Reserva Natural Palmari is a jungle lodge and research facility located
on the Brazilian side of the lower Río Javarí, the geographical
border between Peru and Brazil. It opened in 1998 and can now be considered
the leading eco-tourism operator in the region. The Reserva Natural Palmarí
consits of 40 hectares of nearly primary rain forest, but activities of
the lodge are carried out over a much larger area on both sides of the
on the water level of the river, the Reserva Natural Palmari Lodge is
reached in 3-5 hours by boat from Leticia/Tabatinga. The lodge offers
good food and accommodation, friendly and knowledgeable staff and a range
of activities. As a place for birdwatching, the area is still more or
less unknown to the international birding community. Hopefully that will
change with this report, because the Javarí really deserves to
get on the ornithological map of prime destinations in Amazonia.
far as birding is concerned I hope that this report will answer most of
your questions, but you´re welcome to ask me about anything that´s
unclear or lacking. For information on prices, services and everything
else you might want to know about the lodge and its surroundings, please
visit the lodge´s homepage at www.palmari.org.
introduction to the habitats of the Reserva Natural Palmari
lodge is ideally situated. Virtually all habitats of the lower Javarí
are found in its immediate surroundings, most importantly the terra firme.
As Javarí is a strongly meandering river the flood plain is often
several kilometers wide, and direct access to terra firme is only found
in a few places. The forests are more or less pristine, although selective
logging has been taken place in several areas. The extraction of Rosewood
50 years ago have left logging tracks (made by tractors) that are slightly
visible even today. Cleared areas are only found close to settlements.
firme Forest on solid ground that is never flooded. This is the most species
rich forest, but also the most “hard-worked”. The terra firme
near Palmarí is quite hilly, with small streams and marshes in
between and an understorey rich in palms and heliconias.
The várzea is the typical forest of the Javarí flood plain.
Much of it is flooded every year for several months, but the highest parts
don´t get flooded every year. These high parts have a transitional-type
forest and can be found i.e. at Santa Rita. The flood plain has many channels
and oxbow lakes, most of them with “blackwater” character.
The dark color of the water comes from the tannins that leek from the
leaves of the forest floor.
This forest type is found mainly along blackwater channels and lakes,
to a lesser extent along the river. It is a low forest of rather uniform
height at the edge of the várzea that is flooded most of the year.
habitats River banks and beaches are normally present for 5 months every
year. These are important for breeding turtles, iguanas and birds. At
low water a “peninsula” is created just in front of the lodge,
with muddy shores and vegetation reminding of a river island. Little similar
habitat is found along the lower Javarí.
at the Reserva Natural Palmari
lower Río Javarí is home to more than 500 species of birds,
creating an unusual mix of avian elements from western and southern Amazonia,
with even a few species present that are generally found only north of
the Amazon river. Several species are difficult or even impossible to
see elsewhere in Brazil or Peru, making the area attractive also for serious
country listers. The Río Javarí has been relatively little
visited by ornithologists, and only in recent years has the terra firme
become better known, resulting in the discovery of at least two new species
for science. Pending the official publishing of these two species, which
will likely be within the next two years, the only information I can give
is that both are cryptic species, best told apart by their vocalizations
and that one of them is an “Antbird”.
Gray Wren is perhaps the area´s foremost speciality, but the list
of sought-after species is long. Among those can be mentioned Zigzag Heron,
Crested and Harpy Eagles (the latter seen rather frequently!), Buckley´s
Forest-Falcon, Starred Wood-Quail, Wattled Curassow (rare nowadays), Red-crowned
Parakeet, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, Red-billed Ground-Cuckoo (at least
by rumor), White-chested Swift, Fiery Topaz, Gould´s Jewelfront,
Pavonine Quetzal, Purplish Jacamar, Brown-banded, Collared and Cestnut-capped
Puffbirds, Curl-crested Araçari, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Bar-bellied,
Ocellated and Zimmer´s Woodcreepers, Undulated Antshrike, Río
Suno and Chestnut-shouldered Antwrens, Black-tailed, Slate-colored, Dot-backed
and Hairy-crested Antbirds, Black-spotted and Reddish-winged Bare-eyes,
Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Johannes´s Tody-Tyrant, Brownish Twistwing,
Amazonian Royal-Flycatcher, Amazonian Black-Tyrant, Citron-bellied Attila,
Striped and Flame-crested Manakins, Purple-throated Cotinga, Amazonian
Umbrellabird, White-bellied Dacnis and Band-tailed Oropendola.
