A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Brazil's Madeira and Tapajos: Between Two Great Rivers (private tour)

May 4-17, 2022 with Micah Riegner and Bret Whitney guiding

Field Guides Birding Tours
Bam! Harlequin Antbird! This is one of the most desired birds on this itinerary, found only in the sliver of Amazonia between the Rio Canuma and Rio Tapajos. David Smith did a great job photographing this female as it paused momentarily on a sapling above an army ant swarm off the Rio Abacaxis. Xingu Scale-backed Antbirds, Hoffmann's Woodcreepers, and Black-spotted Bare-eyes were also at the swarm.

Every time we run this tour, we learn something new about the finely woven and infinitely complex tapestry that is Amazonia, and this year was no exception. This tour was special— a reunion of friends from way back before Field Guides even existed. Rose Ann Rowlett, Richard Webster, Suzanne Winkler and David Smith pulled the group together and, after over two years of planning, speculating and worrying about whether we could even run tours in 2022, we pulled it off and it was an absolute blast! The tour itself was essentially the Great Rivers II: Birding Madera-Tapajos Interfluvium itinerary with a few tweaks. Instead of spending a couple days in the town of Borba, which we normally do on Great Rivers II, we allocated that time to Manaus and visited two world-class canopy towers, the ZF2 tower and the MUSA tower, which are both features of the Field Guides Manaus Tour.

At 4:00 am the first morning, we were 30 miles north of Manaus sliding along a narrow mud track in four 4x4 trucks, our destination: the ZF2 Tower. That hour of sliding on slippery mud was completely worthwhile when we found ourselves above the canopy looking across hundreds of hectares of unbroken Amazonia as songs of Spotted Antpitta and Lined Forest-falcon marked the start of the day. Cotingas seemed to be the theme of the morning. We had great looks at a Crimson Fruitcrow doing a flight display (more on that in the species accounts), a small flock of Capuchinbirds displaying at eye level, both male and female Pompadour Cotingas and a female Purple-breasted Cotinga. We also saw Guianan Toucanet, Olive-green Tyrannulet, and Spot-backed Antwren—birds only found on the Guianan Shield.

Rain condensed our visit to the MUSA Tower the next day, so we decided to leave early for the Ajato, the speed boat, and zip down the Amazon and up the Rio Madeira to the town of Nova Olinda where we boarded the Dorinha, our mobile hotel for the next 11 days. We settled into our cozy cabins, then sipped caipirinhas on the top deck as we drifted down the Parana Uraria, leaving the last bar of Vivo cell signal behind. The Parana Uraria is a rather unusual little channel that links the Rio Madeira to numerous blackwater tributaries like the Abacaxis and the Maues, then empties into the main channel of the Amazon. Our first stop the next morning was the Rio Canuma. Junior and the crew had opened a trail in terra firme where we saw Ferruginous-backed Antbird, a fancy little antbird that struts around in the leaf litter like a pipit.

The Rio Abacaxis is the next river east along the Parana Uraria. We spent a fine morning birding a terra firme trail with extensive Lepidocaryum palm in the understory where we had our first encounter with Harlequin Antbird, Hoffmann’s Woodcreeper, Black-spotted Bare-eye and Xingu Scale-backed Antbird at an army ant swarm. Another highlight that morning was watching an Amazonian Pygmy-squirrel zipping through the trees like a mini roller coaster.

One of the highlights of the tour was our morning on the Rio Paraconi. By 3:30 am we were up on the top deck, Bret booming the song of Nocturnal Curassow. Within a few minutes a bird sang back from the other side of the river. We slipped into the canoes, sped across to the other bank and waited as Bret went in with his heat scope to spot it. He whistled us over, and we hustled over. We turned on the lights to find 5 Nocturnal Curassows roosting right above us! There were three adults and two chicks, which were initially tucked under the wings of two adults. We watched the birds until they slipped away silently through the treetops while a Rufous Potoo exploded into song as the first hint of dawn leaked into the understory. We returned to the boat trembling with adrenaline, had breakfast, then wasted no time in getting back in the forest, finding Banded Antbird and a pair of Uniform Woodcreepers on the terra firme trail.

The Rio Maues, which forks and becomes the Rio Parauari, twists through hundreds of square kilometers of pristine forest near the Amazonas/Para border. We spent four days in this tropical wilderness working terra firme trails and scanning for Golden Parakeets from the top deck as we cruised along. This parakeet vigilance paid off as we rounded a bend and—bam—a flock of Golden Parakeets was feeding in a pink flowering tree right in front of us! This was only the first of several encounters with this gorgeous icon of the Eastern Amazon. Our final encounter was the best. We were cruising along and our captain Frajola spotted a flock feeding on some yellow fruits, which Tom identified to be in the family Loganiaceae.

The terra firme birding along the Maues provided many more rewards. On the trail off the Igarape Aracu, we had excellent looks at a group of Bald Parrots and a pair of Black-bellied Gnateaters, which hopped around like antpittas in a messy tree fall gap. Seeing their gleaming white ear tufts in the understory is something I’ll never forget. Further upstream on the Rio Parauari we found Collared Puffbird, Ruddy Spinetail, a Curve-billed Scythebill and an ant swarm attended by Harlequin Antbirds and a reclusive pair of Pale-faced Bare-eyes. Perhaps the pinnacle of our trail birding was our encounter with Wing-banded Antbird near the community of Novo Jerusalem. Bret tossed out a recording of it in potential-looking habitat and to our amazement a bird flew right in and landed on a log in front of us. We spent the following half hour or so watching it hop around on the ground, tossing huge leaves over its back. What an experience!

On our return trip to Manaus we stopped at various varzea sites, first, along the Parana dos Ramos where we saw Varzea Piculets, Red-billed Scythebills, Klages’s Antwren, Ash-breasted Antbirds and Scaled Spinetails. The next morning at Miracauera, a narrow passage on the north bank of the mighty Rio Amazonas, we saw White-throated Woodpecker, some noisy Plain Softtails, and a close Dull-capped Attila. We wrapped up the tour by visiting Ilha do Marchantaria and the young island adjacent to it, which were inundated by river island specialists like Parker’s Spinetail, Black-and-white Antbird, Riverside Tyrant and River Tyrannulet.

