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Field Guides Tour Report
Safari Brazil: The Pantanal & More 2013
Oct 11, 2013 to Oct 26, 2013
Marcelo Padua

It's hard to beat Hyacinth Macaws as an opening photo! (Image by guide Marcelo Padua)

One of the most fascinating aspects of leading the same tour year after year is seeing how different things can be from one tour to the next. This year things were particularly interesting in the Pantanal, where the past rainy season had ended late and the rains had started earlier than typical, so there was a lot more water around than we usually see at this time of year. As a result the birds were more scattered than they normally are, yet some species that are normally not very responsive at this time of year were incredibly cooperative. Such was the case with the Pheasant Cuckoo that sat in the spotlight and sang just a few feet away from our group, as well as the Gray-breasted Crake that paraded in the open for us several times. But these were not the only birds that made our visit so rewarding. The usual highlights were all present, with Hyacinth Macaws flying around our lodge every day, Jabirus at every pond, Blaze-winged Parakeets performing above our expectations, and a collection of passerines that are almost exclusive to the pantanal, such as Mato Grosso Antbird, White-lored Spinetail, Fawn-breasted Wren, and Plain Tyrannulet, among others.

The birding was truly amazing, but the Pantanal would not be nearly as famous as it is without the mammals, and they did not disappoint either. Upon arriving at our lodge we were met by a Giant Anteater calmly foraging nearby; this would be the first of several we saw on the tour, including two females with babies on their backs. We saw Brazilian Tapir twice and also watched Ocelot, a mammal I had not seen myself for quite some time. White-lipped Peccaries were abundant, but the Collared were also seen well, along with four species of deer seen by the entire group, while Tom had a personal encounter with a Tayra that caught both him and the animal totally off guard.

The Pantanal is a magical place indeed and one that deserves its reputation as one of the best birding areas in the world, but Brazil has many other hidden gems and Emas National Park is certainly one of them. Emas is far from every airport and major city, and getting to it requires quite a bit of driving, but for those who take the trip the rewards are incredible as this is one of the last large tracts of the native grasslands that once covered much of Central Brazil, a habitat easily converted to cattle ranching or agriculture and so hard to recover once altered. It was here that we found a number of grassland dwellers such as White-winged Nightjar, Black-masked Finch, Small-billed and Red-winged tinamous, Cock-tailed and Sharp-tailed tyrants, Campo Miners, Coal-crested Finch, and a huge flock of migrant seedeaters that included Marsh, Pearly-bellied, Chestnut, and Rufous-rumped. And, although the open fields had no shortage of birds, we took shelter in the heat of the day in the gallery forests at Emas while enjoying good looks at Helmeted Manakin, White-striped Warblers, Southern Antpipit, and the ultra-rare Cone-billed Tanager.

Our next stop was Cipo National Park, situated in the Espinhaco mountain range in east-central Brazil, which shelters some very interesting Brazilian endemics, such the colorful Hyacinth Visorbearer and the Cipo Canastero, the only canastero around for thousands of miles. The habitat is also excellent for other cerrado specialties such as Blue Finch, Cinnamon Tanager, Horned Sungem, Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, and Crested Black-Tyrant, all of which we saw remarkably well in the single day we dedicated to birding in this habitat.

Our last stop had one great challenge, ending this fabulous tour on a high note -- and that was exactly what we did! Caraca is a sanctuary, an old school/monastery that sits in the middle of a private reserve protecting more than 25,000 acres of native habitat, and a historical site that was an important stop for the travelers from interior Brazil to the coast during the colonial times. It's a mosaic of Atlantic rainforest and Cerrado habitat that features excellent birding right from the doorstep. It was here that we spent the last three nights of the tour enjoying great views of White-breasted and Rock tapaculos, Serra Antwren, Ultramarine Grosbeak, Gilt-edged and Brassy-breasted tanagers, Velvety Black-Tyrant, and the Incredible Maned Wolves that visit the doorsteps of the old church every night to take advantage of some food left for them.

After all the great places we visited on this tour only one question remains for those who were there: Where in Brazil will you bird next?

I don't know the answer -- you'll have to choose. But I hope to be with you to show off a little more of this great country!

Until then, good birding...


