A Field Guides Birding Tours Report

Brazil's Rio Roosevelt: Birding the River of Doubt II 2021

November 12-27, 2021 with Bret Whitney guiding

Field Guides' 2021 tour to the Rio Roosevelt was a beauty, and better late than never! Here's some backstory of how the tour came to be, which leads into the several additional videos of our activities and some of the great birds we saw along the way, below. Enjoy! [Video by guide Bret Whitney]

Only a week or so after we had canceled our big SE Brazil tours for Oct-Nov 2021, the US State Department moved Brazil from Level 4 to Level 3, which was a bummer for the timing of it, but we decided to make lemonade from lemons, and organize a Rio Roosevelt and upper Rio Madeira tour. I (Bret Whitney) would now have the time open, the Roosevelt would be an exciting, wild destination far-removed from concentrations of people, and adding the tour might help alleviate future waitlists resulting, in part, from our having to cancel the tours in 2020 and 2021. Fortunately, we were able to quickly put together a small group of adventurous birding souls; logistical challenges that dictated a couple of shifts in our usual itinerary did not cause significant problems; we did not get hit with too much rain at any of our birding venues; many lifers were enjoyed by all -- and everyone tested negative for Covid before heading home!

Because I had not been to the Madeira/Roosevelt region for more than two years, I made sure to get out there a solid week ahead of the group arrival to check on the status of important birding habitats as well as specific sites. That was a very good idea, as it turned out, but not for very good results… the destruction of forest and savanna/campo habitats on the west side of the upper Rio Madeira has been accelerating annually since the bridge over the river was opened in 2014, and under the present administration in Brasilia, it has deteriorated greatly. I estimated that an additional 30% (above and beyond the approximately 50% already lost) of the natural savanna/campos west of the town of Humaita, outside the Military training zone, had been converted to soy beans and rice since June 2019. That is a staggering level of destruction in a rare and beautiful Amazonian grassland ecosystem. It was also raining cats and dogs for that week in early November, much more than expected for the early wet season, which washed out some roads and flooded the savannas – but weather had returned to more usual, sporadic rains by tour time (whew!). In fact, some birds that come into breeding condition with the advent of seasonal rains were easier to find than they are during our normal (June-July) tour time, among them Ocellated Crake, Zigzag Heron, Chico’s Tyrannulet, Musician Wren, and Scaly-breasted Wren. Despite that bonus, however, I felt that breeding activity was subdued, with significantly reduced vocal activity, so we’ll be sticking with our time-tested, dry-season trip. In fact, we’ll be running two Rio Roosevelt & Upper Rio Madeira tours in June, 2022!

Everyone in the group arrived on-time into Porto Velho, capital of the state of Rondonia, which was named in honor of Candido Mariano da Silva Rondon, head of the Brazilian Telegraph Commission in the early 1900s, and indomitable leader of the Roosevelt-Rondon Expedition of 1914. For logistical reasons, we had to rearrange our normal itinerary, splitting the birding time on the Rio Madeira to two days at the beginning of the tour, out of Porto Velho, and three at the end, around Humaita. The first couple of days produced good views of Spix’s Guan, Red-necked Aracari, Rondonia Warbling-Antbird, and Southern Chestnut-tailed Antbird, and also a good variety of the whitewater island specialties on the Rio Madeira, including Little Ground-Tyrant, Black-and-white Antbird, Parker’s Spinetail, and Pearly-breasted Conebill. Then it was on to the Rio Roosevelt…

We departed our lodge at 05:45 to get to the airport in Porto Velho by 07:00 only to learn that the flight would be delayed significantly (for no apparent reason, although some were created an hour or so later). That “time-out” was enjoyable, to some extent, as we found a nearby cell tower that was covered with wintering Purple Martins! We finally got away from Porto Velho about 10:15 for the 1:15 minute flight to the Pousada Rio Roosevelt… and boy was it SO EXCITING to get there, doing an overflight of the river itself and thundering Santa Rita rapids, the pousada on a wide, sandy beach on a quiet curve of the river, miles and miles of unbroken forest on all sides, and, finally, the dirt airstrip just beyond the rapids! We walked from the airstrip to the pousada on a beautifully manicured trail, the same crude path that had been opened by the Roosevelt-Rondon Expedition to portage Santa Rita rapids 114 years earlier. After a scrumptious lunch (meals at the pousada were fabulous every day), we walked into the tall forest behind the pousada to the tower for our first taste of birding the Rio Roosevelt. Afternoons are always relatively quiet, but we managed great views of Gould’s Toucanet, very close Red-necked and Yellow-throated woodpeckers, and several Chapman's Swifts and Scarlet Macaws came by at eye-level. A fitting introduction!

For the next six days, we birded trails on both banks of the Rio Roosevelt, both upriver and downriver from the pousada. Several species-pairs of birds are known to replace each other across the Roosevelt, and we made a point of finding these and learning the story behind the discoveries of some of them in recent years. These will be highlighted in the body of the triplist, below. Birding was generally good, but I really can’t say it was “great,” as song was generally reduced, parrot populations were lower than during the dry season, army ant swarms were simply not happening anywhere we went (remarkable, surprising), and most canopy trees that attract hummers and tanagers were not flowering. We did find most of the special birds of the region, and we saw them well, but many were seen only once or twice during our stay on the Roosevelt. Vying for best in show were the Zigzag Herons mentioned above (vocal, fairly responsive, much appreciated!), Red-throated Piping-Guan, multiple Razor-billed Curassows (but not a peep out of Nocturnal Curassow despite two valiant efforts, one under a bright moon), Needle-billed Hermit, Collared Puffbird, Eastern Striolated-Puffbird, Rufous-necked Puffbird, Brown Jacamar (distinctive lower Amazonian B. l. melanosterna), Blue-cheeked Jacamar, Black-girdled Barbet (the only individual heard; super-quiet), Red-necked Aracari, Gould’s Toucanet, Kawall’s Parrot (decent numbers), Crimson-bellied Parakeet (very few, but we did get great scope views of one group), Aripuana Antwren, Manicore Warbling-Antbird, Rio Madeira Stipplethroat, Rufous-faced Antbird, White-breasted Antbird (I even found one asleep, with the “rat scope”!), Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Short-billed Leaftosser, Long-billed, Hoffmann’s, and Uniform woodcreepers, Curve-billed Scythebill, Flame-crowned Manakin, Snow-capped Manakin, Black-necked Red-Cotinga, Buff-cheeked Tody-Flycatcher (really a tody-tyrant), and Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant. Almost all of the above were great sightings, but just single birds seen during a week of intensive birding on the Roosevelt, many of them requiring way more trolling playback than I like to do. Raptors were incredibly scarce, with nothing up and soaring, or vocalizing. We did pull in a White-browed Hawk, which put on a superb performance, and saw two different Broad-winged Hawks (both imm), which were the first ones I’d seen on the Roosevelt. Manakins were extraordinarily quiet. We heard a Rufous-vented Ground-Cuckoo one morning, which was the only one I have a record of from the trails around the Pousada Rio Roosevelt. We tried hard to get it to come in, and it did move around a bit, but refused to show. Dark-winged Trumpeters were heard from the canopy tower, far off, but the only sighting belonged to Bjorn, who saw them slink across the trail near the tower. Chico’s Tyrannulet was one species that came very easily in this Nov time-slot; wished I’d had time to look for a nest, which is still unknown. All along the way, our local guides at the pousada had cleaned up the trails, removing fallen branches, etc. and they had also cut steps and handrails to help us climb from the boats up to trailheads. They carried cooler packs with cold drinks of all kinds on the trails every day, and they were expert craftsmen in getting us safely through the rapids on the rivers. I was able to send the drone up for impressive aerial views of the river and rapids, which I have edited into the following triplist.

