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Field Guides Tour Report
Brazil: Minas Gerais & Tocantins 2019
May 25, 2019 to Jun 9, 2019
Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros

The Blue-eyed Ground-Dove Reserve near Botumirim, Minas Gerais, was the overall tour highlight, I'd say. We enjoyed wonderful views of the ground-doves (2 of the approximately 21 individuals definitely known to exist), and numerous other great birds. (Video by Bret Whitney).

This 2019 tour, our inaugural run for the Blue-eyed Ground-Dove and numerous other rarely seen birds, was a beauty, and is destined to be a real “keeper”! As predicted (and ardently hoped), weather was near-perfect on the whole route, and it was a big one, encompassing much of the São Francisco River basin of northern Minas Gerais, and a huge fazenda and surrounding lands in the Araguaia basin of southwest Tocantins state. Daytime highs were about 75-88, with lows at night in the mid-upper 60s, no rain to bother us at all (this was, in fact, a remarkably dry year in northern Minas Gerais). On top of this, birding conditions were especially pleasant for the near-total lack of nasty insects; one morning in Tocantins near the bank of the Rio Formoso, where there were lots of “no-seeums,” was really the only time we had to deal with bugs, including chiggers, which hit just a couple of folks on one day early in the trip.

Everyone arrived into Brasilia to start the tour just fine, no significant delays or luggage problems (which is the usual case in Brazil, but you never know). Our birding got off the ground in Brasilia, with a fine afternoon outing in nearby cerrado and gallery woodland that started immediately as Marcelo pointed out a gorgeous adult male Helmeted Manakin quietly eating fruit in a shrub right beside the trail – a fabulous first bird of the tour, and we ended up seeing several more over the next couple of hours. Other great highlights of that walk were a pair of White-striped Warblers that danced right up to us, a White-vented Violetear taking a bath, and a handsome pair of Whistling Herons that flew in out of nowhere to land near our group. Next morning saw us headed to the airport to get flights to Minas Gerais on a long travel day, which, however, put us into good position for a week of productive birding ahead.

The São Francisco basin of northern Minas, the largest in all of eastern Brazil, was once covered in tall, semi-deciduous forest. Nearly 400 years of (non-native) human occupation has resulted in conversion of much of the land to agriculture and livestock raising, albeit not especially productive practices. Forests and woodlands, especially cerrado woodlands, have been reduced greatly by cutting for production of charcoal, and we saw many large trucks hauling “carvão” on the highways of Minas Gerais. There remain, however, quite a few parks and reserves scattered through the state, and we enjoyed excellent birding at several of them.

Our visit to the Blue-eyed Ground-Dove Reserve outside the little town of Botumirim was certainly among the overall trip highlights, especially because we got to watch a pair of these ultra-rare ground-doves (21 individuals definitely known to exist) for 10-15 minutes in the scopes at very close range. A heart-felt thanks to SAVEBrasil guide Marcelo Lisita, who accompanied us into the reserve, and was extremely helpful in all ways. We are grateful for the creative efforts of both SAVEBrasil and Rainforest Trust in teaming up to secure the habitat for the ground-doves and establish this very important reserve. The overall landscape and habitats at the reserve were beautiful on that bright, clear morning, and we found several other great birds in the immediate environs, most notably a couple of Horned Sungems that were feeding on tiny flowers blooming along the roadsides. The next day found most of us winding our way upwards to a higher-elevation valley called “campima bananal” along a narrow, rocky trail. It was an invigorating hike that paid off grandly with (after quite a bit of effort!) close views of Cipo Canastero, male and female Hyacinth Visorbearer, and Cinereous Warbling-Finch. Our simple little hotel in Botumirim and the private residence where we took our meals were charming, clean and comfortable, and our stay was a delight. We are excited to take our next group back to the reserve, next year!

Some of the other highlight areas we birded in Minas Gerais were Lapa Grande State Park, which yielded a much-wanted Chestnut-capped Foliage-gleaner, Minas Gerais and Reiser’s tyrannulets in the same trees (both of these quite poorly known), Sao Francisco and Saffron-billed sparrows, and the recently described “Dry Forest Sabrewing”; and also Peruaçu Caverns National Park, where we eventually managed to spot Golden-capped Parakeets, Caatinga Black-Tyrant, and a pair of massive Moustached Woodcreepers before high-tailing it to the river itself where we hit a homer in the bottom of the 9th with 2 outs as we pulled in a very close Bahian (Plain-tailed) Nighthawk, whew!