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) – This charismatic bird is the south american equivalent of Ostriches and is very common throughout our tour route. Unfortunately their abundance is largely due to the clearing of habitat for production of soya beans.
Tinamidae (Tinamous)
BROWN TINAMOU (Crypturellus obsoletus) [*]

That amazing Undulated Tinamou! (Photo by guide Marcelo Padua)

UNDULATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus undulatus) – We played some tape in hopes that the bird would come into view for the group, but nobody expected the bird to just come marching to the road and standing there totally exposed.
SMALL-BILLED TINAMOU (Crypturellus parvirostris) – A beautiful example of how tame birds can become if they are not disturbed by humans. This particular bird was just wondering around a house near Emas.
TATAUPA TINAMOU (Crypturellus tataupa) [*]
RED-WINGED TINAMOU (Rhynchotus rufescens)
LESSER NOTHURA (Nothura minor) [*]
SPOTTED NOTHURA (Nothura maculosa)
Anhimidae (Screamers)
SOUTHERN SCREAMER (Chauna torquata) – Seen right around our lodge at Pousada Caiman.
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata)
BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata) – Native here and to be honest quite handsome. This year they were more abundant in the Pantanal than the usual.
BRAZILIAN TEAL (Amazonetta brasiliensis) – These teal can seem rather dull when they are sitting still, but when they take flight there is an explosion of colors.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
CHACO CHACHALACA (Ortalis canicollis) – Chaco Chachalacas are to the pantanal what Screaming Pihas are to the Amazon, an ever present loud sound.
DUSKY-LEGGED GUAN (Penelope obscura) – Common and quite tame around Caraca.
BARE-FACED CURASSOW (Crax fasciolata) – It is not unusual among birds for the male to be more colorful than females, but this is certainly not the case in this species as the female is simply spectacular.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
MAGUARI STORK (Ciconia maguari) – Very few of these Storks around this year and we ended up having to settle for some distant scope views.
JABIRU (Jabiru mycteria) – By the end of our stay in the pantanal we must have seen hundreds of individuals.
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – Common and widespread.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
RUFESCENT TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma lineatum)
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi)
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

The very showy Gilt-edged Tanager gives us a peek. (Photo by guide Marcelo Padua)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)
WHISTLING HERON (Syrigma sibilatrix) – This is a grassland Heron which is often found a long ways away from any significant water body.
CAPPED HERON (Pilherodius pileatus)
BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius)
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
WHITE-FACED IBIS (Plegadis chihi) – Not a common bird in the Pantanal, but we saw a few juveniles this year.
GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis)
BARE-FACED IBIS (Phimosus infuscatus)
PLUMBEOUS IBIS (Theristicus caerulescens) – This is my favorite Ibis, with its distinctive orange eyes and shaggy crest.
BUFF-NECKED IBIS (Theristicus caudatus)
ROSEATE SPOONBILL (Platalea ajaja)
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – The birds found in the Pantanal are actually migrants from North America. Strangely there have been no records of Ospreys nesting in South America.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus)
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)
BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis)
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis)
MISSISSIPPI KITE (Ictinia mississippiensis) – A few migrating birds seen during the tour.
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea)
CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens)
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis)
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)
WHITE-TAILED HAWK (Geranoaetus albicaudatus)
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
RUFOUS-SIDED CRAKE (Laterallus melanophaius) – The marsh where we usually see this bird had burned quite extensively this year, so the birds were not very responsive, but we managed to bring one out briefly and a few people managed to get on the bird before it took off.
GRAY-BREASTED CRAKE (Laterallus exilis) – My personal experience with this Crake is that it is always one of the hardest ones to see and this year was not different from the past ones where we had to work really hard at it. But when we finally connected with it it was simply amazing to see it crossing an opening several times allowing for some excellent views of this shy species.
GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus)
SLATY-BREASTED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides saracura) – One individual with chicks right around the buildings at Caraca.
UNIFORM CRAKE (Amaurolimnas concolor) [*]
ASH-THROATED CRAKE (Porzana albicollis) [*]

This angle on a Hyacinth Visorbearer gives us a sense of what a flashy hummer it is. (Photo by guide Marcelo Padua)