Numerous people took part in the success of the tour. First, we’d like to thank Ruth, our tour manager, for all her bookings, money transfers and arrangements to make this tour a reality. We’d also like to thank Arthur Gomes and our team of drivers for a successful morning on the ZF2 Tower and the outstanding crew on the Dorinha—Junior, Dona Anete, Dona Fran, Cantagalo, Frajola, Leir, Max and Cabelinho–who kept us fed, entertained, cleaned our boots and kept the caipirinha glasses full throughout our exploration of the Madeira-Tapajos Interfluvium. We’d also like to thank you for joining us on this adventure, and especially Rose Ann, Richard, Suzanne and David for bringing us together for this fabulous reunion.

—Micah and Bret

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)

GREAT TINAMOU (Tinamus major) [*]

Heard from the ZF2 Tower.

Here's a short video of our group in action with photos by Peggy Braun, Suzanne Winkler and Micah Riegner. Video edited by Micah Riegner.

WHITE-THROATED TINAMOU (Tinamus guttatus) [*]

Heard along the Parauari trail.

CINEREOUS TINAMOU (Crypturellus cinereus) [*]

LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]

VARIEGATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus variegatus)

This species is known locally as inhambu-relógio or clock tinamou because they always vocalize at the same hour each day. We heard them on various terra firme trails throughout the tour.

Anhimidae (Screamers)

HORNED SCREAMER (Anhima cornuta)

We drifted past many of these varzea giants as we cruised the muddy waters of the Parana Uraria and the Rio Amazonas.

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata)

BRAZILIAN TEAL (Amazonetta brasiliensis)

These cute little ducks were along the whitewater habitats.

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)

WHITE-CRESTED GUAN (Penelope pileata) [*]

Heard calling from the trail on the Rio Parauari.


Seen from the top deck as we cruised up the Igarape Peixinho.

NOCTURNAL CURASSOW (Nothocrax urumutum)

While tethered well up the Rio Paraconi, we gathered on the top deck at 3:30 am and Bret played the booming voice of Nocturnal Curassow. Moments later a bird responded from across the river so we hastily got into the canoes and zipped across. We clambered into the forest and Bret went ahead with the heat scope, then called us up momentarily. We rushed up and turned on the lights to find 5 birds in a tree right above us. Unbelievable!

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

The most common pigeon along the rivers.

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Wow! Another great photo by David Smith. This female Ferruginous-backed Antbird was on a trail off the Rio Canuma. It's a common bird on the Guianan Sheild, but then slips down south of the Amazon only in the Madeira-Tapajos Interfluvium. Dusky Parrot has a similar distribution pattern.

SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa)

PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea)

The terra firme counterpart of Ruddy Pigeon mostly heard throughout our trip.

RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea)

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major)

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

LITTLE CUCKOO (Coccycua minuta)

We had close views of one from the canoes at the Furo do Tambaqui.

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

BLACK-BELLIED CUCKOO (Piaya melanogaster)

Our morning on the ZF2 tower one came by in a canopy flock. We also heard one on the trail off the Igarape Aracu.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

One of our evenings on the Parana Uraria we spotted one going over at sunset.

BAND-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Nyctiprogne leucopyga)

These were the nighthawks we saw foraging low over the blackwater channels along the Rio Maues.

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) [*]

LADDER-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis climacocerca)

On our evening canoe trip on the Rio Parauari we were fortunate to see several of these striking nightjars. They did a partial flight display for us.

Nyctibiidae (Potoos)

GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis)

The largest of the Potoos. These Great Horned Owl-sized monsters sat on prominent perches along the main channel of the Amazon on one of our after-dinner night trips.

LONG-TAILED POTOO (Nyctibius aethereus) [*]

Those who went out the second night for Nocturnal Curassow heard one calling from the dense terra firme forest.

COMMON POTOO (Nyctibius griseus)

Strangely, the only one we ever saw was off the Igarape Peixinho one night after dinner.

RUFOUS POTOO (Nyctibius bracteatus) [*]

One burst out into song as we watched the Nocturnal Curassows.

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This Guianan Toucanet was trying to make sense of the giant metal tower full of birders with cameras, scopes and binoculars aimed at it. Great shot, David Smith!
Apodidae (Swifts)

CHAPMAN'S SWIFT (Chaetura chapmani)

These were the larger Chaeturas with the brownish rumps that we focused on from the top deck.

SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura)

One of the more abundant swifts we saw on the trip, especially over the whitewater rivers.

BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus)

Seen practically every day from the top deck, these swifts show a concise white band on the lower back.

GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris)

Quite similar to the Band-rumped Swifts but with a broader, less contrasting band on the rump.

LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis)

Seen flying high over the Igarape Jacunda.

FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata)

Some buzzed around our hotel in Manaus.

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)

We saw a few males out snatching insects one afternoon along the Rio Maues.

NEEDLE-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis philippii)

Hummers were in short supply, but we managed to get on a few Needle-billed Hermits in the terra firme.

LONG-TAILED HERMIT (Phaethornis superciliosus)

One buzzed passed us on the Paraconi trail.

STREAK-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis rupurumii)

REDDISH HERMIT (Phaethornis ruber)

BLACK-EARED FAIRY (Heliothryx auritus)

This canopy hummer appeared momentarily on the trail behind Novo Jerusalem.


We watched a male singing from the top deck on the Rio Parauari.

GREEN-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax viridigula)

The Mango we saw that afternoon from the top deck on the Parana Uraria as we approached Maues.

BLUE-TAILED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon mellisugus)

FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata)

Far and away the most common hummingbird of the tour. We encountered them regularly on our hikes in the terra firme.

OLIVE-SPOTTED HUMMINGBIRD (Leucippus chlorocercus)

One briefly buzzed by on our visit to the young island across from Ilha do Marchantaria.


