A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Rio Negro Paradise: Manaus 2023

September 10-25, 2023 with Bret Whitney & Marcelo Barreiros guiding

The birding got underway bigtime at Reserva Ducke, followed the next morning by the INPA tower! Birds and beasts, in order of appearance, Harpy Eagle (adult female), Guianan Toucanet (x 2!), Guianan Red Howler Monkey, Dotted Tanager, Spotted Puffbird, Ferruginous-backed Antbird (male and female), Black Curassow, Green Honeycreeper, Purple Honeycreeper, Olive-green Tyrannulet, Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, and White Hawk. Video by guide Bret Whitney.

The 2023 run of our Rio Negro Paradise: Manaus tour was a wonderful immersion in the heart of Amazonia, with many terrific birding moments along the way. As usual, everyone arrived in Manaus in high spirits and with all of their luggage – so we jumped out of the blocks with a visit to a Harpy Eagle nest! Marcelo and another researcher had found this nest back in 2010, and we had learned from friends at INPA (Amazonian National Research Institute) that it was active at the moment. Sooo, we walked into the nest area very quietly… and to our delight, the huge female Harpy Eagle was standing on the nest and was unconcerned with our hushed presence below, staying put for great scope viewing… WOW! Surprisingly, it was a lifer for only two people, although a few others were seeing their first adult Harpy. That evening after dinner I set up my mini-projector to provide a satellite overview of our tour route, giving everyone a good idea of our daily activities at each stop.

Our first full day in the rainforest, at Reserva Ducke, provided plenty of excitement with great views of Caica Parrots, Yellow-billed and Paradise jacamars, Guianan Toucanets, Green Aracari, Black-spotted Barbets, Red-fan Parrots, Spangled and Pompadour cotingas, Tiny Tyrant-Manakin, and Spotted and seldom-seen Dotted tanagers at fruiting trees, with close views of Spotted Puffbird and Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper in the understory. That was just in the morning, with the afternoon highlighted by a close Black-banded Woodcreeper and a dynamite pair of Ferruginous-backed Antbirds that walked in to within 6’ of the path! It was nice to see, after that first day, that our group would be a good one with a fun mix of personalities.

Next morning saw us up and at ‘em with a 3:30 departure for the INPA tower a little less than two hours north of Manaus. Arriving there before first light was just right, and we laid out a nice picnic breakfast. Then, along the track into the tower, we were lucky to see a Black Curassow, which continued to forage calmly for more than a minute. The day dawned clear and warm atop the tower, about 150’ above ground, with miles of unbroken rainforest in all directions. A Glossy-backed Becard was singing very early, and we got it to show pretty well. The rest of the morning unfolded at a perfect pace, with good views of birds we managed to spot or pull in one at a time, including Marail Guan, Guianan Trogon, Waved and Golden-collared woodpeckers, Dusky Parrots, Guianan Woodcreeper, Olive-green Tyrannulet, and several species of tanagers and honeycreepers. Small groups of Red Howler and Black Spider monkeys were also in the treetops. We came down around 08:30 and, back at the vehicles, we were treated to a rarely seen courtship display of White Hawk, right overhead! Up at Presidente Figueiredo, about 120 km north of Manaus, we enjoyed a delicious roasted Tambaqui (Piranha relative) lunch followed by an exciting visit to a lek of Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock. There were about 8 males there, and we enjoyed wonderful views. We saw a couple of others along the trail, one of which seemed excited by our presence and actually did a down-flap display on its court as it stared at us, only about 15 feet away! We also managed to spot Bronzy Jacamar, a gorgeous male Yellow-crowned Manakin, and a Pelzeln’s Tody-Tyrant.

Early the next day, Variable Chachalacas were sounding off at the forest edge and foraging in cecropias, while Blue-and-yellow, Scarlet, and Red-bellied macaws put on quite a show, and we watched a pair of Piratic Flycatchers in the act of pirating a nest of Red-rumped Caciques. Later that morning, we saw (and heard!) Capuchinbirds, a male Guianan Red-Cotinga, Screaming Pihas in the act of screaming, some skittish Monk Saki Monkeys (subspecies chrysocephala), a handsome Collared Puffbird, a nest of Black Nunbirds, huge Red-necked Woodpeckers, Black-headed and Common Scale-backed antbirds, Long-tailed Woodcreeper, White-crowned and Golden-headed manakins, and Opal-rumped Tanagers. A late afternoon outing netted us great looks at Point-tailed Palmcreeper and Fork-tailed Palm-Swifts, and a post-dinner owling effort resulted in a fabulous view of a singing Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl along with a close view of a tiny mouse, found with the thermal imaging scope, that we believe to have been one of the Oecomys arboreal “rice rats” (= screech-owl food). We also spotted a tiny, leaf-litter gecko (genus Gonatodes) said to be the world’s smallest vertebrate. Our second full day at Presidente Figueiredo featured a Great Jacamar (we enjoyed seeing all 5 of the possible jacamars on the tour) and a couple of nice understory flocks with Cinereous Antshrikes, Long-winged Antwren, Rufous-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Spot-throated Woodcreeper, and Curve-billed Scythebill. A little trolling for rarely seen Black-throated Antshrike along the trail got a bird singing, and most of the group came away with brief to good views of the adult male. Brilliant male Crimson Topaz hummers were tops that afternoon, and Marcelo briefly had a Tiny Hawk in the scope, but it took off before most folks got to see it. Late that night into the next morning a powerful, widespread thunderstorm, the first in over a month, settled in. We waited it out for over an hour after breakfast, then tried a nearby trail again, but it was just too rainy, so we shifted plans and headed back toward Manaus to make a birding stop at the INPA Campina Reserve. We managed to pick up Saffron-crested Tyrant-Manakin and Northern Slaty-Antshrike in that fascinating habitat before continuing to Manaus for lunch, then across the Rio Negro to the west side (the right bank). A pleasant afternoon birding walk near Iranduba produced fine views of Swallow-tailed Kites, White-necked Puffbird, Ivory-billed Aracaris, and Ringed Woodpeckers.