BLACKISH RAIL (Pardirallus nigricans)
PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinicus)
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)
Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)
BLACK-NECKED STILT (WHITE-BACKED) (Himantopus mexicanus melanurus)
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana)
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)
LESSER YELLOWLEGS (Tringa flavipes)
SOUTH AMERICAN SNIPE (Gallinago paraguaiae) – Great looks right around our lodge at Pousada Caiman.
GIANT SNIPE (Gallinago undulata) [*]
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)
PICAZURO PIGEON (Patagioenas picazuro)
PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea)
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata)
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)
SCALED DOVE (Columbina squammata) – A close relative of the north American Inca dove.
PICUI GROUND-DOVE (Columbina picui)
BLUE GROUND-DOVE (Claravis pretiosa) [*]
LONG-TAILED GROUND-DOVE (Uropelia campestris) – This one took quite a bit of work, but persistence paid off and we got some really nice looks at it.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)
GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla)
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)
GUIRA CUCKOO (Guira guira)
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia)
PHEASANT CUCKOO (Dromococcyx phasianellus) – Undoubtedly one of the highlights of the tour was seeing this bird singing under the spotlight.
GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)
Tytonidae (Barn-Owls)
BARN OWL (Tyto alba) – We had a Barn Owl flying right along our safari truck at Emas on just outside the park one evening.
Strigidae (Owls)
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum)
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia)
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (NATTERERI) (Lurocalis semitorquatus nattereri)
NACUNDA NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles nacunda) – The largest of nighthawks and the prettiest in my opinion.
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)
COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor)
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)

A male Pale-crested! (Photo by guide Marcelo Padua)

WHITE-WINGED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus candicans) – In 2010 94 percent of Emas National Park burned in a devastating fire, since then this species had not been seen on this tour and I was very concerned about it because Emas is one of only two sites where this bird is know to occur. So I was very relieved to see this bird once again this year.
SPOT-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Caprimulgus maculicaudus)
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis)
COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus)
Apodidae (Swifts)
GREAT DUSKY SWIFT (Cypseloides senex) – This year they were present in much bigger numbers than the past couple of years so we ended up having some really good looks at them.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)
BISCUTATE SWIFT (Streptoprocne biscutata)
SICK'S SWIFT (Chaetura meridionalis)
FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata)
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
BLACK JACOBIN (Florisuga fusca)
PLANALTO HERMIT (Phaethornis pretrei)
HYACINTH VISORBEARER (Augastes scutatus) – Belonging to a genus with only two species, both of which are restricted to mountains in eastern Brazil. The Hyacinth Visorbearer is one of Brazil's most spectacular hummingbirds and we had absolutely brilliant looks at it.
WHITE-VENTED VIOLETEAR (Colibri serrirostris)
HORNED SUNGEM (Heliactin bilophus) – Male and female seen at Cipo.
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis)
GLITTERING-BELLIED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon lucidus)
GRAY-BREASTED SABREWING (Campylopterus largipennis)
FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata)
VIOLET-CAPPED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania glaucopis)
VERSICOLORED EMERALD (Amazilia versicolor)
GILDED HUMMINGBIRD (Hylocharis chrysura)
Trogonidae (Trogons)
BLUE-CROWNED TROGON (Trogon curucui)
SURUCUA TROGON (Trogon surrucura)
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
WHITE-EARED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus chacuru)
SPOT-BACKED PUFFBIRD (CHACO) (Nystalus maculatus striatipectus) – Some authors consider this to be a valid species. Keep track of where you see it and the subspecies as they may end up being split.
CRESCENT-CHESTED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila striata) [*]
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda)
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
TOCO TOUCAN (Ramphastos toco)
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
WHITE-BARRED PICULET (Picumnus cirratus cirratus)
WHITE-WEDGED PICULET (Picumnus albosquamatus albosquamatus) – This nominate race is the one we saw at Caiman.

