This grand view of the Iwokrama Forest Reserve from atop Turtle Mountain can only partly convey the vastness and wild nature of this rainforest in the heart of Guyana. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
It was great to get back to beautiful Guyana! I hadn't been here since 1998 and hadn't seen any of those Guianan Shield birds since my last Suriname tour back in 2010, so it was wonderful to have a chance to reacquaint myself with some old friends -- and make some new ones in the process!
We woke up to rain on that first morning in Georgetown, and I have to admit that I had some pretty gloomy thoughts as we drove east through the rain and mist. But, almost magically, it cleared up and we hardly saw a drop of rain for the remainder of this short tour (there were a couple of notable exceptions, though). We were very fortunate with the weather, and I hope that it's not a hint of what's to come for northeastern South America with a developing El Niño in the Pacific (these usually hit this region hard with drought).
With good weather during the daylight hours on this tour, we were able to spend a bunch of time in the field looking for birds and mammals, and we did quite well. Our day in the coastal lowlands near Georgetown kicked the tour off right with fantastic views of special birds like Scarlet Ibis, Rufous Crab Hawk, Hoatzin, Little Cuckoo, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Toco Toucan, White-bellied Piculet, Blood-colored Woodpecker, Festive Parrot, Blue-and-yellow and Red-shouldered macaws, and many more.
Then it was off to the interior. We flew from Ogle Airport in the middle of Georgetown (after seeing a lovely Bat Falcon nesting in one of the hangars there!) to spectacular Kaieteur Falls NP on the Potaro River and relatively close to the fabulous land of the tepuis of southeastern Venezuela. We didn't have much time there, but we reveled at the sight of the falls and at the high-quality birds that we saw there along the many trails near the airstrip. The highlight for most was likely the single adult male Guianan Cock-of-the-rock that was viewable through the most meager of openings in the dense vegetation -- still, a spectacular sight to behold! Not far behind were our looks at Waved Woodpecker, Blue-cheeked Parrot, Yellow-throated Flycatcher, Plumbeous Euphonia, and Blue-backed Tanager before we had to re-board our plane and head to the vast lowland forest of the Iwokrama Reserve.
The next six days we spent in fabulous lowland rainforest, with countless possibilities along each trail, around each curve in the road, or beyond the next bend of a river. Though our compiled list here wasn't exhaustive, we did quite well indeed. Each venue in this region (Iwokrama River Lodge, Atta Lodge, and the Surama Eco-Lodge area) held their own prizes, and we came away delighted with our looks at Marail Guan, Black Curassow, Black-faced Hawk, Gray-winged Trumpeter, White-winged Potoo, Crimson Topaz, Bronzy and Great jacamars, Black-spotted Barbet, Guianan Toucanet, Ringed and Red-necked woodpeckers, Barred Forest-Falcon, Orange-breasted Falcon, Red-fan Parrot, Scarlet and Red-and-green macaws, a couple of dozen antbirds, Spotted Antpitta, yet more Guianan Cocks-of-the-rock, Crimson Fruitcrow, Capuchinbird, White-throated and Black manakins, Cayenne Jay, Rose-breasted Chat, and so many others. And if only we had seen our Jaguar as well as we had seen our Giant Otters!
Caiman House in the middle of the Rupununi Savanna was a wonderful place to wind down this tour and treated us to a totally different set of birds unrecorded earlier in the trip. Highlights among the many species here were our intimate viewings of both Bearded Tachuri and Crested Doradito, two scarce tyrannids rarely seen by birding groups like ours. Others such as Pinnated Bittern, Capped and Boat-billed herons, Sharp-tailed Ibis, Jabiru, Sunbittern, Pied Lapwing, Least and Band-tailed nighthawks, White-tailed Nightjar, Spotted Puffbird, and Finsch's Euphonia didn't go unnoticed!
Thanks to Ron Allicock and crew (wife Marissa and brother-in-law Darwin) for their attentive leadership and instruction on this lovely, short tour to the wild places of Guyana. We couldn't have done nearly as well, and done it in such comfort and with such a sense of fun, without each of them. And thanks to all of you for your good company throughout and for joining me on this added departure on such short notice. I had a wonderful time birding with all of you, and I hope we can repeat the experience somewhere else soon!
KEYS FOR THIS LIST 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
One of only two members of the strange genus Rupicola, this male Guianan Cock-of-the-rock was undoubtedly the highlight for many during our days in the Iwokrama Forest Reserve. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
GREAT TINAMOU(Tinamus major)[*]
LITTLE TINAMOU(Crypturellus soui)[*]
VARIEGATED TINAMOU(Crypturellus variegatus)[*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK(Dendrocygna viduata)– We ran into a big flock of these loafing on a sandbar in the Rupununi R. during our late afternoon boat ride.
MUSCOVY DUCK(Cairina moschata)– Folks in my boat got to see a male along the Essequibo R. on our way back from Turtle Mountain at Iwokrama.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
VARIABLE CHACHALACA(Ortalis motmot)[*]
MARAIL GUAN(Penelope marail)– Nice looks at this Guianan Shield specialty on our hike up Turtle Mountain.
SPIX'S GUAN(Penelope jacquacu)– We started to run into these at Atta Lodge and continued to find them down to the northern edge of the Rupununi Savanna. Larger, longer-legged, and lacking any rufescent tones compared with the similar Marail Guan.
No other site on the tour was more spectacular than beautiful Kaieteur Falls on the Potaro River, as is evidenced in this video clip by guide Dave Stejskal. The river plummets 741 feet to the valley below.
BLACK CURASSOW(Crax alector)– That acclimated pair at Atta Lodge really gave us an eyeful!
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
CRESTED BOBWHITE(Colinus cristatus)– These small quail were regular in the savanna scrub around Rock View Lodge - I think everyone caught up with this one before we left.
JABIRU(Jabiru mycteria)– Largest of the New World storks (there are only three species here), we enjoyed a number of fine studies in the Rupununi, including a couple of pairs with recently fledged juvenile birds. Spectacular!!
WOOD STORK(Mycteria americana)– That immature bird at the Atta Lodge entrance road was a startling sight!
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD(Fregata magnificens)– Seen by most along the coast at the Abari River.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT(Phalacrocorax brasilianus)
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
PINNATED BITTERN(Botaurus pinnatus)– Marissa and Darwin spotted this one lurking in the grass at the edge of the pond near Caiman House. Great views!!
RUFESCENT TIGER-HERON(Tigrisoma lineatum)– We had a few fantastic adult birds near Atta Lodge and in the Rupununi.
COCOI HERON(Ardea cocoi)– Lots of these stately herons throughout. A very close relative of our own Great Blue Heron and formerly called the White-necked Heron.
GREAT EGRET(Ardea alba)
SNOWY EGRET(Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON(Egretta caerulea)
TRICOLORED HERON(Egretta tricolor)– On the coastal mudflats only.
CATTLE EGRET(Bubulcus ibis)
A landscape of gray mud beyond the deep green mangroves along the coast east of Georgetown was brightened by the presence of a few dozen adult Scarlet Ibis, including this one in the company of a Little Blue Heron. (Photo by participant Max Rodel)
STRIATED HERON (SOUTH AMERICAN)(Butorides striata striata)– A very close relative of our Green Heron, and formerly lumped with it.
CAPPED HERON(Pilherodius pileatus)– One of my favorite New World herons, some of us had a great view of one from the boat at Iwokrama on our first afternoon there, and then the rest of us caught up with it on our final afternoon at Caiman House.
YELLOW-CROWNED NIGHT-HERON(Nyctanassa violacea)– Like the Tricolored Herons, only at the coastal mudflats.
BOAT-BILLED HERON(Cochlearius cochlearius)– We ran into several fine adults out feeding at the river edge along the Rupununi on our return to Caiman House.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
SCARLET IBIS(Eudocimus ruber)– We delighted at the sight of 50 or more of these unmistakable ibis feeding in the mud along the coast on our first afternoon of birding.