a birder, the best time to visit Palmarí is between June and September
(probably also October), when it´s dry season and the water level
has dropped significantly (peak time is late August-September) and the
várzea is dry. Keep in mind, though, that some channels leading
to the various blackwater lakes may be impassible at very low water levels
(=September). Visiting Palmarí at other seasons could yield interesting
and surprising discoveries. Rainforest birds move around a lot more than
one might think! Intra-Amazonian migration is very poorly known, and relative
abundance of many species depends on water levels, availability of fruiting
and flowering trees and even unknown factors. There is still a lot to
find out about the avifauna of Palmarí. Whenever you go, I recommend
a stay of at least a week to be able to bird all the different habitats
properly. And don´t forget your rubber boots – you will need
now follows is a “bird finding guide” divided into three sections,
with more or less detailed hints for bird finding in the various areas
and trails of Palmarí:
Areas and trails accessible on foot from the lodge
2. Areas and trails accessible by boat
3. Further exploration
hope that these descriptions will be valuable both when planning a trip
to Palmarí and as a reference while at the lodge.
and trails accessible on foot from the lodge
vast majority of the birds at Palmarí can be found on foot from
the lodge. Almost
every habitat is present, although the várzea and igapó
is limited in extent. My personal
interpretation of the area and its trails is presented on this map:
The main visitors centre and "enramada" clearings
in/from the lodge and enramada clearings can be very rewarding, especially
when trees are flowering or fruiting. Even if your time at the lodge is
limited and most special birds are found inside the forest, it can definitely
pay off to look around for a hummer tree. The extraordinary Fiery Topaz
is more likely to see here than anywhere else, as long as their favourite
tree with red tubular flowers is in bloom. Some luck is required, though,
as it takes a week or two for the flowers to open. Other good hummers seen
in the lodge clearing were Black-bellied Thorntail and Gould´s Jewelfront.
A species I only saw at fruiting trees in the clearings and never inside
the forest was Striped Manakin. Deville´s Parakeet is commonly seen
or heard daily in the clearings.
The observation tower serves as a good viewing point for
raptors, parrots and swifts, as well as riverine species. Unfortunately
there is very limited space, enough only for one telescope. All kinds
of birds turned up here during my 7 weeks, including species like Amazonian
Umbrellabird, Pied Puffbird and Opal-rumped Tanager. At dusk, a few Band-tailed
Nighthawks can usually be seen hawking over the river, although they may
be easier to watch from the porch in front of the restaurant.
At the river´s edge there are strings of trees and
bushes, and grass, where various várzea and scrub species can be
seen, including Speckled Chachalaca, Spot-breasted Woodpecker, Straight-billed
and occasionally Zimmer´s Woodcreeper, Barred Antshrike, Olive-faced
Flatbill, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher, Várzea Schiffornis, Gray-chested
Greenlet, Hooded Tanager and various Seedeaters. Many of the austral migrants
also frequent these habitats, including Large and Small-billed Elaenias,
Vermilion Flycatcher and Crowned Slaty-Flycatcher.
The peninsula in front of the visitors centre
level of the river drops dramatically in August-September, creating tall
river banks, huge sandy beaches and, just in front of the lodge, a “peninsula”
covered in tall grass and shrubs with a few patches of trees. Add to this
muddy beaches, and you´ve got a whole new set of habitats for birds.
At the peak of low water you can even walk into the peculiar, low igapó
forest and walk the Piranha trail (see below).
I spent quite a few afternoons and a couple of mornings
birding these habitats, at the beginning from a canoe. I had reason to
believe that one of the new species was to be found here, which turned
out to be wrong. Instead I found several other interesting and surprising
species, and I thoroughly enjoyed watching Nearctic waders at close range.
My surprise birds were Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant and Plain
Tyrannulet, both seen very well and comprising extralimital records to
what was previously known about their ranges. Among the species regularly
found around the peninsula can be mentioned Muscovy Duck, Lesser Yellow-headed
Vulture, Great Black-Hawk, Gray-breasted Crake (frequently heard, but
almost impossible to see), Purple Gallinule, Large-billed and Yellow-billed
Terns, Pectoral and Solitary Sandpipers, Collared Plover, Wattled Jacana,
Pale-vented Pigeon, Ruddy Ground-Dove, White-tipped Dove, Deville´s
Parakeet, Ladder-tailed Nightjar, Rusty-backed Spinetail, Mouse-colored
Tyrannulet, Red-capped Cardinal, Yellow-hooded Blackbird and Giant Cowbird.