Highlights of our final days, around Humaita, were awesome views of the Ocellated Crake mentioned above, Azure Gallinule, Long-tailed Ground-Dove, Brown-banded Puffbird, Golden-collared Toucanet, Pale-tailed Barbthroat building a nest, Rondonia Warbling-Antbird, Humaita Antbird, Southern Chestnut-tailed Antbird, Predicted Antwren, Black-bellied Gnateater (a wonderful surprise!), Point-tailed Palmcreeper, Citron-bellied Attila, Sharp-tailed Tyrant, White-throated Kingbird, several wintering Black-whiskered Vireos, Black-masked Finch, White-rumped Tanager, Paradise Tanager, and the rather mysterious “Dark-throated” type seedeaters that breed around Humaita in the wet season. Finally, we lucked out with fantastic views of a group of Azure-naped (Campina) Jays, always challenging to find! I kept an eye to the sky for Black Swifts, which I think could have been in the area, but no luck.

Thanks so much to each of you for coming on the tour, I had a wonderful time birding with you, and I look forward to more excellent birding adventures in the future!

—-- Bret

One of the following keys may be shown in brackets for individual species as appropriate: * = heard only, I = introduced, E = endemic, N = nesting, a = austral migrant, b = boreal migrant

Tinamidae (Tinamous)

GRAY TINAMOU (Tinamus tao) [*]

WHITE-THROATED TINAMOU (Tinamus guttatus) [*]

CINEREOUS TINAMOU (Crypturellus cinereus)

The nest we found in the terra firme on the right bank of the Roosevelt was very likely this species, although we did not manage to see more than a smallish, apparently all-dark tinamou flushing away from it.

LITTLE TINAMOU (Crypturellus soui) [*]

UNDULATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus undulatus) [*]

VARIEGATED TINAMOU (Crypturellus variegatus) [*]

SMALL-BILLED TINAMOU (Crypturellus parvirostris) [*]

RED-WINGED TINAMOU (Rhynchotus rufescens) [*]

Anatidae (Ducks, Geese, and Waterfowl)

BLACK-BELLIED WHISTLING-DUCK (Dendrocygna autumnalis)

MUSCOVY DUCK (Cairina moschata)

Cracidae (Guans, Chachalacas, and Curassows)


SPIX'S GUAN (Penelope jacquacu)


Seen well a couple of times on early morning boat trips, perched high in river-edge forest.


Several very nice sightings.

Odontophoridae (New World Quail)

STARRED WOOD-QUAIL (Odontophorus stellatus)

Not seen identifiably, but a couple of birds were heard giving quiet calls then flushing ahead of us on the trail one morning. Despite several playback attempts in various areas on the Roosevelt, we got no responses.

Columbidae (Pigeons and Doves)

ROCK PIGEON (Columba livia)

PALE-VENTED PIGEON (Patagioenas cayennensis)

SCALED PIGEON (Patagioenas speciosa)

PLUMBEOUS PIGEON (Patagioenas plumbea) [*]

RUDDY PIGEON (Patagioenas subvinacea)

COMMON GROUND DOVE (Columbina passerina)

RUDDY GROUND DOVE (Columbina talpacoti)

LONG-TAILED GROUND DOVE (Uropelia campestris)

Nice sightings of this beautiful little dove in the campos of Humaita.

RUDDY QUAIL-DOVE (Geotrygon montana)

One on its night roost, found with the thermal imaging scope, was a treat to see, just a few feet away.

GRAY-FRONTED DOVE (Leptotila rufaxilla)

Cuculidae (Cuckoos)

GREATER ANI (Crotophaga major)

SMOOTH-BILLED ANI (Crotophaga ani)

RUFOUS-VENTED GROUND-CUCKOO (Neomorphus geoffroyi) [*]

LITTLE CUCKOO (Coccycua minuta)

SQUIRREL CUCKOO (Piaya cayana)

BLACK-BELLIED CUCKOO (Piaya melanogaster)

Caprimulgidae (Nightjars and Allies)

LEAST NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles pusillus)

Only a few over the campos of Humaita, and not vocalizing this time of year.

SAND-COLORED NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles rupestris)

Several of these handsome birds were seen roosting and flying low over the Rio Roosevelt. They are present only in the high-water periods, absent in the dry season.

LESSER NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles acutipennis)

COMMON NIGHTHAWK (Chordeiles minor)

Both Tom and I were sure we heard one over the campos of Humaita, and it is possible that one or more distant nighthawks we saw out there were this species, along with a few Least and Lesser nighthawks.

BLACKISH NIGHTJAR (Nyctipolus nigrescens)

COMMON PAURAQUE (Nyctidromus albicollis)

LADDER-TAILED NIGHTJAR (Hydropsalis climacocerca)

Our week of birding on the Rio Roosevelt was based at the Pousada Rio Roosevelt, a very comfortable, isolated lodge on the upper stretches of the river. We had the place to ourselves, as always, and we quickly settled into the rhythm of the days, beginning with early breakfast, often followed by a boat transfer of 10-30 minutes to trailheads both above and below Santa Rita rapids (or, just walking into the forest from the pousada, to the canopy tower or other trails). Lunch was back at the pousada on all but one day (see below!) -- what a fabulous week it was! [Video by guide Bret Whitney]
Nyctibiidae (Potoos)

GREAT POTOO (Nyctibius grandis) [*]

RUFOUS POTOO (Nyctibius bracteatus) [*]

We got a bird calling a few times, but it would not budge and intervening vegetation proved to be too dense to spot it, fairly far off the trail.

Apodidae (Swifts)

CHAPMAN'S SWIFT (Chaetura chapmani)

SHORT-TAILED SWIFT (Chaetura brachyura)

GRAY-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura cinereiventris)

Only a few seen well enough to ID for sure

PALE-RUMPED SWIFT (Chaetura egregia)

Same remark

LESSER SWALLOW-TAILED SWIFT (Panyptila cayennensis)

Two birds only

FORK-TAILED PALM-SWIFT (Tachornis squamata)

Trochilidae (Hummingbirds)


PALE-TAILED BARBTHROAT (Threnetes leucurus)

One building a nest was exceptionally good!