SHARP-TAILED IBIS(Cercibis oxycerca)– As the Rupununi Savanna dries up, these local ibis tend to move on to wetter areas in n. South America. We were lucky to find the one bird that we saw near Caiman House.
GREEN IBIS(Mesembrinibis cayennensis)– We had our best looks at this forest ibis species at Caiman House.
BUFF-NECKED IBIS(Theristicus caudatus)– On this tour, only in the Rupununi.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE(Coragyps atratus)
TURKEY VULTURE(Cathartes aura)
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE(Cathartes burrovianus)– A few in the coastal lowlands and a few in the Rupununi. Very similar to the next species, but never found in forested situations.
GREATER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE(Cathartes melambrotus)– Quite common in the forests around Iwokrama, Atta, and Surama.
KING VULTURE(Sarcoramphus papa)– A few high-flying adults above the rainforest.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE(Elanoides forficatus)– I never tire of looking at this beautiful bird!
BLACK HAWK-EAGLE(Spizaetus tyrannus)[*]
BLACK-AND-WHITE HAWK-EAGLE(Spizaetus melanoleucus)– It was a long way off, but there was no mistaking this big black and white eagle along the Buro-Buro River.
BLACK-COLLARED HAWK(Busarellus nigricollis)
SNAIL KITE(Rostrhamus sociabilis)– Just along the immediate coastal plain on this tour.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE(Harpagus bidentatus)– We had surprisingly few on this tour, but the one we saw well we had beautifully in the scope.
PLUMBEOUS KITE(Ictinia plumbea)– A very common sight along the roadside once we got down into the rainforest.
I know it all looks like a dead branch, but a closer inspection reveals the shape and that big white shoulder patch of a perched White-winged Potoo at Atta Lodge. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
LONG-WINGED HARRIER(Circus buffoni)– Nicely from the boats along the Rupununi.
RUFOUS CRAB HAWK(Buteogallus aequinoctialis)– This mangrove specialist was seen very well on our first morning of the tour at the Abari River.
SAVANNA HAWK(Buteogallus meridionalis)– Never very common anywhere on this tour, but we saw one or two just about every day down in the Rupununi.
GREAT BLACK HAWK(Buteogallus urubitinga)– We often encountered this one while we boated on the Essequibo, the Rupununi, or the Buro-Buro.
ROADSIDE HAWK(Rupornis magnirostris)– Surprisingly few on this tour.
WHITE-TAILED HAWK(Geranoaetus albicaudatus)– We had excellent views of a pair of these beautiful raptors interacting with a Peregrine Falcon in the Rupununi Savanna.
WHITE HAWK(Pseudastur albicollis)– Some of us had a brief flyby from the clearing at Atta Lodge.
BLACK-FACED HAWK(Leucopternis melanops)– This forest-based raptor sticks to the canopy and never soars like the similar White Hawk.
GRAY-LINED HAWK(Buteo nitidus)– These southern birds are now again split from the very similar Gray Hawk north of s. Costa Rica.
ZONE-TAILED HAWK(Buteo albonotatus)– Good looks on our first morning and in the Rupununi Savanna.[N]
SUNBITTERN(Eurypyga helias)– This one is always a thrilling bird to observe, especially when it takes flight!
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
GRAY-BREASTED CRAKE(Laterallus exilis)– Heard on our last afternoon in the Rupununi. We got them close, but they wouldn't quite emerge from their cover of dense vegetation.[*]
Although this short tour is chock-full of antbirds, they can be very difficult to photograph in their forested home with inherent low light conditions. This female Black-crested Antshrike likes more open habitats, making it a much easier subject. (Photo by participant Max Rodel)
GRAY-NECKED WOOD-RAIL(Aramides cajaneus)– Decent views for most from the boats on the Rupununi R.
LIMPKIN(Aramus guarauna)– Georgetown only.
GRAY-WINGED TRUMPETER(Psophia crepitans)– You have to get a little lucky with this one, and we did as we watched about a dozen of these strange terrestrial birds scurry across the road in front of us as we made our way to Atta Lodge.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
BLACK-BELLIED PLOVER(Pluvialis squatarola)[b]
PIED LAPWING(Vanellus cayanus)– This elegant plover was seen well on the sandy shoreline of the Rupununi R.
SOUTHERN LAPWING(Vanellus chilensis)– Surprisingly few on this trip, even in the savanna.
WATTLED JACANA(Jacana jacana)– Quite common in the rice growing areas of the coastal plain.
YELLOW-BILLED TERN(Sternula superciliaris)– Great views on the Essequibo R. near Iwokrama, including a recently-fledged juvenile.[N]
LARGE-BILLED TERN(Phaetusa simplex)– This distinctive tern put on a great show for us as it fished at the rapids on the Essequibo R. near Iwokrama.
GULL-BILLED TERN(Gelochelidon nilotica)
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
PALE-VENTED PIGEON(Patagioenas cayennensis)– Most common in the savanna woodland on the latter part of the tour.
SCALED PIGEON(Patagioenas speciosa)– We never did get a scope on this fancy pigeon, but it was seen next to the Essequibo near Turtle Mountain.
PLUMBEOUS PIGEON(Patagioenas plumbea)[*]
RUDDY PIGEON(Patagioenas subvinacea)– A pair of these came in to my whistled imitation and proceeded to copulate in the same tree we were perched in. So there![N]
COMMON GROUND-DOVE(Columbina passerina)
PLAIN-BREASTED GROUND-DOVE(Columbina minuta)– Quite a few of these came in to the little watering hole next to the road just south of Rock View Lodge. The smallest New World dove.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE(Columbina talpacoti)
RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE(Geotrygon montana)– Some got a quick look at this one near Surama.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE(Leptotila verreauxi)– Very common in the savanna woodlands.
Golden-headed Manakin male (Photo by participant Keir Randall)
GRAY-FRONTED DOVE(Leptotila rufaxilla)[*]
EARED DOVE(Zenaida auriculata)– We found a number of these in the same spot where we found our Crested Doradito at the end of the tour. Very closely related to our Mourning Dove and it replaces that species in S. America.
HOATZIN(Opisthocomus hoazin)– This strange one, the national bird of Guyana, was seen quite well - and heard even better - along the Mahaica R. on our first day together.
LITTLE CUCKOO(Coccycua minuta)– A brief but good look just as we started walking along the road bordering the mangroves at the Abari R. Like a miniature of the Squirrel Cuckoo.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO(Piaya cayana)– We never really got a good group view of this one until our boat trip along the Buro-Buro R. near Surama.
STRIPED CUCKOO(Tapera naevia)[*]
GREATER ANI(Crotophaga major)[*]
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI(Crotophaga ani)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL(Megascops choliba)– Heard by some of us outside the rooms at Caiman House one night.[*]
TAWNY-BELLIED SCREECH-OWL(Megascops watsonii)– Very close, but...[*]
GREAT HORNED OWL(Bubo virginianus)– In that tiny patch of woods near the Crested Doradito spot.
AMAZONIAN PYGMY-OWL(Glaucidium hardyi)[*]
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL(Glaucidium brasilianum)– Great looks as it swayed with the wind in the dry forest on our way to Caiman House.
This gorgeous pair of Blue-and-yellow Macaws added a some excitement to our afternoon visit to the Georgetown Botanical Gardens. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
BURROWING OWL(Athene cunicularia)– A very close pair next to the road on our way to the doradito spot.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LEAST NIGHTHAWK(Chordeiles pusillus)– We probably saw a couple of dozen of these small nighthawks winging their way across the savanna near Caiman House on our last afternoon in the Rupununi.
LESSER NIGHTHAWK(Chordeiles acutipennis)
SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK(Lurocalis semitorquatus)– A couple of these were spotted flying above the canopy near Atta Lodge on our two evenings there.
BAND-TAILED NIGHTHAWK(Nyctiprogne leucopyga)– Loads of these came out along the Rupununi River on our long, slow ride back to Caiman House.