As we walked down to the docks at the old Amazonian river town of Manacapuru early on 17 September, Chestnut-headed Nunlet was in our hopes (dreams?). This little-known bird was described from Manacapuru in 1921, and was one of very few Amazonian birds never to have been seen on a Field Guides tour. We roared away from town on the half-hour boat ride to a narrow arm of Lago Manacapuru. As we slowed the boat to glide into an increasingly narrow inlet with low-stature forest on all sides, it became clear that the river had dropped a good 10 feet in the past 10 days (since Marcelo and I had been here scouting) – Wow! We went in as far as we dared, pulled the boat into the trees, and got out to start bush-whacking the 300 or so yards we would need to cover to get to the nunlets’ territory. It’s fairly easy to walk through that seasonally flooded, blackwater woodland called chavascal, and it took us only about a half hour to get into position. There was no sign of the nunlets for the first 20 minutes or so, but we enjoyed nice views of Leaden Antwrens and Black-chinned Antbirds. Then, following a little more quiet playback, a pair of Chestnut-headed Nunlets suddenly darted in, and we soon had our bin’s trained on these subtly beautiful birds, and got the scopes on them as well – what a suspenseful and ultimately rewarding birding experience! During the nunlet excitement, Brian found time to spot a Giant Tree Rat with his phone-mounted thermal imaging lens, which was really cool! As the Lone Ranger often said, “Our work here is done”, and thus we returned to Manacapuru and promptly traversed the Solimões-Negro interfluve to the little town of Novo Airão. Shortly after check-in at our hotel, Brian and Eileen found a nest of Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatchers which was under construction, a process fascinating to watch, and video.

After lunch and a siesta, and getting our bus briefly stuck on a sandy side-road, we scoped some singing Gilded Barbets and both “Cuvier’s” and “Yellow-ridged” toucans (replacing White-throated and Channel-billed from the left bank, east of the Negro). We then positioned ourselves for success seeing potoos, first setting the scopes on a dead stub in the forest understory, a perch favored by a Rufous Potoo Marcelo and I had seen a few days ahead of the tour… and awaited nightfall. Just before it became fully dark, we heard the first, soft song of a Rufous Potoo from the opposite side of the path. We waited for it to sing another time or two, then gave it just a couple of playback songs – and it landed on the dead stub for perfect scope views, staying put for several minutes! Just a bit later, we had a White-winged Potoo calling back to my whistled imitation, but it refused to come into view, and eventually moved off. We walked out toward our bus, me whistling the potoo song now and then, and sure enough, another bird started calling. We had much better luck this time, pulling the potoo a good 150 yards to a more open spot along the road where we could get the spotlight and scope on it – excellent! As we were working on the White-winged Potoo, a Crested Owl began to call, and with just a little coaxing, it too flew in to give us great views. A half-hour later, we were back to the hotel for dinner and off to bed. We had most of the next morning to bird a loop trail through tall forest near Novo Airão where we saw Lafresnaye’s Piculet, Cream-colored Woodpeckers, Amazonian Trogon, a juvenile White-chested Puffbird, White-fronted Nunbirds, Yellow-browed and Black-faced antbirds, Ocellated and Amazonian Barred woodcreepers, and a great view of a recently fledged Fiery Topaz chick being fed by its mother!

We had left our luggage in one of the rooms to be picked up and transferred to our Amazônia Expeditions boat, Dorinha, and placed in everyone’s cabins so we could go straight there from our birding and have lunch on board, which was perfect. We cruised slowly into the Anavilhanas Archipelago to drop anchor at a spot called furo Tamuatá. After a siesta, we got into our two canoes with 15-hp outboards to cruise into that area, spotting a Sungrebe, getting great views of a Green-and-rufous Kingfisher that Stephanie spotted for us, lots of Festive Parrots, Cherrie’s Antwrens, and Black-crested Antshrikes. On our way back to Dorinha, we called in some “triller”-type Band-tailed Nighthawks which started feeding and singing around dusk as a dozen or so big Bulldog Fishing Bats coursed low over the water around the canoes – magical! After dinner, we tried a night-lighting canoe trip through the same area, getting close views of a couple of Long-tailed Armored Tree-Rats but not much else. Birding Tamuatá next morning was productive for Green-tailed Jacamar, Wire-tailed Manakins, Streak-throated Hermit, Speckled Spinetail, Striped and Zimmer’s woodcreepers, Blackish-gray Antshrike, Ash-breasted Antbird, and Snethlage’s Tody-Tyrant. We returned to Novo Airão that afternoon to visit the floating platform that is the official feeding station of Amazon (Pink) River Dolphins. The talk and video presentation that set up the experience was well done, and a couple of dolphins put on a great show.

Having traveled up the Rio Negro through the night, we awoke near the mouth of the Rio Jaú for our traditional top-deck breakfast as the sun was cresting the horizon. By around 07:30, we had checked in at the guard station to start cruising upriver into Jaú National Park, which was excellent. There were several Tucuxi (Gray River Dolphins) and Amazon River Dolphins feeding around our boat, and Peter spotted an Undulated Tinamou as it flew across the river, which was neat to see for the few of us looking that direction at the moment. Just a few minutes later, Linda shouted “Giant Otters!”, and we soon noted that it was a family of five animals with a den about 10 feet upslope from the water. What a wonderful sighting that was (and we saw them again on our way back downriver a couple of days later)! As we proceeded upriver, there were no exposed rocks at any of the wider curves, so the Jaú was not as low as it has been on some past tours, and our local pilot carefully steered us through without a bump. Our traditional birding stop in chavascal was fun, starting with a good look at Brown-headed Greenlet from the top deck, followed by excellent views of Amazonian Tyrannulet, a displaying male Amazonian Black-Tyrant that Marcelo spotted, Amazonian Antshrike, and back-to-back Straight-billed and Zimmer’s woodcreepers. It was another hot morning, so we packed it in earlier than usual and grabbed a shower and cold drink as we continued up the Jaú, spotting a perched Black-and white Hawk-Eagle on the way. After lunch and a siesta, we went ashore to bird a terra firme trail… but rumbles of thunder and fast-darkening skies didn’t let us get very far, and we wisely scurried back to Dorinha before the rain set in. The heaviest rain passed in less than an hour, and a post-dinner nocturnal foray got us the “chunk-chewink” form of Band-tailed Nighthawk and a nice view of an adult Boat-billed Heron, along with several more Armored Tree-Rats and fishing bats.