NEEDLE-BILLED HERMIT (Phaethornis philippii)

Also seen beautifully a couple of times.

LONG-TAILED HERMIT (Phaethornis superciliosus)

REDDISH HERMIT (Phaethornis ruber)

BLACK-EARED FAIRY (Heliothryx auritus)

BLUE-TAILED EMERALD (Chlorostilbon mellisugus)

GRAY-BREASTED SABREWING (Campylopterus largipennis)

FORK-TAILED WOODNYMPH (Thalurania furcata)


Opisthocomidae (Hoatzin)

HOATZIN (Opisthocomus hoazin)

Good views of several near the confluence of the Rio Madeirinha with the Roosevelt.

Rallidae (Rails, Gallinules, and Coots)

ASH-THROATED CRAKE (Mustelirallus albicollis) [*]

GRAY-COWLED WOOD-RAIL (Aramides cajaneus)

AZURE GALLINULE (Porphyrio flavirostris)

Good scope views

OCELLATED CRAKE (Micropygia schomburgkii)

Truly exceptional looks at this notoriously difficult little rail, for all, in the campos of Humaita. I made the video clip included below a few days before the tour, at the same spot we saw the bird ;-)

RUSSET-CROWNED CRAKE (Anurolimnas viridis) [*]

We could not locate a calling bird anywhere around Humaita, where they are usually fairly easily found.

GRAY-BREASTED CRAKE (Laterallus exilis) [*]

Heliornithidae (Finfoots)

SUNGREBE (Heliornis fulica)

A couple of birds were seen well despite the high river levels.

Aramidae (Limpkin)

LIMPKIN (Aramus guarauna)

Psophiidae (Trumpeters)


Unfortunately, heard only for all but Bjorn.

Charadriidae (Plovers and Lapwings)

PIED LAPWING (Vanellus cayanus)

SOUTHERN LAPWING (Vanellus chilensis)

Jacanidae (Jacanas)

WATTLED JACANA (Jacana jacana)

Scolopacidae (Sandpipers and Allies)

SOLITARY SANDPIPER (Tringa solitaria)

Laridae (Gulls, Terns, and Skimmers)

LARGE-BILLED TERN (Phaetusa simplex)

BLACK SKIMMER (INTERCEDENS) (Rynchops niger intercedens)

Eurypygidae (Sunbittern)

SUNBITTERN (Eurypyga helias)

Ciconiidae (Storks)

WOOD STORK (Mycteria americana)

Anhingidae (Anhingas)

ANHINGA (Anhinga anhinga)

Phalacrocoracidae (Cormorants and Shags)

NEOTROPIC CORMORANT (Nannopterum brasilianum)

Ardeidae (Herons, Egrets, and Bitterns)

ZIGZAG HERON (Zebrilus undulatus)

An outstanding experience with a bird that we stimulated to start calling early one morning, and then patiently coaxed into view.

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)

Threskiornithidae (Ibises and Spoonbills)

GREEN IBIS (Mesembrinibis cayennensis)

Cathartidae (New World Vultures)

KING VULTURE (Sarcoramphus papa)

BLACK VULTURE (Coragyps atratus)

TURKEY VULTURE (TROPICAL) (Cathartes aura ruficollis)

LESSER YELLOW-HEADED VULTURE (Cathartes burrovianus)


Pandionidae (Osprey)

OSPREY (Pandion haliaetus)

Accipitridae (Hawks, Eagles, and Kites)

GRAY-HEADED KITE (Leptodon cayanensis)

SWALLOW-TAILED KITE (Elanoides forficatus)

BLACK-COLLARED HAWK (Busarellus nigricollis)

DOUBLE-TOOTHED KITE (Harpagus bidentatus)

PLUMBEOUS KITE (Ictinia plumbea)

CRANE HAWK (Geranospiza caerulescens)

GREAT BLACK HAWK (Buteogallus urubitinga)

ROADSIDE HAWK (Rupornis magnirostris)

WHITE-BROWED HAWK (Leucopternis kuhli)

The bird we heard and then called in from the top of the canopy tower was truly fabulous!

GRAY-LINED HAWK (Buteo nitidus)

BROAD-WINGED HAWK (Buteo platypterus)

Two different immatures seen on trails near the pousada were the first I'd ever seen on the upper Roosevelt.

SHORT-TAILED HAWK (Buteo brachyurus)

ZONE-TAILED HAWK (Buteo albonotatus)

One on our first afternoon, on the west bank of the Madeira, was a nice find.

Strigidae (Owls)

TROPICAL SCREECH-OWL (Megascops choliba) [*]

TAWNY-BELLIED SCREECH-OWL (Megascops watsonii)

A stunning view of a bird perched low and very close, found with the thermal scope.

AMAZONIAN PYGMY-OWL (Glaucidium hardyi)

After hearing these tiny canopy owls on several occasions, we finally managed a good scope view of one on our last morning.

BURROWING OWL (Athene cunicularia)

BLACK-BANDED OWL (Ciccaba huhula) [*]

Trogonidae (Trogons)

PAVONINE QUETZAL (Pharomachrus pavoninus) [*]

We had a bird calling fairly close but got rained out of our attempt to get a view of it.

BLACK-TAILED TROGON (Trogon melanurus)

GREEN-BACKED TROGON (Trogon viridis)

BLUE-CROWNED TROGON (Trogon curucui)


Our best view was of a large juvenile still in its nest cavity hollowed out of an arboreal termitarium, giving a strange food-begging call!

COLLARED TROGON (Trogon collaris) [*]

Momotidae (Motmots)

AMAZONIAN MOTMOT (Momotus momota)

Shy and standoffish, but seen pretty well by most.

RUFOUS MOTMOT (Baryphthengus martii)

Pretty much the same comment, I guess; hard to see well.

BROAD-BILLED MOTMOT (Electron platyrhynchum) [*]

Alcedinidae (Kingfishers)

RINGED KINGFISHER (Megaceryle torquata)

AMAZON KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle amazona)

GREEN KINGFISHER (Chloroceryle americana)

Bucconidae (Puffbirds)

WHITE-NECKED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus hyperrhynchus hyperrhynchus)

BROWN-BANDED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus ordii)

After finally getting a pair to respond to our recording one morning, we were able to move them into view for a nice scope study.

PIED PUFFBIRD (Notharchus tectus)

COLLARED PUFFBIRD (Bucco capensis)

Just one, but it was seen well; one of Bill's "most wanted"!


Thanks to Bjorn's world-class spotting of a bird that came into the canopy of towering trees,, we all enjoyed great scope views. For the first time ever, I believe, I could not come up with a Western Striolated Puffbird, not even heard, but we sure did give it a solid try.

WHITE-EARED PUFFBIRD (Nystalus chacuru) [*]


Again, just one sighting of this handsome bird, but it was a beauty.