WHITE-TAILED NIGHTJAR(Hydropsalis cayennensis)– A search of that little patch of woods near our Crested Doradito spot in the Rupununi yielded some fine views of this one roosting on the ground under the trees.
LADDER-TAILED NIGHTJAR(Hydropsalis climacocerca)– We couldn't have asked for any better looks than what we had near Iwokrama Lodge on the Essequibo River!
WHITE-WINGED POTOO(Nyctibius leucopterus)– YESSS!!!! Just like Ron said it would, this tiny, rare potoo flew in and landed right on the very stub that Ron pointed out to us! Yip! Yip!
WHITE-CHINNED SWIFT(Cypseloides cryptus)– Larger and shorter-tailed than the numerous White-tipped Swifts, and much smaller than the huge White-collared Swifts in the area, but it still wasn't a very satisfying look at this uncommon swift at Kaieteur Falls.
We enjoyed a productive and relaxed boat trip on the slow-moving Mahaica River on the coastal plain near Georgetown on our first afternoon together. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT(Streptoprocne zonaris)– Quite large, with a noticeable notch in the tail.
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT(Chaetura brachyura)– Among the New World tropical swifts, this one has a very distinctive profile with a very short tail and very broad wings, especially the outer secondaries.
BAND-RUMPED SWIFT(Chaetura spinicaudus)– This seemed to be the most common swift along the main highway from Iwokrama to the northern end of the Rupununi Savanna.
GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT(Chaetura cinereiventris)– Several of these were spotted flying around with the more numerous Short-tailed Swifts along the Buro-Buro River near Surama.
WHITE-TIPPED SWIFT(Aeronautes montivagus)– We had some very close flybys at Kaieteur Falls on this trip.
LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT(Panyptila cayennensis)– A few of us spotted a couple of pairs flying high above the rainforest canopy at Iwokrama and at Surama. In shape and pattern, it's like no other swift in the region.
FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT(Tachornis squamata)– Pretty common in the Rupununi Savanna area. This distinctive swift has very thin wings and a long pointed tail.
CRIMSON TOPAZ(Topaza pella)– Ron heard this spectacular, large hummer chipping away near our lodge at Iwokrama and we eventually spotted a male sipping nectar from a rather inconspicuous flower along the shoreline.
STRAIGHT-BILLED HERMIT(Phaethornis bourcieri)– We heard that very distinctive metallic double-chip of a flyby bird at Kaieteur Falls.[*]
LONG-TAILED HERMIT(Phaethornis superciliosus)– Most of these were just heard as they flew by and loudly chipped. This one is called the Eastern Long-tailed Hermit in the Venezuela field guide.
REDDISH HERMIT(Phaethornis ruber)– We had a very brief look at this tiny forest species on our way to Atta Lodge from Iwokrama.
BLACK-EARED FAIRY(Heliothryx auritus)– The bright white underparts and all of that white in the tail make this hummer easy to i.d.
WHITE-TAILED GOLDENTHROAT(Polytmus guainumbi)– We had a couple of encounters while on our Mahaica R. boat ride.
GREEN-TAILED GOLDENTHROAT(Polytmus theresiae)– This one was spotted right after 'brunch' on the Mahaica R. feeding at a flower in the genus Hamelia.
BLACK-THROATED MANGO(Anthracothorax nigricollis)– The few mangos that we saw on the Mahaica R. appeared to be this widespread species.
LONG-BILLED STARTHROAT(Heliomaster longirostris)– We found a close, perched bird while we waited for our boat to be readied on the Buro-Buro River.
BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE(Chlorestes notata)– A brief female for some on our way to Atta Lodge.
FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH(Thalurania furcata)– A gorgeous adult male feeding on a tubular yellow flower wowed the group on our trip down to Atta Lodge from Iwokrama.
WHITE-CHESTED EMERALD(Amazilia brevirostris)– A couple of close studies revealed the bill and mostly green tail of this species. This one is essentially another Guianan Shield specialty.
Plain-bellied Emerald (Photo by participant Max Rodel)
PLAIN-BELLIED EMERALD(Amazilia leucogaster)– Very similar to the above White-chested Emerald, but the lower mandible is pale on this one and the tail is mostly black.
GLITTERING-THROATED EMERALD(Amazilia fimbriata)– This was one of the most common of the hummers once we got to the southern end of the Iwokrama Forest and into the Rupununi. The white stripe up the middle of the belly eliminates a bunch of similar species.
BLACK-TAILED TROGON(Trogon melanurus)– This one seemed to be very regular at the edge of the Atta Lodge clearing.
GREEN-BACKED TROGON(Trogon viridis)– Called Amazonian White-tailed Trogon in the Venezuela field guide, the old White-tailed Trogon was fairly recently split up into a couple of species - this one and the form west of the Andes and ranging north to Panama. Our most commonly encountered trogon species on this tour.
GUIANAN TROGON(Trogon violaceus)– The old Violaceous Trogon was also split up recently, this time into three species. Ours is restricted to the Guianan Shield, for the most part.
BLACK-THROATED TROGON(Trogon rufus)– We originally called this very close bird at Atta Lodge a Guianan Trogon, but the eye-ring was definitely bluish, eliminating Guianan which has a yellow eye-ring in the male.
AMAZONIAN MOTMOT(Momotus momota)[*]
RINGED KINGFISHER(Megaceryle torquata)– Big and very noisy. This is the same species that makes it all of the way north to s. Texas.
AMAZON KINGFISHER(Chloroceryle amazona)– A few fantastic looks at this species, which is quite a bit larger than the similar Green Kingfisher and lacks that species' white outer tail feathers.
GREEN KINGFISHER(Chloroceryle americana)
American Pygmy Kingfisher (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
AMERICAN PYGMY KINGFISHER(Chloroceryle aenea)– Great looks in the scope of a brilliant little male on our first birding of the trip at the Abari River.
GUIANAN PUFFBIRD(Notharchus macrorhynchos)– We had an excellent scope study of one of these big puffbirds sitting quietly n the canopy next to the road south of Iwokrama Lodge. This eastern form is now split from the widespread and familiar White-necked Puffbird. Another Guianan Shield specialty.
PIED PUFFBIRD(Notharchus tectus)– Nicely at the bridge just down the road from the Atta Lodge entrance road one afternoon.
SPOTTED PUFFBIRD(Bucco tamatia)– Ron spotted this one sitting right next to our vehicles near Caiman House on our final afternoon of birding together there.
BLACK NUNBIRD(Monasa atra)– Hard to mistake this big black bird with the bright red bill and white wing patch!
SWALLOW-WINGED PUFFBIRD(Chelidoptera tenebrosa)– These were a common sight sitting up on the treetops next to the rivers and roads of the interior.
YELLOW-BILLED JACAMAR(Galbula albirostris)[*]
GREEN-TAILED JACAMAR(Galbula galbula)– None more outstanding than the female at the bridge near the Atta Lodge entrance road.
BRONZY JACAMAR(Galbula leucogastra)– A search of the tall white sand scrub near Atta Lodge turned up this local bird - and it behaved for some great views in the scope! A very close relative of the Purplish Jacamar of western Amazonia.
PARADISE JACAMAR(Galbula dea)– Unlike all of the other jacamars that we saw on this tour, this one prefers to sit out in the open in the tall canopy of the rainforest. Wonderful looks in the scope near Atta Lodge!
You can almost hear the loud, raucous calls of this pair of Red-and-green Macaws as they take flight in the Iwokrama Forest Reserve. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
GREAT JACAMAR(Jacamerops aureus)– John, our local guide at Atta Lodge, got us onto this one as it sat quietly a few meters off the road.
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
BLACK-SPOTTED BARBET(Capito niger)– We were lucky to get one of these to cooperate so well when it sat in the open for a bit next to the road as we made our way south to Atta Lodge. The birds of western Amazonia are now split off from this one and are called Gilded Barbet. Ours is now a Guianan Shield specialty.
GREEN ARACARI(Pteroglossus viridis)– It's easy to separate the two aracaris on this tour - this one is all yellow below without any bands across the belly, and the Black-necked is yellow below with a bright red band across the belly. This one is essentially a Guianan Shield specialty.