Only if we show this image full-width of the page do you get the right idea about the size of this Giant Anteater... (Photo by guide Marcelo Padua)

WHITE-WEDGED PICULET (Picumnus albosquamatus guttifer)
WHITE WOODPECKER (Melanerpes candidus)
WHITE-FRONTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes cactorum) – This species is very localized and can be quite hard to find in the area, so last year we were quite disappointed to find out that the tree where they used to hang out had been blown by a storm. This year we found a new territory and ended up having excellent looks at them.
LITTLE WOODPECKER (Veniliornis passerinus)
YELLOW-EARED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis maculifrons)
GOLDEN-GREEN WOODPECKER (Piculus chrysochloros)
GREEN-BARRED WOODPECKER (Colaptes melanochloros)
CAMPO FLICKER (Colaptes campestris)
PALE-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Celeus lugubris) – This species replaces the Blond-crested Woodpecker in the Pantanal and we had several great looks at it.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)
ROBUST WOODPECKER (Campephilus robustus) [*]
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos)
Cariamidae (Seriemas)
RED-LEGGED SERIEMA (Cariama cristata) – Several excellent looks at this distinctive Cerrado specialist including one individual singing from the top of a termite mound.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
BARRED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur ruficollis) [*]
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus) – On our last day at Cipo we went birding on a side road and I heard the bird calling, I looked up and there it was just sitting on a nice branch and singing. This must have been the easiest sighting I ever had of a Collared Forest-falcon.
SOUTHERN CARACARA (Caracara plancus)
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)

Savanna Hawk, photographed by guide Marcelo Padua.

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis)
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – We found a nest in the pantanal and enjoyed excellent views as these birds as they went in and out of the nest.
Psittacidae (Parrots)
NANDAY PARAKEET (Nandayus nenday)
BLAZE-WINGED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura devillei) – Another highlight of the tour was having this highly localized species of parakeet at eye level for a long time allowing for some excellent looks at it.
MONK PARAKEET (Myiopsitta monachus)
BLUE-CROWNED PARAKEET (Aratinga acuticaudata)
WHITE-EYED PARAKEET (Aratinga leucophthalma)
HYACINTH MACAW (Anodorhynchus hyacinthinus) – The star of the Pantanal and what a joy it was to just open the door every morning and have these magnificent blue creatures flying right around our lodge.
RED-AND-GREEN MACAW (Ara chloropterus)
BLUE-AND-YELLOW MACAW (Ara ararauna) – As usual these birds were present in great numbers on the road to the entrance of Emas, much to the delight of Patricia who is a big Macaws fan.
YELLOW-COLLARED MACAW (Primolius auricollis)
RED-SHOULDERED MACAW (Diopsittaca nobilis)
YELLOW-FACED PARROT (Alipiopsitta xanthops) – This is a Cerrado endemic and we had great looks at it on our first day at Emas.
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)
SCALY-HEADED PARROT (Pionus maximiliani)
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
TUFTED ANTSHRIKE (Mackenziaena severa) – This is a secretive species, but with a little extra effort we managed to pull one into view.
GREAT ANTSHRIKE (Taraba major)
BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)
RUFOUS-WINGED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus torquatus)
PLANALTO SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus pelzelni)
VARIABLE ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus caerulescens)
PLAIN ANTVIREO (Dysithamnus mentalis) [*]
BLACK-CAPPED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus atricapillus) [*]
LARGE-BILLED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus longirostris)
SERRA ANTWREN (Formicivora serrana) – Excellent looks around the soccer field at Caraca.
RUSTY-BACKED ANTWREN (Formicivora rufa)
FERRUGINOUS ANTBIRD (Drymophila ferruginea)
OCHRE-RUMPED ANTBIRD (Drymophila ochropyga)
DUSKY-TAILED ANTBIRD (Drymophila malura)

The unmistakeable profile of a Red-billed Scythebill -- it uses that amazing bill to probe for insects in tree cavities. (Photo by guide Marcelo Padua)