Weather was nice the next day as we birded a couple of good trails in tall terra firme forest, getting good views of Brown-banded Puffbird (which took a while!), Tawny-tufted Toucanet (always difficult, but what a nice scope view!), Chestnut Woodpecker, an excellent Pearly Antshrike, Gray Antbird, White-cheeked Antbird at an army-ant swarm (the small, leaf-litter ant Labidus predator), an elusive pair of Chestnut-crested Antbirds that most folks managed to get their bin’s on at least briefly, and an even more stand-offish Wing-banded Wren that Brian helped us locate in its hiding place under a huge log with his nifty thermal imager. That evening after dinner, on a beautiful, calm, brightly moonlit evening, we got into the canoes for another night-lighting excursion. We were treated right away to a wonderful, displaying pair of Ladder-tailed Nightjars. Reaching a wider place in the river, we cut the motors and I broadcasted a recording of Nocturnal Curassow. After just a couple of minutes, we got an answer from not one, but two Nocturnal Curassows! The birds were much too far off for us to even contemplate going after them, but it sure was exciting to at least hear the booming song of Nocturnal Curassow, faint as it was. Strangely, we saw no Common or Great potoos on either of our nocturnal outings in Jaú, which was quite unusual.

In the morning, we birded from the top deck as we motored slowly down the Jaú, getting nice views of Brown-throated Parakeets along the way. As we continued down the main channel of the Rio Negro, we decided to check the possibility of going through furo Cupim, a narrow cut through an island. We pulled in to the upstream end very, very slowly, keeping a close eye on the depth gauge. We had 5 meters of water as we crawled about 150 meters in off the main river channel…. then, with the bow clear, the back end of the boat became grounded. To make an hour-long story short, we eventually managed to free ourselves by using our two canoes to push and pull Dorinha back to water just deep enough for us to turn around safely and get back to the main channel. We then headed downriver in earnest to ensure we would reach the Rio Solimões (the Amazon River upstream of its confluence with the Rio Negro) by dawn the next morning…

And make it we did… but our “low-water worries” continued as the day dawned with a pall of smoke over the river near the northern shore. Fortunately, as the sun climbed and we moved out toward Marchantaria island, the smoke dissipated, and, despite precariously low water, we were able to pull reasonably close to the island. The upstream end of Marchantaria had been largely eroded away by pulses of very high water over the past few years, so we had to improvise our landing to get the birding underway. We did manage to get ashore fairly easily and birding was exciting on that fine, sunny morning. The spinetails we had been promising started popping up, soon tallying five species, Lesser Horneros and Riverside Tyrannulets seemed eager to be seen, and we got to watch a Riverside Tyrant performing aerial courtship displays. I then found another point of access the group could reach on foot, and an hour or so in taller woodland there produced several more island specialties. We made one more post-lunch birding stop on Marchantaria, picking up Rusty-backed Spinetail (scarce on Marchantaria), Pearly-breasted Conebill, and great views of several perched Short-tailed Parrots. On our way back toward Manaus, where we docked for the night, we passed over the “meeting of the waters,” where the Negro joins the Rio Solimões to form the Rio Amazonas.

Our final morning turned out to be a great finish to the tour. We visited the MUSA (Museum of the Amazon) tower in the Ducke Reserve, arriving well ahead of the usual opening hour of 08:00 only to find that another group – a yoga class – had the same plan to greet the day atop the tower, and had arrived even earlier. So, we birded the canopy from the levels just below the top, getting great looks at toucans, aracaris, parrots, and I got the scope on an adult Tiny Hawk that stayed put for everyone to see well. Marcelo called in our first Cinnamon-throated Woodcreepers, a gorgeous Black-bellied Cuckoo responded to my playback, and soon thereafter, as we took the topmost platform, a big canopy flock began to move in our direction. The timing turned out to be perfect! We had amazing views of lots of species as the flock spent a good half-hour in the several trees right around the tower. Imagine seeing Fulvous Shrike-Tanager, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Buff-cheeked Greenlet, Red-billed Pied Tanager, Paradise Tanager – and (finally!), Spot-backed Antwren at or below eye-level! I also spotted a pair of rarely seen Orange-breasted Falcons perched in a treetop verrry far away. We couldn’t get them to come in closer with playback, but one of them did fly around the treetop and we could just barely hear them calling back. Then, as we were beginning to think about coming down from the tower, a big, boisterous gang of female motorcyclists, 30+ gals of all ages sharply dressed in biker outfits, ascended the tower, so it truly was the right time to head back to the van! After a final, delicious lunch on Dorinha and time to pack up, we made a late-afternoon visit to the Manaus Opera House downtown. Unfortunately, there had been an event there that morning, and another was being organized for that evening, so it was closed to visitation, but seeing the ornate building on a lovely late afternoon was certainly impressive. We visited a nice indigenous artisans’ shop, and enjoyed a cup of açaí before transferring to our hotel for dinner, and several hours to rest before flights home early the next morning.

Our tour was memorable for so many reasons – the fabulous birds; the diverse forest types with their distinct plant communities; our congenial group of birders sharing sightings, and lots of laughs, every day; getting stuck and unstuck on land and on the river; and, I must say, also the weather. 2023 has been – essentially worldwide – a record-setting year of climatic extremes, almost all on the high-temperature side of the spectrum. The central Amazon was, by far, the hottest I have seen it in more than 30 years of tours and other field work in the August-September period. Highs are usually low 90s, rarely above 95 for more than a day or two in a row, with lows in the mid-70s. This year, it was 98-103 F for weeks on end (unheard of!), 80s through the night, with less cloud cover and less rain than is normal. Very dry conditions have now, a month after our tour, continued, and the rivers are receding to unprecedented levels, with burning and smoky air across the region of the lower Rio Negro. This has been absolutely disastrous for people living along the rivers, and it may well go on for weeks. Nature is, however, incredibly resilient, and it is likely that, several months from now, few of these effects will be apparent, but what is happening on an annual scale is undeniable: the Earth’s atmosphere is steadily, increasingly warming, and it is testing the limits of what even the Amazonian rainforest can cope with. For better, or worse, we saw this first-hand on our tour.