BLACK-NECKED ARACARI(Pteroglossus aracari)– The more common of the two aracaris on the tour.
GUIANAN TOUCANET(Selenidera piperivora)– After hearing a few of these earlier, we all had super views of a close trio in the Atta Lodge compound. Another Guianan Shield specialty.
TOCO TOUCAN(Ramphastos toco)– This one may be the most widespread toucan in the world, with its range stretching from the coast of the Guianas south to northern Argentina. Great looks at the Georgetown Botanical Gardens!
WHITE-THROATED TOUCAN(Ramphastos tucanus)– When I first started birding this part of S. America back in 1989, we were calling this one Red-billed Toucan. That one, and a few other 'old' species, now make up what's called White-throated Toucan.
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN(Ramphastos vitellinus)– Similar to the above species, but it's got a very different call (this one is the 'croaker', while White-throated is a 'yelper') and it's usually got quite a bit of yellow on the chest. We had great looks of each in the scopes.
GOLDEN-SPANGLED PICULET(Picumnus exilis)– We got our only looks at this one right before we got into our boat for the ride on the Buro-Buro River.
This female Blood-colored Woodpecker cooperated nicely for the group on our first morning. Endemic to the Guianas, this bird has the smallest World range of any species that we found on this tour. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
WHITE-BELLIED PICULET(Picumnus spilogaster)– It's a real stretch to call this one 'white-bellied', but this nominate subspecies is heavily marked on the underparts with black spots and short bars, very unlike the race in Venezuela which is completely white below. Still, we had superb views of this local specialty on our first morning at the Abari River (and again near Rock View Lodge)
WHITE-BARRED PICULET(Picumnus cirratus)– We were a little reluctant to call this one at the time, but it's pretty clear that this male - fighting with a male White-bellied Piculet - was indeed this species. This is the northern limit of this species' range and it occurs as far south as c. Argentina.
YELLOW-TUFTED WOODPECKER(Melanerpes cruentatus)– Only a few of these ornate canopy woodpeckers in the Iwokrama Forest.
BLOOD-COLORED WOODPECKER(Veniliornis sanguineus)– Lucky for us, we ran into a female bird in the mangroves for some very good looks. This one has a very restricted range on the planet - probably the most range-restricted bird that we had on the entire tour!
YELLOW-THROATED WOODPECKER(Piculus flavigula)– Nice views of this fancy one on our walk back from Turtle Mountain.
WAVED WOODPECKER(Celeus undatus)– We scored on this Guianan Shield specialty early when we found a pair with the little mixed flock at Kaieteur Falls.
CHESTNUT WOODPECKER(Celeus elegans)– That was a thrill to see this one sticking its head out of a nest hole on our hike back from Turtle Mountain.[N]
RINGED WOODPECKER(Celeus torquatus)– Most, in not all, saw the responsive bird in the the clearing at Atta Lodge.
LINEATED WOODPECKER(Dryocopus lineatus)– Several fine looks at this Pileated Woodpecker relative.
RED-NECKED WOODPECKER(Campephilus rubricollis)– We heard a lot more of these than we saw, but our best sighting was probably the drumming bird at Atta Lodge.
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER(Campephilus melanoleucos)– We saw this and the very similar Lineated in view at the same time from the boat on the Buro-Buro River.
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
BARRED FOREST-FALCON(Micrastur ruficollis)– The adult attending the army ant swarm near Atta Lodge was a pleasant surprise!
Several pairs of elegant Pied Lapwings graced the shoreline of the Rupununi River on our boat trip near Caiman House. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
BLACK CARACARA(Daptrius ater)– Not as common along the rivers as I thought that this one would be.
RED-THROATED CARACARA(Ibycter americanus)– An extremely noisy species! I guess that I'd sound like that, too, if I ate bee and wasp larvae...
CRESTED CARACARA(Caracara cheriway)
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA(Milvago chimachima)– Most of ours were down in the Rupununi. This one is on the move north, and I wouldn't be surprised if s. Texas gets their first one in a few years.
LAUGHING FALCON(Herpetotheres cachinnans)– Good looks along the roadside after lunch near Surama.
AMERICAN KESTREL(Falco sparverius)
APLOMADO FALCON(Falco femoralis)– A single bird on our way to the shrinking pond that held the single Sharp-tailed Ibis on our last afternoon at Caiman House.
BAT FALCON(Falco rufigularis)– The bird a the nest under the peak of the hangar roof at Ogle Airport was fun to see! We did have a couple more on the Rupununi.
ORANGE-BREASTED FALCON(Falco deiroleucus)– This was our reward for climbing to the top of Turtle Mountain! Rare throughout its range, we had exceptional views, both perched and in flight, of a pair of these wonderful birds.
PEREGRINE FALCON(Falco peregrinus)– Seeing this one interacting with a pair of beautiful White-tailed Hawks in the Rupununi Savanna was a fabulous sight!
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
SAPPHIRE-RUMPED PARROTLET(Touit purpuratus)– Three calling bird quickly flew overhead at one of our stops south of Iwokrama. All of the Touits are tough to get a good look at.
This close Spotted Puffbird surprised our group when Ron spied it sitting mere feet from our vehicles! (Photo by participant Max Rodel)
GOLDEN-WINGED PARAKEET(Brotogeris chrysoptera)– We had very few perched birds, but our best was a pair for some of us near Surama that were making their home in a huge arboreal termite nest!
CAICA PARROT(Pyrilia caica)– Several flybys were all that we had this trip. Another Guianan Shield specialty.
DUSKY PARROT(Pionus fuscus)– Nice scope views of this very inornate parrot in the clearing on our way to Turtle Mountain.
BLUE-HEADED PARROT(Pionus menstruus)– One of the most commonly encountered parrots in the Iwokrama rainforest.
FESTIVE PARROT(Amazona festiva)– The lighting wasn't great, but it was still thrilling to see one of these rare parrots in the scope at the Georgetown Botanical Gardens.
BLUE-CHEEKED PARROT(Amazona dufresniana)– One of the better birds that we saw at Kaieteur Falls was this local Amazon. Another Guianan Shield specialty.
YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT(Amazona ochrocephala)– This was THE Amazon of the Rupununi Savanna area.
MEALY PARROT(Amazona farinosa)– I was pretty amazed at how shy these big Amazons were in the Iwokrama forest - they must get shot at!
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT(Amazona amazonica)– Many great views of this, the most common Amazon of the tour.
BLACK-HEADED PARROT(Pionites melanocephalus)– Surprisingly few of these handsome birds.
RED-FAN PARROT(Deroptyus accipitrinus)– We heard far more of these strange parrots than we saw - and we never really nailed it!
PAINTED PARAKEET(Pyrrhura picta)– These were mostly seen flying through the canopy; we rarely had them perched this year, but we did see it well at Iwokrama.
BROWN-THROATED PARAKEET(Eupsittula pertinax)– There were a few on the coastal plain, but most of ours were seen down in the Rupununi Savanna area.
RED-BELLIED MACAW(Orthopsittaca manilatus)– We spotted several of these flying high above the road near Atta Lodge one morning.
BLUE-AND-YELLOW MACAW(Ara ararauna)– Our best look, by far, was the pair at the Georgetown Botanical Gardens.
SCARLET MACAW(Ara macao)– This is a seemingly scarce bird on this tour, with a single pair being seen near Atta Lodge one afternoon.
RED-AND-GREEN MACAW(Ara chloropterus)– This was our most common and widespread macaw on the tour, and we ran into at least a few pairs that were actively nesting along the highway south of Iwokrama.
RED-SHOULDERED MACAW(Diopsittaca nobilis)– Quite common in the Georgetown area, with fantastic studies at the Georgetown Botanical Gardens.
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
ASH-WINGED ANTWREN(Euchrepomis spodioptila)[*]
FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE(Cymbilaimus lineatus)– A male came up to our platform to investigate the group at Atta Lodge.
