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Field Guides Tour Report
Guyana (A Private Tour) 2017
Apr 10, 2017 to Apr 21, 2017
Megan Edwards Crewe with Ron Allicock

We spotted a couple of spiky-topped Hoatzins along the Mahaica River on our first day together, and Don got this nice portrait of one in its leafy domain. This is Guyana's national bird.

When it comes to forest primeval, few places on earth match Guyana, which still boasts a lion's share of its original rainforest. Though the coast is pretty developed -- with all the bustle, commotion and habitat alteration that accompanies development -- much of the interior is virtually untouched. When you can bird in the middle of a country's main north-south highway without getting run over (only having to scurry to the edge a few times every hour), you know you're in a pretty special place!

Our tour started with a day along the coast, split between the placid Mahaica River with its surrounding agricultural fields and the bustling Georgetown botanical gardens, and then moved inland for the rest of the trip. After a visit to the spectacular Kaieteur Falls (the tallest single drop waterfall in the world), we headed to the vast Iwokrama Forest, a million acres of preserved land in the heart of the country. Two nights each in a trio of lodges (one near the rainforest's southern border, one along the banks of the mighty Essequibo, and one in the middle of the forest) let us explore multiple corners of this wonderful preserve. We finished with a couple of nights in the tiny village of Yupukari, in the middle of the sweeping Rupununi savanna. And nearly everywhere we went, there was plenty to look at!

Along the coast, several Hoatzins, looking like birds designed by Dr. Seuss, peered from vegetation along the banks of the Mahaica, flaring their rust-colored wings and tails in an effort to scare us away from their flimsy stick nests. A Blood-colored Woodpecker winged across the river several times in a flash of red, then hitched its way up an (unfortunately tough to find) tree trunk. Two tiny Spotted Tody-Flycatchers foraged for prey within arms reach along the edge of the mangroves. A pair of Rufous Crab-Hawks called from leggy mangroves. A courting pair of Toco Toucans chased each other diligently around and around and AROUND a group of trees. At Kaieteur Falls NP, a Roraiman Antbird flitted through shadowy understory while hundreds of White-collared Swifts and a handful of White-chinned and White-tipped swifts clung to the sheer cliffs edging the falls themselves. Two Orange-breasted Falcons rocketed back and forth along the cliff edges, tag teaming passing swifts until they finally caught one. And we caught our first glimpse of the fabulously orange Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock.

In Iwokrama, a young Harpy Eagle glared imperiously from its nest. A male Guianan Cock-of-the-rock preened on carefully selected perches, his amazing plumage glowing against the greenery, and a male Crimson Fruitcrow peering down from a treetop on our way out from the cock-of-the-rock lek provided a nice bonus bird. A pair of Gray-winged Trumpeters stepped quietly through forest understory. White-plumed and Rufous-throated antbirds flitted above a boiling mass of army ants. Capuchinbirds rocked and hummed on their display perches, nuptial feathers flared like orange puffballs on their legs. A Great Potoo posed on its day roost, doing its best "I'm just a tree stump" imitation. And Screaming Pihas shouted from every corner of the forest.

In the Rupununi, a Bearded Tachuri churred from a roadside grass stem while dozens of Grassland Yellow-Finches rose and fell in the fields behind it, occasionally settling on a nearby fence. A tiny Crested Doradito peeked from the dead stems of last season's grasses. Stately Jabirus stalked across marshy oases. White-tailed Goldenthroats whirled around orange-flowered bushes. A White-tailed Nightjar swirled around an island of trees, diving into cover and then flashing out again. A stunning male Blue-backed Manakin gleamed against dusty vegetation while a bright (and noisy!) pair of Cream-colored Woodpeckers drew all eyes as they hitched their way up trunks and branches. Legions of Band-tailed nightjars swarmed over the Rupununi River, their white-banded tails showing nicely in the beams of our spotlights. A Giant Anteater snoozed at the base of a nearby bush, until it decided we were a bit too close and scurried off to a further resting spot. And who will soon forget the vision of Manny sitting atop one of the SUVs as we bounced across the hinterlands!

Thanks so much for letting me be part of your "gang" in Guyana -- it was great fun sharing your adventures and getting to know all of you! Thanks too for coping with the unexpected -- mud, heat, rain, floods, etc. -- without complaint, and for keeping your sense of fun throughout. Thanks also to Ron and Marissa and Chris for driving and guiding and feeding and watering us, and to Sharon in the Field Guides office for making it all come together. I hope to see you all in the field again someday!

-- Megan

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) [*]
CINEREOUS TINAMOU (Crypturellus cinereus) – We heard the "fingers around the crystal glass rim" song of this typically skulking species echoing from the forest along the Georgetown-Lethem road. [*]
UNDULATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus undulatus) – One called from a forest patch near Caiman House, heard by some during our post-lunch break before our Rupununi boat trip. [*]
Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)
WHITE-FACED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna viduata) – A few sprang out of a roadside puddle along the Georgetown-Lethem road (the same one where we spotted our Capped Heron) and flew off across the savanna on our transfer day, and we found more keeping a wary eye on us from the edges of a wet spot en route to the doradito spot the following day.
MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata) – These big, heavy-bodied ducks were pretty scarce this trip. One flew past over the Surama Ecolodge as we gathered for our morning walk in the Buro-Buro forest, its white wing patches flashing as it went. Those in Ron's boat saw another on the Essequibo, and folks in the front vehicle saw another along the Georgetown-Lethem road on the day we transferred to Caiman House.
Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)
VARIABLE CHACHALACA (Ortalis motmot) – We heard the distinctive onomatopoeic duets of several pairs from the forest around the Surama Ecolodge each morning and evening there, but unfortunately never caught up with the singers. [*]
MARAIL GUAN (Penelope marail) – It meant a bit of bushwhacking to get back to the little clearing where Ron had seen one vanish, but we all got at least a quick view (and some had much more than that) of one walking up a branch into the canopy of a tree along the Georgetown-Lethem road.
SPIX'S GUAN (GRANT'S) (Penelope jacquacu granti) – A group of four flew -- one after another -- across the Georgetown-Lethem road late one afternoon. This species is larger, and has darker-green-glossed plumage than the previous.
BLACK CURASSOW (Crax alector) – Surprisingly, we registered only one glimpse of this species -- a single bird seen beside the Georgetown-Lethem road by those in the front vehicle one day. Normally, they're easy to see around the Atta Rainforest Lodge, but the arrival of their small chick apparently made them far more wary and elusive, as they were only seen when our group wasn't around!
Odontophoridae (New World Quail)
CRESTED BOBWHITE (Colinus cristatus) – Especially nice views of a furtive little gang of them scuttling through the grasses in a palm grove we visited en route to the doradito spot. Some of us saw others scurrying along the raised dirt road we traveled on our transfer in to Caiman House.

Success! The gang on our way back from seeing a juvenile Harpy Eagle at the nest. And yes, it was hot! Yours truly took this picture.