The travel day required to transit from Montes Claros in Minas Gerais to Palmas, the capital of Tocantins state, went by much more calmly than expected due to our three flights being right on time, the third of which had actually been moved earlier (the right direction for us!) sometime after we wrote the tour itinerary, so that was most welcome. And that “lost day” was well worth it, we decided, because it led to four days of relaxed but productive birding at Fazenda Praia Alta. The fazenda encompasses some 10,000 acres of mixed agriculture and woodlands right along the Rio Formoso, which is a tributary of the Rio Araguaia. Shrinking wetlands concentrated waterbirds, especially Snail Kites, Limpkins, storks and whistling-ducks, the latter present in the tens of thousands and putting on an unforgettable show at dusk one evening as they restlessly swarmed off to nocturnal feeding areas against a gorgeous, red-orange sunset. Groups of Greater Rheas were a common sight, and we even got to watch a male trying to keep his harem together with hunched, wing-drooping displays. Local specialties Orinoco Goose, Azure Gallinule, Bananal Antbird, Crimson-fronted Cardinal, and an as-yet-undescribed spinetail cooperated nicely as well. It was fun to hear and see a huge Horned Screamer high in a dead tree, Hoatzins several times, Sungrebes a couple of times, and also to spot an Orange-backed Troupial to go with the black-backed Campo Troupials we had seen earlier in the tour. A late-afternoon boat-trip on the Rio Formoso was especially fun, as we sat ringside to a great show of feeding and flying Yellow-collared Macaws, a handsome pair of the cardinals that came in close from a very long way off, migrant elaenias and other flycatchers, and good comparisons of pairs of Rusty-backed and the afore-mentioned undescribed spinetails. Constant river companions around the same sandbar were Black Skimmers, Yellow-billed and Large-billed terns, and Pied Lapwings. It was relaxing and lots of fun staying at Praia Alta, and they took great care of us. I was able to send the drone up for a few minutes of aerial video, which revealed miles of incredibly beautiful underwater sandbars which are probably now exposed, as the river level has continued to drop (I'll include some drone footage in the triplist, below).

We put a wrap on the tour with a final morning in bamboo-dominated woodland, in search of Kaempfer’s Woodpecker. Our first stop was good for several species (especially Manu Antbirds!), and we had stunning views of a male Ochre-backed Woodpecker (recently split from Blond-crested), but there was no sign of the Kaempfer's that Marcelo and I had found there, scouting just ahead of the tour. Happily, “Plan B” worked to perfection as we visited another territory we’d scouted, not far away. A Kaempfer’s Woodpecker responded immediately to our recording, and, after a few minutes of coaxing, we got it to rise into a tree above the dense growth of bamboo where everyone had a great view of it. Then, over the next half-hour or so, we moved it around into several other good viewing angles. It was a brilliant male, an absolutely fantastic bird! After lunch at our hotel and some time to pack up, we visited a new museum dedicated to the history of the establishment of the state of Tocantins (30 years old in May 2019), then made our way to the airport for the flight to Brasilia, from which point we made our international connections.

I know I speak for Marcelo as well when I say Thank You to all for joining us for this first-run tour to a little-birded region of east-central Brazil. We had a wonderful time, and look forward to seeing you again when the time rolls around. Meanwhile, safe travels and happy birding to all! – Bret & Marcelo

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

Rheidae (Rheas)
GREATER RHEA (Rhea americana)