Check out this video, which takes us through the first few days of the tour--the two canopy towers in Manaus and the speed boat to Nova Olidna. Video by Bret Whitney.
Opisthocomidae (Hoatzin)

HOATZIN (Opisthocomus hoazin)

It's always a treat to see these!

Psophiidae (Trumpeters)

GRAY-WINGED TRUMPETER (Psophia crepitans)

Wow! What a surprise to come across a family group on the road heading back from the ZF2 Tower! They did some agitated wing-flicking.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus)

Seen roosting on one of our night canoe trips thanks to Bret's heat scope!

PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)

Heliornithidae (Finfoots)

SUNGREBE (Heliornis fulica)

Suzanne and I saw one from the top deck as we motored down the Igarape Peixinho.

Aramidae (Limpkin)

LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)

Recurvirostridae (Stilts and Avocets)

BLACK-NECKED STILT (Himantopus mexicanus)

Richard saw some along the Parana Uraria.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

PIED LAPWING (Vanellus cayanus)

What a stunning bird. One scampered along the grass in front of Novo Jerusalem.

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana)

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Turning on the flashlight to find a flock of Nocturnal Curassows above us was a feeling we'll never forget! There were three adults (one out of the frame) and two chicks that were tucked under the wings of the two adults pictured. Photo by Micah Riegner.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

YELLOW-BILLED TERN (Sternula superciliaris)

The less common of the two terns. We saw some in a flock along the Parana Uraria.

LARGE-BILLED TERN (Phaetusa simplex)

Seen just about every day along the major waterways.

BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger)

A couple were lined up on a log with Large-billed Terns along the Parana Uraria.

Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)

SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias) [*]

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga)

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

RUFESCENT TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma lineatum)

COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea)

Seen a couple times on the Parana Uraria.

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

CAPPED HERON (Pilherodius pileatus)

BLACK-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON (Nycticorax nycticorax)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis)

Another fabulous video by Bret Whitney. This one takes us through the first few days on the boat trip, which includes those priceless moments with the Nocturnal Curassows!

BUFF-NECKED IBIS (Theristicus caudatus)

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa)

One soared overhead at the INPA campina.

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)


Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

HOOK-BILLED KITE (Chondrohierax uncinatus)

It was cool to see a youngster soaring over Miracauera.

GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis)

BLACK HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus tyrannus)

Richard spotted on from the top deck as we drifted up the Igarape Jacunda.

ORNATE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus ornatus) [*]

BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis)

SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis)

SLENDER-BILLED KITE (Helicolestes hamatus)

Finding one off the Parana dos Ramos was a real jolt of excitement!

DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus)

PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea)

TINY HAWK (Accipiter superciliosus)

The group that went fishing on the Rio Parauari had a close encounter with one of these scarce neotropical raptors.

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Richard Webster photographed these Gray-winged Trumpeters from the vehicle as we made our way back to Manaus after a delightful morning on the ZF2 Tower.

CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens)

We had a view of one from the top deck as we drifted up the Igarape Jacunda.

SLATE-COLORED HAWK (Buteogallus schistaceus)

SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis)

GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga)

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis)

We saw one from the ZF2 Tower and from the top deck on the Igarape Jacunda.

WHITE-BROWED HAWK (Leucopternis kuhli)

GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus)

Strigidae (Owls)

TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) [*]

TAWNY-BELLIED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops watsonii) [*]

AMAZONIAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium hardyi)

Our first morning of birding in the terra firme on the left bank Rio Canuma we encountered a pair of these dainty little owls. They were being mobbed by tanagers and honeycreepers.

Trogonidae (Trogons)

BLACK-TAILED TROGON (Trogon melanurus)

We encountered this species a few times--once on the trail off the Igarape Peixinho and at Miracauera.

GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis)

GUIANAN TROGON (Trogon violaceus)

A pair made an appearance at the ZF2 Tower.

AMAZONIAN TROGON (Trogon ramonianus)

BLUE-CROWNED TROGON (Trogon curucui)

BLACK-THROATED TROGON (Trogon rufus) [*]

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

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The Snethlageae form of Curve-billed Scythebill is restricted to the flooded forests along the Amazon east of Manaus. Photo by David Smith.

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)


One zipped through and paused momentarily while we birded the forest along the Parana dos Ramos.

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)

GREEN-AND-RUFOUS KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle inda) [*]

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus)

GUIANAN PUFFBIRD (Notharchus macrorhynchos)

A pair of these striking puffbirds showed themselves from the ZF2 Tower.

PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus)

Seen from the ZF2 Tower and off the Rio Parauari.

SPOTTED PUFFBIRD (Bucco tamatia)

Spotted by Richard along the Igarape Jacunda trail. We also heard some the morning we went for the Nocturnal Curassow.

COLLARED PUFFBIRD (Bucco capensis)

It's always a treat to run into this bird! We saw some in some terra firme off the Rio Parauari.


Malacoptila puffbirds are the best! We were able to pull one into view on the trail behind Novo Jerusalem.

BLACK NUNBIRD (Monasa atra)

The nunbird of the Guianan Shield. We saw some the day we did the ZF2 Tower.

BLACK-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa nigrifrons)

The common nunbird of the varzea in the Southern Amazon.

WHITE-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa morphoeus)

The terra firme replacement of Black-fronted Nunbird. We watched some in the canopy along the Igarape Peixinho trail.

SWALLOW-WINGED PUFFBIRD (Chelidoptera tenebrosa)

Galbulidae (Jacamars)

GREEN-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula galbula)

We had nice looks at some along the Parana dos Ramos and at Miracauera.

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These flyover Golden Parakeets were well up the Rio Parauari as we approached the Para border. Photo by David Smith.

BRONZY JACAMAR (Galbula leucogastra)

One of the only birds we saw when we stopped at the INPA campina.


We encountered this species fairly regularly in the canopy.

GREAT JACAMAR (Jacamerops aureus)

Junior spotted one at the start of the Igarape Peixinho trail. We had great looks through the scope!

Capitonidae (New World Barbets)

BROWN-CHESTED BARBET (Capito brunneipectus)

One of the range-restricted target birds of the tour. We had our best views of this difficult-to-see canopy bird on the trail behind Novo Jerusalem.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

LETTERED ARACARI (Pteroglossus inscriptus)

We saw one on the canoe trip along the Furo do Tambaqui.