Podicipedidae (Grebes)
LEAST GREBE (Tachybaptus dominicus) – A single bird floated on a roadside pond along the Georgetown-Lethem highway, seen on our drives up to the Iwokrama River Lodge and back. Each time we stopped, it beat a hasty retreat towards the taller vegetation on the back side of the pond.
Ciconiidae (Storks)
JABIRU (Jabiru mycteria) – Two circled with a big group of Wood Storks over the Rupununi savanna as we transferred to Caiman House, and we saw probably a half dozen more -- some in flight, others striding across wet spots -- on our way to and from the Crested Doradito spot. The name means "swollen neck" in the language of the indigenous Tupi–Guaraní people of Brazil.
WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana) – A big group lifted out of a shallow pond along the Georgetown-Lethem road, shortly after we left Annai, rising in slow spirals as they drifted away. We saw more along the Rupununi River on our afternoon boat trip.
Fregatidae (Frigatebirds)
MAGNIFICENT FRIGATEBIRD (Fregata magnificens) – Regular along the coast, where they hung effortlessly in the skies over the ocean.
Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)
NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Phalacrocorax brasilianus) – A scattering, mostly in flight, along the Essequibo and Rupununi rivers. This is Guyana's only cormorant.
Anhingidae (Anhingas)
ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga) – Great studies of a spread-eagled female that moved repeatedly along the Essequibo in front of our boats.
Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)
COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi) – One hunted on the slowly emerging mudflats at the mouth of Hope Canal. This is the South American replacement for the Great Blue Heron.
GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba) – Common along the coast, where we found them sprinkled along just about every ditch, canal and riverbank.
SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)
LITTLE BLUE HERON (Egretta caerulea) – Dozens, including a handful of white immature birds (showing dusky wingtips) flew past over the mangroves or the ocean at Hope Beach -- most with their necks outstretched.
TRICOLORED HERON (Egretta tricolor) – Two hunted in Hope Canal, pacing slowly along the muddy edge.
CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)
STRIATED HERON (SOUTH AMERICAN) (Butorides striata striata) – Scattered birds along the Mahaica River, with another stalking the edge of one of the ponds at the Georgetown Botanical Gardens. This is the replacement species for North America's Green Heron.
CAPPED HERON (Pilherodius pileatus) – One stood head high among some dense vegetation along the back of a roadside pond near the north end of the Rupununi savanna, giving us great scope views of its electric blue beak, butterscotch neck and distinctive black cap.
BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius) – A couple seen in the beams of our spotlights as we motored back towards the boat launch spot along the Rupununi at the end of our river trip. Their big eyes and huge beaks help to quickly separate them from the superficially similar night-herons.
Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)
SCARLET IBIS (Eudocimus ruber) – Several small groups flew past as we birded at Hope Beach, flashing their brilliant color against the morning sky. We were amused to see that the Guianan president's spotting of this species merited mention in the daily newspapers!
GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis) – At least two seen along the Rupununi River as we floated along, with others heard yodeling from beyond the trees. These are forest ibis, typically found in areas with reasonably big tracts of forest nearby.
BUFF-NECKED IBIS (Theristicus caudatus) – Nice views of a handsome pair hunting in a roadside field not far from Annai.
Cathartidae (New World Vultures)
BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus) – Particularly common at Surama, where they congregated behind the buildings -- particularly when Milner was carving up the side of beef!
TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura) – Most common at the beginning and end of the tour, often in nice comparison with the two yellow-headed vultures.
LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus) – Our first rocked right past us along the Mahaica River, giving us good looks at that distinctive blue and yellow head.We saw others at Kaieteur Falls and over the Rupununi savanna. This is a species of open country.
GREATER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes melambrotus) – Unlike the open country loving Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, this one is a forest species. We saw it on several days in the Iwokrama Forest, including a few over the Essequibo River on our way to Turtle Mountain, and others perched along the Georgetown-Lethem road.
KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa) – One soared high over the Georgetown-Lethem road on our transfer to Atta, and we spotted two more -- including a brown youngster -- over the clearing at Atta itself.
Pandionidae (Osprey)
OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus) – At least one perched along the Rupununi River, lifting off as we floated closer. This species is a winter visitor to Guyana, but isn't known to breed there.
Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)
PEARL KITE (Gampsonyx swainsonii) – Two hunted over the Rupununi when we arrived at "Bird Island" to look for White-tailed Nightjars, and we saw another on our way to the Manari Ranch. This is the smallest Neotropical raptor.
WHITE-TAILED KITE (Elanus leucurus) – One hung in the air over the Rupununi savanna, seen as we made our way to Caiman House.
SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus) – Quite common over the Iwokrama Forest, where we saw them circling in the skies and plucking insects from the air. What a gorgeous bird!
HARPY EAGLE (Harpia harpyja) – Phew! Though she was long fledged (at least a month, by my reckoning), the youngster was still at the nest -- in fact, sat right down in the nest, with only her head showing. We certainly got great views of her fierce eye, white crest feathers and strong, hooked beak as she peered over the nest edge at us. And we heard her loud calls as she begged her parents to bring her some breakfast!
BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis) – One perched in a treetop at Narish and Shandi's gave us great views as it munched on a rat it had caught; we only discovered there was a second bird nearby when they both took flight!
SNAIL KITE (Rostrhamus sociabilis) – Abundant along the coast, with dozens scattered along utility wires throughout Georgetown and beyond, and others circling above the mangroves of Hope Beach and the rice fields around the Mahaica.
DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus) – One flapped past over our heads as we arrived at the mouth of the little creek leading to the Turtle Mountain landing spot.
PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea) – Very common in the Iwokrama Forest, with numerous pairs seen both perched and in flight -- and one peeping from a nest along the Georgetown-Lethem road. The lovely rusty underwing patches on their pointed wings are quite distinctive. [N]
TINY HAWK (Accipiter superciliosus superciliosus) – One of these small Accipiters sat preening for long minutes near the very top of one of the big trees overlooking the Atta clearing, seen on our last pre-breakfast walk there. This species is a hummingbird specialist.

Scarlet Macaw was just one of the handsome psittacids we found on this trip. Though free-flying, this one was clearly attached to an area family, even following their motorcycle along the dusty roads! Another photo by Don.

