antelius) [E]

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

RUFOUS-BROWN SOLITAIRE (Cichlopsis leucogenys) [E]

Very nice views of this rare and local Atlantic Forest denizen, here the nominate subspecies widely disjunct from three others.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Rufous-brown Solitaire has a highly localized, disjunct (from Guianan and Andean) population in the Atlantic Forest, where it is rarely seen. We were delighted to get a couple of nice views this time around. Photo by tour participant Whitney Mortimer.

PALE-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus leucomelas)

YELLOW-LEGGED THRUSH (Turdus flavipes)

WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (Turdus albicollis)

RUFOUS-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus rufiventris)

CREAMY-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus amaurochalinus)

Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)

COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild)

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

PURPLE-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chlorotica)

VIOLACEOUS EUPHONIA (Euphonia violacea)

ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia xanthogaster)

CHESTNUT-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia pectoralis) [E]

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

PECTORAL SPARROW (Arremon taciturnus) [*]

RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

WHITE-BROWED MEADOWLARK (Leistes superciliaris)


RED-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus haemorrhous)

VARIABLE ORIOLE (CHESTNUT-SHOULDERED) (Icterus pyrrhopterus pyrrhopterus)

Notwithstanding that the birds in eastern Bahia are yellow-shouldered ;-)

CAMPO TROUPIAL (Icterus jamacaii)

SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)

GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)

CHOPI BLACKBIRD (Gnorimopsar chopi)

CHESTNUT-CAPPED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus ruficapillus)

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis aequinoctialis) [*]

TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)

GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus)

FLAVESCENT WARBLER (Myiothlypis flaveola)

RIVERBANK WARBLER (Myiothlypis rivularis) [*]

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)


YELLOW-GREEN GROSBEAK (Caryothraustes canadensis frontalis) [*]

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

RED-COWLED CARDINAL (Paroaria dominicana) [E]

CINNAMON TANAGER (Schistochlamys ruficapillus)

SCARLET-THROATED TANAGER (Compsothraupis loricata) [E*]

This bird is always "iffy," this year heard only despite a couple of valiant playback attempts to get distant, calling birds to come in (it's unusual to get no interest to playback).

HOODED TANAGER (Nemosia pileata)

Our first one was a nestling going down the hatch of a South American Green Racer (Philodryas olfersi)!

ORANGE-HEADED TANAGER (Thlypopsis sordida)

BLACK-GOGGLED TANAGER (Trichothraupis melanops)

FLAME-CRESTED TANAGER (Loriotus cristatus)

WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus)

BRAZILIAN TANAGER (Ramphocelus bresilius) [E]

Several fine views of this flashy endemic.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Rafael captured this excellent shot of a male Brazilian Tanager. Photo by local guide Rafael Félix.

SAYACA TANAGER (Thraupis sayaca)

AZURE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Thraupis cyanoptera) [E]


PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)


TURQUOISE TANAGER (WHITE-BELLIED) (Tangara mexicana brasiliensis) [E]

Especially great views at VERACEL; likely soon to be split as White-bellied Tanager, endemic to the central Atlantic Forest lowlands.

OPAL-RUMPED TANAGER (SILVER-BREASTED) (Tangara velia cyanomelas) [E]

Another likely split, as Silver-breasted Tanager, also endemic to the Atlantic Forest.

GREEN-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara seledon) [E]

Especially nice views in the cacao plantation, and Itacaré/Serra Bonita.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Green-headed Tanagers gave us beautiful views several times. Photo by local guide Rafael Félix.

RED-NECKED TANAGER (Tangara cyanocephala corallina) [E]

Serra Bonita!

GILT-EDGED TANAGER (Tangara cyanoventris) [E]

Lots near Boa Nova.

BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)


GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)

RUFOUS-HEADED TANAGER (Hemithraupis ruficapilla) [E]

YELLOW-BACKED TANAGER (Hemithraupis flavicollis melanoxantha) [E]

BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor)

BLUE FINCH (Rhopospina caerulescens)

An adult male in the cerrado-like enclave Rafael took us to, north of Salvador, was quite territorial and seen and heard very well -- fabulous!

Field Guides Birding Tours
Whitney managed to get this great shot of a male Blue Finch we found on our first morning afield -- excellent!

SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola)

WEDGE-TAILED GRASS-FINCH (Emberizoides herbicola)

BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)

WHITE-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila leucoptera)

YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis)

WHITE-THROATED SEEDEATER (Sporophila albogularis) [E]

A few of these caatinga-based seedeaters were spotted around Boa Nova.

PILEATED FINCH (Coryphospingus pileatus)

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)

SOOTY GRASSQUIT (Asemospiza fuliginosa)

An adult male near Boa Nova was busy with singing and nest-building.


GREEN-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator similis)

BLACK-THROATED GROSBEAK (Saltator fuliginosus) [E]

Sen well at Serra Bonita.


LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso)

These were the tiny bats we found roosting on the underside of a leaning tree trunk at Praia do Forte.

Porto Seguro and, especially, the VERACEL Reserve, was our final birding venue, and it was very good to us! Birds, in order of appearance: Hook-billed Hermit; Swallow-wing Puffbird; Common Potoo (well-developed chick); Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike; White-chinned Sapphire (two birds); Rufous-throated Sapphire; Racket-tipped Thorntail (female/imm male); White-winged Potoo; and one heckuva fine lunch spread, the likes of which only happen in big, beautiful BRAZIL! HD video by Bret Whitney.

TUFTED-EAR MARMOSET (Callithrix jacchus) [E]

We were very fortunate indeed to find one pair of the rare and local Black-tufted-ear Marmoset (Callithrix wiedi) at Serra Bonita. This is a split from widespread C. jacchus (Tufted-ear Marmoset).

TUFTED-EAR MARMOSET (Callithrix jacchus geoffroyi) [E]

C. geoffroyi is another split of C. jacchus, this one heard (but stand-offish) in the humid forest near Boa Nova, then finally seen at VERACEL.

MANED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus torquatus) [E]

In terms of overall rarity, seeing this sloth was certainly the mammal highlight of the tour. This is the northern, principally Bahian, population, recently disjunct from animals farther south, mostly in Espírito Santo.

CAVY SP. (Galea/Cavia sp.)

Small ones seen scampering across roads a couple of times.


One crossed a road ahead of our van at VERACEL.

Field Guides Birding Tours
We closed out the Nowhere But Northeast Brazil tour, and opened our Bahia Birding Bonanza tour, with a lovely evening in the old, colonial part of Salvador, Bahia, called Pelourinho. It was a wonderful visit, and really got us psyched for an allegro swing through Bahia, from the beaches to the badlands. Photo of the Elevador Lacerda, connecting the upper part of the city, Pelourinho, to the lower, modern part of Salvador, with All Saints Bay in the back, by Bret Whitney.


The small, solitary bats we noted tracing their well-defined routes about 12 feet above forest trails toward dusk were Myotis nigrescens. We saw a set of large Brazilian Tapir tracks at VERACEL. The large "Black Witch" moth we found near Itacaré was Ascalapha odorata. The snake eating the baby Hooded Tanager was a South American Green Racer (Philodryas olfersi), and the large, beautiful snake crossing the road at VERACEL was Brazilian Rat Snake (Spilotes pullatus).

Totals for the tour: 387 bird taxa and 6 mammal taxa