The birding around the peninsula is dynamic. After some
heavy rains in late August and early September the peninsula was suddenly
full of Greater Anis and Fork-tailed Flycatchers. The muddy shores were
graced by single visits by Stilt and Buff-breasted Sandpipers, Greater
Yellowlegs and Pied Lapwing.
Yellow trail (Amarelo) with associated side trails
the lodge there is a system of trails that are all connected to the Yellow
trail, the principal terra firme trail of Palmarí. I will deal mostly
with the Yellow trail itself, and write more briefly about the others. More
or less common species that can be seen or heard anywhere in the area are
i.e. Variegated and Cinereous Tinamous, Needle-billed Hermit, Pavonine Quetzal,
Amazonian White-tailed Trogon, Black-spotted Barbet, Juruá Woodcreeper,
Saturnine Antshrike, Stipple-throated, Long-winged, Gray and Pygmy Antwrens,
Double-banded Pygmy-Tyrant, Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin, Dusky-capped Greenlet
and Slate-colored Grosbeak.
a) The Yellow trail is the principal terra firme trail
of Palmarí, traversing both flat areas and hills, with a few minor
creek crossings and a stretch beside the Cachoeira stream. In other words
it´s varied and also has a very good selection of terra firme birds.
The trail is marked with meter signs.
Interesting birds can be found as soon as you step into
the forest, but normally it´s rather quiet until you get to the
stream at around 200 m. Spot-backed Antbird is regular here, and Hairy-crested
Antbird, White-shouldered Antshrike and Red-crowned Ant-Tanager are all
possible but highly irregular. At 300 m there is a tree fall where Black
Antbird can be found. From here to 600 m watch and listen for Brownish
Twistwing, Blue-crowned Manakin and Grayish Mourner. My only Ringed Antpipit
was seen here.
At 600 m the trail starts climbing a hill, and it follows
the ridge top until 1450 m. This is a very good stretch for species like
Mouse-colored Antshrike, Sooty, Slate-colored, Yellow-browed and Scale-backed
Antbirds, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Thrush-like Schiffornis, Blue-backed
Manakin, Citron-bellied Attila (esp. 600-650 m), White-crested Spadebill,
Rufous-tailed Flatbill and Tawny-crowned Greenlet. A pair of Yellow-throated
Woodpeckers had their nest at the Guayaba intersection (see species list).
Canopy flocks might hold Chestnut-winged Hookbill, Eastern Woodhaunter,
Rufous-tailed Xenops, Sclater´s and Chestnut-shouldered Antwrens,
Eastern Sirystes and different tanagers. Rarer species might include Great
Jacamar, Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Black-banded Woodcreeper and Short-tailed
At c.1500 m the trail goes downhill and then up and down
a ridge. On the top you can take the left onto the “Tractor”
trail (e). If continuing down from the ridge you pass a swampy area and
soon reach the Cachoeira stream. The trail goes along here until c. 2800
m. Regular species here are i.e. Scale-breasted Woodpecker, Cinnamon-throated
Woodcreeper, Plain-winged and Spot-winged Antshrikes, Black, Southern
Chestnut-tailed, Sooty and Spot-backed Antbirds, Rusty-belted Tapaculo,
Bright-rumped Attila, Screaming Piha, Wing-barred Piprites and White-crowned
Manakin. Look out for Brown-banded Puffbird (high up!), Broad-billed Motmot,
Ihering´s Antwren, Spot-winged Antbird, Amazonian Royal-Flycatcher,
Yellow-throated Flycatcher (voice), Cinereous Mourner and Buff-rumped
Warbler. I saw Starred Wood-Quail once, and there are older records of
At the “cachoeira” the Yellow trail continues
along the stream, while a left turn will take you on the Cachoeira trail
to the lodge. After a few hundred meters you enter the plantations of
Palmarí community, and you can continue through the village to
complete the circuit or turn back and take the Cachoeira trail.
b) The Cachoeira trail is short, passing a steep ridge.