It was fun watching this huge male Greater Rhea trying to keep his girls in order. (Video by Bret Whitney).
Tinamidae (Tinamous)
UNDULATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus undulatus) – Heard a bunch of times around Faz. Praia Alta, but none seen. [*]
YELLOW-LEGGED TINAMOU (Crypturellus noctivagus) – Well, this one is present in fairly good numbers in Peruaçu Caverns National Park, but they were dead-quiet this year (not a single bird heard). Thus, a couple of us were very fortunate to hear one scuttling away in dry leaf litter and catch a brief view before it dodged behind a big log and disappeared.
SMALL-BILLED TINAMOU (Crypturellus parvirostris) – Distant birds vocalizing at the Blue-eyed Ground-Dove Reserve (and a few times else where on the route, not mentioned at checklist sessions). [*]
Anhimidae (Screamers)
HORNED SCREAMER (Anhima cornuta)
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
ORINOCO GOOSE (Oressochen jubatus) – Just a couple of pairs on river sandbars, apparently not yet into the nesting period.
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata)
BRAZILIAN TEAL (Amazonetta brasiliensis)
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
CHESTNUT-BELLIED GUAN (Penelope ochrogaster) – Despite a number of the guans we saw well around Praia Alta looking intermediate between White-crested (records running from central Tocantins north into Amazonian Para) and Ochre-bellied, we are calling them all the latter for the time being, at least.
BARE-FACED CURASSOW (Crax fasciolata) – A couple of great sightings of these regal birds.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)
PICAZURO PIGEON (Patagioenas picazuro)
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)
SCALED DOVE (Columbina squammata)
PICUI GROUND-DOVE (Columbina picui)
BLUE-EYED GROUND-DOVE (Columbina cyanopis) – We had one pair of birds sitting together in a low bush only a few yards away from us. They were completely unconcerned with our presence as they allopreened, showing off their incredibly bright-blue eyes and "bubblegum-pink" feet. After some 10 minutes of viewing in the scopes, one of the birds flew off to forage on the ground, and was followed by its mate a couple of minutes thereafter. Marcelo, the guide from SAVEBrasil, confided in us that, just a few days earlier, he had found the nest that this pair had just finished building. The only unfortunate thing was that the birds were perched somewhat inside the perimeter of a dense bush, and it wasn't possible to make good photos/video. To make up for that, I'll insert a couple of video clips of a Blue-eyed Ground-Dove that I made on my scouting trip to the area exactly one year earlier ;-) [E]
BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) – Several around and somewhat vocal at Fazenda Praia Alta, including a group of about 10 birds feeding on spilled grain in the roadway.
LONG-TAILED GROUND-DOVE (Uropelia campestris) – It looked like we might miss this one, but we lucked out and got a single bird for good, close views at just about the last minute.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

What a thrill it was to run into this incredible show of whistling-ducks making ready to fly off to feeding grounds at sundown. We just happened to find a ringside seat after birding some areas nearby. (Video by Bret Whitney).
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
GUIRA CUCKOO (Guira guira)
GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) [*]
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
NACUNDA NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles nacunda) – Three or four of these huge nighthawks came out over the Rio das Velhas, Minas Gerais, at dusk one evening.
BAND-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (BAND-TAILED) (Nyctiprogne leucopyga majuscula) – At Faz. Praia Alta, along the Rio Formoso. We had one bird, which had started singing quite early one afternoon, respond aggressively to a recording by zooming in to fly around the group for a minute or two, in broad daylight! As the rivers are dropping into the dry season, these birds' hormones are kicking in; they nest on the ground and were ready to get going on that!
BAHIAN NIGHTHAWK (Nyctiprogne vielliardi) – As mentioned in the Introduction -- right at (or a few seconds after?) the buzzer! Yip yip yip!! [E]
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)
Apodidae (Swifts)
FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata) – A few birds at a couple of localities. Other swifts were essentially absent everywhere on our tour route, with just a few distant individuals (probably Gray-rumped) seen over the Rio Formoso one late afternoon.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
REDDISH HERMIT (Phaethornis ruber) – One bird; flowers were in scarce supply throughout the tour route on this very dry year.
PLANALTO HERMIT (Phaethornis pretrei)
HYACINTH VISORBEARER (Augastes scutatus) – The higher valley above Botumirim (Campina bananal) did have good flowers, and we enjoyed a ringside show from male and female Hyacinth Visorbearers! [E]
WHITE-VENTED VIOLETEAR (Colibri serrirostris)
HORNED SUNGEM (Heliactin bilophus) – We even managed to get a male in the scope for a moment.
WHITE-TAILED GOLDENTHROAT (Polytmus guainumbi) – This marshland species was flighty, but seen reasonably well a couple of times.
RUBY-TOPAZ HUMMINGBIRD (Chrysolampis mosquitus) – Marcelo spotted a male in full adult plumage at the Kaempfer's Woodpecker area; it was seen by everyone but yours truly, I think!
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – A female feeding two tiny chicks in the nest in a shrub on a sandbar on the Rio Formoso was a treat to watch in the scopes.
STRIPE-BREASTED STARTHROAT (Heliomaster squamosus) – Two sightings only, one an adult male, the other a female-plumaged bird, several days apart.
GLITTERING-BELLIED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon lucidus)
BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes notata)
DRY-FOREST SABREWING (Campylopterus calcirupicola) – This bird was recently named as a split from the diamantinensis subspecies of Gray-breasted Sabrewing, based on its parapatric (side-by-side) distribution and a couple of minuscule differences in measurements. The pattern does not make sense to me, and deserves further study focused in the expected zone of range abutment, to document the extent of overlap in purported characters. For now, "you can count it"! [E]
SWALLOW-TAILED HUMMINGBIRD (Eupetomena macroura) – Several sightings, always impressive!
FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata)
Opisthocomidae (Hoatzin)
HOATZIN (Opisthocomus hoazin) – Quite a few around Praia Alta.
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
GIANT WOOD-RAIL (Aramides ypecaha) – Ditto that remark, and for the next species, too.
GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus)
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)
AZURE GALLINULE (Porphyrio flavirostris)
RUSSET-CROWNED CRAKE (Anurolimnas viridis) [*]
Heliornithidae (Finfoots)
SUNGREBE (Heliornis fulica) – Two good sightings, especially the one that Lang spotted as we looked down on an oxbow lake.
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
PIED LAPWING (Vanellus cayanus)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)
COLLARED PLOVER (Charadrius collaris)
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana)
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
YELLOW-BILLED TERN (Sternula superciliaris)
LARGE-BILLED TERN (Phaetusa simplex)
BLACK SKIMMER (INTERCEDENS) (Rynchops niger intercedens) – We got to see some pretty spectacular pair courtship flights from these elegant birds, over sandbars on the Rio Formoso.
Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)
SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias) [*]
Ciconiidae (Storks)
JABIRU (Jabiru mycteria) – Good numbers lingering around the last wet spots in the rice/soy fields.
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – Muchos!
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)