RUFOUS CRAB HAWK (Buteogallus aequinoctialis) – Lovely views of a pair along the edge of Hope Canal; they made that (fortunately short) toasty stroll worthwhile!
SAVANNA HAWK (Buteogallus meridionalis) – Regular, as its name would suggest, in the savannas around Surama and Yupukari. Most of the birds we saw were perched, with a few walking around on the ground, where their long legs prove particularly useful.
GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga) – Our first was a brownish youngster perched in one of the largely dead trees in the Surama grasslands. We saw others along the Essequibo (including an adult not far from the landing spot at Turtle Mountain), and another youngster along the Georgetown-Lethem road. Those striped thighs are diagnostic.
ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris) – Among the tour's most common raptors, seen on multiple days. We had particularly nice studies of a pair in a tree near the edge of the Surama savanna, just before we walked into the woods there.
WHITE-TAILED HAWK (Geranoaetus albicaudatus) – A few soared over the open grasslands of the Rupununi as we worked our way south.
WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis) – This one was a surprise! John spotted one perched quietly under the canopy of the forest along the Cock-of-the-Rock lek trail; it peered at us while we ogled it through the scope. Unlike the Central American subspecies, this one (albicollis) has considerably more black on the back, wings and tail.
BLACK-FACED HAWK (Leucopternis melanops) – Jim flushed one with prey from the edge of the Atta clearing while exploring during one afternoon's break. It flew from the ground up to a small tree and posed there for a minute or two before retreating further into the forest.
GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus) – We found a perched youngster near one of the ponds at the Georgetown Botanical Gardens, and an adult along the Georgetown-Lethem road a few days later.
Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)
SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias) – We heard the long, slow whistles of one from the banks of the Essequibo, but it was far enough up into the vegetation that we couldn't see it. [*]
Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)
ASH-THROATED CRAKE (Mustelirallus albicollis) – Well darn! We were so close to one in the Surama grasslands that we could practically have kicked it out of the way, but we just couldn't see it among the dense grass tussocks -- even when we apparently had it surrounded! Part of the problem was that we didn't want to risk potentially stepping on its nest, so we stuck to the open pathways between the tussocks. [*]
Aramidae (Limpkin)
LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna) – Surprisingly, we didn't spot a single one in the rice fields around the Mahaica River. Fortunately, we caught up with several along the edges of some of the wet spots we passed en route to Caiman House.
Psophiidae (Trumpeters)
GRAY-WINGED TRUMPETER (Psophia crepitans) – A few of the group spotted some scurrying off the Bushmaster trail as we walked out to the Capuchinbird lek, but our best views came on our early morning walk out to the Atta canopy walkway, when we watched a wing-shuffling pair foraging in the understory along the path.
Burhinidae (Thick-knees)
DOUBLE-STRIPED THICK-KNEE (Burhinus bistriatus) – We saw at least 9 scattered across the Rupununi savanna, just about the time Manny's father-in-law found our Giant Anteater.
Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)
PIED LAPWING (Vanellus cayanus) – A few pattered along the edge of the same little stony islet where we found our Ladder-tailed Nightjars in the middle of the Essequibo River. How about that snazzy wing pattern when they fly?!
SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis) – Scattered birds along the coast, with others along the canals in Georgetown, and in the Surama and Rupununi savannas. This is an open country bird, and can be found some distance from water.
COLLARED PLOVER (Charadrius collaris) – One of these little plovers trotted along the sandy edge of the Essequibo River, periodically stopping to check out a potential tasty morsel.
Jacanidae (Jacanas)
WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana) – A few balanced on lily pads on the ponds at the Georgetown Botanical Gardens, and others did the same on some of the ponds in the Rupununi savanna. We saw others along the edges of the ditches in Georgetown on our way to and from the airport.
Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)
SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius) – A couple of single birds flew along the Essequibo, their wing stripe flashing as they went. Once they landed, we saw their distinctive tail movement as they bobbed along the river edge.
Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)
LARGE-BILLED TERN (Phaetusa simplex) – A pair seen coursing back and forth over the Essequibo on each of the days we were at the Iwokrama River Lodge.
BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger) – A handful of birds huddled near the tip of a sand spit across the river from the Iwokrama River Lodge one afternoon, seen through the scope from our perch (out of the rain) in the dining room.
Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)
ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia) – Common around Georgetown, with the typical variety of colors seen. [I]
PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis) – Regular along the coast, but our best views came on our early morning walk through the Surama savanna, where we found several perched up in a nearby tree.
SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa) – Also common around the Surama EcoLodge, including a group perched up in a big dead tree along the edge of the surrounding forest, with others along the Georgetown-Lethem road. This is a forest species, though it will venture into clearings and forest edges.
PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea) – Heard every day in the Iwokrama Forest (three short / one long whistle that we transcribed as "a cup a COOO"), but never seen. [*]
RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea) – Two trundled around in the middle of the Georgetown-Lethem road one afternoon, and we saw others perched briefly over the Atta clearing. We also heard plenty calling from the forest -- two short / two long whistles that we transcribed as "hit the FOUL POLE".
COMMON GROUND-DOVE (Columbina passerina) – Regular around Surama, where they scuttled under the cabins and foraged on the grassy lawn. The subspecies found in Guyana (griseola) has particularly dark scalloping well down the breast.
RUDDY GROUND-DOVE (Columbina talpacoti) – Abundant along the coast, with many seen along the deHoop road as we headed towards the Mahaica River.
WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi) – Particularly common around the Surama EcoLodge, where they waddled across the grassy lawn and investigated under the cabins. We had others along the Mahaica River.
GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla) – One heard calling softly while we waited for the Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock to make a reappearance. [*]
EARED DOVE (Zenaida auriculata) – Good numbers rocketed past us as we drove south into the Rupununi savanna, but our best looks came on the Manari Ranch, where we could study some perched birds.
Opisthocomidae (Hoatzin)
HOATZIN (Opisthocomus hoazin) – Great looks at several of these bizarre-looking birds along the Mahaica River, including two right near their flimsy stick nests. This is Guyana's national bird. [N]
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)
SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani) – Seen nearly every day, often in significant numbers. The gang visiting the lawns outside the Iwokrama River Lodge's dining room each morning gave us particularly nice chances for study.
STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia) – One flew across the Mahaica River and landed in a tree right on the bank, where it proceeded to serenade the neighborhood, its crest raising and lowering in time with its song.
LITTLE CUCKOO (Coccycua minuta) – Great views of several along the Mahaica River, with others right around Naresh and Shandi's house. These look very like miniature squirrel cuckoos.
SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana) – Regular in the Iwokrama Forest, with particularly cooperative birds seen on several days along the edges of the Georgetown-Lethem road. These big, widespread, tropical cuckoos are found from Mexico south to northern Argentina and Uruguay.
MANGROVE CUCKOO (Coccyzus minor) – One flicked along the edge of the mangroves along the Hope Canal, sometimes perching with its peachy breast towards us.
Strigidae (Owls)
TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) – We heard the soft calls of this little owl emanating from the dark trees beyond the maintenance shed at Surama, from the night-blackened shores of the Rupununi River, and from the gallery forest between Yupukari and the river. [*]
GREAT HORNED OWL (Bubo virginianus) – One peered down from one of the bigger trees in the Georgetown Botanical Garden late on our afternoon visit there.
AMAZONIAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium hardyi) – One at Atta led us on a merry dance, sticking to the deepest, darkest, densest parts of several big trees around the clearing. Fortunately, the whirling halo of small mobbers -- hummingbirds and tanagers and honeycreepers -- that accompanied it eventually helped us figure out where it was hiding, and we ended up getting great scope views.
FERRUGINOUS PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium brasilianum) – A tooting bird at the top of one of the big fruit trees near the house on the Manari ranch was the last new bird of the trip -- though only a few hardy souls ventured out into the early afternoon heat to look for it.
BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia) – Those in my vehicle on our transfer to Caiman House spotted one on our drive in, but our best group looks came the following day, when we found a pair first poised atop a termite mound, then crouched in the convenient burrow at its base on our drive back from the doradito spot.
Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)
LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis) – Dozens winnowed over the fields around Surama village one evening, but our best views came of one snoozing on a branch in one of the small trees in the savanna we walked through on our way to the Buro-Buro forest.
SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis semitorquatus) – Small numbers swooped low over the Georgetown-Lethem road on a couple of evenings, as we waited for it to get dark enough for owls and potoos to make an appearance. The very dark plumage and notably short tails of this species help to distinguish them from other nighthawks.
BAND-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Nyctiprogne leucopyga) – A river of these quiet hunters flowed over us as we drifted down the Rupununi. We had wonderful views, particularly when they chased moths down the beams of our spotlights.
COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis) – As usual, we heard far more of these than we saw, but one along the edge of the Georgetown-Lethem road one evening gave us a couple of flight views, its white wing and tail patches flashing in the spotlight beam. The long tail and large size of this species quickly separates it from other nighthawks and nightjars.
WHITE-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis cayennensis) – One flashed back and forth through the trees at "Bird Island" in the Rupununi savanna, settling for brief seconds before winging off again.
LADDER-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis climacocerca) – Two snoozed on a rocky islet in the middle of the Essequibo River, looking (from a distance) rather like a couple of bits of driftwood. Up close, we could see the cross-hatched marks on their tails that give them their common name.
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)
GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis) – Fabulous studies of one dozing in a stand of trees near Surama village, doing its best "don't mind me, I'm just a tree branch" imitation. Through the scopes, we could see the tiny notches in its eyelids which allow it to peek out without opening its eyelid -- important since the sudden appearance of its huge yellow eye would surely spoil that whole "tree branch" impression!
WHITE-WINGED POTOO (Nyctibius leucopterus) – Arg! We certainly heard the whistled call of this species -- repeatedly -- but just couldn't find a spot where we could actually see the singer. [*]
Apodidae (Swifts)
WHITE-CHINNED SWIFT (Cypseloides cryptus) – A scattered few of this smaller species clung to the rock walls beside Kaieteur Falls. They were far outnumbered -- and dwarfed -- by the next species.
WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris) – Thousands and thousands clung to the cliff walls beside (and behind!) Kaieteur Falls, or swirled in the misty air above the thundering drop.
CHAPMAN'S SWIFT (Chaetura chapmani) – Dozens swirled over the clearing at Turtle Mountain. This is a small, plain swift that greatly resembles the common Chimney and Vaux's swifts of North America -- in fact, for many years, the three were considered to be the same species.
SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura) – A few of these distinctively short-tailed swifts (which sport distinctively straw-colored rumps and uppertails) winnowed over the mangroves at Hope Beach.
BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus) – Big numbers swarmed over the Georgetown-Lethem road after a rain squall late one afternoon, and others circled over the clearings at Turtle Mountain and Atta. The bright white bar across the rump of this species is certainly eye-catching when seen well.
WHITE-TIPPED SWIFT (Aeronautes montivagus) – Small numbers clung to the cliffs beside Kaieteur Falls, their white bibs and tail tips visible with the scope.
FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata) – Small numbers coursed back and forth over the open areas around Surama; their small, slim shape and long, pointed tails helped to quickly identify them.
Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)
CRIMSON TOPAZ (Topaza pella) – A female, looking large compared to its fellow feeders, hovered around some brilliant riverside flowers along the Essequibo. She perched several times quite close to our boats.
REDDISH HERMIT (Phaethornis ruber) – Some of the gang spotted one foraging at some flowering bushes right outside our cabins at Atta during one afternoon's break.

Don got this snap of the Giant Otter sunning on the bank of the Rupununi River. Is it me, or does it look slightly wall-eyed?