It is good for motmots (in the beginning) and in the occasional flock,
look especially for Ihering´s Antwren. It´s more convenient
to take this trail to complete the Yellow trail, instead of going through
c) The short Canopy trail leads to the Canopy platform
(d), mostly gently uphill. This is a good trail for Southern Nightingale-Wren
and Citron-bellied Attila.
d) I only “climbed” to the Canopy platform
once. The platform has been built by and is visited only with the staff
of Selvaventura, an independent partner to Palmarí lodge. The cost
is 50.000.- colombian pesos or 50.- reales/person and climb. It´s
a small platform but the view from here is very good. It´s a shame
that I didn´t get up here more times. During my only visit I saw
goodies like Black Hawk-Eagle, Brown-banded Puffbird, Purplish Jacamar,
Black-bellied Cuckoo and Spangled Cotinga. A few species rarely seen from
the ground are very likely regular from up here.
e) The “Tractor” trail was usually kind of
quiet, but here I found good understorey flocks several times, with species
like Ihering´s Antwren, Wing-barred Piprites and White-crowned Manakin.
Chestnut-belted Gnateater was seen once.
Aldea trail (Blue)
terra firme trail, some 6-7 km in length. Most of the trail is on fairly
level ground, the trail itself is partly an old logging track. Although
this trail always felt a bit on the quiet side, there are some good birds
around, notably Rufous-necked Puffbird (seen twice), Blue-cheeked Jacamar,
Golden-green Woodpecker, White-shouldered Antshrike, Sclater´s Antwren,
Slate-colored and Yellow-browed Antbirds, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Rusty-belted
Tapaculo, Cinereous Mourner and White-crowned Manakin. A good trail for
both Saddle-backed and Black-chested Moustached Tamarins.
5. The "Palmarí"
through the community of Palmarí can give some different birds of
forest edge and secondary growth. Flowering and fruiting trees different
from the ones in the lodge clearing are found, and can be full with hummingbirds
and tanagers. Needle-billed Hermits, White-necked Jacobins and Purple Honeycreepers
were seen under the very best of circumstances. Mauritia palms probably
hold Sulphury Flycatchers, although I didn´t find any during my few
walks through the village. White-shouldered Antbird, less common on the
Brazilian side of the Javarí, was heard on two occasions toward Aldea,
and the plantations may yield austral migrants and a variety of seedeaters.
my favourite trails, at the very edge between várzea and terra firme.
The varied habitats make this trail very species rich and some of the flocks
I saw here were truly spectacular. First you cross the Enramada clearing.
When entering the varzéa there is an open water space immediately
to your right (during low water season – the trail may not be walkable
at all in June, and certainly not during high water levels). In this area
I found i.e. Muscovy Duck, White-chinned Jacamar, Chestnut-capped Nunlet,
Amazonian Antshrike, Band-tailed Antbird, Leaden Antwren, Olive-faced and
Yellow-olive Flatbills, Cinnamon Attila, Lesser Kiskadee and Chestnut-crowned
Anywhere ahead of you a flock may turn up, which could
hold species like Speckled Spinetail, Rufous-tailed and Slender-billed
Xenopses, Ocellated, Striped and Plain-brown Woodcreepers, Sclater´s,
Dot-winged and Chestnut-shouldered Antwrens, Gray-crowned Flatbill, Sepia-capped
Flycatcher, Long-billed Gnatwren, Lemon-chested Greenlet, Rufous-bellied
and White-lored Euphonias, Paradise Tanager and White-winged Shrike-Tanager.
After about 700 meters you reach a stream crossing. Along
this stream is a Gray Wren held territory. It was mostly heard near the
end of the trail, but was seen close to here by the Fieldguides group.
The final stretch of the trail goes at the edge of the terra firme, but
it´s easy to walk beside the stream below if you want to. Johannes´s
Tody-Tyrant and Amazonian Streaked-Antwren was often heard from here.
Many more or less rare species turned up along the trail
during my many walks, most notably a Buckley´s Forest-Falcon which
was heard calling one morning. Among others can be mentioned Rufescent
Tiger-Heron, Gray-headed Kite (nicely perched!), Spix´s Guan, Black-bellied
Thorntail, Blue-chinned Sapphire, Curve-billed Scythebill, Silvered Antbird,
Amazonian Royal-Flycatcher (heard), Amazonian Umbrellabird, Lawrence´s
Thrush, Guira Tanager and Band-tailed Oropendola.