Our first outing was an afternoon visit to nearby Brasília National Park. (Video by Bret Whitney).
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
RUFESCENT TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma lineatum)
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)
WHISTLING HERON (Syrigma sibilatrix)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – Found just once, but we had nice daytime views of juv and adult.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis)
BARE-FACED IBIS (Phimosus infuscatus)
BUFF-NECKED IBIS (Theristicus caudatus)
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja) – Gratifyingly numerous, mixed in with the big white guys.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa) – Two birds seen well at Peruaçu.
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)
GREATER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes melambrotus) – Just a couple on the eastern rim of their range in western Tocantins.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – Several sightings on the Rio Formoso.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) – We were lucky to pick up an adult bird as it flew over us, crossing a wide canyon in Peruaçu.
BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis)
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis)
SHARP-SHINNED HAWK (RUFOUS-THIGHED) (Accipiter striatus erythronemius)
CRANE HAWK (BANDED) (Geranospiza caerulescens gracilis) – That one on the ground, just a few feet off the road at Praia Alta, was amazing!
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – LOTS around the recently burned rice fields at Praia Alta.
GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga)
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)
WHITE-TAILED HAWK (Geranoaetus albicaudatus) – A dark-morph bird was an especially nice sighting.
BLACK-CHESTED BUZZARD-EAGLE (Geranoaetus melanoleucus) – Marcelo spotted a couple of birds soaring high above our dining spot at Botumirim.
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – WOW! Seeing mom defending her three recently hatched youngsters with spread wings and tail accompanied by loud squeals, snarls, and bill snaps, was an unforgettable experience. Check out the video I'll embed here!
Strigidae (Owls)
GREAT HORNED OWL (GREAT HORNED) (Bubo virginianus nacurutu) [*]
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – Hard to believe, but we managed to get through this entire tour without one of these guys popping into view! [*]
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia)
Trogonidae (Trogons)
GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis) – A split from White-tailed Trogon; great views!
BLUE-CROWNED TROGON (Trogon curucui) – This handsome trogon was also seen well, right toward the end of the trip.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
SPOT-BACKED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus maculatus) – Excellent scope studies.
RUSTY-BREASTED NUNLET (Nonnula rubecula) – Also seen really nicely, after some perseverance. Rather rarely seen outside of Amazonia.
BLACK-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa nigrifrons)
SWALLOW-WINGED PUFFBIRD (Chelidoptera tenebrosa)
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – Quite a few very nice looks at these birds.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
TOCO TOUCAN (Ramphastos toco) – These big guys had a habit of appearing out of nowhere, usually flying by with the sun coming through their enormous, orange bills.
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus)
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
SPOTTED PICULET (Picumnus pygmaeus) – One good view of a pair.
WHITE-WEDGED PICULET (Picumnus albosquamatus guttifer) – Also seen well, a couple of times, and we also saw a pair near Botumirim that appeared to be introgressed between White-barred and White-wedged piculets (hybridization and introgression are fairly common between several "pairs of populations of piculets" in South America.
WHITE WOODPECKER (Melanerpes candidus) – Great views on our first outing in Minas Gerais!
LITTLE WOODPECKER (Dryobates passerinus)
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos) – These impressive woodpeckers had a nest at Praia Alta.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)
CREAM-COLORED WOODPECKER (Celeus flavus) – One bird came across the Rio Formoso on our great birding afternoon there.
KAEMPFER'S WOODPECKER (Celeus obrieni) – YaHOOO! [E]
GOLDEN-GREEN WOODPECKER (Piculus chrysochloros) – A couple of nice sightings of this one.
GREEN-BARRED WOODPECKER (Colaptes melanochloros)
Cariamidae (Seriemas)
RED-LEGGED SERIEMA (Cariama cristata) – Our best sighting was of a bird walking along a dirt road ahead of the van, then running along beside us, in Minas Gerais near Peruaçu.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus) – A calling bird seemed perhaps too far away to respond to our recording, but after a couple of minutes, it fell silent then flew across the road, revealing that it was a beautiful dark-morph bird!
SOUTHERN CARACARA (Caracara plancus)
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