BLACK-NECKED ARACARI (Pteroglossus aracari)

CHESTNUT-EARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus castanotis)

RED-NECKED ARACARI (Pteroglossus bitorquatus)

GUIANAN TOUCANET (Selenidera piperivora)

What an outstanding look at an outstanding bird! We called one in from the ZF2 tower and it shot right in, landing maybe 15 feet from us.

TOCO TOUCAN (Ramphastos toco)

It was kind of surprising how often we saw this species along the Parana Uraria. They seem to be getting more and more common.

WHITE-THROATED TOUCAN (Ramphastos tucanus)

CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus)

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

BAR-BREASTED PICULET (Picumnus aurifrons) [*]

VARZEA PICULET (Picumnus varzeae)

Beleza! Another Brazil endemic. We had great looks at a pair from the top deck the morning we birded Parana dos Ramos.

WHITE WOODPECKER (Melanerpes candidus)

David Smith saw some along the Parana Uraria. This is another species that continues to expand due to deforestation.

YELLOW-TUFTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes cruentatus)

LITTLE WOODPECKER (Dryobates passerinus)

Watching this Wing-banded Antbird toss leaves over its shoulder in the shadowy understory off the Rio Maues was one of the best moments of the tour. Video by Micah Riegner.

RED-NECKED WOODPECKER (Campephilus rubricollis) [*]

CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos)

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

RINGED WOODPECKER (Celeus torquatus) [*]


Richard and Rosie got us onto one that was feeding in a vine tangle on the Igarape Jacunda trail.

WAVED WOODPECKER (Celeus undatus) [*]

Heard from the ZF2 tower.


We had an outstanding look at one that was fairly low to the ground on the Igarape Aracu trail.



A patchily distributed bird. We came across one in the varzea at Miracauera.


A fairly regular member of canopy flocks in terra firme. Encountered frequently throughout the tour.

GOLDEN-GREEN WOODPECKER (Piculus chrysochloros)

The less common of the terra firme Piculus. We saw one on the trail off the Igarape Peixinho.

SPOT-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Colaptes punctigula)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

LINED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur gilvicollis) [*]

Heard on our way to the ZF2 tower.

BLACK CARACARA (Daptrius ater)

Common along the blackwater rivers.

RED-THROATED CARACARA (Ibycter americanus)

These noisy caracaras of interior forest were along the Igarape Peixinho trail.

SOUTHERN CARACARA (Caracara plancus)

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)

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We had close views of this Dull-capped Attila on our way back to Manaus. Photo by Micah Riegner.

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans)

BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis)

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)

TUI PARAKEET (Brotogeris sanctithomae)

WHITE-WINGED PARAKEET (Brotogeris versicolurus)

GOLDEN-WINGED PARAKEET (Brotogeris chrysoptera)

BALD PARROT (Pyrilia aurantiocephala)

Sweeeet! After several attempts to bring them in, we finally had a flock swoop in and land above us on the Igarape Aracu trail. This is another range-restricted bird of the Madera-Tapajos Interfluvium.

DUSKY PARROT (Pionus fuscus)

Encountered fairly consistently throughout the trip.

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)

SHORT-TAILED PARROT (Graydidascalus brachyurus)

FESTIVE PARROT (Amazona festiva)

YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona ochrocephala)

MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa)

ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica)

GREEN-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus passerinus)

The tiny parrotlets along Miracauera.

RED-FAN PARROT (Deroptyus accipitrinus)

We had nice scope views from the MUSA Tower. We also encountered this species on the Igarape Jacunda.


We had several flocks zip by us throughout the trip.

RED-BELLIED MACAW (Orthopsittaca manilatus)

Seen from the hotel in Manaus and on the top deck as we cruised up the Rio Parauari.


Surprisingly uncommon--seen just a few times on the tour.


RED-AND-GREEN MACAW (Ara chloropterus)


GOLDEN PARAKEET (Guaruba guarouba)

As we cruised up the Rio Parauari, we had scanned every tree on the horizon. Then all of a sudden there they were, feeding on pink flowers. Our second encounter was even better. We were on our way down the Parauari when Frajola, the captain, spotted some that were feeding peacefully on some yellow fruits in the family Loganiaceae.

WHITE-EYED PARAKEET (Psittacara leucophthalmus)

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Rose Ann Rowlett photographed our home, the Dorinha on the gorgeous Rio Parauari.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)

SPOTTED ANTPITTA (Hylopezus macularius) [*]

Heard from the ZF2 Tower.

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

ASH-WINGED ANTWREN (Euchrepomis spodioptila) [*]

FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus)

Seen in the canopy flock off the Igarape Peixinho.

GLOSSY ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus luctuosus)

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)

PLAIN-WINGED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus schistaceus)

MOUSE-COLORED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus murinus) [*]

Suzanne spotted one on the Rio Paraconi trail.

CASTELNAU'S ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus cryptoleucus)

We saw a pair at the very end of the tour on Ilha do Marchantaria.

AMAZONIAN ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus amazonicus) [*]

SATURNINE ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes saturninus)

One of the "leaders" of the understory insectivore flocks.

CINEREOUS ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes caesius)

The other alarm-sounding leaders of the understory insectivore flocks.

PLAIN-THROATED ANTWREN (Isleria hauxwelli)

RUFOUS-BELLIED ANTWREN (Isleria guttata) [*]

SPOT-WINGED ANTSHRIKE (Pygiptila stellaris)

WHITE-EYED STIPPLETHROAT (Epinecrophylla leucophthalma)

These dead-leaf specialist antwrens were in many of the understory flocks we came across on the tour.

PYGMY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula brachyura) [*]

SCLATER'S ANTWREN (Myrmotherula sclateri)

Some folks got on this high canopy antwren.

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Another great shot by David Smith! This Banded Antbird was on the trail off the Rio Paraconi. This species spends most of its time on the ground walking around like a tiny tinamou.