Marcelo and I thank you all so much for birding the Manaus region with us, we enjoyed the tour tremendously. Thanks, too, to Ruth and Ricardo working behind the scenes, and to the excellent crew of Dorinha, who did such a fine job of making our adventure safe, comfortable, and truly delicious! Until we meet again, we wish you all the best.

Grandes abraços para todos, Bret

—Marcelo Barreiros

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) [*]

Presidente Figueiredo was very good to us. Here are some highlights of our three days there, with birds and beasts in order of appearance: Red-bellied Macaws in flight and feeding on açaí palm fruits, Guianan Cocks-of-Rock in all their glory, Guianan Red-Cotinga, Collared Puffbird, Black Nunbird (adult and chick in the nest burrow), Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Oecomys sp(?) rice-rat found with the thermal imaging scopes, Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Gonatodes sp. gecko, and Crimson Topaz (male and female). Video by guide Bret Whitney.

UNDULATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus undulatus) [*]

VARIEGATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus variegatus) [*]

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata)

BRAZILIAN TEAL (Amazonetta brasiliensis)

A couple of birds seen at Marchantaria island.

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)


Seen well in our hotel at Presidente Figueiredo.

MARAIL GUAN (Penelope marail)

Seen from the Zf-2 Canopy tower.

NOCTURNAL CURASSOW (Nothocrax urumutum) [*]

BLACK CURASSOW (Crax alector)

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

Common along the rivers.

PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea)

COMMON GROUND DOVE (Columbina passerina)


RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana) [*]

WHITE-TIPPED DOVE (Leptotila verreauxi)

GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major)

Nice looks along the Anavilhanas islands.

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

STRIPED CUCKOO (Tapera naevia)

A single bird seen on our last morning at Marchantaria.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

BAND-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Nyctiprogne [leucopyga] sp.)

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Nice Northern Tawny-bellied Schreech-Owl captured by participant Linda Rudolph.
Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

BLACK-BELLIED CUCKOO (Piaya melanogaster)

Seen extremely well from the MUSA canopy tower.

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

SHORT-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Lurocalis semitorquatus)

BAND-TAILED NIGHTHAWK (Nyctiprogne leucopyga)

BLACKISH NIGHTJAR (Nyctipolus nigrescens)

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)

LADDER-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis climacocerca)

Fantastic looks during a canoe trip on the Jaú river.

Nyctibiidae (Potoos)

RUFOUS POTOO (Phyllaemulor bracteatus)

It's always great to see this small potoo. The bird landed exactly where we expected. Great moment.

LONG-TAILED POTOO (Nyctibius aethereus) [*]

WHITE-WINGED POTOO (Nyctibius leucopterus)

We saw this one in the same evening that we saw the Rufous Potoo, near Novo Airão.

Apodidae (Swifts)

WHITE-COLLARED SWIFT (Streptoprocne zonaris)

A nice surprise at Presidente Figueiredo.

GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris)

BAND-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura spinicaudus)

CHAPMAN'S SWIFT (Chaetura chapmani)

SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura)

FORK-TAILED PALM SWIFT (Tachornis squamata)

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)

CRIMSON TOPAZ (Topaza pella)

The old friend is still there, defending its territory near Pres. Figueiredo.

FIERY TOPAZ (Topaza pyra)

This was the first time we saw this bird on the tour. After a long loop trail near Novo Airão, We heard it calling and after a few seconds of looking for it, we saw a female and a recently fledged young bird food begging. We were lucky to enjoy the moment for a few moments.

WHITE-NECKED JACOBIN (Florisuga mellivora)

STRAIGHT-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis bourcieri)

STREAK-THROATED HERMIT (Phaethornis rupurumii)

Great looks on the Anavilhanas islands.

REDDISH HERMIT (Phaethornis ruber)

BLACK-EARED FAIRY (Heliothryx auritus)

GREEN-THROATED MANGO (Anthracothorax viridigula)

A female seen on the Marchantaria.

FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata)

OLIVE-SPOTTED HUMMINGBIRD (Talaphorus chlorocercus)

A great white water island specialist, we haven't seen this bird for a few years on the tour but this year we found some flowers and two individuals coming to visit it.

VERSICOLORED EMERALD (Chrysuronia versicolor)

WHITE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes cyanus)

BLUE-CHINNED SAPPHIRE (Chlorestes notata)

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

PURPLE GALLINULE (Porphyrio martinica)

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The female Harpy Eagle on its nest! Nice picture by participant Eileen Keelan.
Heliornithidae (Finfoots)

SUNGREBE (Heliornis fulica)

Nice bird seen along the Jaú river.

Psophiidae (Trumpeters)

GRAY-WINGED TRUMPETER (Psophia crepitans) [*]

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

AMERICAN GOLDEN-PLOVER (Pluvialis dominica)

COLLARED PLOVER (Charadrius collaris)

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

SPOTTED SANDPIPER (Actitis macularius)

SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

YELLOW-BILLED TERN (Sternula superciliaris)

LARGE-BILLED TERN (Phaetusa simplex)

BLACK SKIMMER (Rynchops niger)

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga)

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

RUFESCENT TIGER-HERON (Tigrisoma lineatum)

COCOI HERON (Ardea cocoi)

GREAT EGRET (Ardea alba)

SNOWY EGRET (Egretta thula)

CATTLE EGRET (Bubulcus ibis)

STRIATED HERON (Butorides striata)

CAPPED HERON (Pilherodius pileatus)

BOAT-BILLED HERON (Cochlearius cochlearius)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis)

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (Cathartes aura)

LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)


17 September was a day to remember, for sure, a real birding adventure with a very happy ending as we found a pair of very rarely seen Chestnut-headed Nunlets on an inlet of Lago Manacapuru. This video will serve to cement your memories of that fine morning, and for those of you with Chestnut-headed Nunlet yet in your future, it should give you a good idea of what to expect, possibly including a Giant Tree Rat! Excellent birding continued around the little town of Novo Airão, on the Rio Negro, with the following species, in order of appearance: Yellow-browed Tody-Flycatchers building their nest, Rufous Potoo, Crested Owl, a juvenile White-chested Puffbird, Black-faced Antbird, and a female Fiery Topaz feeding her chick. Our visit to the Amazon (Pink) River Dolphin feeding station was another exciting event at Novo Airão. Video by guide Bret Whitney.
Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

Great numbers along the Marchantaria island this year.