Nearly a week in the São Francisco River valley of northern Minas Gerais was perfect for finding all of the local rarities and many other birds, in some beautiful habitats. However, it was a drier year than normal, and birds weren't very vocal, so it was a little tougher than your guides were hoping for. (Video by Bret Whitney).
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
SCALY-HEADED PARROT (Pionus maximiliani)
YELLOW-FACED PARROT (Alipiopsitta xanthops) – Just one pair, seen well, at Praia Alta.
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica)
BLUE-WINGED PARROTLET (Forpus xanthopterygius)
MAROON-BELLIED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura frontalis) – One small group came over campina bananal.
CACTUS PARAKEET (Eupsittula cactorum) [*]
GOLDEN-CAPPED PARAKEET (Aratinga auricapillus) – Great scope studies at Peruaçu.
YELLOW-COLLARED MACAW (Primolius auricollis) – Among the best trips ever for seeing this fabulous macaw -- especially that large gathering in fruiting trees on the Rio Formoso.
BLUE-AND-YELLOW MACAW (Ara ararauna) – Seen best right over Palmas, the capital city of Tocantins!
BLUE-CROWNED PARAKEET (Thectocercus acuticaudatus) – Botumirim
RED-SHOULDERED MACAW (Diopsittaca nobilis) – Seen best on our last morning.
WHITE-EYED PARAKEET (Psittacara leucophthalmus)
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major)
SILVERY-CHEEKED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus cristatus) – Fine views of male and female
GLOSSY ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus luctuosus)
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus) [*]
PLANALTO SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus pelzelni)
VARIABLE ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus caerulescens)
AMAZONIAN ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus amazonicus)
STRIPE-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmorchilus strigilatus strigilatus) – A gorgeous male seen right after the Silvery-cheeked Antshrikes!
CAATINGA ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus sellowi) – Wonderful views of these little guys, near the southernmost known point of occurrence.
BLACK-CAPPED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus atricapillus)
LARGE-BILLED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus longirostris)
NARROW-BILLED ANTWREN (Formicivora iheringi) – Also seen beautifully, especially the male; another NE Brazil specialty here near the southernmost known locality.
WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (Formicivora grisea)
BLACK-BELLIED ANTWREN (Formicivora melanogaster)
RUSTY-BACKED ANTWREN (Formicivora rufa rufa)
BANANAL ANTBIRD (Cercomacra ferdinandi) – They were sneaky, but everyone eventually caught up with good views; a highly local Araguaian endemic. [E]
BAND-TAILED ANTBIRD (Hypocnemoides maculicauda) – Like the Amazonian Antshrikes, this one is an indicator of Amazonian influence at the eastern edge of the basin, on the Araguaia.
Conopophagidae (Gnateaters)
RUFOUS GNATEATER (Conopophaga lineata lineata) – It's impossible (at this point, without thorough genetic analyses) to know what subspecies these Minas Gerais birds may represent.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
WHITE-BROWED ANTPITTA (Hylopezus ochroleucus) – It was hard to see, but one bird sang repeatedly at close range and I think a couple of folks, at least, got to see it briefly.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (OLIVACEOUS) (Sittasomus griseicapillus olivaceus) – Birds in the western portion of the tour route.
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (OLIVACEOUS) (Sittasomus griseicapillus sylviellus) – The more easterly birds looked to be this subspecies (which continues east through the southern Atlantic Forest)
LONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Nasica longirostris) – A spectacular view of this spectacular woodcreeper, above the Bananal Antbirds!
PLANALTO WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes platyrostris)
MOUSTACHED WOODCREEPER (Xiphocolaptes falcirostris franciscanus) – We were into a string of hard luck, and the sun was headed the wrong direction, when we went to Plan C. Graças a Deus, it worked! Just after I played the recording, Bill quietly said, "I see a woodcreeper." And it turned out to be the pair of Moustached Woodcreepers we were all silently praying for! The birds stayed around for several minutes, never making a sound, but clearly interested in my recordings. What great looks at this impressive bird!
BUFF-THROATED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus guttatus) – The form most of us saw briefly at Praia Alta was of "Lafresnaye's group" X. g. guttatoides.
RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris) – An excellent view of this excellent bird!
NARROW-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes angustirostris) [*]
SCALED WOODCREEPER (WAGLER'S) (Lepidocolaptes squamatus wagleri) – These are the "Scaled" Woodcreepers west/north of the São Francisco River.
SCALED WOODCREEPER (SCALED) (Lepidocolaptes squamatus squamatus) – The nominate form occurs east/south of the São Francisco.