MATO GROSSO ANTBIRD (Cercomacra melanaria) – We found a very cooperative male near our lodge at Pousada Caiman.
WHITE-SHOULDERED FIRE-EYE (Pyriglena leucoptera)
Melanopareiidae (Crescentchests)
COLLARED CRESCENTCHEST (Melanopareia torquata)
Conopophagidae (Gnateaters)
RUFOUS GNATEATER (Conopophaga lineata)
Rhinocryptidae (Tapaculos)
WHITE-BREASTED TAPACULO (Eleoscytalopus indigoticus) – Tapaculos are notoriously difficult to see, but if you pick the battlefield just right and play your cards right they can show themselves beautiful and that was just what happened when we found the right bird to work on.
ROCK TAPACULO (Scytalopus petrophilus) – As we had mentioned with the previous species Tapaculos can be hard, but we know just where to look for this recently described species and it performed beautifully.
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
CAMPO MINER (Geositta poeciloptera) – This cerrado specialist favors recently burned fields and we found it on a recently burned patch.
OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus)
PLANALTO WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes platyrostris)
GREAT RUFOUS WOODCREEPER (Xiphocolaptes major)
RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris) – It is always fascinating to see this distinctive Woodcreeper. The highly adapted bill is used to probe cracks and holes on trees in search of insects.
NARROW-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes angustirostris)
SCALED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes squamatus) [*]
WING-BANDED HORNERO (Furnarius figulus)
PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (Furnarius leucopus)
RUFOUS HORNERO (Furnarius rufus)
SHARP-TAILED STREAMCREEPER (Lochmias nematura) – If only they were always this cooperative... Seen very well at Caraca.
WHITE-EYED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Automolus leucophthalmus)
RUFOUS-FRONTED THORNBIRD (Phacellodomus rufifrons) – The bird may not look very impressive, but when you see its nest it always earns some respect.
GREATER THORNBIRD (Phacellodomus ruber)
ORANGE-EYED THORNBIRD (Phacellodomus erythrophthalmus)
CIPO CANASTERO (Asthenes luizae) – I have seen this species several times, but never as well as this. I hope it repeats the show next year.
RUSTY-BACKED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca vulpina)
PALLID SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca pallida)
RUFOUS CACHOLOTE (Pseudoseisura unirufa)
CHOTOY SPINETAIL (Schoeniophylax phryganophilus) – Placed in its own genus this very distinctive spinetail has a latin name that is every bit as distinctive as the bird itself.
YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus)
RUFOUS-CAPPED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis ruficapilla)
GRAY-BELLIED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis cinerascens)
SOOTY-FRONTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis frontalis) [*]
PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens)
SPIX'S SPINETAIL (Synallaxis spixi) – A very well behaved individual around Caraca.
WHITE-LORED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albilora) – Sometimes people get a little creative with bird names, I have been looking for this white lore for years and still have not found a bird that does justice to its name.
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

Yellow-billed Cardinals, by guide Marcelo Padua

SUIRIRI FLYCATCHER (Suiriri suiriri affinis)
CHAPADA FLYCATCHER (Suiriri islerorum)
YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola) – This tiny bamboo specialist practically sat in our vehicle when we called it out of the bamboo.
GREENISH ELAENIA (Myiopagis viridicata)
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)
LARGE ELAENIA (Elaenia spectabilis)
SMALL-BILLED ELAENIA (Elaenia parvirostris)
OLIVACEOUS ELAENIA (Elaenia mesoleuca)
PLAIN-CRESTED ELAENIA (Elaenia cristata)
LESSER ELAENIA (Elaenia chiriquensis)
HIGHLAND ELAENIA (Elaenia obscura)
SOOTY TYRANNULET (Serpophaga nigricans)
MOTTLE-CHEEKED TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes ventralis)
PLANALTO TYRANNULET (Phyllomyias fasciatus)
PLAIN TYRANNULET (Inezia inornata)
SHARP-TAILED TYRANT (Culicivora caudacuta) – This grassland specialist is so small that it looks more like a grasshopper than a bird when It flies.
SOUTHERN ANTPIPIT (Corythopis delalandi)
EARED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis auricularis)
HANGNEST TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus nidipendulus) – Some birds just have such a cool name that you just want to see them. Several species of flycatchers build hanging nests, but this one seems to have taken all the glory!
PEARLY-VENTED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus margaritaceiventer)
OCHRE-FACED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus plumbeiceps)
GRAY-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum poliocephalum)
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)
CLIFF FLYCATCHER (Hirundinea ferruginea bellicosa)
WHISKERED FLYCATCHER (YELLOW-RUMPED) (Myiobius barbatus mastacalis)
BRAN-COLORED FLYCATCHER (Myiophobus fasciatus)
EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri)
TROPICAL PEWEE (Contopus cinereus)
FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (Cnemotriccus fuscatus)
CRESTED BLACK-TYRANT (Knipolegus lophotes) – The most distinctive bird in the genus and we saw it extremely well around Cipo.
VELVETY BLACK-TYRANT (Knipolegus nigerrimus)
GRAY MONJITA (Xolmis cinereus)
WHITE MONJITA (Xolmis irupero)
STREAMER-TAILED TYRANT (Gubernetes yetapa) – Flycatchers are often drab looking birds, but this tour has a very nice selection of really cool ones. This one is right at the top of the list.
SHEAR-TAILED GRAY TYRANT (Muscipipra vetula)
BLACK-BACKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola albiventer)
MASKED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola nengeta)
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala)
COCK-TAILED TYRANT (Alectrurus tricolor) – Another incredibly neat flycatcher and one that I never get tired of watching, especially the males as they do their display flights over the grass fields in the cerrado.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus)
CATTLE TYRANT (Machetornis rixosa)
SIRYSTES (Sirystes sibilator)
RUFOUS CASIORNIS (Casiornis rufus)
SWAINSON'S FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus swainsoni)
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus)
LESSER KISKADEE (Pitangus lictor)