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis)

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)

HARPY EAGLE (Harpia harpyja)

We went to their nest at Ducke reserve and the female was sitting on the nest, eating something. Everyone had a chance to see the majesty in the scope for a while.

BLACK-AND-WHITE HAWK-EAGLE (Spizaetus melanoleucus)

A perched bird seen near to the Jaú National Park.

TINY HAWK (Microspizias superciliosus)

Seen briefly at Pres. Figueiredo.

BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis)

PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea)

SLATE-COLORED HAWK (Buteogallus schistaceus)

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

WHITE HAWK (Pseudastur albicollis)

Strigidae (Owls)

TAWNY-BELLIED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops watsonii)

Fantastic looks in a trail behind our cabins in Pres. Figueiredo.

CRESTED OWL (Lophostrix cristata)

Great looks near Novo Airão.

AMAZONIAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium hardyi)

Trogonidae (Trogons)

BLACK-TAILED TROGON (Trogon melanurus)

GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis)

GUIANAN TROGON (Trogon violaceus)

Nice Guianan Shield endemic seen from the ZF-2 canopy tower.

AMAZONIAN TROGON (Trogon ramonianus)


Momotidae (Motmots)

AMAZONIAN MOTMOT (Momotus momota)

It's always a pleasure to see this bird.

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)


Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus)

Great scope views on a side road on the way to Manacapuru.

GUIANAN PUFFBIRD (Notharchus macrorhynchos)

Field Guides Birding Tours
The gorgeous male Guianan Cock-of-the-Rock. Photo by participant Linda Rudolph.

BROWN-BANDED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus ordii)

PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus)

SPOTTED PUFFBIRD (Bucco tamatia)

COLLARED PUFFBIRD (Bucco capensis)

One of my favorite puffbirds, seen very well in the scope in Pres. Figueiredo.

WHITE-CHESTED PUFFBIRD (Malacoptila fusca)

A young bird was seen near Novo Airão.

CHESTNUT-HEADED NUNLET (Nonnula amaurocephala)

YES! Seen for the first time ever on a Field Guides tour. Thanks to some friends from Manaus, we were able to find this ultra-rare bird this year. I hope they will stay there for a long time!

BLACK NUNBIRD (Monasa atra)

BLACK-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa nigrifrons)

WHITE-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa morphoeus)

SWALLOW-WINGED PUFFBIRD (Chelidoptera tenebrosa)

Galbulidae (Jacamars)

YELLOW-BILLED JACAMAR (Galbula albirostris)

Nice looks at Ducke Biological Reserve.

GREEN-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula galbula)

Seen very well on the Anavilhanas island.

BRONZY JACAMAR (Galbula leucogastra)


GREAT JACAMAR (Jacamerops aureus)

Capitonidae (New World Barbets)


Another Guianan shield endemic seen well this year.

GILDED BARBET (Capito auratus)

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

GREEN ARACARI (Pteroglossus viridis)

BLACK-NECKED ARACARI (Pteroglossus aracari)

IVORY-BILLED ARACARI (Pteroglossus azara)

Nice bird and fantastic looks on a side road near Manacapuru.

GUIANAN TOUCANET (Selenidera piperivora)

Nice looks from both canopy towers.

TAWNY-TUFTED TOUCANET (Selenidera nattereri)

We made it again!!!! This is one of the main targets for this tour, hard to see anywhere. We saw both male and female along the Nazaré trail, Jaú N.P.

WHITE-THROATED TOUCAN (Ramphastos tucanus)

WHITE-THROATED TOUCAN (CUVIER'S) (Ramphastos tucanus cuvieri)

CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus)

CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (YELLOW-RIDGED) (Ramphastos vitellinus culminatus)

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

LAFRESNAYE'S PICULET (Picumnus lafresnayi)

Nice looks near Novo Airão and at Jaú N.P.

Field Guides Birding Tours
Great moment along the BR 174 highway. Point-tailed Palm-creeper by participant Eileen Keelan.

YELLOW-TUFTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes cruentatus)


LITTLE WOODPECKER (Dryobates passerinus)

Seen well on the Marchantaria island.

RED-STAINED WOODPECKER (Dryobates affinis)

RED-NECKED WOODPECKER (Campephilus rubricollis)

A huge woodpecker seen well a couple of times.

CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos)

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

RINGED WOODPECKER (Celeus torquatus)

WAVED WOODPECKER (Celeus undatus)

Seen nicely from the Zf-2 canopy tower.


CHESTNUT WOODPECKER (Celeus elegans jumanus)


SPOT-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Colaptes punctigula)

Nice looks at Marchantaria.

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

CRESTED CARACARA (SOUTHERN) (Caracara plancus plancus)

RED-THROATED CARACARA (Ibycter americanus)

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Daptrius chimachima)

BLACK CARACARA (Daptrius ater)

ORANGE-BREASTED FALCON (Falco deiroleucus)

The pair of birds is back to the MUSA area.

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)


SAPPHIRE-RUMPED PARROTLET (Touit purpuratus) [*]

TUI PARAKEET (Brotogeris sanctithomae)

Both Tui and White-winged parakeets seen very well at Marchantaria.

WHITE-WINGED PARAKEET (Brotogeris versicolurus)

GOLDEN-WINGED PARAKEET (Brotogeris chrysoptera)

ORANGE-CHEEKED PARROT (Pyrilia barrabandi)

CAICA PARROT (Pyrilia caica)

Nice looks from the ZF-2 Canopy tower.

DUSKY PARROT (Pionus fuscus)

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)

Probably the most common parrot all over the Amazon.

SHORT-TAILED PARROT (Graydidascalus brachyurus)

A few birds seen perched at Marchantaria.