Here's an aerial perspective on some of the habitats we birded in northern Minas Gerais. (Video by Bret Whitney).
STREAKED XENOPS (Xenops rutilans)
WING-BANDED HORNERO (Furnarius figulus)
PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (Furnarius leucopus)
RUFOUS HORNERO (Furnarius rufus)
SHARP-TAILED STREAMCREEPER (Lochmias nematura) – It was a bit of a surprise to find one of these fine birds in the high country above Botumirim; it was highly responsive, popping out onto a bare branch where it stayed for a couple of minutes!
CHESTNUT-CAPPED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Clibanornis rectirostris) – We had heard 2-3 birds across the Rio das Velhas early in the tour, but had not been able to get nearly close enough to see one. We finally connected with a shy individual at Lapa Grande, which was great. [E]
RUFOUS-FRONTED THORNBIRD (RUFOUS-FRONTED) (Phacellodomus rufifrons rufifrons)
GREATER THORNBIRD (Phacellodomus ruber)
CIPO CANASTERO (Asthenes luizae) – We had a couple of standoffish pairs calling from the canyon walls above Botumirim, but not helping us out by descending into view -- until, finally, we worked our way a bit farther up the trail and found a bird that decided to challenge us at close range, allowing excellent views and a couple of nice photos as well! [E]
RUSTY-BACKED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca vulpina reiseri)
GRAY-HEADED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca semicinerea)
CAATINGA CACHOLOTE (Pseudoseisura cristata)
YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus)
UNDESCRIBED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis sp. nov.) – This highly distinctive bird, discovered some 15 years ago by Dante Buzzetti of São Paulo, still had not been given a name -- but I just heard a rumor that the description is now underway, so let's hope for the best! [E]
CHOTOY SPINETAIL (Schoeniophylax phryganophilus)
SPIX'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis spixi)
SOOTY-FRONTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis frontalis) [*]
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola)
FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii)
GRAY ELAENIA (Myiopagis caniceps)
GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata)
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)
LARGE ELAENIA (Elaenia spectabilis) – Lots of southern (austral) migrants around.
WHITE-CRESTED ELAENIA (CHILEAN) (Elaenia albiceps chilensis) – One seen very well at Peruaçu (unfortunately, it got away before I could get a photo of it).
PLAIN-CRESTED ELAENIA (Elaenia cristata)
HIGHLAND ELAENIA (BRAZILIAN) (Elaenia obscura sordida) – This bird, E. o. sordida of eastern Brazil, has just been accepted as a split from Andean Highland Elaenias of the nominate form. We're still waiting to learn what the English name will be.
MINAS GERAIS TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes roquettei) – Great views 2-3 times, at it turned out! This is a highly local endemic of semi-dry forests centered on northern Minas Gerais. [E]
REISER'S TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias reiseri) – Another very poorly known little flycatcher, the range of which is much wider than that of Minas Gerais Tyrannulet (to which it is not closely related) but it is even more obscure. Neither of them has been included in any phylogeny, which would certainly elucidate their relationships. [E]
SOUTHERN SCRUB-FLYCATCHER (Sublegatus modestus) [*]
AMAZONIAN TYRANNULET (Inezia subflava) – Nice views from the boats on the Rio Formoso.
TAWNY-CROWNED PYGMY-TYRANT (Euscarthmus meloryphus) – Just one, but it was a cooperative one!
GREATER WAGTAIL-TYRANT (CAATINGA) (Stigmatura budytoides gracilis) – A lovely pair of these birds came in to a mobbing recording near Januaria.
STRIPE-NECKED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus striaticollis) – This and the next two tody-tyrants put on excellent shows for us.
HANGNEST TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus nidipendulus)
PEARLY-VENTED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer)
RUSTY-FRONTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus latirostris)
SPOTTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum maculatum)
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (MATO GROSSO) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens pallescens)
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris)
CLIFF FLYCATCHER (SWALLOW) (Hirundinea ferruginea bellicosa)
BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus) [*]
EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri)
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus)
FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (Cnemotriccus fuscatus)
CAATINGA BLACK-TYRANT (Knipolegus franciscanus) – One adult male was very cooperative, staying in the canopy of dry forest with a mixed-species flock for several minutes so everyone had a chance to see it in the scopes a couple of times. [E]
VELVETY BLACK-TYRANT (Knipolegus nigerrimus)
WHITE MONJITA (Xolmis irupero niveus)
BLACK-BACKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola albiventer)
MASKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola nengeta)
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala)
CATTLE TYRANT (Machetornis rixosa)
CINNAMON ATTILA (Attila cinnamomeus) [*]
SIBILANT SIRYSTES (Sirystes sibilator)
ASH-THROATED CASIORNIS (Casiornis fuscus) – It was a bit of a surprise to find this species, and to see it so well!
GRAYISH MOURNER (Rhytipterna simplex)
SWAINSON'S FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus swainsoni) – One silent bird, likely (I think) an austral migrant, perhaps on its way to more northerly Amazonian habitats.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)
LESSER KISKADEE (Pitangus lictor)
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)