BLACK-EARED FAIRY (Heliothryx auritus) – Our first was one seen by some as it foraged in the canopy below Atta's canopy walkway -- or sitting on the "railing ropes" of the walkway itself. But our best views came when we found the Amazonian Pygmy-Owl; a fired-up fairy led the charge each time the mob caused the owl to move.
WHITE-TAILED GOLDENTHROAT (Polytmus guainumbi) – We had a flashing glimpse of one along the Mahaica River our first morning, but our best views came in the Rupununi savanna, when we spotted several foraging at some golden-flowered shrubs in the Moriche palm grove we stopped at en route to the doradito spot.
BLACK-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax nigricollis) – A few folks spotted a male along the Mahaica River, but we had better looks at one along the Rupununi River, not far from where we found our Cinereous Becards.
TUFTED COQUETTE (Lophornis ornatus) – Ron found a male perched high in a tree along the path out to the overlooks at Kaieteur Falls. Unfortunately, it was more than a little backlit, but we could certainly see the distinctive shapes of that flamboyant gorget and crest.
BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes notata) – One foraged low along the side of the track in Yupukari, looking brilliantly blue-green all over.
GRAY-BREASTED SABREWING (Campylopterus largipennis) – One flitted among the bright red and yellow bottle brush-like flowers we found growing along a channel of the Essequibo River. This was the rather large, rather plain hummer we spotted there.
FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata) – Super views of several at the same flower patch as the previous species -- including a male that perched repeatedly right near our boats, occasionally flaring that distinctively forked tail.
WHITE-CHESTED EMERALD (Amazilia brevirostris) – We found one of these little hummers feeding in flowers along the Georgetown-Lethem road on our transfer to Caiman House. It looks a lot like the next species, but shows far more rust on the lower back and tail.
PLAIN-BELLIED EMERALD (Amazilia leucogaster) – Superb looks at a male that had claimed the yellow Pride-of-Barbados shrub at the front of Cara Lodge, regularly perching in its branches between bouts of feeding.
GLITTERING-THROATED EMERALD (Amazilia fimbriata) – One in the Surama savanna early on our walk out to the Buro-Buro forest, with another along the edge of the Rupununi River, seen on our boat trip. The dark green throat of this species quickly separates it from the other possible emeralds.
Trogonidae (Trogons)
BLACK-TAILED TROGON (Trogon melanurus) – A male along the new trail in the Buro-Buro forest was the last of a trio of trogon species we found on that walk.
GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis) – A male calling along the new trail in the Buro-Buro forest led us straight to his perch; we saw another near Atta on our first afternoon's walk there. This species, formerly considered to be a subspecies of the White-tailed Trogon, was the largest of the trogons we found on the tour.
BLACK-THROATED TROGON (Trogon rufus) – Our first was a brown-backed female sitting very low along the trail through the Buro-Buro forest. It took some maneuvering, but we finally all found a leafy window or two to see her through. We also had nice looks at a male on Turtle Mountain.
Momotidae (Motmots)
AMAZONIAN MOTMOT (Momotus momota) – We heard the distinctive two note call of this species (formerly considered to be a subspecies of the Blue-crowned Motmot) along the Georgetown-Lethem road on a couple of days, and at least some of the group saw one flash along the road edge on our second encounter.
Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)
RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata) – Easily the most common kingfisher of the tour, with good views of several hunting along the Essequibo River, and a surprising encounter with a close bird hunting along the flooded edges of the Georgetown-Lethem road following a night of pouring rain.
AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona) – A couple of birds perched on bare branches extending over the Essequibo River, and others did the same along the Rupununi. This species is larger than the next, and lacks the white-speckled wings of the latter.
GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana) – Several flashed along the Mahaica River on our first morning, perching a few feet above the water and periodically flinging themselves into the river after prey. The white outer tail feathers of this species help to distinguish them from the larger Amazon Kingfisher.
Bucconidae (Puffbirds)
GUIANAN PUFFBIRD (Notharchus macrorhynchos) – Regular in the Iwokrama forest, with solitary birds seen on most days along the Georgetown-Lethem road. This species was recently split from the White-necked Puffbird, which is found both north and south of Guyana.
PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus) – Our first was a single bird perched high over the Georgetown-Lethem highway late one afternoon (lit by the sinking sun), but our best views came along the Atta canopy walkway, where we watched a trio perched (and singing) above our heads.
BLACK NUNBIRD (Monasa atra) – Particularly nice views of two perched along the edge of one of the channels in the Essequibo, occasionally flicking out after passing prey, with others along the Georgetown-Lethem road, and in the Atta clearing. Those coral red bills are striking against that dark plumage!
SWALLOW-WINGED PUFFBIRD (Chelidoptera tenebrosa) – By far the most common of the tour's puffbirds, seen every day but the first. Typically, they perched in small, loose groups atop dead trees, especially along rivers and forest edges.
Galbulidae (Jacamars)
RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda) – A point-blank bird in some scruffy roadside shrubs (near an equally scruffy stream) was the highlight of one toasty stop en route to the Manari ranch.
GREEN-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula galbula) – Very similar to the previous species -- though with an all-green rather than rufous undertail, and far more often tied to water. We had plenty of nice views, including a pair along the Mahaica, and others along the Rupununi.
BRONZY JACAMAR (Galbula leucogastra) – It took a bit of patience -- and a looooooong walk through the "white sand forest" stretch of the Georgetown-Lethem road (in the hot midday sun) -- but we were eventually rewarded with find looks at a pair of birds in some roadside trees. And they sang nicely too!
PARADISE JACAMAR (Galbula dea) – We spotted our first in a small clearing along the Harpy trail, dashing out after passing insects. Those who got up early for our last walk at Atta were rewarded with nice views of another pair hunting high in the canopy there. Their dark plumage and long tails are distinctive among the tour's jacamars.
GREAT JACAMAR (Jacamerops aureus) – A very responsive bird shot in as soon as I whistled for him along the Turtle Mountain trail. If only there were all so cooperative!
Capitonidae (New World Barbets)
BLACK-SPOTTED BARBET (Capito niger) – Ned was the lucky one who spotted this handsome species in a mixed flock along the Georgetown-Lethem road one morning.
Ramphastidae (Toucans)
GREEN ARACARI (Pteroglossus viridis) – Seen on a couple of days along the Georgetown-Lethem road. This is the smallest and plainest of the tour's toucans.
BLACK-NECKED ARACARI (Pteroglossus aracari) – Particularly nice looks at a pair bouncing through a big dead snag near the Iwokrama River Lodge's dining room, with others along the Georgetown-Lethem road, and on Turtle Mountain.
GUIANAN TOUCANET (Selenidera piperivora) – A male perched over the clearing on Turtle Mountain let us study his snazzy facial pattern in the scopes -- as did an obliging pair along the Georgetown-Lethem road a few days later. This species is found only from extreme southeastern Venezuela through the Guianas to northern Brazil.

Catching our breath after our morning up Turtle Mountain. I'm still trying to think of a good band name for this album cover!