AMAZONIAN STREAKED-ANTWREN (Myrmotherula multostriata) [*]

KLAGES'S ANTWREN (Myrmotherula klagesi)

We whistled in a bird in the varzea along the Parana dos Ramos. Interestingly, this tiny antwren's closest relative is Stripe-chested Antwren way up in the Andes.

WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris)

LONG-WINGED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula longipennis)

GRAY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula menetriesii)

LEADEN ANTWREN (Myrmotherula assimilis)

BANDED ANTBIRD (Dichrozona cincta)

One of my favorite antbirds. We called one in on the trail off the Rio Paraconi.

SPOT-BACKED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus dorsimaculatus)

Some of my best looks at this bird were from our morning on the ZF2 Towers.

DOT-WINGED ANTWREN (Microrhopias quixensis)

GUIANAN WARBLING-ANTBIRD (Hypocnemis cantator)

We saw a pair on our way back from the ZF2 Tower.

SPIX'S WARBLING-ANTBIRD (Hypocnemis striata implicata)

BLACKISH ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides nigrescens)

GRAY ANTBIRD (Cercomacra cinerascens)

These sneaky antbirds like to stay well hidden in canopy vine tangles. We saw a pair on the trail behind Novo Jerusalem.

ASH-BREASTED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus lugubris)

Wow! We had a super close look at a bird off the Parana dos Ramos.

BLACK-FACED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus myotherinus)

We worked on seeing this one on the Paraconi trail.

BLACK-CHINNED ANTBIRD (Hypocnemoides melanopogon)

BLACK-AND-WHITE ANTBIRD (Myrmochanes hemileucus)

One of my favorite river island specialists. We encountered a pair on the river island across from Marchantaria.

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This Crimson-bellied Parakeet was one of several that zipped past us on the tour. Photo by David Smith.

SILVERED ANTBIRD (Sclateria naevia)

Awesome views of a female as she hopped along floating logs at the Parana dos Ramos.

BLACK-HEADED ANTBIRD (HELLMAYR'S) (Percnostola rufifrons subcristata) [*]

Heard from the ZF2 Tower.

FERRUGINOUS-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmoderus ferrugineus)

What a bird! We saw a female on the trail off the Rio Canuma. This is a "Guianan Shield" species that crosses into the Madera-Tapajos Interfluvium.

WING-BANDED ANTBIRD (Myrmornis torquata)

I was in complete disbelief when Bret tossed out the recording of this rare terra firme antbird and one shot in and landed right in front of us. We watched for several minutes as it chugged through the leaf litter, tossing leaves over its back, many of which were longer than it was! What a delight to be in the presence of such a scarce, unique bird.

HARLEQUIN ANTBIRD (Rhegmatorhina berlepschi)

One of the more range-restricted and sought-after antbirds on the tour route. We were fortunate to encounter this species multiple times in the terra firme.

XINGU SCALE-BACKED ANTBIRD (TAPAJOS) (Willisornis vidua nigrigula)

A pair was at the ant swarm on the Igarape Peixinho trail.

BLACK-SPOTTED BARE-EYE (Phlegopsis nigromaculata)

Shy and difficult to see. There was a pair at the ant swarm off the Igarape Peixinho.

PALE-FACED BARE-EYE (Phlegopsis borbae)

Consider yourself lucky if you were able to get a window onto this shy skulker endemic to the Madeira-Tapajos Interfluvium. We encountered them on the Parauari Trail.

Conopophagidae (Gnateaters)

BLACK-BELLIED GNATEATER (Conopophaga melanogaster)

One of the highlights of the entire tour! It took some time and patience for everyone to get on the pair as they crisscrossed a messy tree fall gap, but it was 100% worth the effort. Seeing those white post-ocular plumes glow in the shadowy understory was something I'll never forget.

Formicariidae (Antthrushes)

BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) [*]

Heard from the ZF2 Tower.

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus)

LONG-TAILED WOODCREEPER (Deconychura longicauda) [*]

Richard and Rose-Ann recorded one on the Igarape Peixinho trail.


A few of us got on this shy understory woodcreeper near the ant swarm off the Rio Parauari.

PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa)

Attending the ant swarm on the Igarape Peixinho trail.

WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus)

LONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Nasica longirostris)

I'm always blown away by this woodcreeper. Our best looks were on the trail off the Igarape Peixinho.


The form in the southern Amazon doesn't have bars. We saw one in the terra firme off the Igarape Peixinho.

HOFFMANNS'S WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes hoffmannsi)

A Madeira-Tapajos Interfluvium endemic! We watched an adult with a youngster at the ant swarm off the Igarape Peixinho.

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Now for some mammals! This Neotropical Pygmy Squirrel was high in the canopy of terra firme forest off the Igarape Peixinho, a side creek of the Rio Abacaxis. This species chews the bark of specific trees. Photo by Micah Riegner.

RED-BILLED WOODCREEPER (UNIFORM) (Hylexetastes perrotii uniformis)

What an adrenaline rush it was to watch the pair zip in and land in front of us on the trail off the Rio Paraconi!

STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus) [*]

Heard by Richard early on on while we were on the Igarape Aracu.

STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus obsoletus)

We encountered this flooded forest woodcreeper multiple times, but had our best views on the small igarape off the Rio Parauari.

OCELLATED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus ocellatus)

This species contains numerous distinct populations which will eventually be split. We encountered a few in the terra firme feeding flocks.

BUFF-THROATED WOODCREEPER (DUSKY-BILLED) (Xiphorhynchus guttatus eytoni)


One of the study species I looked at for my thesis. We routinely encountered this species in the flooded forest.

ZIMMER'S WOODCREEPER (Dendroplex kienerii)

Another species I worked on for my thesis. It occurs only along the rivers where it feeds heavily on termites by plucking them out of their termite tunnels. We encountered several but our best views were on the igarape off the Rio Parauari.

RED-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus trochilirostris snethlageae)

This subspecies of Red-billed Scythebill lives in varzea along the Amazon River. It is named for the intrepid ornithologist and explorer Emilie Snethlage who spent her career collecting birds throughout the Brazilian Amazon.