BLACK-THROATED ANTSHRIKE(Frederickena viridis)[*]
GREAT ANTSHRIKE(Taraba major)– Nice views just of this widespread antshrike before we climbed into the boat at the Buro-Buro River.
BLACK-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE(Sakesphorus canadensis)– Fantastic views both in the mangroves near Georgetown and in the light woodland in the Rupununi.
BARRED ANTSHRIKE(Thamnophilus doliatus)– Seen by most on our drive south to Caiman House from Rock View Lodge.
MOUSE-COLORED ANTSHRIKE(Thamnophilus murinus)– Mostly heard, but most of us got a look at one or two individuals in the Iwokrama Forest. Closely related to the Plain-winged Antshrike to the west of here.
NORTHERN SLATY-ANTSHRIKE(Thamnophilus punctatus)– We found a cooperative pair in the white sand scrub near Atta Lodge one morning. Called Guianan Slaty-Antshrke in the Venezuelan field guide. The old "Slaty Antshrike" was split up into multiple species almost two decades ago.
AMAZONIAN ANTSHRIKE(Thamnophilus amazonicus)[*]
DUSKY-THROATED ANTSHRIKE(Thamnomanes ardesiacus)– This one and the next species tend to be the 'flock leaders' for the mixed understory flocks that one encounters in the rainforest. We had decent looks of both in the Iwokrama Forest.
CINEREOUS ANTSHRIKE(Thamnomanes caesius)– The male of this species lacks the black throat of the above and the female is more richly rufous below than Dusky-throated female. The voices are distinctive and quite different.
Normally shy and skulking in the rank aquatic vegetation of wetlands throughout much of South America, this Yellow-chinned Spinetail threw caution to the wind by getting out into the open for us near Georgetown. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
RUFOUS-BELLIED ANTWREN(Isleria guttata)– After a failed first attempt at Iwokrama Lodge, we had a more cooperative pair along the cock-of-the-rock trail. Another Guianan Shield specialty.
PYGMY ANTWREN(Myrmotherula brachyura)– A few birds overhead along the trail to Turtle Mountain.
GUIANAN STREAKED-ANTWREN(Myrmotherula surinamensis)– Excellent views of this handsome species along the Buro-Buro River. Like so many other polytypic antbird 'species', this one was split up into a few different species quite a while ago (it used to be called Streaked Antwren). Another Guianan Shield specialty.
WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN(Myrmotherula axillaris)– We had a cooperative pair near the boat landing on the Buro-Buro River.
LONG-WINGED ANTWREN(Myrmotherula longipennis)– Seen briefly by some along the cock-of-the-rock trail near Surama.
GRAY ANTWREN(Myrmotherula menetriesii)[*]
SPOT-TAILED ANTWREN(Herpsilochmus sticturus)– We mostly heard this one and the very similar Todd's Antwren up in the canopy throughout the Iwokrama Forest area, but some folks only got a fleeting look. Closely related to the Dugand's Antwren of w. Amazonia (and once lumped with it).
TODD'S ANTWREN(Herpsilochmus stictocephalus)– Mostly heard; maybe glimpsed by some. This and the above are both Guianan Shield specialties.
WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN(Formicivora grisea)– Nice views of a male in the dry forest on our way to Caiman House. All of these Formicivora antwrens are really handsome!
GUIANAN WARBLING-ANTBIRD(Hypocnemis cantator)– Again, like many of our antbirds, this was mostly heard, but most folks got a look at a pair or two at Atta Lodge. The old 'Warbling Antbird' was recently split into seven different species. Another Guianan Shield specialty.
GRAY ANTBIRD(Cercomacra cinerascens)– This skulking species keeps to the vine tangles in the canopy, but we managed a decent look at a pair on the Turtle Mountain trail.
DUSKY ANTBIRD(Cercomacra tyrannina)[*]
WHITE-BROWED ANTBIRD(Myrmoborus leucophrys)– It was tough to position the boat just right so that everyone could see this striking male singing just in from the shoreline on the Buro-Buro River.
BLACK-CHINNED ANTBIRD(Hypocnemoides melanopogon)– One of our first antbirds of the trip was a cooperative pair of these working just above the waterline along the Essequibo R. near Iwokrama our first afternoon there.
The Rupununi Savanna (Photo by participant Keir Randall)
SILVERED ANTBIRD(Sclateria naevia)– We had to work the boat again just right, but everyone had a smashing view of this good-looking male singing just above the water along the Buro-Buro River.
WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD(Myrmeciza longipes)– Ron spotted a very confiding and cooperative male on the forest floor near the shrinking pond near Caiman House.
WHITE-PLUMED ANTBIRD(Pithys albifrons)– Patience at the army ant swarm paid of with great views of this spectacular species.
RUFOUS-THROATED ANTBIRD(Gymnopithys rufigula)– This and the above White-plumed Antbird are 'ant swarm obligates' meaning that you rarely, if ever, find these species away from raiding army ants. Another Guianan Shield specialty.
COMMON SCALE-BACKED ANTBIRD(Willisornis poecilinotus)[*]
SPOTTED ANTPITTA(Hylopezus macularius)– This was a nice bonus at the Capuchinbird lek at Iwokrama!
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER(Glyphorynchus spirurus)– Some had a look at this tiny woodcreeper in the Iwokrama Forest.
CINNAMON-THROATED WOODCREEPER(Dendrexetastes rufigula)– We called one of these big woodcreepers in for a good scope look near Surama. A somewhat local bird in the Guianas.
A prize anywhere within its range, this Crested Doradito showed well for us in the Rupununi Savanna near Caiman House. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
AMAZONIAN BARRED-WOODCREEPER(Dendrocolaptes certhia)– The race here has a dark red bill and very little barring on the plumage, and many birders mistake it for the much scarcer Red-billed Woodcreeper. Nice looks along the Turtle Mountain trail.
MOUSE-COLORED TYRANNULET(Phaeomyias murina)– Good looks both in Georgetown and in the Rupununi.
BEARDED TACHURI(Polystictus pectoralis)– YESSS!!! We had INCREDIBLE looks at this scarce little flycatcher near Caiman House and even watched him display a little bit while we watched him at point-blank range! Curious that this male lacked any of the black and white throat stippling so evident on the Argentina birds (maybe a racial distinction).
CRESTED DORADITO(Pseudocolopteryx sclateri)– Another very local and scarce tyrannid, we enjoyed excellent views of this vibrant little bird in a mostly dry marsh near Caiman House. The core of the range of this one is in s. South America and it's quite local and scarce in the northern part of its range. A great one to get!
YELLOW-CROWNED TYRANNULET(Tyrannulus elatus)– Good looks from the boat on the Buro-Buro River after hearing it almost daily up to that point.
FOREST ELAENIA(Myiopagis gaimardii)[*]
YELLOW-CROWNED ELAENIA(Myiopagis flavivertex)– We called one of these obscure tyrannids in for great views near Atta Lodge. This one is always around varzea, or flooded, forest areas.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA(Elaenia flavogaster)– This is probably the only regular species in the genus Elaenia in the coastal plain of Guyana. It's also quite common in forest edge in the Rupununi.
PLAIN-CRESTED ELAENIA(Elaenia cristata)– We had a pair of these elaenias with very spiky crests (and no white feathering in the crown) come in for a look at the tachuri spot. The voice of this one is probably the best field mark.
RUFOUS-CROWNED ELAENIA(Elaenia ruficeps)– Excellent views of a few of these right next to the landing strip at Kaieteur Falls. We even saw the rufous in the crown!
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER(Mionectes oleagineus)– Unless you can find the song perch of this little guy, you're better off trying to find a good fruiting tree, like that one we found with this and all of the manakins in it near Atta Lodge.
GUIANAN TYRANNULET(Zimmerius acer)– This is the split from the Slender-footed Tyrannulet to the west. A Guianan Shield specialty.