TOCO TOUCAN (Ramphastos toco) – Two at the Georgetown Botanical Garden gave us super looks as they repeatedly wheeled around in noisy courtship flights. Those huge orange beaks are amazing!
WHITE-THROATED TOUCAN (Ramphastos tucanus) – The tour's most common toucan, seen nearly every day, including many in flight over Iwokrama forest. One perched above our cars at the Georgetown Botanical Garden at the end of our visit there gave us particularly nice views.
CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus) – Several nice encounters, with our best views coming along the Essequibo River, when we found a group of four having a noisy altercation right at the river's edge. The orangish throat and bib of this species quickly separates it from the otherwise pretty similar White-throated Toucan.
Picidae (Woodpeckers)
GOLDEN-SPANGLED PICULET (Picumnus exilis) – One inquisitive little bird clung upside down over our heads along the trail in the gallery forest at Yupukari, occasionally letting fly his high-pitched little song.
WHITE-BELLIED PICULET (Picumnus spilogaster) – Two along the Mahaica River, with especially nice looks at the one investigating a toppled snag, apparently checking for possible nest cavities.
YELLOW-TUFTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes cruentatus) – A trio perched atop dead snags or dashed back and forth across the Georgetown-Lethem road not far from the entrance gate one morning. We saw the "tuft-less" variety.
BLOOD-COLORED WOODPECKER (Veniliornis sanguineus) – The bright scarlet mantle of this range-restricted species (found only in the coastal forests of Guyana, Suriname and French Guiana) made it easy to pick out as it flashed across the river. Having it land where we could study it was another question!
RINGED WOODPECKER (Celeus torquatus) – Splendid views of one calling in one of the big trees along the Atta clearing one morning; that big black neck collar is diagnostic.
WAVED WOODPECKER (Celeus undatus) – Great views of one over the Atta clearing our first afternoon there; through the scopes, we could clearly see the wavy black lines on its plumage that give it its common name.
CREAM-COLORED WOODPECKER (Celeus flavus) – Wow! What a stunner this one is! A calling bird zipped in over our heads along the trail through the gallery forest at Yupukari, instantly catapulting it onto several "bird of the trip" lists.
CHESTNUT WOODPECKER (Celeus elegans) – Steadily improving views as the tour progressed, with the pair along the Georgetown-Lethem road on our final morning in the Iwokrama forest capping the show.
LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus) – Surprisingly scarce this trip, though a pair hammering on a dead snag right near the dining room at the Iwokrama River Lodge certainly gave us great opportunity for studying them. This widespread tropical species is found from western Mexico right down to eastern Paraguay and northeastern Argentina.
RED-NECKED WOODPECKER (Campephilus rubricollis) – Regular throughout the tour, though it took a few encounters before everybody was happy with their looks. The one hammering on a trunk along the Georgetown-Lethem road, not far from our final Chestnut Woodpeckers, was particularly obliging.
CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos)
Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)
COLLARED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur semitorquatus) – We heard one calling along the Rupununi River as dusk fell. [*]
BLACK CARACARA (Daptrius ater) – Two in a treetop along the edge of the clearing around the Surama EcoLodge one morning -- a red-faced adult and a yellow-faced youngster.
RED-THROATED CARACARA (Ibycter americanus) – We heard this species far more easily than we saw it! Our first were a noisy group working along the edge of the Surama clearing (largely out of sight until one perched in a treetop). We heard another family group while we loitered on the canopy walkway, and some of the group had brief glimpses of one when it landed in the top of an emergent tree.
CRESTED CARACARA (Caracara cheriway) – One flapped past over the runway at Ogle Airport as we waited for our flight to Kaieteur Falls, but our best views came in the Rupununi savanna, where they proved reasonably common.
YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima) – A couple of noisy stripey youngsters at the Georgetown Botanical Garden bumbled around in the treetops until their parent arrived to lead them off across the park.
LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) – One sat high in a dead tree along the path at Kaieteur Falls. This species is a snake-hunting specialist.
AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius) – Small numbers hunted from the scrubby trees sprinkled across the Rupununi savanna or hovered over the grasses there.
APLOMADO FALCON (Falco femoralis) – Fabulous studies of one perched along a fence line in the Rupununi savanna, seen as we worked our way along one of the narrow dirt roads en route to Yupukari.
BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis) – Reasonably common in the Iwokrama forest, with several pairs seen perched up along the Georgetown-Lethem road, and others hunting over the Essequibo. The males in each pair were strikingly smaller than their mates!
ORANGE-BREASTED FALCON (Falco deiroleucus) – Wow, wow, wow! Two tag-teamed the swift flocks over Kaieteur Falls, causing panic. After several rocketing passes and much twisting and turning, they successfully snagged a bird and retired to enjoy the fruits (so to speak) of their labor.
Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)
GOLDEN-WINGED PARAKEET (Brotogeris chrysoptera) – A few in flight along the Georgetown-Lethem road, where their orangish wing patches proved exceptionally tough for most people to see.
CAICA PARROT (Pyrilia caica) – A few seen in the scopes along the Georgetown-Lethem road as we worked our way south to Atta.
DUSKY PARROT (Pionus fuscus) – We found these dark, rather drab parrots on several days along the Georgetown-Lethem highway, and once in the Atta clearing.
BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus) – Regular in the Iwokrama Forest, including some in the open Cecropia trees around the clearing on Turtle Mountain.
FESTIVE PARROT (Amazona festiva) – Some close birds in trees along the main track at the Georgetown Botanical Garden were a treat. This is a pretty rare species in Guyana, as it is hard hit by the pet trade.
YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona ochrocephala) – A few folks got on some along the Mahaica River, but our best views came at the Georgetown Botanical Garden, where a handful foraged in trees right over the road.
MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa) – Small numbers along the Georgetown-Lethem road, mostly in flight. The loud call of this big species is deeper and more raucous than that of the next.
ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica) – Probably the most numerous of the tour's parrots, with good-sized groups at most of the places we stayed. They were certainly among the noisiest!
GREEN-RUMPED PARROTLET (Forpus passerinus) – One, looking like an overgrown fruit or a very big leaf bud, in a tree along the Mahaica River, not far from where we found our Blood-colored Woodpecker.
BLACK-HEADED PARROT (Pionites melanocephalus)
RED-FAN PARROT (Deroptyus accipitrinus) – A couple seen briefly from the Atta canopy walkway, with a lucky few getting a quick scope look.
PAINTED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura picta) – Regular in the Iwokrama Forest, mostly along the Georgetown-Lethem road. A noisy flock of 15 or so swarming through a fruiting tree one afternoon were particularly obliging.
BROWN-THROATED PARAKEET (Eupsittula pertinax) – Nice looks at some along the Mahaica River (including a few right from Naresh and Shandi's porch) with others in the little stretch of savanna between the Surama Ecolodge and the Buro-Buro forest. This is an open country species.
RED-BELLIED MACAW (Orthopsittaca manilatus)
BLUE-AND-YELLOW MACAW (Ara ararauna) – A gang of four foraged in branches low over the Essequibo River, allowing close approach by our boats as we headed towards Turtle Mountain. Considering their substantial size and bright colors, they were surprisingly hard to see among the leaves!
SCARLET MACAW (Ara macao) – A few scattered birds, including one sitting on the fence near the Surama airstrip that was clearly attached to the people nearby -- we later saw it flying along behind them as they rode on their motorcycle! We saw others along the Georgetown-Lethem road, including two that appeared to be nesting in a dead tree. [N]
RED-AND-GREEN MACAW (Ara chloropterus) – The common macaw of the trip, seen nearly every day. The birds that hung out in the big dead tree near the Iwokrama River Lodge dining room gave us particularly nice chances to study them.
RED-SHOULDERED MACAW (Diopsittaca nobilis) – We had some close flybys on the Mahaica River, whizzing past our boat nearly at eye level. They're not much bigger than some of the parakeets!

When it comes to color, there are few things that can beat the day-glo tones of a Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock! Another snap by Don.