BLACK-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa nigrifrons)

WHITE-FRONTED NUNBIRD (Monasa morphoeus)

SWALLOW-WINGED PUFFBIRD (Chelidoptera tenebrosa)

Among the highlight birds we found along the Rio Roosevelt were, in order of appearance here, Red-necked Woodpecker, Blue-cheeked Jacamar, Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, White-breasted Antbird (on its night roost!), Snethlage's Tody-Tyrant (nominate group), Chico's Tyrannulet (described by Bret and colleagues only in 2013), Black Skimmers, Musician Wren, Zigzag Heron (fabulously close!), Rufous-necked Puffbird, Curve-billed Scythebill, Chestnut-belted Gnateater (an unnamed population we are working on!), Scaly-breasted Wren, Black-spotted Bare-eye, Sand-colored Nighthawks, Collared Puffbird, and White-browed Hawk. [Video by guide Bret Whitney]
Galbulidae (Jacamars)

BROWN JACAMAR (Brachygalba lugubris melanosterna)

Great scope views of a pair; this is the distinctive, lower-Amazonian subspecies.

BLUE-CHEEKED JACAMAR (Galbula cyanicollis)

It took us a while to find this trip but the good views we had were worth the wait. As I mentioned on the tour, I think the birds west of the Madeira are better considered Yellow-billed Jacamars (G. albirostris), from which Blue-cheeked was fairly recently split.

RUFOUS-TAILED JACAMAR (Galbula ruficauda)

BLUISH-FRONTED JACAMAR (Galbula cyanescens)

Low, close studies of a pair.

BRONZY JACAMAR (Galbula leucogastra)


GREAT JACAMAR (Jacamerops aureus) [*]

Capitonidae (New World Barbets)


After days and days of barbet silence, I finally heard a bird, and called it in. We saw it dart into a tall tree, but a couple of minutes of searching failed to find it... until Bjorn made a world-class spot, and we eventually managed to maneuver the scope into a position that permitted a narrow window view that wasn't bad at all. It was about as close to a dip as can be imagined!

GILDED BARBET (Capito auratus) [*]

Couldn't get this one to budge at all.

Ramphastidae (Toucans)

LETTERED ARACARI (Pteroglossus inscriptus)

CHESTNUT-EARED ARACARI (Pteroglossus castanotis)

CURL-CRESTED ARACARI (Pteroglossus beauharnaisii)

Another fine sighting by Bjorn.

RED-NECKED ARACARI (Pteroglossus bitorquatus)

Seen beautifully a couple of times.

GOLDEN-COLLARED TOUCANET (Selenidera reinwardtii)

This one, fairly low and close, was especially appreciated by Bill.

GOULD'S TOUCANET (Selenidera gouldii)

Good views on our first afternoon, from the tower on the Roosevelt.

TOCO TOUCAN (Ramphastos toco)

WHITE-THROATED TOUCAN (Ramphastos tucanus)

CHANNEL-BILLED TOUCAN (Ramphastos vitellinus)

Picidae (Woodpeckers)

BAR-BREASTED PICULET (Picumnus aurifrons)

YELLOW-TUFTED WOODPECKER (Melanerpes cruentatus)

RED-STAINED WOODPECKER (Dryobates affinis)

RED-NECKED WOODPECKER (Campephilus rubricollis)

The close, drumming male we observed from the tower was spectacular!

CRIMSON-CRESTED WOODPECKER (Campephilus melanoleucos)

LINEATED WOODPECKER (Dryocopus lineatus)

RINGED WOODPECKER (Celeus torquatus) [*]





GOLDEN-GREEN WOODPECKER (Piculus chrysochloros)

SPOT-BREASTED WOODPECKER (Colaptes punctigula)

Falconidae (Falcons and Caracaras)

BARRED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur ruficollis)

Pretty nice views for most, as it flew in to perch a couple of times.

SLATY-BACKED FOREST-FALCON (Micrastur mirandollei) [*]

We tried to get a distant bird to come in, but no luck, just too far off.

BLACK CARACARA (Daptrius ater)

RED-THROATED CARACARA (Ibycter americanus)

CRESTED CARACARA (SOUTHERN) (Caracara plancus plancus)

YELLOW-HEADED CARACARA (Milvago chimachima)

LAUGHING FALCON (Herpetotheres cachinnans) [*]

AMERICAN KESTREL (Falco sparverius)

BAT FALCON (Falco rufigularis)

Psittacidae (New World and African Parrots)


GOLDEN-WINGED PARAKEET (Brotogeris chrysoptera)

ORANGE-CHEEKED PARROT (Pyrilia barrabandi)

Outstanding scope studies of several birds above the clay lick.

BLUE-HEADED PARROT (Pionus menstruus)

YELLOW-CROWNED PARROT (Amazona ochrocephala)

MEALY PARROT (Amazona farinosa) [*]

KAWALL'S PARROT (Amazona kawalli)

Ditto that comment, above! This species, widespread in certain sectors of the Amazon basin, was described to science only in 1989!

ORANGE-WINGED PARROT (Amazona amazonica)


Kind of dicey this trip, as numbers were remarkably low, but we did eventually manage great scope views.

SANTAREM PARAKEET (MADEIRA) (Pyrrhura amazonum snethlageae)

PEACH-FRONTED PARAKEET (Eupsittula aurea) [*]

DUSKY-HEADED PARAKEET (Aratinga weddellii)

RED-BELLIED MACAW (Orthopsittaca manilatus)




RED-AND-GREEN MACAW (Ara chloropterus) [*]

WHITE-EYED PARAKEET (Psittacara leucophthalmus)

Magnificent Cachoeira Santa Rita, Santa Rita rapids, was among the most daunting obstacles the Roosevelt-Rondon Expedition of 1914 had to overcome. A man was lost after being swept away during an exploratory mission, and Theodore Roosevelt's son, Kermit, was almost lost here as well. November was a high-water period, but not nearly as high as the river is when at the height of the rainy season, in March-April. That was when Coronel Rondon planned for the expedition to chart the Rio da Dúvida, the River of Doubt, as the strong current at that time of year would greatly aid their passage while minimizing underwater collisions with rocks, logs, and other debris. The portage path the crew cut through the forest, to get around this impassable rapids, is today the main path one walks along to get from the airstrip to the pousada. [Video by guide Bret Whitney]
Thamnophilidae (Typical Antbirds)

FASCIATED ANTSHRIKE (Cymbilaimus lineatus)

UNDULATED ANTSHRIKE (Frederickena unduliger)

We had a reluctantly singing male circling us, but it was (as usual) very stealthy, and only Bjorn and I managed a view of it.

GLOSSY ANTSHRIKE (Sakesphorus luctuosus)

Dynamite view of a singing male.

BARRED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus doliatus)

CHESTNUT-BACKED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus palliatus)

PLAIN-WINGED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus schistaceus)

MOUSE-COLORED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus murinus)

NATTERER'S SLATY-ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus stictocephalus) [*]

We just ran out of time to deal with this bird, as it was not responding to playback...