This White-banded Tanager gave us some fantastic views. (Photo by guide Marcelo Padua)

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Seen on every day of the tour.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)
SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)
STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – Unlike many nest parasites, the Piratic flycatcher incubates its own eggs and cares for its offspring, but in orders to do so it steals nests from other birds, an behavior that for which it is named.
VARIEGATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus varius)
SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea) – Not a bird that we usually see on this tour but on our way back to Campo Grande from Emas we stoped at a Palm grove and ended up having excellent looks at this Mauricia palm specialist.
WHITE-THROATED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus albogularis)
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
SWALLOW-TAILED COTINGA (Phibalura flavirostris) – Seen briefly but well around Caraca.
Pipridae (Manakins)
SERRA DO MAR TYRANT-MANAKIN (Neopelma chrysolophum)
PIN-TAILED MANAKIN (Ilicura militaris) – Seen several times on the tour, but every single one of them was a female or an immature. I just cannot believe we did not find an adult male this year.
HELMETED MANAKIN (Antilophia galeata) – Seen very well at Emas National Park.
SWALLOW-TAILED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia caudata)
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor)
GREEN-BACKED BECARD (Pachyramphus viridis)
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)
CRESTED BECARD (Pachyramphus validus)
Vireonidae (Vireos)
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus)
GRAY-EYED GREENLET (Hylophilus amaurocephalus) – During the tour I got confused with the english name of this bird and called it a Rufous-crowned Greenlet. The bird we saw was in reality the Gray-eyed Greenlet.
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
PURPLISH JAY (Cyanocorax cyanomelas)
CURL-CRESTED JAY (Cyanocorax cristatellus) – This cerrado specialist is somewhat common around Emas and we had excellent looks.
PLUSH-CRESTED JAY (Cyanocorax chrysops) – Always a crowd pleaser, seen well around pousada Caiman.
Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLUE-AND-WHITE SWALLOW (Pygochelidon cyanoleuca)

Cone-billed Tanager was a rarity highlight of our tour. (Photo by guide Marcelo Padua)