This striking Black Curassow was a regular visitor to the clearing at Atta Lodge. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
NORTHERN SCRUB-FLYCATCHER(Sublegatus arenarum)[*]
PALE-TIPPED TYRANNULET(Inezia caudata)– Nice views of this one in the mangroves on our first morning together. Called the Pale-tipped Inezia in the Venezuela field guide.
HELMETED PYGMY-TYRANT(Lophotriccus galeatus)[*]
PALE-EYED PYGMY-TYRANT(Atalotriccus pilaris)[*]
SLATE-HEADED TODY-FLYCATCHER(Poecilotriccus sylvia)– A few of us got a look on the last morning at Caiman House. This one is replaced by the Smoky-fronted Tody-Flycatcher a short distance to the east.
SPOTTED TODY-FLYCATCHER(Todirostrum maculatum)– Nicely in the mangroves on the first morning at the Abari River.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER(Todirostrum cinereum)
PAINTED TODY-FLYCATCHER(Todirostrum pictum)– A responsive male in the canopy walkway at Atta Lodge came in to give us all a look. Thank goodness for some access to the canopy! Another Guianan Shield specialty.
YELLOW-MARGINED FLYCATCHER(Tolmomyias assimilis)– The Venezuela field guide calls this one Zimmer's Flatbill.[*]
GRAY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER(Tolmomyias poliocephalus)– Very briefly for most of us on the Harpy Eagle trail, but some of us did get a fine look of a very cooperative bird the next day at the Buro-Buro River.
YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER(Tolmomyias flaviventris)– The Venezuela field guide calls all of these Tolmomyias flycatchers 'Flatbills', and it calls this one Ochre-lored Flatbill to help confuse things even more.
CINNAMON-CRESTED SPADEBILL(Platyrinchus saturatus)– We had both of these spadebills quite close, but we couldn't spot them.[*]
Yellow-crowned Parrot (Photo by participant Max Rodel)
VERMILION FLYCATCHER(Pyrocephalus rubinus)– A few only in the Rupununi Savanna.
PIED WATER-TYRANT(Fluvicola pica)– As the name implies, this one is particularly tied to watery habitats.
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT(Arundinicola leucocephala)– An adult male was seen by some, and an imm. male near Caiman House for others. Equally tied to water as the above species.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT(Colonia colonus)– John, our local guide at Atta Lodge, knew where this one liked to hang out and we all got some nice views of an adult on a huge dead snag.
BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA(Attila spadiceus)[*]
GRAYISH MOURNER(Rhytipterna simplex)– This one came in nicely at the canopy walkway on our morning visit there. Very similar to Screaming Piha, but shaped more like an all-gray Myiarchus flycatcher. The voices, of course, are completely different.
DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER(Myiarchus tuberculifer)– Only on the top of Turtle Mountain.
SWAINSON'S FLYCATCHER(Myiarchus swainsoni)– Excellent views and audio of a few of these in the patchy, short forest at Kaieteur Falls.
SHORT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER(Myiarchus ferox)– More tied to watery habitats than the other Myiarchus flycatchers.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER(Myiarchus tyrannulus)– That first bird at the Abari River had me scratching my head initially, but it was clear that it was this widespread species. This is the nominate subspecies here (Myiarchus tyrannulus tyrannulus), according to Clements.[N]
LESSER KISKADEE(Pitangus lictor)– Another flycatcher tied to water, this one is like a small, thin-billed Great Kiskadee - with a very different voice.
GREAT KISKADEE(Pitangus sulphuratus)
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER(Megarynchus pitangua)
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER(Myiozetetes cayanensis)– This one seems to be common n all habitat edges wherever we went on this tour. As far as I know, the similar Social Flycatcher doesn't occur along our route.
YELLOW-THROATED FLYCATCHER(Conopias parvus)– We had excellent looks at Kaieteur Falls with the same flock that had the Blue-backed Tanagers and the Waved Woodpeckers. This vocal flycatcher seems to be the flock leader of these canopy flocks - if you can pull these into view, you can usually get the rest of the flock to follow.
STREAKED FLYCATCHER(Myiodynastes maculatus)– Nicely on the Buro-Buro River boat ride.
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER(Legatus leucophaius)– We watched one of these nest-stealing flycatchers eating the ripe chili peppers in the clearing at the Buro-Buro River. This species never builds its own nest; it watches a pair of birds (usually a Tolmomyias flycatcher) build their nest, and then it moves in and takes it over just as they put on the finishing touches. Pretty sneaky!
SULPHURY FLYCATCHER(Tyrannopsis sulphurea)– There was one Moriche Palm on the side of the road south of Iwokrama Lodge - and a pair of these flycatchers had staked their claim to it!
WHITE-THROATED KINGBIRD(Tyrannus albogularis)– Ron spotted this scarce bird in the Moriche Palm grove out near the Crested Doradito spot. Very similar to the common Tropical Kingbird, this one has a much paler head, which makes that dark mask stand out even more. It also lacks any olive feathering on the chest, transitioning from white throat to yellow breast without any intervening olive.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD(Tyrannus melancholicus)
GRAY KINGBIRD(Tyrannus dominicensis)– Pretty common in the Georgetown area.
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER(Tyrannus savana)– Another one of those elegant birds that I never tire of seeing.
GUIANAN RED-COTINGA(Phoenicircus carnifex)– One call only at Atta Lodge, and that was it![*]
White-banded Swallow at Surama (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
GUIANAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK(Rupicola rupicola)– WOWWWW!!!!! It's tough to come up with superlatives for this fantastic example of plumage gone wild! Aren't you glad that our bird at Kaieteur Falls wasn't our only sighting? The added bonus to our wonderful experience with this one is that we were able to see a rather drab female incubating eggs on a nest plastered to a rock face. FANTASTIC!!![N]
CRIMSON FRUITCROW(Haematoderus militaris)– It wasn't quite the visual equal to the Cock-of-the-rock, but as far as world rarity goes, this one couldn't be beat on this tour! Thanks to Marissa for spotting this one from the table and subsequently going crazy to get us all on it! Essentially another Guianan Shield specialty.
PURPLE-THROATED FRUITCROW(Querula purpurata)– The males are pretty spectacular as they flare out the shining purple gorget!
CAPUCHINBIRD(Perissocephalus tricolor)– This was certainly a wonderful tour for spectacular, and spectacularly weird, cotingas. There's nothing quite like watching these birds display and call from their lek perches high above the forest floor! Essentially another Guianan Shield specialty.
SPANGLED COTINGA(Cotinga cayana)– A very distant male was spied through the scope from the canopy walkway.
SCREAMING PIHA(Lipaugus vociferans)– We heard dozens of these throughout the trip while in the rainforest, but saw only a couple of them.
POMPADOUR COTINGA(Xipholena punicea)– A single female-plumaged bird behaved well for us in the white sand scrubby forest near Atta Lodge.
TINY TYRANT-MANAKIN(Tyranneutes virescens)– We heard this one daily inside the forest, and finally got a scope look at him at Atta Lodge. Another Guianan Shield specialty.
BLUE-BACKED MANAKIN(Chiroxiphia pareola)– Fine looks for some of us at this handsome species on our walk back from the river on our final morning at Caiman House.
WHITE-THROATED MANAKIN(Corapipo gutturalis)– After trying very hard to see this one earlier, we happened onto an adult male eating tiny orange fruit next to the road near Atta Lodge. A Guianan Shield specialty.
BLACK MANAKIN(Xenopipo atronitens)– Good looks, after a little work and some patience, of this savanna woodland specialty near Atta Lodge.
WHITE-CROWNED MANAKIN(Dixiphia pipra)– Nice scope looks at a calling male.
GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN(Ceratopipra erythrocephala erythrocephala)– We all ended up with memorable looks at this little gem of a bird near Atta Lodge.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-TAILED TITYRA(Tityra cayana)– It's a little hard to believe that this is the only tityra along our route - but that's all we saw this trip.