WHITE-SHOULDERED ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus aethiops)

AMAZONIAN ANTSHRIKE (Thamnophilus amazonicus)

SATURNINE ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes saturninus)

CINEREOUS ANTSHRIKE (Thamnomanes caesius)

PLAIN-THROATED ANTWREN (Isleria hauxwelli) [*]

SPOT-WINGED ANTSHRIKE (Pygiptila stellaris)

WHITE-EYED STIPPLETHROAT (Epinecrophylla leucophthalma)

RIO MADEIRA STIPPLETHROAT (ROOSEVELT) (Epinecrophylla amazonica dentei)

Excellent views a couple of times on the left bank of the Rio Roosevelt.

ORNATE STIPPLETHROAT (Epinecrophylla ornata)

PYGMY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula brachyura)

SCLATER'S ANTWREN (Myrmotherula sclateri)

We made a point of seeing this tiny canopy antwren at all geographically distinct venues -- that's going to pay off in the future.

AMAZONIAN STREAKED-ANTWREN (Myrmotherula multostriata)

WHITE-FLANKED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula axillaris)

LONG-WINGED ANTWREN (Myrmotherula longipennis)

IHERING'S ANTWREN (Myrmotherula iheringi)

Superb views of a singing male one day; scarce on the Roosevelt.

GRAY ANTWREN (Myrmotherula menetriesii)

LEADEN ANTWREN (Myrmotherula assimilis)

PREDICTED ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus praedictus)

Quite nice views of a singing bird; described to science only in 2013

ARIPUANA ANTWREN (Herpsilochmus stotzi)

Pretty much the same comment, except that our looks this year were exceptionally good.

DOT-WINGED ANTWREN (Microrhopias quixensis)

WHITE-FRINGED ANTWREN (Formicivora grisea)

PERUVIAN WARBLING-ANTBIRD (Hypocnemis peruviana)

RONDONIA WARBLING-ANTBIRD (Hypocnemis ochrogyna)

SPIX'S WARBLING-ANTBIRD (Hypocnemis striata implicata)


In all, we enjoyed excellent views of FOUR species of warbling-antbirds, this one being the most highly range-restricted and described to science only in 2013.

BLACK ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides serva)

An undescribed subspecies/species.

BLACKISH ANTBIRD (Cercomacroides nigrescens)

GRAY ANTBIRD (Cercomacra cinerascens)

Same remark! This is why you want to get a look at everything possible, every day.

WHITE-BROWED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus leucophrys)

What... the SAME remark?!

BLACK-FACED ANTBIRD (Myrmoborus myotherinus)

BLACK-CHINNED ANTBIRD (Hypocnemoides melanopogon)

BLACK-AND-WHITE ANTBIRD (Myrmochanes hemileucus)

SILVERED ANTBIRD (Sclateria naevia)

HUMAITA ANTBIRD (Myrmelastes humaythae)

Very sneaky, but we did eventually get great views, especially of the female. A split from the Spot-winged Antbird complex.

RUFOUS-FACED ANTBIRD (Myrmelastes rufifacies)

CHESTNUT-TAILED ANTBIRD (PALLENS) (Sciaphylax hemimelaena pallens)

[CHESTNUT-TAILED] ANTBIRD (Sciaphylax [hemimelaena] taxon novum)

We made a point of laying eyes on this one, likely to be recognized at the species level one day.

FERRUGINOUS-BACKED ANTBIRD (Myrmoderus ferrugineus)

Some folks had nice, if brief, views.

BLACK-THROATED ANTBIRD (Myrmophylax atrothorax)

This usually very skulky bird ended up putting on quite the show -- everyone had a nice view of either the male or the female, if not both!

WHITE-THROATED ANTBIRD (Oneillornis salvini) [*]

WHITE-BREASTED ANTBIRD (Rhegmatorhina hoffmannsi)

I found one on its night-roost with the thermal imaging scope, which was then easy to observe at very close range with a flashlight. Despite the dearth of ant swarm activity during our stay, we did locate a pair of birds (perhaps near a nest?), and most people got to see at least the adult male.

SPOT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax naevius)

This and the next species were seen really well.

DOT-BACKED ANTBIRD (Hylophylax punctulatus)

COMMON SCALE-BACKED ANTBIRD (Willisornis poecilinotus)

BLACK-SPOTTED BARE-EYE (Phlegopsis nigromaculata)

Truly amazing views of a calling bird... that I think must have been near its nest, but we found no evidence of it.

Conopophagidae (Gnateaters)

BLACK-BELLIED GNATEATER (Conopophaga melanogaster)

Whoa!! Our quest for the Rondonia Bushbird quickly morphed into an (unexpected!) appreciation of this incredible Amazonia specialty, which performed like a champ!


Superb views of an adult male -- this is an unnamed population, so stay tuned!

Grallariidae (Antpittas)

VARIEGATED ANTPITTA (Grallaria varia) [*]

ALTA FLORESTA ANTPITTA (Hylopezus whittakeri)

We had a singing bird come in close on our first afternoon afield on the Rio Roosevelt, but it was in the dark understory and hard for most folks to see worth a darn... yet I believe most people managed to get at least a brief view, and some saw it quite well.

THRUSH-LIKE ANTPITTA (Myrmothera campanisona) [*]

Formicariidae (Antthrushes)


Good views of this one

Furnariidae (Ovenbirds and Woodcreepers)

MIDDLE AMERICAN LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus mexicanus) [*]

"Tawny-throated" Leaftosser

SHORT-BILLED LEAFTOSSER (Sclerurus rufigularis)

One fairly responsive bird allowed good views

OLIVACEOUS WOODCREEPER (Sittasomus griseicapillus)

LONG-TAILED WOODCREEPER (Deconychura longicauda) [*]

So strange that this one did not respond to playback or my whistled imitation...


A rather poor view of a silent bird that I identified only as it hid itself around the back of a trunk; another was heard and perhaps seen by some later in the trip.

PLAIN-BROWN WOODCREEPER (Dendrocincla fuliginosa) [*]

WEDGE-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Glyphorynchus spirurus)


One fairly good view; would currently be ascribed to subspecies D. r. moniliger.

LONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Nasica longirostris)

WOW, what an incredible bird!!

AMAZONIAN BARRED-WOODCREEPER (JURUA) (Dendrocolaptes certhia juruanus) [*]

AMAZONIAN BARRED-WOODCREEPER (PLAIN-COLORED) (Dendrocolaptes certhia concolor)

One good view of this form, which occurs east of the Rio Madeira.

HOFFMANNS'S WOODCREEPER (Dendrocolaptes hoffmannsi)

A Madeira-Tapajos endemic seen well but just once!

UNIFORM WOODCREEPER (Hylexetastes uniformis)

Pretty much the same comment -- one nice sighting of a pair of birds. It occurs from the east bank of the Madeira thence east to near the mouth of the Amazon.