TAWNY-HEADED SWALLOW (Alopochelidon fucata) – We saw thousands of them migrating trough one evening near Emas.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)
WHITE-RUMPED SWALLOW (Tachycineta leucorrhoa)
BANK SWALLOW (Riparia riparia)
CLIFF SWALLOW (Petrochelidon pyrrhonota)
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)
SEDGE WREN (Cistothorus platensis) – Although this bird is presently considered the same species as the north American Birds, it looks different, its song is different and it certainly is something different. Keep tabs on it as it is bound to get split someday.
THRUSH-LIKE WREN (Campylorhynchus turdinus unicolor)
FAWN-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus guarayanus) – As far as wrens go this species has a pretty small world range and is something of a Southern Pantanal specialty. We enjoyed great looks at one on our second day around Caiman.
Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)
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) – I know that this is shocking to many people, but the Rufous-bellied Thrush is actually the national bird of Brazil, a distinction that it has earned thanks to its lovely song which can be heard in most Brazilian cities.
CREAMY-BELLIED THRUSH (Turdus amaurochalinus)
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis aequinoctialis)
TROPICAL PARULA (Setophaga pitiayumi)
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER (WHITE-BELLIED) (Basileuterus culicivorus hypoleucus)
WHITE-STRIPED WARBLER (Myiothlypis leucophrys)
FLAVESCENT WARBLER (Myiothlypis flaveola)
WHITE-BROWED WARBLER (Myiothlypis leucoblephara)
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
RED-CRESTED CARDINAL (Paroaria coronata)
YELLOW-BILLED CARDINAL (Paroaria capitata) – If it wasn't such a common bird in the Pantanal I am sure this lovely Cardinal would figure high on every birder's list of most wanted birds.
CINNAMON TANAGER (Schistochlamys ruficapillus)
MAGPIE TANAGER (Cissopis leverianus)
WHITE-BANDED TANAGER (Neothraupis fasciata)
CONE-BILLED TANAGER (Conothraupis mesoleuca) – This bird was first collected in 1938 and named as a new species and for 65 years there was no record of it. Many people suggested the bird was extinct, others implied that the bird was a hybrid and therefore not a species but in the year of 2003 a group of birders visiting Emas National Park in the state of Goias in Brazil saw the bird and reported the discovery. We were very lucky to connect with a singing adult male on our tour!

The Pheasant Cuckoo we saw so the spotlight! (Photo by guide Marcelo Padua)

HOODED TANAGER (Nemosia pileata)
WHITE-RUMPED TANAGER (Cypsnagra hirundinacea)
BLACK-GOGGLED TANAGER (Trichothraupis melanops)
RUBY-CROWNED TANAGER (Tachyphonus coronatus)
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo)
SAYACA TANAGER (Thraupis sayaca)
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)
BRASSY-BREASTED TANAGER (Tangara desmaresti)
GILT-EDGED TANAGER (Tangara cyanoventris) – This colorful species is common around forested areas near Caraca and we had several good looks during our time there.
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)
RUFOUS-HEADED TANAGER (Hemithraupis ruficapilla)
BLUE FINCH (Porphyrospiza caerulescens) – It is always great to see this species, but none of us was prepared for how well this bird would behave.
SAFFRON FINCH (Sicalis flaveola)
WEDGE-TAILED GRASS-FINCH (Emberizoides herbicola)
LESSER GRASS-FINCH (Emberizoides ypiranganus) – Another extremely well behaved bird, it came so close I couldn't even focus my binoculars on it.
PALE-THROATED PAMPA-FINCH (Embernagra longicauda)
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)
PLUMBEOUS SEEDEATER (Sporophila plumbea)
RUSTY-COLLARED SEEDEATER (Sporophila collaris)
LINED SEEDEATER (Sporophila lineola)
YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis)
DUBOIS'S SEEDEATER (Sporophila ardesiaca)
DOUBLE-COLLARED SEEDEATER (Sporophila caerulescens)
PEARLY-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila pileata) – Formerly know as Capped Seedeater, this species was recently split into Copper seedeater and Pearly-bellied Seedeater, the birds we saw at Emas were Pearly-bellied.
TAWNY-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila hypoxantha)
DARK-THROATED SEEDEATER (Sporophila ruficollis)
MARSH SEEDEATER (Sporophila palustris)
RUFOUS-RUMPED SEEDEATER (Sporophila hypochroma)
CHESTNUT SEEDEATER (Sporophila cinnamomea)
COAL-CRESTED FINCH (Charitospiza eucosma) – This is a nomadic species and therefore not always present, but we managed to find a very responsive male at Emas National Park.
BLACK-MASKED FINCH (Coryphaspiza melanotis)
PILEATED FINCH (Coryphospingus pileatus)
RED-CRESTED FINCH (Coryphospingus cucullatus)
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)
BLACK-THROATED SALTATOR (Saltator atricollis) – This distinctive Cerrado bird is quite different from all Saltators and it may in fact be more closely related to Grass-finches and Pampa-finches. Hopefully some genetic work will be done on it soon and we will know just were this bird belongs.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens)
GREEN-WINGED SALTATOR (Saltator similis)
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
SAFFRON-BILLED SPARROW (Arremon flavirostris) – I always say that if all sparrows were as handsome as this they could possibly become my favorite group of birds.