Cotingidae (Cotingas)

CRIMSON FRUITCROW (Haematoderus militaris)

Epic! One of the first birds we saw from the ZF2 Tower. We were watching it when suddenly it took to the sky in a flight display! It zipped up at an angle with floppy wingbeats then flattened out its wings, gliding back down to the trees like a paper airplane. Check out Bret's video of it. What a show!

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

CURVE-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (RONDONIA) (Campylorhamphus procurvoides probatus)

Suzanne spotted this one while we were birding the trail off the Rio Parauari. Amazingly, it sat motionless for several minutes, which is very atypical behavior for a scythebill!

RONDONIA WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes fuscicapillus)

WING-BANDED HORNERO (Furnarius figulus)

LESSER HORNERO (Furnarius minor)

RUFOUS-RUMPED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor erythrocercum)


RUFOUS-TAILED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Anabacerthia ruficaudata)

The common Foliage-gleaner in the terra firme flocks.

CHESTNUT-WINGED HOOKBILL (Ancistrops strigilatus)

Bret called one down from the canopy and we had fabulous looks at this seldom-seen ovenbird.

BUFF-THROATED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Automolus ochrolaemus) [*]

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Junior spotted these White-lined Sac-winged Bats on a large tree. Photo by David Smith.

PLAIN SOFTTAIL (OBIDENSIS) (Thripophaga fusciceps obidensis)

A flock flew in right above us as we birded the varzea off the Parana dos Ramos.

PARKER'S SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca vulpecula)

We couldn't have asked for better views of this whitewater island specialist! A pair landed right above us in a cecropia on the young island across from Marchantaria.

SPECKLED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca gutturata)

SCALED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca muelleri)

Another sought-after specialty of this itinerary. We encountered some along the Parana dos Ramos.

YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus)


These are often a real pain in the neck to get a look at, but this time one just sat out in the open for us on the island across from Ilha Marchantaria.

DARK-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albigularis)

RUDDY SPINETAIL (Synallaxis rutilans)

I wasn't expecting we'd see it that well! Normally this species does a good job at remaining hidden. Seen on the trail above the Rio Parauari.

Pipridae (Manakins)

DWARF TYRANT-MANAKIN (Tyranneutes stolzmanni) [*]

SAFFRON-CRESTED TYRANT-MANAKIN (Neopelma chrysocephalum)

SNOW-CAPPED MANAKIN (Lepidothrix nattereri)

After a couple different attempts we finally locked onto one of these tough-to-see understory manakins.

FLAME-CROWNED MANAKIN (Heterocercus linteatus) [*]


RED-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra rubrocapilla)

Cotingidae (Cotingas)

AMAZONIAN UMBRELLABIRD (Cephalopterus ornatus)

Rose Ann spotted one along the main channel of the Amazon and it took off over the river.

CAPUCHINBIRD (Perissocephalus tricolor)

We were not expecting to see these from the ZF2 Tower but graciously accepted their noisy presence. We dropped down to one of the lower platforms to get a better look a these oddities of the Guianan Shield.


Another cotinga from the ZF2 tower.

SPANGLED COTINGA (Cotinga cayana)

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Richard Webster's dramatic image of flooded forest along the lower Rio Madeira.

SCREAMING PIHA (Lipaugus vociferans)

We had surprisingly good views of a bird singing at a dispersed lek on the trail off the Rio Paraconi.

POMPADOUR COTINGA (Xipholena punicea)

The male in flight reminds me of a piece of white tissue paper blowing in the wind. We scoped a few individuals while birding the ZF2 Tower.

WHITE-TAILED COTINGA (Xipholena lamellipennis)

Seen from the top deck as we meandered up the Igarape Jacunda. It was a female, but still a White-tailed Cotinga.

BARE-NECKED FRUITCROW (Gymnoderus foetidus)

It was awesome to see an almost pure white juvenile following an adult around at Miracauera.

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)


MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)

VARZEA SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis major)

Wow! One performed astonishingly well in the flooded forest along the Parana dos Ramos. It sat out, pumping its tail, then exploded into song.

BROWN-WINGED SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis turdina)

CINEREOUS MOURNER (Laniocera hypopyrra)

CINEREOUS BECARD (Pachyramphus rufus)

A pair flew in right over us while we were on the canoes at Parana dos Ramos.

CHESTNUT-CROWNED BECARD (Pachyramphus castaneus)

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)

BLACK-CAPPED BECARD (Pachyramphus marginatus)

GLOSSY-BACKED BECARD (Pachyramphus surinamus) [*]

PINK-THROATED BECARD (Pachyramphus minor)

Getting scope views of a pair high in the canopy behind Novo Jerusalem was quite a treat! These scarce canopy becards are often difficult to see.

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

RUDDY-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Terenotriccus erythrurus)

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

WING-BARRED PIPRITES (Piprites chloris) [*]

WHITE-CRESTED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus platyrhynchos)

We found one early on along the Igarape Aracu trail. It sat out on a thin horizontal branch giving a loud chip note.

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Varzea Piculet is endemic to the flooded forest of the Central Amazon, especially along the Amazon River. Photo by Micah Riegner.

MCCONNELL'S FLYCATCHER (Mionectes macconnelli)

OLIVE-GREEN TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes virescens)

This was the first bird we spotted from the ZF2 Tower. This species does a wing lift display sort of like a Buff-breasted Sandpiper.

SNETHLAGE'S TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus minor)

This tiny flycatcher, the size of a kinglet, sneaked in overhead then burst out calling giving a loud repetitive set of staccato notes. This is another species named for the intrepid Emilie Snethlage.

ZIMMER'S TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus minimus) [*]


This is another species found only in the Madeira-Tapajos Interfluvium. Bret did a trip with Mario Cohn-Haft to Borba back in 1993 to try to find this bird, which was only known from specimens at that point. They searched all over the secondary forest, but didn't turn it up. Then they ventured onto a blackwater creek and found them all over the place! Turns out this species is found only along the margins of blackwater creeks and rivers.

RUSTY-FRONTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus latirostris)

SPOTTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum maculatum)

PAINTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum pictum)

We had really great scope views from the ZF2 tower.