STRONG-BILLED WOODCREEPER (Xiphocolaptes promeropirhynchus) [*]

STRIPED WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus obsoletus) [*]

ELEGANT WOODCREEPER (Xiphorhynchus elegans)

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

Very nice views in good light.


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

This one finally appeared after much searching, but it stayed put for great scope viewing (unusual behavior)!

INAMBARI WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes fatimalimae) [*]

DUSKY-CAPPED WOODCREEPER (Lepidocolaptes fuscicapillus)

PLAIN XENOPS (Xenops minutus)


Superb scope views of one of these highly distinctive furnariids along the highway north of Porto Velho.

RUFOUS-TAILED XENOPS (Microxenops milleri) [*]

Very strangely unresponsive, would not move into view!

PALE-LEGGED HORNERO (Furnarius leucopus) [*]

RUFOUS-RUMPED FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Philydor erythrocercum)



Seen nicely several times.

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

STRIPED WOODHAUNTER (Automolus subulatus)

This foliage-gleaner can be really hard to see well, but the single bird we came across on the tour performed remarkably well, allowing everyone good views.

PARA FOLIAGE-GLEANER (Automolus paraensis)

Also seen very well, with a bit of patience.

PARKER'S SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca vulpecula)

SPECKLED SPINETAIL (Cranioleuca gutturata) [*]

YELLOW-CHINNED SPINETAIL (Certhiaxis cinnamomeus) [*]


Pipridae (Manakins)

DWARF TYRANT-MANAKIN (Tyranneutes stolzmanni)

BLUE-BACKED MANAKIN (REGINA) (Chiroxiphia pareola regina)

BLUE-CROWNED MANAKIN (Lepidothrix coronata)

SNOW-CAPPED MANAKIN (Lepidothrix nattereri)

After hearing a couple of unresponsive birds on our first morning on the Roosevelt, the species seemd to "shut down", and not a peep was heard for days, but we did eventually catch up with a female and an immature male.

FLAME-CROWNED MANAKIN (Heterocercus linteatus)

This one was calling quite a bit but staying out of view until we sneaked down toward the riverbank on a narrow trail and found a bird that stayed put for several minutes.

BAND-TAILED MANAKIN (Pipra fasciicauda) [*]

FIERY-CAPPED MANAKIN (Machaeropterus pyrocephalus) [*]

RED-HEADED MANAKIN (Ceratopipra rubrocapilla)

Another set of activities as we birded the wilds of the Rio Roosevelt. We upheld the tradition of birding the distinctive campina habitat on the Rio Madeirinha (a left-bank tributary of the Roosevelt) for Chico's Tyrannulet, Buff-cheeked Pygmy-Tyrant, Flame-crowned Manakin and others, then stopped at a good fishing spot to catch lunch: Peacock Bass, or Tucunaré (Cichla ocellaris)! The boat guys then cleaned and grilled them for us as we birded a terra firme trail nearby -- a great day! [Video by guide Bret Whitney]
Cotingidae (Cotingas)

BLACK-NECKED RED-COTINGA (Phoenicircus nigricollis)

Good views of two brightly colored immature males, one of which sat still long enough for scope viewing. But those were the only ones we encountered.

SPANGLED COTINGA (Cotinga cayana)

A couple of brilliant males graced treetops along the river.

SCREAMING PIHA (Lipaugus vociferans)

As usual, we heard these iconic birds quite a lot -- but, I tell you, a lot less than is usually the case (under drier conditions). Those of us doing the nocturnal outings got to see two birds perched on the night roosts, found with the thermal imaging scope -- fantastic!

POMPADOUR COTINGA (Xipholena punicea) [*]

Just one heard.

BARE-NECKED FRUITCROW (Gymnoderus foetidus)

One female was seen building a nest.

Tityridae (Tityras and Allies)

BLACK-CROWNED TITYRA (Tityra inquisitor)

BROWN-WINGED SCHIFFORNIS (Schiffornis turdina) [*]

WHITE-WINGED BECARD (Pachyramphus polychopterus)

Oxyruncidae (Sharpbill, Royal Flycatcher, and Allies)

ROYAL FLYCATCHER (Onychorhynchus coronatus) [*]

WHISKERED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius barbatus)

BLACK-TAILED FLYCATCHER (Myiobius atricaudus)

Tyrannidae (Tyrant Flycatchers)

WING-BARRED PIPRITES (Piprites chloris) [*]

GOLDEN-CROWNED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus coronatus) [*]

WHITE-CRESTED SPADEBILL (Platyrinchus platyrhynchos)

OCHRE-BELLIED FLYCATCHER (Mionectes oleagineus)

SEPIA-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Leptopogon amaurocephalus)

RINGED ANTPIPIT (Corythopis torquatus)

It was a dark morning in dark understory, but we did get to see a Ringed Antpipit singing from on top of a log.

SHORT-TAILED PYGMY-TYRANT (Myiornis ecaudatus)

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

With due patience, we did really well on all of the small "triccus" tody-tyrants!

STRIPE-NECKED TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus striaticollis)

An excellent view of a bird in the campos of Humaita

ZIMMER'S TODY-TYRANT (Hemitriccus minimus)

Nicely at the campina, where it sneaked in a couple of minutes after we had last heard it vocalize.


This is the "Snethlage's T-T" on the west side of the Madeira; we had wonderfully close studies of it.


Suspenseful waiting was rewarded with fine views of this sharp little flycatcher.

RUSTY-FRONTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Poecilotriccus latirostris) [*]

SPOTTED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum maculatum)

YELLOW-BROWED TODY-FLYCATCHER (Todirostrum chrysocrotaphum)

One seen fairly well high in a tree out of Humaita, subspecies indeterminate but, among the five currently on the books, T. c. neglectum of Peru would be the geographically most proximate.

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

YELLOW-MARGINED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias assimilis) [*]

Another remarkably quiet species this trip...

GRAY-CROWNED FLYCATCHER (Tolmomyias poliocephalus)


MOUSE-COLORED TYRANNULET (Phaeomyias murina) [*]

SHARP-TAILED TYRANT (Culicivora caudacuta)

This gorgeous little tyrant, most typical of the cerrado grasslands of central Brazil, put on a real show for us in the campos of Humaita as a pair bounded in to perch on grass stems only a few yards away.


FOREST ELAENIA (Myiopagis gaimardii)

GRAY ELAENIA (Myiopagis caniceps)

PLAIN-CRESTED ELAENIA (Elaenia cristata)

YELLOW-BELLIED ELAENIA (Elaenia flavogaster)

CHICO'S TYRANNULET (Zimmerius chicomendesi)

I was delighted to hear Chico's Tyrannulet call spontaneously as soon as we stepped into the campina on the Rio Madeirinha. A couple of minutes later, we were all enjoying great views of the bird, very near the exact place where I had discovered it on the 2009 Field Guides tour. It certainly seems that this is among the species that is most vocal in wetter times of the year, as it is always relatively hard to find on the June/July dry-season tours.