Crimson-crested Woodpecker, by guide Marcelo Padua

GRASSLAND SPARROW (Ammodramus humeralis) – Perhaps the most common bird in the grasslands of Emas.
RUFOUS-COLLARED SPARROW (Zonotrichia capensis)
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
HEPATIC TANAGER (LOWLAND) (Piranga flava flava)
ULTRAMARINE GROSBEAK (Cyanocompsa brissonii) – It took quite a bit of work to bring this one out of the bushes at Caraca, but when it came out it perched nicely for us allowing some excellent studies.
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
WHITE-BROWED BLACKBIRD (Sturnella superciliaris)
CHOPI BLACKBIRD (Gnorimopsar chopi)
SCARLET-HEADED BLACKBIRD (Amblyramphus holosericeus) – Another bird that almost illuded us, but on our last morning at Caiman we had stellar views of it.
UNICOLORED BLACKBIRD (Agelasticus cyanopus)
CHESTNUT-CAPPED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus ruficapillus) – This is a bird that was not always seen on this tour route. But a few years ago we found some bird feeders right in town that are frequently visited by this species. Since then we have not missed it on a single tour.
YELLOW-RUMPED MARSHBIRD (Pseudoleistes guirahuro)
BAY-WINGED COWBIRD (Agelaioides badius)
SCREAMING COWBIRD (Molothrus rufoaxillaris)
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)
VARIABLE ORIOLE (Icterus pyrrhopterus) – This bird was recently split from the Epaulet Oriole that has yellow shoulders instead of rusty shoulders like the birds we saw.
ORANGE-BACKED TROUPIAL (Icterus croconotus strictifrons)
SOLITARY BLACK CACIQUE (Cacicus solitarius)
GOLDEN-WINGED CACIQUE (Cacicus chrysopterus)
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)
Fringillidae (Siskins, Crossbills, and Allies)
PURPLE-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chlorotica)
GOLDEN-RUMPED EUPHONIA (Euphonia cyanocephala) – This handsome Euphonia is one of the hardest ones to find. We were very lucky to connect with one at Caraca.
BLUE-NAPED CHLOROPHONIA (Chlorophonia cyanea) [*]
Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)
HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

TUFTED-EAR MARMOSET (Callithrix jacchus) [*]
MASKED TITI MONKEY (Callicebus personatus) – Seen and heard a lot around Caraca.
GIANT ANTEATER (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) – This is one of South America's most iconic mammals and we could not have hoped for better looks at it.

The two young male Capybaras we saw sparring...what a great sighting! (Photo by guide Marcelo Padua)

SIX-BANDED (YELLOW) ARMADILLO (Euphractus sexcinctus)
NINE-BANDED ARMADILLO (Dasypus novemcinctus)
GUIANAN SQUIRREL (Sciurus aestuans)
CAPYBARA (Hydrochaeris hydrochaeris) – Quite common around Caiman, but seeing a pair of young males sparring was a first for me.
AZARA'S AGOUTI (Dasyprocta azarae)
CRAB-EATING FOX (Cerdocyon thous)
MANED WOLF (Chrysocyon brachyurus) – This one is right up there with the Giant Anteater as one of the most incredible mammals in South America. It is in fact more closely related to foxes and can be quite rare to see, but the monks have been feeding them at Caraca for nearly 20 years and each of our groups has enjoyed stellar looks at this amazing creature.
CRAB-EATING RACCOON (Procyon cancrivorus)
TAYRA (Eira barbara)
OCELOT (Felis pardalis) – We had two sightings of this handsome cat, one of them quite close to our lodge at Pousada Caiman.
BRAZILIAN TAPIR (Tapirus terrestris) – We had better looks than usual on the tour this year, even seeing one in broad day light at Emas.
WILD BOAR (Sus scrofa)
COLLARED PECCARY (Tayassu tajacu)
MARSH DEER (Blastocerus dichotomus)
PAMPAS DEER (Ozotoceros bezoarticus)
RED BROCKET DEER (Mazama americana)
BROWN BROCKET DEER (Mazama gouazoubira)


Other interesting records included:

Yellow-footed Tortoise, Geochelone denticulata.

Tegu Lizzard, Tupinambus tegu.

Paraguaian Caiman, Caiman yacare.

Totals for the tour: 386 bird taxa and 22 mammal taxa