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)
FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus) – One along the trail on Turtle Mountain played hard to get, skulking through bromeliads in the mid-canopy, but occasionally flashing its stripey self in the process.
BLACK-THROATED ANTSHRIKE (Frederickena viridis)
BLACK-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus canadensis) – Superb views of a male along the edge of the mangroves at Hope Beach -- great spotting, Jean! We saw others along the Rupununi River, and in the gallery forest near Yupukari. This species is typically found around water.
MOUSE-COLORED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus murinus) – It took a bit of patience (and a lot of scanning of trees), but we finally located a male singing along the forest track at Surama. Once we found him, we all got multiple great scope looks. The brown wing (with all of its little white speckles) on the otherwise gray bird is distinctive.
NORTHERN SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus punctatus)
AMAZONIAN ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus amazonicus)
DUSKY-THROATED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes ardesiacus)
CINEREOUS ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes caesius)
GUIANAN STREAKED-ANTWREN (Myrmotherula surinamensis)
GRAY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula menetriesii)
WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (Formicivora grisea) – A male in a little island of trees in the Surama savanna, seen as we started our first morning's walk into the forest, was very cooperative, sitting right in the open on a branch only a few feet off the ground. The birds in Guyana (subspecies grisea) would become Southern White-fringed Antwren if the species were to be split.
GUIANAN WARBLING-ANTBIRD (Hypocnemis cantator)
GRAY ANTBIRD (Cercomacra cinerascens)
BLACK-CHINNED ANTBIRD (Hypocnemoides melanopogon) – One flicked through branches right over the Essequibo River, startling Long-nosed Bats off their day roost on the underside of a big log.
SILVERED ANTBIRD (Sclateria naevia) – Jeez -- we could practically have reached out and TOUCHED one singing along the edge of the Mahaica River, but we just couldn't see it. We heard others elsewhere on the same boat trip. [*]
RORAIMAN ANTBIRD (Myrmelastes saturatus)
WHITE-BELLIED ANTBIRD (Myrmeciza longipes)
WHITE-PLUMED ANTBIRD (Pithys albifrons) – A trio of these extravagantly plumed birds flitted over a boiling mass of army ants along the trail on Turtle Mountain; good thing we walked a ways up the steeper part of the trail!
RUFOUS-THROATED ANTBIRD (Gymnopithys rufigula) – At least two hunted with the previous species over the army ant swarm on Turtle Mountain.
Grallariidae (Antpittas)
THRUSH-LIKE ANTPITTA (Myrmothera campanisona) – We heard the low, evocative whistles of this shy forest species along the track out to the Atta canopy walkway. [*]
Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)
PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) – Several of these well-named woodcreepers (they are indeed quite plain!) foraged just above a boiling mass of army ants on Turtle Mountain.
WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus) – We watched one of these small woodcreepers hitch its way up a fat trunk along the trail up Turtle Mountain. The distinctively short bill of this species -- and the tiny size of the bird itself -- help to identify it.
CINNAMON-THROATED WOODCREEPER (Dendrexetastes rufigula) – Super studies of a bird along the Georgetown-Lethem road one afternoon; the large pale bill and striped chest and nape of this pale bird are distinctive.
STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus obsoletus) – One in the gallery forest at Yupukari our last morning.
CHESTNUT-RUMPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus pardalotus) – Another species seen along the trail on Turtle Mountain.
BUFF-THROATED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus guttatus) [*]
STRAIGHT-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Dendroplex picus) – One flashed in and landed (splay-legged) on the trunk of the big tree right across the channel from Narish and Shandi's lovely porch, giving us all a great chance to study it.
GUIANAN WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes albolineatus) – Small and dark, with lots of streaking below, this one was found along the Georgetown-Lethem highway one afternoon. Formerly part of the Lineated Woodpecker complex, it's now a distinct species, found only in eastern Venezuela, the Guianas, and extreme northern Brazil.
PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (Furnarius leucopus) [*]
YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus) – Quite common around the Mahaica River, with especially nice looks at one perched on a gate behind Narish and Shandi's house; through the scope, we could even see its yellow chin!
Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)
MOUSE-COLORED TYRANNULET (Phaeomyias murina) – Jim found one in Yupukari while birding on his own during an afternoon's break.
BEARDED TACHURI (Polystictus pectoralis) – Ron heard one singing in an unexpected spot -- along the side of the Georgetown-Lethem road, right where we make the turn to Yupukari. A bit of playback brought a territorial male right in; he perched on the top of scruffy weeds, peering around, only yards from us. This is a widespread South American species, but it's not easy to see anywhere!
CRESTED DORADITO (Pseudocolopteryx sclateri) – Another widespread but seldom seen species. Fortunately, Manny corralled us a very obliging male in the Rupununi savanna. With a bit of careful maneuvering, we all found a spot where we could see him peering around from his perch low in the grasses.
YELLOW-CROWNED TYRANNULET (Tyrannulus elatus) – One sitting at the very top of a tree at the start of our first morning's walk at Surama cooperated nicely -- though it was tough to see much of its yellow crown! The "hey dear" song of this species was a regular part of the tour soundtrack.
YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)
PLAIN-CRESTED ELAENIA (Elaenia cristata)
LESSER ELAENIA (Elaenia chiriquensis)
RUFOUS-CROWNED ELAENIA (Elaenia ruficeps) – One near the landing strip at Kaieteur Falls was a bit of a challenge; initially, it showed very nicely, but only a few people got to see it from behind, which is the best angle to see its rufous crown patch.
OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)
HELMETED PYGMY-TYRANT (Lophotriccus galeatus) – As usual, this forest dweller was heard far more frequently than seen; however, most got a look at one or more of them on our hike through the Buro-Buro gallery forest.
SPOTTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum maculatum) – Wow! Two of these tiny flycatchers danced through the little mangroves right in front of us at Hope Beach, giving us spectacular views as they hunted for prey.
COMMON TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum cinereum)
PAINTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum pictum) – Those who braved the heat after our first lunch at Auntie Madonna's were rewarded with nice views of one in a tall tree across the road from the gazebo.
YELLOW-OLIVE FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias sulphurescens)
YELLOW-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias assimilis) [*]
GRAY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias poliocephalus) [*]

The tiny Golden Rocket Frog is endemic to Kaieteur Falls NP. Don got this portrait of one in its Giant Tank Bromeliad home. If you're looking at this on a computer, it's larger than life sized!

YELLOW-BREASTED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias flaviventris) – Two of these large-billed flycatchers (which are pretty yellow all over, let alone on the breast) flicked along the edge of an island of trees in the Surama savanna, seen as we made our way towards the woods for our morning's walk there.
VERMILION FLYCATCHER (Pyrocephalus rubinus) – Best seen in the Moriche Palm oasis in the Rupununi savanna, where a busy pair hunted from low branches.
PIED WATER-TYRANT (Fluvicola pica) – Several along the Mahaica River (and the deHoop road on our drive in and out), where they hunted low over the water. These look a bit like short-tailed wagtails.
WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala) – A pair flicked through the dead, dried-out grasses edging a puddle along the Georgetown-Lethem road, seen while we sorted through the Wood Storks, Capped Heron, etc. on the pond itself.
LONG-TAILED TYRANT (Colonia colonus) – A couple hunted from dead snags along the Georgetown-Lethem road one afternoon.
CINNAMON ATTILA (Attila cinnamomeus) – Whistling back the three note song of this big flycatcher brought one sailing across the Essequibo. Fortunately for us, it landed in the only bare, leafless tree on the opposite bank, giving us a great chance to study it closely.
SHORT-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus ferox) – Best seen along the Mahaica River with another along the Rupununi.
BROWN-CRESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tyrannulus) – One singing from the stream bed we investigated en route to the Manari Ranch, seen shortly after we'd found our Orange-backed Troupials.
LESSER KISKADEE (Pitangus lictor) – Particularly nice studies of an eye level bird in a wet spot along the Georgetown-Lethem road, with others hunting along the Rupununi River. This species is typically found around water.
GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus) – Common and widespread in open areas throughout. Their loud, distinctive calls were definitely part of the coastal (and Rupununi) soundtrack.
BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)
RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis) – One of the tour's more common flycatchers, seen on many days -- and its mournful whistle was a regular part of the tour's soundtrack too.
YELLOW-THROATED FLYCATCHER (Conopias parvus) – A few of these small kiskadee-like flycatchers along the Georgetown-Lethem road one afternoon. Unlike all of the other "lookalikes" in this group, this one has an all yellow (rather than white) throat.
PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius) – One had clearly targeted the colony of Yellow-rumped Caciques outside the Surama Ecolodge, regularly singing from a treetop nearby. We had another nicely in the white sand forest area along the Georgetown-Lethem road.
VARIEGATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus varius)
SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea) – One, showing the dusky face that helps to separate it from the similar kingbirds, in the Surama grasslands. Its distinctive song clinched the ID.
TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus) – An every day bird, often in good numbers.
GRAY KINGBIRD (Tyrannus dominicensis) – One hunted near where we'd parked at the Georgetown botanical garden. The heavy bill of this one quickly separates it from the previous species, as does the lack of yellow on its underparts.
FORK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Tyrannus savana) – Most common in the Rupununi savanna, where they hunted from many of the shrubby trees we passed. We saw others in the Surama grasslands, and some spotted one along the Mahaica River.
Cotingidae (Cotingas)
GUIANAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola rupicola) – What can you say about a big, bright orange bird with a half an orange slice on the top of its head except -- WOW! Our first was a rather distant male seen through a narrow window in a moss-covered grove of trees near Kaieteur Falls. We had closer views of a female on nest in the Iwokrama Forest, where we also found another, much closer male, preening on a lek.
CRIMSON FRUITCROW (Haematoderus militaris) – A bright male in the treetops along the trail to the Cock-of-the-Rock lek was a nice surprise. This range-restricted species is limited to the Guianas and northeastern Brazil.
PURPLE-THROATED FRUITCROW (Querula purpurata) – These were exceptionally common this trip with many good views -- particularly in the fruiting trees over our cabins at Atta, where several family groups made regular visits. We had others on the Buro-Buro forest trail.
CAPUCHINBIRD (Perissocephalus tricolor) – Our first two, high in a tree in the Buro-Buro forest, proved distinctly less than satisfying as they buried themselves in green leafiness. Fortunately, a lek near the Iwokrama River Lodge was jumping on our last morning there, and we all got multiple scope studies of several males doing their very best bowing, rocking, mooing, orange-tail-puff fluffed courtship displays.
PURPLE-BREASTED COTINGA (Cotinga cotinga) – A speckled female on her tidy nest, tucked in the crotch of tree over the Atta clearing, allowed leisurely scope views. Unfortunately, her tree was due to be chopped down a few days after our departure. [N]
SPANGLED COTINGA (Cotinga cayana) – A sky blue male lit up a treetop along the Georgetown-Lethem road one afternoon, and a drabber female -- far less speckled than females of the previous species -- did the same along the same road the next day.
SCREAMING PIHA (Lipaugus vociferans) – The loud calls of this rather plain species echoed through the Iwokrama Forest, a regular part of the tour soundtrack. We had good scope looks at several singing males, which showed just how much effort they put into that explosive song!
POMPADOUR COTINGA (Xipholena punicea) – A male made a few passes while we birded along the Georgetown-Lethem road en route to Atta, eventually perching up on a treetop where we could scope him. Those big white wing patches -- on a very purple bird -- are distinctive.
Pipridae (Manakins)
TINY TYRANT-MANAKIN (Tyranneutes virescens) – One, fluffed up and singing challenges from a skinny twig along the forest track at Surama, rewarded those who walked back in the rain -- great spotting, Ned! In the scope, its little yellow crown was nicely visible.
BLUE-BACKED MANAKIN (Chiroxiphia pareola) – We heard the loud "advertising" whistles of males in the gallery forest near Yupukari our last morning, and with a little whistled imitation, managed to draw one in for a closer look. Snazzy!
GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala erythrocephala) – One at the lek along Atta's Shortcut trail played hard to get before breakfast on our last morning, though we did manage to eventually get it in the scope for some. A few even saw the flash of his scarlet thighs!
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)
BLACK-TAILED TITYRA (Tityra cayana) – Singles or pairs on several days, including two over the camp on Turtle Mountain and another gobbling berries in the Atta clearing.
DUSKY PURPLETUFT (Iodopleura fusca) – Several of these tiny birds gorged themselves on mistletoe berries from clumps high above the Atta clearing, seen during each afternoon's break.
CINEREOUS BECARD (Pachyramphus rufus) – Two chased each other around on the edge of the Rupununi River, flashing in and out of the trees before they finally settled onto some branches and allowed us a proper look.
WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus) – One in a tree over the road up from the Yupukari gallery forest to Caiman House eventually gave us fine views -- once we found him among the leaves, that is!
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)
RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) – A showy bird along the track in the Surama savanna got our first morning's walk there off to a good start. This is a widespread species throughout much of Central and South America; the subspecies found in Guyana is the nominate gujanensis.
SLATY-CAPPED SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius leucotis) – We heard the distinctive whistled song of this species on a couple of occasions in the Iwokrama forest. [*]
RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus) – We heard one singing in the gallery forest near Yupukari on our final morning, but kept getting distracted by other species (Cream-colored Woodpecker! Blue-backed Manakin!) and eventually it moved off before we saw it. [*]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)
CAYENNE JAY (Cyanocorax cayanus) – A group flapped along the edge of the clearing around the Surama Ecolodge one morning as we gathered for our walk, but we had better views of closer birds as they flew across the Georgetown-Lethem road a few days later.