I was calling all of the birds east of the Madeira this species, but it appears that even those areas are supposed (and that is indeed the right word here) to be Slender-footed Tyrannulet, along with populations west of the Madeira. Guianan Tyrannulet is supposed to occupy much of the region between the Madeira and Tapajos thence east to the Atlantic Forest. I can tell you, this is a mess that I suspect stems mostly from inadequate genetic sampling and interpretation.

SLENDER-FOOTED TYRANNULET (Zimmerius gracilipes)

This was the one we saw west of the Madeira (out of Humaita).

FUSCOUS FLYCATCHER (FUSCOUS) (Cnemotriccus fuscatus fuscatior)

DRAB WATER TYRANT (Ochthornis littoralis)

WHITE-HEADED MARSH TYRANT (Arundinicola leucocephala)

RUFOUS-TAILED FLATBILL (Ramphotrigon ruficauda) [*]

CINNAMON ATTILA (Attila cinnamomeus) [*]

CITRON-BELLIED ATTILA (Attila citriniventris)

With perseverance, we managed to coax a singing bird into a low, close perch.

BRIGHT-RUMPED ATTILA (Attila spadiceus) [*]

GRAYISH MOURNER (Rhytipterna simplex)

DUSKY-CAPPED FLYCATCHER (Myiarchus tuberculifer)


LESSER KISKADEE (Pitangus lictor)

GREAT KISKADEE (Pitangus sulphuratus)

SOCIAL FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes similis)

DUSKY-CHESTED FLYCATCHER (Myiozetetes luteiventris)

The one seen from the tower, really close, was truly exceptional!


STREAKED FLYCATCHER (Myiodynastes maculatus)

PIRATIC FLYCATCHER (Legatus leucophaius)

VARIEGATED FLYCATCHER (Empidonomus varius)

Tom reported one from the trees near his cabin.

SULPHURY FLYCATCHER (Tyrannopsis sulphurea)

A nice view of one spotted by Bjorn.

WHITE-THROATED KINGBIRD (Tyrannus albogularis)

Numerous in the campos of Humaita

TROPICAL KINGBIRD (Tyrannus melancholicus)


Vireonidae (Vireos, Shrike-Babblers, and Erpornis)

RUFOUS-BROWED PEPPERSHRIKE (Cyclarhis gujanensis) [*]

GRAY-CHESTED GREENLET (Hylophilus semicinereus) [*]

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

TAWNY-CROWNED GREENLET (Tunchiornis ochraceiceps) [*]

BUFF-CHEEKED GREENLET (Pachysylvia muscicapina) [*]

RED-EYED VIREO (Vireo olivaceus)

The only individual seen on the trip appeared to be of the North American, nominate subspecies.

BLACK-WHISKERED VIREO (Vireo altiloquus)

Several of these vireos were present with a loose mixed-species flock near Humaita; here on the wintering grounds.

After nearly a week of energetic birding on the Rio Roosevelt, we got ourselves organized to fly back to Porto Velho, taking with us many fond memories of birds and birding under the canopy of tall, undisturbed rainforest that few people have been privileged to experience in person. There is still a lot to explore in this region... [Video by guide Bret Whitney]
Corvidae (Crows, Jays, and Magpies)

AZURE-NAPED JAY (CAMPINA) (Cyanocorax heilprini hafferi)

WOW! We had stopped along a side-road to walk and listen for the jays and other birds, sort of leap-frogging ahead in the van now and then to walk a different stretch of the road, when we heard several loud calls in the forest nearby. Bjorn saw them first and exclaimed, "JAYS!", with Tom also spotting one at the same time. Soon, we had about 6 birds coming into great view, regarding us with curiosity and making odd, quivering movements with their wings (check out the video). We were lucky indeed to come across those birds, but that's a lot of what birding is about! This jay was described new to science in 2013, and named Cyanocorax hafferi (Campina Jay), but is currently considered by the SACC a subspecies of the closely related Azure-naped Jay, widely disjunct north of the Amazon.

Donacobiidae (Donacobius)

BLACK-CAPPED DONACOBIUS (Donacobius atricapilla)

Hirundinidae (Swallows)

BLACK-COLLARED SWALLOW (Pygochelidon melanoleuca)

WHITE-THIGHED SWALLOW (Atticora tibialis)

WHITE-BANDED SWALLOW (Atticora fasciata)

SOUTHERN ROUGH-WINGED SWALLOW (Stelgidopteryx ruficollis)

PURPLE MARTIN (Progne subis)

Generally low numbers during the tour, but we did enjoy watching a large concentration roosting on a cell tower at Porto Velho as we waited for our charter flight to the Rio Roosevelt. However, during my scouting week ahead of the trip, I noted many more. They seem to move around quite a lot, perhaps settling down en masse into Dec and early January before heading back north.

GRAY-BREASTED MARTIN (Progne chalybea)


WHITE-WINGED SWALLOW (Tachycineta albiventer)

WHITE-RUMPED SWALLOW (Tachycineta leucorrhoa)

BARN SWALLOW (Hirundo rustica)

Polioptilidae (Gnatcatchers)

LONG-BILLED GNATWREN (Ramphocaenus melanurus)

Birds we saw pertain to the "Trilling" complex.

Troglodytidae (Wrens)

SCALY-BREASTED WREN (Microcerculus marginatus)

Not many heard, but we did get very nice views of one bird that was singing persistently.

TOOTH-BILLED WREN (Odontorchilus cinereus) [*]

Not a single bird was heard on the Roosevelt despite a fair amount of trolling playback, but we did hear one singing fairly consistently near Jaci Parana, which refused to come close enough to the forest edge to be in view.

HOUSE WREN (Troglodytes aedon)

THRUSH-LIKE WREN (Campylorhynchus turdinus)

MOUSTACHED WREN (Pheugopedius genibarbis)

BUFF-BREASTED WREN (Cantorchilus leucotis)

MUSICIAN WREN (Cyphorhinus arada)

Again, heard just once the whole trip, but we had a fine look, and listen! This would most likely be considered subspecies C. a. interpositus.