7. Antwren trail
side trail connected to the Várzea trail, going up alongside a stream
of a terra firme slope. I have named it “Antwren trail” because
there always seems to be an understorey flock around, with plenty of Stipple-throated
and Long-winged Antwrens. Species of note on this trail are Black-throated
Trogon, Great Jacamar, Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner, Southern Nightingale-Wren
and Wing-barred Piprites.
8. Piranha trail
||It is possible
to walk this short trail only during very low water levels, when you can
reach it via the peninsula or the next coming trail, Guayaba de la Danta.
The habitats are várzea, igapó and the two Piranha lakes.
If the water level is high, you can still see most species from a canoe.
Birds are much the same as along the várzea trail
and the peninsula, but here the possibilities are much better to see waterbound
species like Green and Pygmy Kingfishers, Band-tailed Antbird, Amazonian
Streaked and Leaden Antwrens or an occasional Black-collared Hawk. Flocks
here may include Ocellated, Striped and Zimmer´s Woodcreepers, Slender-billed
Xenops, Amazonian Antshrike, Wire-tailed Manakin and White-vented Euphonia.
The Gray Wren holding territory along the Várzea trail could be
heard from here as well, and my only Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle was seen
9. Guayaba de
la Danta trail
in my opinion, the best and most varied of the terra firme trails. To walk
length (c. 6 km including the Várzea trail) you need to be in fairly
good shape, since it´s a bit on the rough side, with many stream crossings.
Ideal is to walk this trail twice, starting at different ends.
Starting at the end of the Várzea trail, you first
enter transitional forest which can be quite wet after heavy rains. After
a few hundred meters the trail starts to climb gently up a slope until
it levels out at c. 1000 meters. At 2000 meters the trail climbs up to
the top of a ridge and then down at 2800 meters to a marshy, low-lying
area with numerous stream crossings. A ridge is crossed at 3900 m, and
at 4236 meters the trail end up with the Yellow trail (800 m).
The first 1.5 kilometers can be quite birdy. There are
often flocks around, and this was one of the few places where I had good
army ant swarms. Add to this a good selection of skulkers, and you´ve
got a really good mix of species. Regular species here includes White-throated
Tinamou, White-fronted Nunbird, Golden-collared Toucanet, Yellow-throated,
Golden-green and Red-necked Woodpeckers, Mouse-colored Antshrike, White-throated,
Scale-backed and Hairy-crested Antbirds, Black-faced Antthrush, Thrush-like
Antpitta, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Rusty-belted Tapaculo, Rufous-tailed
Flatbill, Brownish Twistwing, Black-capped and Pink-throated Becards,
White-crowned and Red-headed Manakins, Purple-necked Fruitcrow, White-necked
Thrush and Fulvous-crested Tanager. Among the many species seen occasionally
can be mentioned Lined Forest-Falcon, Spix´s Guan, Starred Wood-Quail,
Black-throated Hermit, Rufous-necked Puffbird, Paradise Jacamar, Short-billed
Leaftosser, Amazonian Barred-Woodcreeper, McConnell´s Flycatcher,
White-bellied Tody-Tyrant, White-crested Spadebill and Citron-bellied
Among the birds that I found between 1500 and 2100 m the
Reddish-winged Bare-eye is outstanding, but worth to mention are also
Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Chestnut-winged Foliage-gleaner, Eastern Woodhaunter,
Amazonian Barred-Woodcreeper, Slate-colored and Black-faced Antbirds,
Plain-throated Antwren and Curl-crested Aracari. Every time I walked on
the ridge (2100-2800 m) it was late morning and more or less quiet except
for some occasional small flock.
The marshy/streamy area between 2900-3700 m hold many
good species and very nice canopy flocks. Birds to look for here are Little
Tinamou, Pale-tailed Barbthroat, Rufous-tailed Xenops, Chestnut-winged
Foliage-gleaner, Spot-throated and Long-tailed Woodcreepers, Black Bushbird,
Sclater´s and Chestnut-shouldered Antwrens, Spot-winged and Sooty
Antbirds, Ash-throated Gnateater, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo and various
Tanagers. Along the few hundred meters left before the Guayaba reaches
the Yellow trail, I found goodies as Purplish Jacamar, Short-billed Leaftosser
and Undulated Antshrike on single occasions.
used side trail to the Guayaba de la Danta. I only walked it once, and my
guide Socó had to use his machete quite a lot. The trail goes through
a lot of marshy areas with thick understorey, eventually climbing a hill.
There we turned around, but it continues for yet quite a while.