The Mahaica River -- where the adventure all began!

Hirundinidae (Swallows)
BLACK-COLLARED SWALLOW (Pygochelidon melanoleuca) – Dozens, including many youngsters, rested together on a flat rock in the middle of one of the channels of the Essequibo River, seen as we motored towards Turtle Mountain.
SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis) – A few coursed over the Rupununi savanna, part of a big group of swallows we found en route to the Crested Doradito spot. The pale brown rump patch and tawny throat help to separate this southern replacement from North America's familiar Northern Rough-winged Swallow (and were part of the reason for their being split).
GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea) – Very common in more open areas of the tour, particularly along the Mahaica River, over the Surama grasslands and around the Iwokrama River Lodge.
BROWN-CHESTED MARTIN (Progne tapera) – Regular over the Rupununi savanna, with a few others around Surama. This one sort of resembles a large, heavy-bodied Bank Swallow.
WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer) – Small numbers on scattered days, always in open areas and often around water. The ones along the Mahaica River (and the DeHoop Road on our way in and out) were especially obliging.
BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica) – Scattered birds among the other swallows in several places, including a few over the Mahaica, some over the Essequibo and still more in the Rupununi savanna. This is a passage migrant and winter visitor to Guyana, with many continuing further south.
Troglodytidae (Wrens)
HOUSE WREN (SOUTHERN) (Troglodytes aedon clarus) – One sang from the roof of Naresh and Shandi's house, and we saw others in the yard of the Manari ranch house -- and heard still more around the Surama EcoLodge.
BICOLORED WREN (Campylorhynchus griseus) – A pair of chortling birds did a few wing-wagging territorial displays in a short palm tree along the edge of an oasis we visited en route to the Crested Doradito spot.
BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis) – Superb views of this often skulking species along the Rupununi River. It bounced along from bush to shrub, singing its little heart out.
Donacobiidae (Donacobius)
BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla) – A few along the edges of one of the oases in the Rupununi savanna, including one that returned several times to the top of a convenient stump.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)
PALE-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus leucomelas) – A couple in a fruiting tree on the Manari Ranch were, surprisingly, the only ones we found on the trip. Normally, they're common around our Georgetown hotel!
WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (Turdus albicollis) – We heard one singing from the forest along the Harpy trail, but it was far enough off the path that we couldn't see it. [*]
Mimidae (Mockingbirds and Thrashers)
TROPICAL MOCKINGBIRD (Mimus gilvus) – Common in more open areas throughout, including a few hunting on the lawn of the Surama Ecolodge.
Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)
RED-CAPPED CARDINAL (Paroaria gularis) – Very common along the Rupununi River, where we saw many pairs (and some singles) flitting through the vegetation. We saw smaller numbers along the Essequibo.
HOODED TANAGER (Nemosia pileata) – Two along the edge of the Rupununi River, not far from where we spotted our first Lesson's Seedeaters.
SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo) – Common and widespread, with especially nice studies of those around the Iwokrama River Lodge dining room. The red female is more colorful than the velvety black male, but the big, bright white beak of the male is pretty eye-catching!
BLUE-BACKED TANAGER (Cyanicterus cyanicterus) – A trio of birds high in trees over the Buro-Buro forest trail were a nice find, particularly as they stayed for a long time in the same area. This species is primarily a Guianan Shield endemic, though a small disjunct population has recently been found in central Brazil.
BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus) – Another widespread species, seen in small numbers on most days. We got our first pair, in the mangroves at Hope Beach, in the scopes.
PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum) – Abundant on many days, including the chattering hordes around the Iwokrama River Lodge dining room -- where sitting under certain beams meant courting "disaster"!
BURNISHED-BUFF TANAGER (Tangara cayana) – Jim spotted one in Yupukari during our afternoon break there.
SPOTTED TANAGER (Tangara punctata) – At least one with a mixed flock along the Georgetown-Lethem road one afternoon, with a couple of others with a mixed flock at Atta. This species is typically found at lower elevations than is the very similar Speckled Tanager.
TURQUOISE TANAGER (Tangara mexicana) – Two flicked through trees at the edge of the clearing around the Iwokrama River Lodge. The subspecies found in Guyana -- mexicana -- is yellow-bellied. Its scientific name is a bit mystifying, since it doesn't occur in Mexico!
OPAL-RUMPED TANAGER (Tangara velia) – One in a mixed flock along the Georgetown-Lethem road.
BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola) – One in the angry group mobbing the Amazonian Pygmy-Owl in the clearing at Atta on our final morning there showed very well. The subspecies found in Guyana -- gyrola -- is much greener on the back and chest than are birds in Central America.
BLACK-FACED DACNIS (Dacnis lineata) – A swirling mass of this and the next species in a fruiting tree along the Georgetown-Lethem road took some time to sort out, but everybody found one of these yellow-eyed, black-masked birds in the end!
BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana) – Less common than the preceding species in the flock along the Georgetown-Lethem road, with others nibbling mistletoe berries over the clearing at Atta.
PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus) – We found a striped female with a mixed flock along the Georgetown-Lethem highway one afternoon; she was a little too far away for us to see her purple mustache, but her long, decurved beak was certainly obvious!
RED-LEGGED HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes cyaneus) – Regular in small numbers in the fruiting trees (and mistletoe clumps) around Atta, with another male in a mixed flock along the Georgetown-Lethem road one afternoon.
GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza) – A few seen with mixed flocks along the Georgetown-Lethem road, with others in the Atta clearing. The larger size and shorter, stouter bill of this species quickly separates it from the other honeycreepers, even when it's completely backlit.
BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor) – Two, both blue males, flicked through the tiny mangroves along the edge of the channel at Hope Beach, often approaching to within a few yards of us as they foraged.
GRASSLAND YELLOW-FINCH (Sicalis luteola) – Dozens flitted through the grasslands along the Georgetown-Lethem road, at the same turnoff where we found our first Bearded Tachuri; those that sat on the barbed wire fences gave us our best views. We found others in the Rupununi savanna as we made our way to and from the Crested Doradito spot.
BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina) – Quite common along the coast, including a few males doing their endearing little song jumps from bean poles near the Mahaica River -- the move which gives them the local name "Johnny Jump Up".
LESSON'S SEEDEATER (Sporophila bouvronides) – Dozens swarmed along the edges of the Rupununi River, gobbling seeds from tall grasses along the banks.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila castaneiventris) – Reasonably common in the clearing around the Iwokrama River Lodge, particularly in the taller grasses between the dining room and the river. This species is hard hit by the caged bird trade.
RUDDY-BREASTED SEEDEATER (Sporophila minuta) – Jim spotted one at the gas station in Aranaputa, and those in Ron's boat caught up with others in some tall grasses along the Rupununi River.
CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila angolensis) – Great looks at a handsome male singing from a shrub right beside the Georgetown-Lethem road one afternoon. Because of its beautiful song, this is another bird targeted by the caged bird trade.
GRAY SEEDEATER (Sporophila intermedia) – A few with the Lesson's Seedeaters along the Rupununi River, looking positively dowdy by comparison.
WING-BARRED SEEDEATER (Sporophila americana) – Surprisingly, a drab female along the Mahaica River was the only one we found.
YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis) – Ned, Jim and I found some along the Georgetown-Lethem road when we walked back to try to find an Orange-backed Troupial that had flown across the road.
BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola) – A few along the trail out to Kaieteur Falls, including one that kept distracting us during our attempts to get another look at the Rufous-capped Elaenia.
GRAYISH SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens) – A pair along the Mahaica River cooperated nicely, sitting right up in the open where we could see them well.
SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) – We heard one calling from the forest on Turtle Mountain. [*]
Emberizidae (Buntings and New World Sparrows)
GRASSLAND SPARROW (Ammodramus humeralis) – Two in a bush along the savanna track at Surama gave us good scope views; we heard them singing regularly there too.
Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)
BLUE-BLACK GROSBEAK (Cyanocompsa cyanoides) – One sang (and sang and sang) from the forest just beyond the washing line at Atta one afternoon, but just wouldn't come in to where we could see it. [*]
Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)
EASTERN MEADOWLARK (Sturnella magna) – Daily in the Rupununi savanna, typically yodeling from the top of a little bush. This species should really be called SOUTHERN Meadowlark!
RED-BREASTED MEADOWLARK (Sturnella militaris) – We saw a few along the DeHoop road on our drive into the Mahaica River, but our best views came in the Rupununi savanna, particularly on the day we transferred from Atta to Caiman House. The bold red breasts of the males are certainly eye-catching!
CARIB GRACKLE (Quiscalus lugubris) – Common along the coast, including an entertaining group "sky-pointing" on the roof of Narish and Shandi's. The bright yellow eyes and keeled tail of this species help to distinguish it from the slightly smaller Shiny Cowbird.
YELLOW-HOODED BLACKBIRD (Chrysomus icterocephalus) – A few along the DeHoop road en route to the Mahaica River, mostly hitching their way up weed stems in some of the wetter areas. This species strongly resembles North America's Yellow-headed Blackbird, though it's smaller and lacks the big white spots in the wings.
SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis) – Regular along the coast, with particularly good studies of several mooching around Naresh and Shandi's house with some Carib Grackles for comparison.
GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus) – Regular throughout much of the tour, particularly around the Iwokrama River Lodge, where they trundled around on the lawn. This species is a brood parasite of caciques and oropendolas.
ORANGE-BACKED TROUPIAL (Icterus croconotus) – Our best views came on our drive to Manari Ranch, when we found a pair along the same stream crossing where we found our Rufous-tailed Jacamars. The three troupial species were, until quite recently, thought to be a single species.
YELLOW ORIOLE (Icterus nigrogularis) – Our first was a bright bird in the mangroves at Hope Beach; they also proved almost ridiculously common along the Mahaica River. We saw others on the Manari Ranch.
YELLOW-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus cela) – Abundant at Surama, where there was a burgeoning colony right beside the dining room. No need for an alarm clock there! They were regular throughout the tour, missed only on the first day.
RED-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus haemorrhous) – A handful in the Yellow-rumped Cacique colony near Auntie Madonna's restaurant in Surama Junction showed their larger size and distinctive red rumps nicely.
GREEN OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius viridis) – It took a few visits, but we finally found some at their dangling nests in a colony along the Georgetown-Lethem road. It was impressive how quickly they could disappear down the necks of those long., woven sacs!
CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus) – We spotted a few in the Buro-Buro forest, but our best views came near the entrance gate for the Iwokrama Forest (when we'd stopped on our way to Caiman House), where we found a few perched up not far from our first Yellow-tufted Woodpeckers.
Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)
FINSCH'S EUPHONIA (Euphonia finschi) – Small numbers around Surama and Yupukari. Males of this species have a dark throat and a rather orangish-yellow belly.