Turdidae (Thrushes and Allies)

PALE-BREASTED THRUSH (Turdus leucomelas)

HAUXWELL'S THRUSH (Turdus hauxwelli) [*]

WHITE-NECKED THRUSH (Turdus albicollis) [*]

LAWRENCE'S THRUSH (Turdus lawrencii) [*]

Passeridae (Old World Sparrows)

HOUSE SPARROW (Passer domesticus)

Fringillidae (Finches, Euphonias, and Allies)

PURPLE-THROATED EUPHONIA (Euphonia chlorotica) [*]

THICK-BILLED EUPHONIA (Euphonia laniirostris)

RUFOUS-BELLIED EUPHONIA (Euphonia rufiventris)

Passerellidae (New World Sparrows)

GRASSLAND SPARROW (Ammodramus humeralis)

YELLOW-BROWED SPARROW (Ammodramus aurifrons)

PECTORAL SPARROW (Arremon taciturnus) [*]

Icteridae (Troupials and Allies)


GREEN OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius viridis)

OLIVE OROPENDOLA (Psarocolius bifasciatus)


EPAULET ORIOLE (Icterus cayanensis)

GIANT COWBIRD (Molothrus oryzivorus)

Mitrospingidae (Mitrospingid Tanagers)

RED-BILLED PIED TANAGER (Lamprospiza melanoleuca) [*]

Cardinalidae (Cardinals and Allies)


ROSE-BREASTED CHAT (Granatellus pelzelni) [*]

We were obviously out of sync with this bird -- despite finally getting one or two to call back, they would not move, which was unprecedented in my experience. So, "heard only".

AMAZONIAN GROSBEAK (Cyanoloxia rothschildii)

Thraupidae (Tanagers and Allies)

RED-CAPPED CARDINAL (Paroaria gularis)

BLACK-FACED TANAGER (Schistochlamys melanopis)

FLAME-CRESTED TANAGER (Loriotus cristatus)


SILVER-BEAKED TANAGER (Ramphocelus carbo)

BLUE-GRAY TANAGER (Thraupis episcopus)

PALM TANAGER (Thraupis palmarum)

DOTTED TANAGER (Ixothraupis varia) [*]

Along the walk from the upriver boat dock to the lodge for lunch, Bjorn and I had a bird singing consistently high overhead, but it remained out of sight.


MASKED TANAGER (Stilpnia nigrocincta)

PARADISE TANAGER (Tangara chilensis)

BAY-HEADED TANAGER (Tangara gyrola)

GREEN-AND-GOLD TANAGER (Tangara schrankii)

SWALLOW TANAGER (Tersina viridis) [*]

Our Rio Roosevelt tour usually opens with a few days of birding along the Rio Madeira, especially around the old Amazonian town of Humaitá, but due to logistics this year (including the need to be tested for Covid-19 before flying home), we birded Humaitá at the end of the trip. Of course, it worked out very well, and being at Humaitá toward the end of the trip probably helped things dry out a bit (it had been incredibly wet during the week of scouting I did before the tour started!) Some of our best birds, in order of appearance, were Ocellated Crake, Sharp-tailed Tyrant, White-rumped Tanager, Black-masked Finch, Bar-breasted Piculet, Bluish-fronted Jacamar, Fasciated Antshrike, Predicted Antwren (described to science only in 2013), Golden-collared Toucanet, Azure-naped Jay (population west of the Rio Madeira named Cyanocorax hafferi, Campina Jay, in 2013, is currently considered a subspecies of Azure-naped, which is widely disjunct north of the Amazon), and Point-tailed Palmcreeper. [Video by guide Bret Whitney]

BLACK-FACED DACNIS (Dacnis lineata)

YELLOW-BELLIED DACNIS (Dacnis flaviventer)

BLUE DACNIS (Dacnis cayana)

PURPLE HONEYCREEPER (Cyanerpes caeruleus)

GREEN HONEYCREEPER (Chlorophanes spiza)

YELLOW-BACKED TANAGER (Hemithraupis flavicollis)

PEARLY-BREASTED CONEBILL (Conirostrum margaritae)

WHITE-RUMPED TANAGER (Cypsnagra hirundinacea)

Highly entertaining views of a pair of these dapper tanagers performing their rollicking, treetop duets in the campos of Humaita. This is the pale-throated subspecies C. h. pallidigula.


WEDGE-TAILED GRASS-FINCH (Emberizoides herbicola)

BLUE-BLACK GRASSQUIT (Volatinia jacarina)

LINED SEEDEATER (Sporophila lineola)

Really nice, close views of males and females in river-edge grasses on the Madeira.

CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila castaneiventris)

TAWNY-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila hypoxantha)

DARK-THROATED SEEDEATER (Sporophila ruficollis)

Several good looks at this bird, which appears to be a wet-season breeder in the campos of Humaita; more study required!

CHESTNUT-BELLIED SEED-FINCH (Sporophila angolensis) [*]

YELLOW-BELLIED SEEDEATER (Sporophila nigricollis)

DOUBLE-COLLARED SEEDEATER (Sporophila caerulescens)

BLACK-MASKED FINCH (Coryphaspiza melanotis)

BANANAQUIT (Coereba flaveola)


BLUE-GRAY SALTATOR (Saltator coerulescens)

SLATE-COLORED GROSBEAK (Saltator grossus) [*]


FREE-TAILED BAT SP. (Tadarida sp.)

[SILVERY] MARMOSET (Callithrix [argentata] sp.)

Taxonomy of this group of marmosets, formerly in the genus Callithrix, is in flux. The animals we saw well on the left bank of the Roosevelt, with black tails and dark crowns, were Black-tailed Marmoset (Mico melanurus). This year we were unable to lay eyes on the animals on the right bank of the Roosevelt, with white tails and heads, but we heard them at least once; they are Aripuana Marmoset (Mico intermedius).

SADDLEBACK TAMARIN (Saguinus fuscicollis)

Seen in tall forest edge out of Humaita.


Unfortunately heard only, darn it!


DUSKY TITI MONKEY (Callicebus moloch)

The animals on the right bank of the Roosevelt (behind the pousada), with a white tail tip, belong to the subspecies/species C. m. cinerascens.

PRINCE BERNARD'S TITI MONKEY (Callicebus bernhardi)

The titis we saw rather briefly on the left bank of the Roosevelt one morning (trilha do ouro), with dark tail tips, were this species.

RED HOWLER MONKEY (Alouatta seniculus)

Howlers were very, very quiet this trip. We did have a good view of a lone male one day, but that was about "it" for howlers.


Nice views of a fairly fast-moving group of five one day.

BROWN CAPUCHIN (Cebus apella)

COMMON WOOLLY MONKEY (Lagothrix lagotricha)

Just one sighting, but several were seen well.

WHITE-BELLIED SPIDER MONKEY (Ateles belzebuth chamek)

No white bellies on the animals in this area.


Great, close views of a single animal as it scampered up and down a trunk and limbs.

AMAZON RIVER DOLPHIN (Inia geoffrensis)

One in the Rio Madeira was seen briefly by most of us

TUCUXI (Sotalia fluviatilis)

About 6 more actively feeding in the same are of the Madeira as the Amazonian River Dolphin

JAGUAR (Panthera onca)

A big set of fresh tracks on the trail one day.

BRAZILIAN TAPIR (Tapirus terrestris)

Tracks seen on several occasions, but we did not see a Tapir this trip (unusual).

RED BROCKET DEER (Mazama americana)

One of these forest deer was seen at the clay lick.

Totals for the tour: 438 bird taxa and 18 mammal taxa