FESTIVE PARROT (Amazona festiva)

MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa)

ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica)

BLACK-HEADED PARROT (Pionites melanocephalus)

RED-FAN PARROT (Deroptyus accipitrinus)

Maybe the most beautiful parrot in Brazil.

PAINTED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura picta)

A single bird seen eating açaí berries behind our cabins at Pres. Figueiredo.

MAROON-TAILED PARAKEET (Pyrrhura melanura)

BROWN-THROATED PARAKEET (Eupsittula pertinax)

A few nice looks in the days at Jaú N.P.

The boat-based portion of the tour began at Novo Airão and the nearby Anavilhanas Archipelago National Park. Among the birds we saw on our afternoon boat trip and morning walk were Cherrie’s Antwrens (male and female), Striped Woodcreeper, and Zimmer’s Woodcreeper (with unstreaked back and gray legs). We had dinner as we continued up the Rio Negro, through the night, to reach remote Jaú National Park before dawn. Video by guide Bret Whitney.

RED-BELLIED MACAW (Orthopsittaca manilatus)

Every evening, near to our cabins in Pres. Figueiredo, a big flock of over one hundred birds joined together to roost nearby.



A couple of pairs seen flying over the Marchantaria island.


RED-AND-GREEN MACAW (Ara chloropterus)

WHITE-EYED PARAKEET (Psittacara leucophthalmus)

Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

ASH-WINGED ANTWREN (Euchrepomis spodioptila)

Seen from the Zf-2 Canopy tower.

FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus)

BLACK-THROATED ANTSHRIKE (Frederickena viridis)

One of the hardest antbirds to see in the area, this bird is usually really shy, staying inside the branches of a fallen tree. We saw a male during a nice morning on the Cachoeira da Neblina trail, near Pres. Figueiredo.

BLACK-CRESTED ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus canadensis)

Gorgeous bird seen well in the Anavilhanas National Park.

MOUSE-COLORED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus murinus)

BLACKISH-GRAY ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus nigrocinereus)

It took a long time but we managed to see male and female on the Anavilhanas islands.

NORTHERN SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus punctatus)

Only found in the white sand forest.

WHITE-SHOULDERED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus aethiops)

AMAZONIAN ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus amazonicus cinereiceps)

PEARLY ANTSHRIKE (Megastictus margaritatus)

Seen well a couple of times in the Jaú N.P.

CINEREOUS ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes caesius)

SPOT-WINGED ANTSHRIKE (Pygiptila stellaris)

BROWN-BELLIED STIPPLETHROAT (Epinecrophylla gutturalis)

A bird seen foraging with the mixed species flock near Pres. Figueiredo.

PYGMY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula brachyura)

CHERRIE'S ANTWREN (Myrmotherula cherriei)

Both Klages's and Cherrie's antwrens were seen very, very well in Anavilhanas National Park islands.

KLAGES'S ANTWREN (Myrmotherula klagesi)

LONG-WINGED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula longipennis)

GRAY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula menetriesii)

LEADEN ANTWREN (Myrmotherula assimilis)

Nice looks on the seasonally flooded forest areas.

SPOT-BACKED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus dorsimaculatus)

GUIANAN WARBLING-ANTBIRD (Hypocnemis cantator)

YELLOW-BROWED ANTBIRD (Hypocnemis hypoxantha)

GRAY ANTBIRD (Cercomacra cinerascens)

ASH-BREASTED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus lugubris)

BLACK-FACED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus myotherinus ardesiacus)

BLACK-CHINNED ANTBIRD (Hypocnemoides melanopogon)

Seen well a few times along the tour.

Field Guides Birding Tours
The group enjoying the breakfast on the Dorinha's top-deck. Photo by participant Linda Rudolph.

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

FERRUGINOUS-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmoderus ferrugineus)

One of the most beautiful antbirds in the Amazon.

WHITE-CHEEKED ANTBIRD (Gymnopithys leucaspis)

RUFOUS-THROATED ANTBIRD (Gymnopithys rufigula)

CHESTNUT-CRESTED ANTBIRD (Rhegmatorhina cristata)

Another big target for the tour!

SPOT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevius)

COMMON SCALE-BACKED ANTBIRD (Willisornis poecilinotus)

Formicariidae (Antthrushes)

RUFOUS-CAPPED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius colma) [*]

BLACK-FACED ANTTHRUSH (Formicarius analis) [*]

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

SPOT-THROATED WOODCREEPER (Certhiasomus stictolaemus)

A hard woodcreeper to see, usually moving with understory flocks.

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus)

LONG-TAILED WOODCREEPER (Deconychura longicauda)

Great bird and great song!

PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa)

WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus)


Gorgeous canopy woodcreeper seen well from the MUSA canopy tower.

LONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Nasica longirostris)

Fantastic woodcreeper, elegant while it moves along the tree trunks looking for bugs.


BLACK-BANDED WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes picumnus)

STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus obsoletus)

CHESTNUT-RUMPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus pardalotus)

OCELLATED WOODCREEPER (LINE-CROWNED) (Xiphorhynchus ocellatus beauperthuysii)

BUFF-THROATED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus guttatus)


ZIMMER'S WOODCREEPER (Dendroplex kienerii)

CURVE-BILLED SCYTHEBILL (Campylorhamphus procurvoides)

Seen foraging with a flock on the Cachoeira da Neblina trail.

GUIANAN WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes albolineatus)

SLENDER-BILLED XENOPS (Xenops tenuirostris)

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)


Gorgeous bird, only found in the Moriche Palm tree areas. We saw it well by the BR 174, near Pres. Figueiredo.

RUFOUS-TAILED XENOPS (Microxenops milleri)

WING-BANDED HORNERO (Furnarius figulus)

LESSER HORNERO (Furnarius minor)

Nice looks on the Marchantaria island.

RUFOUS-RUMPED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor erythrocercum)



RUSTY-BACKED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca vulpina)

PARKER'S SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca vulpecula)

Another good bird seen well at Marchantaria.

SPECKLED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca gutturata)

Seen on the island of Anavilhanas.

YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus)

RED-AND-WHITE SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis mustelinus)


DARK-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albigularis)

The last day of the tour, along the Marchantaria island, was the day to see 7 different spinetails!!

PALE-BREASTED SPINETAIL (Synallaxis albescens)

Field Guides Birding Tours
Nice male Waved Woodpecker seen from the Zf-2 canopy tower. Photo by participant Eileen Keelan.
Pipridae (Manakins)

DWARF TYRANT-MANAKIN (Tyranneutes stolzmanni)

TINY TYRANT-MANAKIN (Tyranneutes virescens)

SAFFRON-CRESTED TYRANT-MANAKIN (Neopelma chrysocephalum)

WHITE-THROATED MANAKIN (Corapipo gutturalis)

BLUE-CAPPED MANAKIN (Lepidothrix coronata)

WHITE-FRONTED MANAKIN (Lepidothrix serena)

YELLOW-CROWNED MANAKIN (Heterocercus flavivertex)

A gorgeous adult male seen near the Cock-of-the-Rock arena, near Pres. Figueiredo.

WIRE-TAILED MANAKIN (Pipra filicauda)

A few adult males displaying on the islands in front of Novo Airão.

WHITE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Pseudopipra pipra)

GOLDEN-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra erythrocephala)

Cotingidae (Cotingas)

GUIANAN RED-COTINGA (Phoenicircus carnifex)

One of the best views in many years on the tour. An adult male seen a few times in Pres. Figueiredo.

GUIANAN COCK-OF-THE-ROCK (Rupicola rupicola)

Another tour, another show!! We saw 8 males on the lekking area in Pres. Figueiredo.

AMAZONIAN UMBRELLABIRD (Cephalopterus ornatus)

A bird seen flying across the Negro river while cruising along the Anavilhanas National Park.

CAPUCHINBIRD (Perissocephalus tricolor)

Amazing big Cotinga seen near Pres. Figueiredo.

SPANGLED COTINGA (Cotinga cayana)

Seen a few times including some great looks from the Zf-2 Canopy tower.

SCREAMING PIHA (Lipaugus vociferans)

POMPADOUR COTINGA (Xipholena punicea)

Another one seen well from the canopy towers.

As planned, we awoke to a “rosy-fingered dawn” at the entrance to Jaú National Park, and enjoyed yet another top-shelf, top-deck breakfast spread. We soon got ourselves registered at the guard station and started cruising slowly up the Rio Jaú. Less than 20 minutes later, Linda spotted Giant Otters near the bank, and it turned out that their den was right there! It was fantastic to be able to watch them, 5 Giant Otters, as they went about their otterly business. We had two more full days in the park, during which we birded both chavascal (the name for low-stature, seasonally flooded, blackwater forest during the dry season; it’s usually called igapó when it’s flooded), and a couple of nice terra firme trails, with post-dinner owling excursions offered both evenings, from our canoes. A few of our sightings, in order of appearance: Giant Otters, Amazonian Tyrannulet (one duetting with its mate), rarely seen Tawny-tufted Toucanet (Jaú is among the best places to see this fancy bird), and a swarm of tiny leaf-litter army ants, Labidus praedator. Video by guide Bret Whitney.
Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)


BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor)

MASKED TITYRA (Tityra semifasciata)

VARZEA SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis major)

A brief look during a canoe trip on the Anavilhanas N.P.

BROWN-WINGED SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis turdina)

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

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

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)

BLACK-CAPPED BECARD (Pachyramphus marginatus)

GLOSSY-BACKED BECARD (Pachyramphus surinamus)

Seen well from the Zf-2 Canopy tower.

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

BLACK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius atricaudus)

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

WING-BARRED PIPRITES (Piprites chloris)

OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)

MCCONNELL'S FLYCATCHER (Mionectes macconnelli)

OLIVE-GREEN TYRANNULET (Phylloscartes virescens)

SHORT-TAILED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis ecaudatus)

The smallest passerine in the world, seen from the Zf-2 canopy tower.

SNETHLAGE'S TODY-TYRANT (IGAPO) (Hemitriccus minor pallens)

Amazing looks at Anavilhanas N.P.

WHITE-EYED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus zosterops zosterops)

PELZELN'S TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus inornatus)

RUSTY-FRONTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus latirostris)

A couple of birds seen at Marchantaria.

SPOTTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum maculatum)

PAINTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum pictum)

YELLOW-BROWED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum)

Great views of a pair of birds building their nest at our hotel in Novo Airão.

BROWNISH TWISTWING (Cnipodectes subbrunneus)

OLIVACEOUS FLATBILL (Rhynchocyclus olivaceus)

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


GRAY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias poliocephalus)

Field Guides Birding Tours
A Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper captured by participant Linda Rudolph.



GRAY-HEADED ELAENIA (Myiopagis caniceps)

YELLOW-CROWNED ELAENIA (Myiopagis flavivertex)

Nice looks on the Marchantaria.

RIVER TYRANNULET (Serpophaga hypoleuca)

SLENDER-FOOTED TYRANNULET (Zimmerius gracilipes)


FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (FUSCOUS) (Cnemotriccus fuscatus fuscatior)

RIVERSIDE TYRANT (Knipolegus orenocensis)

A male doing a flight display on the Marchantaria.

AMAZONIAN BLACK-TYRANT (Knipolegus poecilocercus)

We found a male displaying on the Chavascal habitat, in Jaú N. P.

WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala)

CINNAMON ATTILA (Attila cinnamomeus)

DULL-CAPPED ATTILA (Attila bolivianus)

A bird catching insects near to the ground on the Marchantaria.

BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus)

GRAYISH MOURNER (Rhytipterna simplex)

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)


GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

BOAT-BILLED FLYCATCHER (Megarynchus pitangua)

RUSTY-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes cayanensis)

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)


Nice looks from the Zf-2 Canopy tower.

STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)

PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)

VARIEGATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus varius)

SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea)

Another bird only found near the Moriche Palm trees.