Three full days at Fazenda Praia Alta, on the banks of the Rio Formoso (a tributary of the Rio Araguaia) was productive and relaxing. (Video by Bret Whitney).
Pipridae (Manakins)
PALE-BELLIED TYRANT-MANAKIN (Neopelma pallescens) – One bird seen marginally well by a few of us; it is fairly common in woodlands not far away.
HELMETED MANAKIN (Antilophia galeata) – Lots of great sightings!
PIN-TAILED MANAKIN (Ilicura militaris) – Seen well twice, but, unfortunately, no adult males this time around.
BAND-TAILED MANAKIN (Pipra fasciicauda) – One female seen by a few of us.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)
GREEN-BACKED BECARD (Pachyramphus viridis)
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
GRAY-EYED GREENLET (Hylophilus amaurocephalus)
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
CURL-CRESTED JAY (Cyanocorax cristatellus) [*]
WHITE-NAPED JAY (Cyanocorax cyanopogon) – Excellent views of these flashy jays a couple of times on the tour.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)
BLACK-COLLARED SWALLOW (Pygochelidon melanoleuca) – Very distant scope views of several birds foraging over the Rio São Francisco near Pirapora, but the plumage pattern is so distinctive that ID was easy.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)
WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer)
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
MOUSTACHED WREN (Pheugopedius genibarbis)
BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis)
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea)
MASKED GNATCATCHER (Polioptila dumicola)
Donacobiidae (Donacobius)
BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla)
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
PALE-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus leucomelas)
RUFOUS-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus rufiventris)
CREAMY-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus amaurochalinus) [*]
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
PURPLE-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chlorotica)
VIOLACEOUS EUPHONIA (Euphonia violacea)
HOODED SISKIN (Spinus magellanicus)
Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)
GRASSLAND SPARROW (Ammodramus humeralis)
YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons)
PECTORAL SPARROW (Arremon taciturnus)
SAO FRANCISCO SPARROW (Arremon franciscanus) – Fabulous views of a pair foraging on the ground just off the trail at Lapa Grande. [E]
SAFFRON-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon flavirostris) – Also seen well, and on the same trail as the São Francisco Sparrow!
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)