LONG-NOSED BAT (Rhynchonycteris naso) – A little group of them clung to the bottom of a big fallen tree trunk along the edge of the Essequibo, periodically swirling into flight and resettling somewhere else as our boat drifted past -- or when the territorial Black-chinned Antbird flicked by a little too close to them!
GREATER BULLDOG BAT (Noctilio leporinus) – We got a couple of these big, fish-hunting bats in the spotlights as we motored back to the boat launch spot at the end of our Rupununi River trip.
RED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta seniculus) – As usual, we heard far more of these than we saw, but we did find a small group along the Mahaica River, and some of the group spotted a mama and baby along the edge of the Atta clearing on our last morning there.
GUIANAN SAKI MONKEY (Pithecia pithecia) – One scrambled up through some tall trees near the Kaieteur Falls path, not far from the landing strip.
BROWN CAPUCHIN (Cebus apella) – One moved through the treetops along the path through the Yupukari gallery forest, seen on our last morning's pre-breakfast ramble.
BLACK SPIDER MONKEY (Ateles paniscus) – We heard the loud screams of this species on several occasions -- they always sounded rather fraught -- and had superb looks at part of a big group along the Harpy trail on our way back to the vehicles. Those angry-looking red faces -- and the long limbs and tails of these forest dwellers -- are distinctive.
BROWN-THROATED THREE-TOED SLOTH (Bradypus variegatus) – One clambered slooooooooowly up a Cecropia tree along the Georgetown-Lethem road (not far from the Atta entrance) one evening, keeping us entertained while we waited for it to get dark enough for the White-winged Potoo to make an appearance.
GIANT ANTEATER (Myrmecophaga tridactyla) – Some assistance from "Anteater Man" netted us fine views of one that had gone to ground for the day beneath a scruffy bush in the Rupununi savanna. Unfortunately, it grew increasingly uncomfortable with our nearby presence, and eventually scurried off across the grassland.
RED-RUMPED AGOUTI (Dasyprocta agouti) – Our best views came in the Atta clearing one morning, when we watched one trot across the grass (with the occasional pause to check out a potential tasty tidbit). Those in Ron's vehicle on our afternoon drive out of the Iwokrama River Lodge also spotted one crossing the road in front of them.
GIANT OTTER (Pteronura brasiliensis) – One sprawled on the banks of the Rupununi River was a bit of a surprise on our boat trip there -- particularly considering the fairly nearby shrieks and splashes from a group of playing children. It debated returning to the water as we ogled it, but eventually turned onto its side instead.
GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana)
TROPICAL HOUSE GECKO (Hemidactylus mabouia)
BLACK-COLLARED LIZARD (Tropidurus hispidus)
GIANT AMEIVA (Ameiva ameiva)
BROWN VINE SNAKE (Oxybelis aeneus)
AMAZONIAN TREE BOA (Corallus hortulanus)
BLACK CAIMAN (Melanosuchus niger)
CANE TOAD (Rhinella marina)
GOLDEN ROCKET FROG (Anomaloglossus beebei)


Totals for the tour: 316 bird taxa and 10 mammal taxa