Sunbittern is always a thrill to see -- but when one flies, you have a chance to see one of the most striking wing patterns of any bird! (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
OLIVACEOUS SCHIFFORNIS(Schiffornis olivacea)– Thrushlike Schiffornis (or Thrushlike Manakin if you're an 'old-timer' like me) was recently split into multiple species and this is the one that's along our route on this trip. Nice views of a cooperative bird in the white sand scrubby forest near Atta Lodge. This species is only found in e. Venezuela and in Guyana.
DUSKY PURPLETUFT(Iodopleura fusca)– Four of these tiny canopy birds flew across the road just as we emerged from the Atta Lodge entrance road to the highway. Darn it! Yet another Guianan Shield specialty.
PINK-THROATED BECARD(Pachyramphus minor)– We watched a pair of these becards busily constructing a big, football-sized nest just off of the highway near Iwokrama. A very close relative of the Rose-throated Becard found in AZ and TX.[N]
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
LEMON-CHESTED GREENLET(Hylophilus thoracicus)– Some sa this canopy species from the canopy walkway at Atta Lodge.
ASHY-HEADED GREENLET(Hylophilus pectoralis)– Good views in the mangroves on our first morning together.
CAYENNE JAY(Cyanocorax cayanus)– Our only birds of the trip were three that came in very quietly to the edge of the clearing where we ate our picnic lunch on the Buro-Buro River. Another Guianan Shield specialty.
BLACK-COLLARED SWALLOW(Pygochelidon melanoleuca)– Several of these were seen well at the rapids on the Essequibo River near Iwokrama. This one occurs as far south as Iguazu Falls on the Brazil-Argentina border.
WHITE-BANDED SWALLOW(Atticora fasciata)– Good numbers along the Buro-Buro River.
A coastal mangrove specialist, this adult Rufous Crab Hawk allowed our close approach and some wonderful views on our first morning east of Georgetown. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW(Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)– A few of these were winging their way over the Rupununi River on our afternoon boat ride there. Brown above with a pale rump help to i.d. this one.
PURPLE MARTIN(Progne subis)– A small flock of what looked like all female birds were hanging around one building at Surama village, getting ready for their long migration north.
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN(Progne chalybea)– The most common species of martin on this tour.
BROWN-CHESTED MARTIN(Progne tapera)– We found small numbers of these in the Rupununi Savanna far to the south.
WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW(Tachycineta albiventer)– Some of our birds (1 year-olds?) almost completely lacked any white feathering in their wings, making them look quite a lot like White-rumped Swallows from s. South America.
BARN SWALLOW(Hirundo rustica)
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN)(Troglodytes aedon clarus)– This one may yet be re-split as Southern House-Wren.
BICOLORED WREN(Campylorhynchus griseus)– This big, distinctive wren is in the same genus as our Cactus Wren in the Southwest.
CORAYA WREN(Pheugopedius coraya)– A pair of these skulkers came in pretty well for us just before we climbed into our boat at the Buro-Buro River.
BUFF-BREASTED WREN(Cantorchilus leucotis)[*]
WHITE-BREASTED WOOD-WREN(Henicorhina leucosticta)– Seen by Keir only at Kaieteur Falls.
LONG-BILLED GNATWREN(Ramphocaenus melanurus)– Only seen by one of two of us.
TROPICAL GNATCATCHER(Polioptila plumbea)– Decent looks at this one in the dry forest in the Rupununi Savanna.
BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS(Donacobius atricapilla)– We had a fantastic study of one perched in the open along the Mahaica River on our boat ride there. This one's now in its own family!
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
PALE-BREASTED THRUSH(Turdus leucomelas)– Common on the grounds of Rock View Lodge in the Rupununi Savanna.
SPECTACLED THRUSH(Turdus nudigenis)– Only a couple of folks saw this one at Rock View. Called the Bare-eyed Thrush in the Venezuela field guide.
WHITE-NECKED THRUSH(Turdus albicollis)[*]
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD(Mimus gilvus)– Common and conspicuous in the Rupununi Savanna.
Motacillidae (Wagtails and Pipits)
YELLOWISH PIPIT(Anthus lutescens)– We had nice views of this one walking on the ground at the Bearded Tachuri spot. The only pipit in this region of S. America.
Parulidae (New World Warblers)
NORTHERN WATERTHRUSH(Parkesia noveboracensis)[b*]
YELLOW WARBLER(Setophaga petechia)[b]
BLACKPOLL WARBLER(Setophaga striata)– These and the above Yellow Warblers and N. Waterthrushes were wintering here and should be flying off to N. America soon.[b]
GOLDEN-CROWNED WARBLER(Basileuterus culicivorus)– Our single bird in the dry forest on our way to Caiman House really didn't cooperate very well. A very widespread species, this one occurs from the lower Rio Grande Valley in s. TX (sometimes) south to c. Argentina.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
RED-CAPPED CARDINAL(Paroaria gularis)– This one's usually around water and it's not at all closely related to our Northern Cardinal in the US.
Marissa and Darwin spotted this close, skulking Pinnated Bittern on our final afternoon near Caiman House. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
FLAME-CRESTED TANAGER(Tachyphonus cristatus)– We had an adult male in the scope up on the canopy walkway for all to see. A few of us saw a female along the roadside at one of our stops on the highway the day before.
WHITE-SHOULDERED TANAGER(Tachyphonus luctuosus)– Keir spotted this bird after lunch at the Buro-Buro River.
RED-SHOULDERED TANAGER(Tachyphonus phoenicius)– Don't look for the red shoulder on this one! Still, we had good views of this one in the scrubby habitat near the airstrip at Kaieteur Falls.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER(Ramphocelus carbo)– Common and widespread on this tour, but those adult males with that sublime coloring and that swollen bill and fabulous!
BLUE-BACKED TANAGER(Cyanicterus cyanicterus)– It was pretty exciting to hear a pair of these scarce and local tanagers calling as we walked the trails at Kaieteur Falls. Seeing them was even better! Another Guianan Shield specialty.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER(Thraupis episcopus)
PALM TANAGER(Thraupis palmarum)
BURNISHED-BUFF TANAGER(Tangara cayana)– Plenty around the grounds of Rock View Lodge.
TURQUOISE TANAGER(Tangara mexicana)– This one is usually the most common of the vivid Tangara tanagers that we see in the Guianas.
OPAL-RUMPED TANAGER(Tangara velia)– Ron spotted a group of these in the canopy at the edge of the road on our way south from Iwokrama. The white rump and deep red of the belly and vent area are good i.d. points for this one.
BLACK-FACED DACNIS(Dacnis lineata)– A brilliant male showed up at the same small fruiting tree that the White-throated and Golden-headed manakins were feeding in near Atta Lodge.
BLUE DACNIS(Dacnis cayana)– Easily told from the Black-faced by the obvious black throat on the male.
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER(Cyanerpes caeruleus)– Those bright citrine legs in the male are a shocking sight whenever I see this one!
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER(Cyanerpes cyaneus)– This and the above Purple Honeycreeper seemed to be about equally common on this trip.
Bearded Tachuri possesses a huge geographic range within South America, but it's tough to find anywhere. This male obliged the group in the Rupununi Savanna near Caiman House. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
GREEN HONEYCREEPER(Chlorophanes spiza)– That gorgeous male is unlike anything else.
YELLOW-BACKED TANAGER(Hemithraupis flavicollis)– A couple of these canopy birds made a brief appearance at one of our roadside stops on our way south from Iwokrama. It's a bit of an unfortunate name because the part of the back you can easily see on the foraging male is black.
BICOLORED CONEBILL(Conirostrum bicolor)– Keir, and maybe a few others, saw this one in the mangroves on the first morning.
WEDGE-TAILED GRASS-FINCH(Emberizoides herbicola)– An excellent scope study at the tachuri spot near Caiman House.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT(Volatinia jacarina)
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEEDEATER(Sporophila castaneiventris)– A few of us saw this one on the grounds of Iwokrama Lodge with the abundant Yellow-bellied Seedeaters there.