Drone imagery from on high, revealing the fantastic forms of the sandbars lying just below the surface of the Rio Formoso, near our lodging at Pousada Praia Alta. (Video by Bret Whitney).
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
WHITE-BROWED MEADOWLARK (Leistes superciliaris)
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)
EPAULET ORIOLE (Icterus cayanensis)
CAMPO TROUPIAL (Icterus jamacaii)
ORANGE-BACKED TROUPIAL (Icterus croconotus)
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)
CHOPI BLACKBIRD (Gnorimopsar chopi)
PALE BAYWING (Agelaioides fringillarius)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus ruficapillus) – Literally thousands around Praia Alta, sometimes concentrated on the road in places where grain spills from passing trucks had occurred.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis aequinoctialis)
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (Basileuterus culicivorus)
WHITE-STRIPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis leucophrys) – Wonderful experience with a pair of these big, seldom-seen warblers at Brasilia National Park.
FLAVESCENT WARBLER (Myiothlypis flaveola) – I betcha this tour broke all records for number of unimpeded sightings of this bird -- we saw them really well on many days!
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (LOWLAND) (Piranga flava flava) – One male-female pair with an subadult male were a colorful sight on the rocky campina bananal trail above Botumirim.
ROSE-BREASTED CHAT (Granatellus pelzelni) – One called several times near our group on the last morning of the tour, but it refused to budge. [*]
ULTRAMARINE GROSBEAK (Cyanoloxia brissonii) – It was an adult male, perhaps seen by a couple of folks in the Blue-eyed Ground-Dove Reserve. [*]
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
RED-COWLED CARDINAL (Paroaria dominicana)
CRIMSON-FRONTED CARDINAL (Paroaria baeri) – Yayyy -- one awesome pair on that amazing afternoon on the Rio Formoso. [E]
CINNAMON TANAGER (Schistochlamys ruficapillus)
SCARLET-THROATED TANAGER (Compsothraupis loricata) – Not seen worth a darn this tour, but we had an adult male close by, and Diane's description of a bird close by at Peruaçu best fits an immature male. We also heard a group of them at long range at campina bananal.
HOODED TANAGER (Nemosia pileata)
ORANGE-HEADED TANAGER (Thlypopsis sordida)
CINEREOUS WARBLING-FINCH (Microspingus cinereus) – An incredibly responsive pair roared down from the high canyon walls at campina bananal to stop only a few yards from our position on the trail, delivering energetic duets every minute or so.
GRAY-HEADED TANAGER (Eucometis penicillata)
WHITE-LINED TANAGER (Tachyphonus rufus)
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo)
SAYACA TANAGER (Thraupis sayaca)
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

Our last morning proved to be a beauty, highlighted by great views of Kaempfer's Woodpecker. (Video by Bret Whitney).
SWALLOW TANAGER (Tersina viridis)
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)
GUIRA TANAGER (Hemithraupis guira)
CHESTNUT-VENTED CONEBILL (Conirostrum speciosum)
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola)
PALE-THROATED PAMPA-FINCH (Embernagra longicauda) – Seen (and heard!) beautifully just before we got the Blue-eyed Ground-Doves!
RUSTY-COLLARED SEEDEATER (Sporophila collaris collaris) – Lots of these around Praia Alta, but almost no other seedeaters, or even grassquits!
PILEATED FINCH (Coryphospingus pileatus)
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)
BLACK-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltatricula atricollis)
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens)
GREEN-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator similis)
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)
Estrildidae (Waxbills and Allies)
COMMON WAXBILL (Estrilda astrild)

GREATER BULLDOG BAT (Noctilio leporinus)
BRAZILIAN FREE-TAILED BAT (Tadarida brasiliensis)
TUFTED-EAR MARMOSET (Callithrix jacchus) – We saw the black-tufted subspecies penicillata east of the Rio São Francisco.
BRAZILIAN RABBIT (Sylvilagus brasiliensis) – Yes, there were a few wabbits wunning acwoss the woad. (Had a hard time with the spell-checker here).
CAVY SP. (Galea/Cavia sp.)
ROCK CAVY (Kerodon rupestris) – Great looks at a pair of these marmot-sized cavys at Peruaçu, thanks to sharp spotting by Marcelo.
CAPYBARA (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris) – At least one huge individual at Fazenda Praia Alta (and a ton of turds on the sandbars hahaha).
AMAZON RIVER DOLPHIN (Inia geoffrensis) – Several in the Rio Formoso around Praia Alta, mostly immature, grayish animals.
MANED WOLF (Chrysocyon brachyurus) – On the list because Marcelo and Eduardo, in the lead pickup truck at Praia Alta, saw one cross the road right in front of them, literally seconds before the tour van rounded a curve.
SOUTH AMERICAN COATI (Nasua nasua) – Perhaps the greatest mammal sighting of the tour was a large (20+ animals) troop of these ornery beasts moving across a field at Praia Alta (check out the video here).

Some extras and outtakes to help you relive some of the highs and lows ;-) (Video by Bret Whitney).
MARSH DEER (Blastocerus dichotomus) – Several good sightings of these impressive deer, the largest in the New World, mostly late afternoons. One was an adult male with massive antlers (still in velvet).


Noteworthy additional sightings included a fresh-caught Surubim Catfish, which we had for lunch in Pirapora, and some enormous Pirarucu (Arapaima gigas) in the Rio Formoso near the Fazenda Praia Alta boat dock. Also right there were a couple of large Black Caiman. We also saw several large and very large Green Iguanas and Tegu Lizards, especially in Tocantins.

Totals for the tour: 328 bird taxa and 11 mammal taxa