WHITE-THROATED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus albogularis)

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)


Field Guides Birding Tours
Our group birding along a side road on the way to Manacapuru. Photo by participant Linda Rudolph.
Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)


GRAY-CHESTED GREENLET (Hylophilus semicinereus)

BROWN-HEADED GREENLET (Hylophilus brunneiceps)

An igapó (seasonally flooded forest by the black waters) specialist. We saw it well from the Dorinha top-deck on our first morning in the Jaú N.P.

SLATY-CAPPED SHRIKE-VIREO (Vireolanius leucotis)

DUSKY-CAPPED GREENLET (Pachysylvia hypoxantha)

BUFF-CHEEKED GREENLET (Pachysylvia muscicapina)

Seen well from the canopy towers.

CHIVI VIREO (RESIDENT) (Vireo chivi solimoensis)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

WHITE-THIGHED SWALLOW (Atticora tibialis)

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)

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

WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer)

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

COLLARED GNATWREN (Microbates collaris)

One of the best looks in many years!!

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus)

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

WING-BANDED WREN (Microcerculus bambla)

Fantastic bird with a great song. This bird usually comes walking on logs like a little turtle!!

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis)

Our river-based birding took a major shift on our penultimate day, as we visited Marchantaria Island, situated in the middle of the lower Rio Solimões just above its confluence with the Rio Negro. This is a “whitewater” river island, meaning that it was formed by deposition of silt (mostly eroded from the Andes), and supports a vegetation community quite different from that on the islands of the Anavilhanas Archipelago in the lower Rio Negro. These whitewater islands are highly dynamic landforms, and it was challenging to find points of access, but we did our best and managed to pick up most of the “island specialties”. In order of appearance: Collared Plover, River Tyrannulet, Parker’s Spinetail, Rusty-backed Spinetail (seen later in the day but I put it in here for comparison with Parker’s), Streaked Flycatcher (a possibly undescribed form inhabiting the whitewater river islands; this one really sent the guts flying as it bashed a large caterpillar into submission), Tui Parakeet, our impromptu crew of helpers on our afternoon stop on Marchantaria, and finally, Short-tailed Parrots. Video by guide Bret Whitney.
Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

PALE-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus leucomelas)

WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (Turdus albicollis)

BLACK-BILLED THRUSH (AMAZONIAN) (Turdus ignobilis debilis)

CAMPINA THRUSH (Turdus arthuri)

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

GOLDEN-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chrysopasta)


Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons)

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)


GREEN OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius viridis)

CRESTED OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius decumanus)


RED-RUMPED CACIQUE (Cacicus haemorrhous)

SHINY COWBIRD (Molothrus bonariensis)

GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)

ORIOLE BLACKBIRD (Gymnomystax mexicanus)

Parulidae (New World Warblers)

MASKED YELLOWTHROAT (Geothlypis aequinoctialis)

Mitrospingidae (Mitrospingid Tanagers)

RED-BILLED PIED TANAGER (Lamprospiza melanoleuca)

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)

YELLOW-GREEN GROSBEAK (Caryothraustes canadensis)

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

RED-CAPPED CARDINAL (Paroaria gularis)

HOODED TANAGER (Nemosia pileata)

FLAME-CRESTED TANAGER (Loriotus cristatus)

FULVOUS-CRESTED TANAGER (Tachyphonus surinamus)


Nice looks along the MUSA trails.

SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo)

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

DOTTED TANAGER (Ixothraupis varia)

A hard bird to see, usually way up in the canopy moving with the flocks.

SPOTTED TANAGER (Ixothraupis punctata)

PARADISE TANAGER (Tangara chilensis)

The top 3 most beautiful tanagers in the Amazon for sure!


BLACK-FACED DACNIS (Dacnis lineata)

YELLOW-BELLIED DACNIS (Dacnis flaviventer)

Male and female seen from the Dorinha's top-deck.

BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)

PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus)


GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)

YELLOW-BACKED TANAGER (Hemithraupis flavicollis)

BICOLORED CONEBILL (Conirostrum bicolor)

PEARLY-BREASTED CONEBILL (Conirostrum margaritae)

Restricted to the white water island, this bird is easier to find where the Cecropia trees are.


BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)

LINED SEEDEATER (Sporophila lineola)

CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila castaneiventris)

CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila angolensis)

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)


BLUISH-GRAY SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens)

Field Guides Birding Tours
A nice shot by participant Eileen Keelan. A Black Nunbird seen from above!! This is why we need more canopy towers.



Only one sighting, near Pres. Figueiredo


One our last morning, we went to the MUSA reserve and found a group of these rare and endemic little monkeys feeding on the Cecropia trees.


RED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta seniculus)

MONK SAKI MONKEY (Pithecia monachus)

A group seen at Pres. Figueiredo.

GUIANA BEARDED SAKI MONKEY (Chiropotes sagulatus)

BROWN CAPUCHIN (Cebus apella)

BLACK SPIDER MONKEY (Ateles paniscus)

Seen from the Zf-2 Canopy Tower.


GUIANAN SQUIRREL (Sciurus aestuans)

RED-RUMPED AGOUTI (Dasyprocta agouti)

AMAZON RIVER DOLPHIN (Inia geoffrensis)

TUCUXI (Sotalia fluviatilis)

GIANT OTTER (Pteronura brasiliensis)

Fantastic looks long the Jaú river.


GREEN IGUANA (Iguana iguana)

GIANT AMEIVA (Ameiva ameiva)

SOUTH AMERICAN COMMON TOAD (Rhinella margaritifer)

One of the special experiences we shared on the tour was a performance by Peter of an original piece of music he composed during the tour: Novo Airão. He very appropriately set it to a bossa nova rhythm, and played it for us in the restaurant of Dorinha. It was very well received! He also played for us a version set to another beat (was it “cha-cha”?), which I have dropped in behind this video of our final morning of birding, on the MUSA tower. Birds, in order of appearance: Black-bellied Cuckoo, Cinnamon-throated Woodcreeper (both members of a pair that Marcelo called in for us), Fulvous Shrike-Tanager, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo (nominate form), Duida Woodcreeper, and last but certainly not least – the really good look at Spot-backed Antwren (this is the female of the pair) we were all hoping for! Video by guide Bret Whitney.

Totals for the tour: 382 bird taxa and 14 mammal taxa