RUDDY-BREASTED SEEDEATER(Sporophila minuta)– Several nice looks in the Rupununi of this widespread seedeater.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEED-FINCH(Sporophila angolensis)– Singing on the side of the road near Atta Lodge. This one is a popular target for the cage bird trade.
GRAY SEEDEATER(Sporophila intermedia)– Several near the Caiman House on our final morning there.
WING-BARRED SEEDEATER(Sporophila americana)– Several pied males were seen on that first day out of Georgetown.
YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER(Sporophila nigricollis)– We had several large groups of these in the clearing at Iwokrama Lodge.
BUFF-THROATED SALTATOR(Saltator maximus)– We didn't run into this one until we got to the Buro-Buro River. Similar to the next species, but with a green back and wings and a buffy throat patch.
GRAYISH SALTATOR(Saltator coerulescens)– On our first and last days of the tour.
Orange-winged Parrots near Georgetown (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK(Saltator grossus)– Most folks saw this one fly through the clearing at Atta Lodge. This one was re-classified as a saltator several years ago.
ROSE-BREASTED CHAT(Granatellus pelzelni)– Everyone caught up with this one along the main highway near Atta Lodge on our first morning there.
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK(Cyanocompsa cyanoides)[*]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK(Sturnella magna)
RED-BREASTED BLACKBIRD(Sturnella militaris)– Most of these were seen from our vehicles.
CARIB GRACKLE(Quiscalus lugubris)
SHINY COWBIRD(Molothrus bonariensis)
GIANT COWBIRD(Molothrus oryzivorus)– Singing daily right above the cabins at Iwokrama.
EPAULET ORIOLE (MORICHE)(Icterus cayanensis chrysocephalus)– The old Moriche Oriole was recently lumped with the Epaulet Oriole, but all of the orioles I saw on this trip were Moriche types.
ORANGE-BACKED TROUPIAL(Icterus croconotus)– The only 'group' troupial that we saw was in the dry forest on our way south to Caiman House from Rock View Lodge.
YELLOW ORIOLE(Icterus nigrogularis)– We had a pair of thes with two fledglings tagging along next to the mangroves at the Abari River.[N]
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE(Cacicus cela)– This one is a pretty remarkable mimic.
RED-RUMPED CACIQUE(Cacicus haemorrhous)– It was pretty cool to see this and the above species using the same tree to colonize - I don't think I've ever seen a mixed colony before!
Not as gaudy as her mate -- but still pretty strange-looking with that frontal crest -- this female Guianan Cock-of-the-rock patiently sits incubating on a nest constructed onto a sheer rock face inside the forest near Surama Eco-Lodge. (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
GREEN OROPENDOLA(Psarocolius viridis)– We had our best looks at this one on our drive south to Atta Lodge from Iwokrama. Hard to believe that this is in the same family of birds as our Red-winged Blackbird!
CRESTED OROPENDOLA(Psarocolius decumanus)– This widespread species occurs from Panama south to n. Argentina.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
PLUMBEOUS EUPHONIA(Euphonia plumbea)– Excellent views for most folks of a male at Kaieteur Falls. Essentially another Guianan Shield specialty.
FINSCH'S EUPHONIA(Euphonia finschi)– We didn't find this Guianan Shield specialty until our final afternoon at Caiman House.
VIOLACEOUS EUPHONIA(Euphonia violacea)– Of the similar-looking euphonias in the region, this is the only one with a yellow forehead and a yellow throat.
GOLDEN-BELLIED EUPHONIA(Euphonia chrysopasta)– In the scope for most folks. The better name for this one is White-lored Euphonia.
ORANGE-BELLIED EUPHONIA(Euphonia xanthogaster)– We all saw a male in with the flock that had the Blue-backed Tanagers and Yellow-throated Flycatchers at Kaieteur Falls, and I think that most folks saw a female at the falls that was associating with the male Plumbeous Euphonia (I didn't realize what species this was until I looked at my photos!).
GOLDEN-SIDED EUPHONIA(Euphonia cayennensis)– We had a vocalizing adult male in the scope at the clearing along the Turtle Mountain trail near Iwokrama. Another Guianan Shield specialty.
LONG-NOSED BAT(Rhynchonycteris naso)– These were the little bats that we scared up from the edge of the Essequibo River while we were watching that pair of Black-chinned Antbirds.
GREATER BULLDOG BAT(Noctilio leporinus)– We saw lots of bats on the Rupununi River on our return ride after the sun went down. These were the larger bats that had a reddish tone to the body and spent their time flying very close to the water. These bats are fish-eaters, and they gaff small fish from the surface with their elongated claws.
COMMON SQUIRREL MONKEY(Saimiri sciureus)– I think this was the only species of monkey that we saw in the Caiman House area.
RED HOWLER MONKEY(Alouatta seniculus)– Good looks from the top of Turtle Mountain. We heard these frequently during our time in the rainforest.
GUIANAN SAKI MONKEY(Pithecia pithecia)– Several of us got a look at a few of these regional endemics along the Atta Lodge entrance road.
One of the 'holy grails' of the Guianan Shield region is this Crimson Fruitcrow, and it seems that this tour is turning out to be quite reliable for it! (Photo by guide Dave Stejskal)
WEDGE-CAPPED CAPUCHIN(Cebus olivaceus)– Our best looks were next to the highway south of Rock View Lodge in the Rupununi Savanna. Also called Weeping Capuchin.
BLACK SPIDER MONKEY(Ateles paniscus)[*]
RED-RUMPED AGOUTI(Dasyprocta agouti)– A couple of brief looks as animals crossed the roads.
CRAB-EATING FOX(Cerdocyon thous)– Keir spotted one of these off in the distance at our Least Nighthawk spot near Caiman House. This is the only species of fox in Guyana and it's called the Savanna Fox by the locals.
GIANT OTTER(Pteronura brasiliensis)– We had a lot of fun watching this trio in the Essequibo on our return ride to the lodge from Turtle Mountain. They're slowly making a comeback in this region of S. America.
JAGUAR(Panthera onca)– I think that the cat that we saw cross the road a couple of hundred yards from where we were watching hd to be this species, given that Darwin and Ron heard a Jaguar vocalize very near there. I wish that it had paused just for a moment...
Here's a partial list of some of our most notable reptiles and amphibians (I'm sure I missed some):
South American Common Toad (Rhinella margaritifera) - this is what was being called the Amazonian Crested Toad in the Iwokrama Forest.
Golden Rocket Frog (Anomaloglossus beebei) - I think everyone saw this tiny frog - a true Guyana endemic - in the huge terrestrial bromeliads at Kaieteur Falls.
*Giant Leaf Frog (Phyllomedusa bicolor) - we heard this call at Atta Lodge on the night we walked back from the canopy walkway. Another name for this one is the Giant Waxy Monkey Treefrog.
Red-footed Tortoise (Chelonoidis carbonaria) - this was the tortoise that we photographed near Surama. I know this one as the 'Morrocoy' from Venezuela and it's a very close relative of the similar Yellow-footed Tortoise (C. denticulata) from farther south in the Amazon Basin.
Spectacled Caiman (Caiman crocodilus) - the smaller of the two caiman species that we saw in the Rupununi.
Black Caiman (Melanosuchus niger) - called the Jacaré in Brazil, this is the largest extant crocodilian in the region.
Turnip-tailed Gecko (Thecadactylus rapicauda) - Ron pointed one of these out to us in the canopy walkway trees at Atta Lodge.
Green Iguana (Iguana iguana) - we saw several, but the most memorable was the bright green individual walking across the mud - completely out in the open - at Hope Beach east of Georgetown on that first day together.
Brown Vine Snake (Oxybelis aeneus) - a few of us saw this right next to the vehicle near the Crested Doradito spot. It was incredibly difficult to spot- even at close range!
Tropical Rattlesnake (Crotalus durissus) - this one had, unfortunately, been hit by the lead vehicle out in the Rupununi Savanna. Great looks at it, nonetheless.
Totals for the tour: 396 bird taxa and 11 mammal taxa