YELLOW-BROWED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum) [*]

OLIVACEOUS FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus olivaceus)

We ran into this species a surprising number of times on the various terra firme trails.

YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (RIVERINE) (Tolmomyias sulphurescens insignis)

We had nice close views from the top deck along the Parana dos Ramos.



The true Yellow-margined Flycatcher!

YELLOW-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (SUCUNDURI) (Tolmomyias assimilis sucunduri)

Bret described this as Sucunduri Flycatcher in 2013 based on its highly distinctive raspy voice. It is only found from the Rio Canuma/Sucunduri east to the Rio Tapajos. Right now it's still considered a subspecies of Yellow-margined Flycatcher by the checklist committees.

GRAY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias poliocephalus) [*]


Wow! This sharp little tyrannulet with crisp white diamonds on the coverts put on quite a show for us from the ZF2 Tower.


YELLOW TYRANNULET (Capsiempis flaveola) [*]

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Zimmer's Woodcreeper! Notice how the legs are a bluish-gray. This is one of the best features to tell this species from Straight-billed Woodcreeper, which has greenish legs. Photo by David Smith.

YELLOW-CROWNED TYRANNULET (Tyrannulus elatus) [*]

FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii)

GRAY ELAENIA (Myiopagis caniceps) [*]

YELLOW-CROWNED ELAENIA (Myiopagis flavivertex)

One came in super close while we birded Mirauera.

BROWNISH ELAENIA (Elaenia pelzelni) [*]

LARGE ELAENIA (Elaenia spectabilis)

RIVER TYRANNULET (Serpophaga hypoleuca)

The dainty gnatcatcher-like flycatcher we saw our final afternoon on the river island.

LESSER WAGTAIL-TYRANT (Stigmatura napensis)

This is one of my favorite island specialists. We went to a spot to see them on a young island with early successional vegetation our final afternoon.


We called in a pair from the top deck on the Rio Parauary.

EULER'S FLYCATCHER (Lathrotriccus euleri)

The empid-like flycatcher we saw in the dense vines off the Parana dos Ramos.

FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (FUSCOUS) (Cnemotriccus fuscatus fuscatior)

One of the last birds we caught up with that afternoon on the young island, but boy did we get great looks!

AMAZONIAN SCRUB-FLYCATCHER (Sublegatus obscurior) [*]

VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus)

RIVERSIDE TYRANT (Knipolegus orenocensis)

Another cool whitewater island specialist we saw on the young island our final afternoon.

WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala)

CINNAMON ATTILA (Attila cinnamomeus) [*]

DULL-CAPPED ATTILA (Attila bolivianus)

The loud boisterous song of Dull-capped Attila penetrates in the flooded forest. We watched one at close range at Miracauera.

BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) [*]

GRAYISH MOURNER (Rhytipterna simplex)

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This butterfly in the genus Bia lives in the understory and rarely perches above knee height. It is in the brush-foot family, the Nymphalidae. Photo by David Smith.

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer) [*]


LESSER KISKADEE (Pitangus lictor)

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)

Replaces Social Flycatcher along blackwater rivers.

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)


THREE-STRIPED FLYCATCHER (Conopias trivirgatus)

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)

We saw a few of these southern migrants with bold streaks along the Parana Uraria.

ISLAND STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes [maculatus] sp. nov.)

Gary Rosenberg first drew attention to this population of Streaked Flycatchers, which only occur along whitewater rivers.

PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)

VARIEGATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus varius)

CROWNED SLATY FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus aurantioatrocristatus)

It's hard to imagine that this canopy flycatcher we saw from the ZF2 tower nests in the cactus forests of Bolivia.

SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea)

Seen in an Açaí palm near the Furo do Tambaqui.

WHITE-THROATED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus albogularis)

Many of these southern migrants were along the Parana dos Ramos.

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)


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This Bald Parrot was a real prize! This species only lives between the Rio Madeira and the Tapajos. Photo by David Smith.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) [*]

ASHY-HEADED GREENLET (Hylophilus pectoralis)

GRAY-CHESTED GREENLET (Hylophilus semicinereus)

LEMON-CHESTED GREENLET (Hylophilus thoracicus)

SLATY-CAPPED SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius leucotis) [*]

TAWNY-CROWNED GREENLET (Tunchiornis ochraceiceps) [*]

BUFF-CHEEKED GREENLET (Pachysylvia muscicapina)

A regular member of the canopy flocks we birded below.

CHIVI VIREO (RESIDENT) (Vireo chivi solimoensis)

Donacobiidae (Donacobius)

BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

WHITE-BANDED SWALLOW (Atticora fasciata)

These handsome swallows of quiet igapo backwaters zipped back and forth across Igarape do Jacunda.

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)

SOUTHERN MARTIN (Progne elegans)

Some early austral migrants were in the Martin cluster at the start of Furo do Tambaqui.

BROWN-CHESTED MARTIN (TAPERA) (Progne tapera tapera)

The more common resident Brown-chested Martins we saw throughout the tour.

BROWN-CHESTED MARTIN (FUSCA) (Progne tapera fusca)

A few of these southern migrant Brown-chested Martins dotted the telephone wire at the entrance to Furo do Tambaqui.

WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer)

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

About 50 flew over at Ilha Nova near Ilha do Marchantaria.

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

COLLARED GNATWREN (Microbates collaris) [*]

Heard from the ZF2 tower.

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Any day with Collared Puffbird is a good day! We saw this one off the Rio Parauari. Photo by Micah Riegner.

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus) [*]

TROPICAL GNATCATCHER (Polioptila plumbea)

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

MOUSTACHED WREN (Pheugopedius genibarbis)

A pair slipped into view our first morning of birding the terra firme off the Rio Canuma.

BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis)

Heard almost every day of the tour. We finally saw a pair off the Parana dos Ramos.

MUSICIAN WREN (Cyphorhinus arada)

What a treat to see and hear a pair working their way through the understory off the Igarape Jacunda.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

HAUXWELL'S THRUSH (Turdus hauxwelli) [*]

Heard singing off the Igarape Jacunda.

WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (Turdus albicollis)

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

PURPLE-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chlorotica)


RUFOUS-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia rufiventris) [*]

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons)

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)

GREEN OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius viridis) [*]

CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)

OLIVE OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius bifasciatus)

SOLITARY BLACK CACIQUE (Cacicus solitarius) [*]

In this video, Kite documented our travels up the Rio Maues and Parauari where we finally nailed Bald Parrot, and enjoyed great views of Black-bellied Gnateater and two fine encounters with Golden Parakeets -- and we took the steepest hill of the voyage, with ropes in place! Video by Bret Whitney.


RED-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus haemorrhous)

EPAULET ORIOLE (Icterus cayanensis)

ORANGE-BACKED TROUPIAL (Icterus croconotus)

SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)

GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)

ORIOLE BLACKBIRD (Gymnomystax mexicanus)

YELLOW-HOODED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus icterocephalus)

Fairly common along the whitewater habitats.

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis aequinoctialis) [*]

Mitrospingidae (Mitrospingid Tanagers)

RED-BILLED PIED TANAGER (Lamprospiza melanoleuca)

What a great bird! We saw a family group of these large canopy tanagers behind Novo Jerusalem.

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)


In the understory flocks behind Novo Jerusalem.

YELLOW-GREEN GROSBEAK (Caryothraustes canadensis)

We saw a pair collecting nesting material on Igarape Peixinho trail.

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

RED-CAPPED CARDINAL (Paroaria gularis)

FLAME-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus cristatus)

FULVOUS-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus surinamus)

WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER (Tachyphonus luctuosus)


We bumped into a few that were in canopy flocks in terra firme off the Rio Maues.

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This beetle was contemplating its mortality in the grasp of a Guianan Puffbird. Photo by David Smith from the ZF2 tower.

SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo)

MASKED CRIMSON TANAGER (Ramphocelus nigrogularis)

What an outstanding bird! We had super looks at one along the Furo do Tambaqui before reaching the Rio Abacaxis.

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

DOTTED TANAGER (Ixothraupis varia) [*]

Heard from the ZF2 tower.

SPOTTED TANAGER (Ixothraupis punctata)

A few were in the feeding flock off the Rio Parauari.

TURQUOISE TANAGER (Tangara mexicana)

PARADISE TANAGER (Tangara chilensis)

The canopy flock behind Novo Jerusalem contained a family group of these astonishingly colorful tanagers.

YELLOW-BELLIED DACNIS (Dacnis flaviventer)

Wow! A pair showed up along one of our afternoon stops along the Parana Uraria.


Remember that Amazonian Pygmy-owl we saw off the Rio Canuma? There were some Short-billed Honeycreepers coming in to mob it.

PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus)

Seen in the high canopy on Igarape Jacunda and Novo Jerusalem trails.

GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)

BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor)

We had nice close top-deck views of a pair the morning we birded the Parana Uraria.

PEARLY-BREASTED CONEBILL (Conirostrum margaritae)

We were eye-to-eye with this cecropia specialist during one of our stops along the Parana Uraria.


These bundles of concentrated carotenoids decorated the low shrubs and grasses along the Parana Uraria and the main channel of the Amazon.

LINED SEEDEATER (Sporophila lineola)

CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila castaneiventris)

Especially prominent in the early successional habitats we visited on our way back to Manaus.

This video takes us through the last few days of the tour from the town of Maues down the Parana dos Ramos and up the main channel of the Amazon. Video by Bret Whitney.

WING-BARRED SEEDEATER (Sporophila americana)

Seen at various stops on our way back to Manaus.

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)

These appeared as we made our way up the Rio Maues, but were mysteriously absent from the other tributaries we birded.

GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens)


One sang from the canopy as we caught our breaths after ascending the trail above the Rio Parauari.


LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso)

These were the bats that were lined up on the trunks above the water.

GREATER WHITE-LINED BAT (Saccopteryx bilineata)

Junior spotted one while we were working on getting views of the Black-bellied Gnateater.

GREATER BULLDOG BAT (Noctilio leporinus)

Routinely seen at dusk over the various waterways we traversed.

GREAT FALSE VAMPIRE BAT (Vampyrum spectrum)

One flew close to our boat in the early morning along the Rio Parauari. This is the largest bat in the Neotropics. It feeds primarily on sleeping birds.

MAUES MARMOSET (Mico mauesi) [*]

Heard on the trail behind Novo Jerusalem and unfortunately they got away before we could lay eyes on them.

HOFFMANN'S TITI MONKEY (Callicebus hoffmannsi) [*]

Heard near the community of Novo Jerusalem.

RED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta seniculus)

BLACK HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta caraya)

Views from the top deck as we cruised up the Rio Parauari.


Another of Bret's heat scope finds! We saw them on an after-dinner canoe ride on the Rio Parauari.


The sloths from our night trips on the Amazon.


The sloth we saw from the MUSA tower before the rain set in.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Micah's watercolor studies of Crimson Fruitcrow in its flight display and Black-bellied Gnateaters, two highlights of the trip.


The high bird-like chirps of this species are easily overlooked. Bret was able to call one into view and we watched it zip like a roller coaster through the tangle of vines and branches above.

GIANT TREE RAT (Toromys grandis )

Wow! We saw a few of these enormous rats on our night trip along the Amazon.

AMAZON RIVER DOLPHIN (Inia geoffrensis)

We had regular encounters with this icon of the Amazon.

TUCUXI (Sotalia fluviatilis)

We saw good numbers of these smaller more open-water dolphins throughout the major channels and tributaries we boated through.


Here's a list of some of the Herps we saw on the tour

Diving Lizard Uranoscodon superciliosus

Common Blunt-headed Snake Imantodes cenchoa

Green Iguana Iguana iguana

Spectacled Caiman Caiman crocodilus

Forest Whiptail Kentropyx calcarata

Margarita Toad Rhinella margaritifera

Amazon Climbing Salamander Bolitoglossa altamazonica

Totals for the tour: 417 bird taxa and 15 mammal taxa