As one might guess from the name I´ve given the
trail, I had Black Bushbird here, a pair, in an area of tall heliconias.
I wouldn´t be surprised if there are several pairs along the trail,
because there is a lot of suitable habitat. Good for Spot-backed, Sooty
and White-throated Antbirds. Other species of note were Lined Forest-Falcon
(heard), Gould´s Jewelfront, Spotted Puffbird and Cinereous Mourner.
is a long, long one. It is a 3 days/2 nights walk to/from Onça lake
(reachable by boat up-stream from the lodge, following the “Zacanbuzinho”
channell and into “Christina” lake further to “Onça”
lake), and from here you can continue another 3 days to Socó lake!
Doubtless many interesting discoveries could await those willing to make
this special effort. I didn´t walk longer than about 2 kilometers,
to Flores, a major stream. I had planned to go here more times, but the
wet conditions after heavy rains prevented me. Anyway, I had several good
birds here, and I recommend it to those in a decent physical condition that
are staying for a while. It´s almost 10 kilometers to Flores, there
and back. The first stretch of the trail crosses ridges and swampy areas
and has been selectively logged, but the forest is nearly pristine.
Among the species I recorded here can be mentioned Lined
Forest-Falcon, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Blue-cheeked Jacamar, Rufous-necked
Puffbird, Curl-crested Aracari, Golden-collared Toucanet, Red-necked Woodpecker,
Black-tailed Leaftosser, Strong-billed and Lineated Woodcreepers, Slate-colored
Antbird, White-necked Thrush and Yellow-crested Tanager.
trails accessible by boat
1. Pico do Caboclo
and birdy trail of várzea and transitional forest. The beginning
of the trail can be very wet and muddy after rains, but after a few hundred
meters it gets better. After a kilometer or so you reach a plantation. The
trail continues, actually all the way to Palmarí, but I didn´t
walk that much farther.
Among the specialties here can be mentioned Blue-crowned
Trogon, Blue-cheeked and Paradise Jacamars, Chestnut-capped Puffbird,
Rufous-tailed Antwren, Dot-backed Antbird, Black-spotted Bare-eye,Yellow-crowned
Elaenia, Johannes´s and Snethlage´s Tody-Tyrants, Euler´s
and Dusky-chested Flycatchers, Wire-tailed Manakin, Purple-necked Fruitcrow,
Gray Wren, Hauxwell´s Thrush, Gray-headed Tanager and Fulvous-crested
Tanager. Río Suno Antwren and Black-tailed Antbird should be looked
channel & lake "Cristina"
twice, both times with the Fieldguides group. Anyway, this is a very nice
area. Zacanbuzinho is a long blackwater channel connecting three lakes.
Selvaventura has a canopy platform here, where one can stay over night (100.000.-
colombian pesos or 100.- brasilian reales). We cruised slowly along the
channel and walked randomly in the forest by Lake Cristina.
Several excellent species were recorded, including Slate-colored
Hawk, Red-throated Caracara, Band-tailed Nighthawk (40+!) Blue-chinned
Sapphire, Green-and-rufous Kingfisher, Pied Puffbird, Silvered and Band-tailed
Antbirds, Amazonian Black-Tyrant, Johannes´s and Snethlage´s
Tody-Tyrants, Cinereous Becard and Amazonian Umbrella-bird (6 males!).
The first records of Buckley´s Forest-Falcon and White-chested Swift
for Brazil were made in this area (and I found them again at different
starting in the village of Santa Rita and at times going all the way to
Lake San Antonio, has várzea that does not get flooded every year
- a kind of transitional forest. Several species were seen only here, among
those such goodies as Black-tailed Antbird (at a marshy depression just
100 meters from the forest edge) and Río Suno Antwren, Black Bushbird,
Dot-backed Antbird, Golden-crested Spadebill, Chestnut-rumped Foliage-gleaner,
Blue-chinned Sapphire, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Rufous-necked Puffbird,
White-chinned Jacamar and Wire-tailed Manakin.
walked this trail once, and even if it felt a bit quiet at times I found
quite a few good birds in the end. The “traditional” trail going
to the blackwater lake Mata-Matá is rather short, but two new canopy
platforms were constructed by Bluefields while I was there, extending this
trail quite a bit in length. Birding from these platforms could prove to
be great (Harpy Eagle was seen at close range during the construction)!
Among the species that I recorded can be mentioned Green
Ibis, Slate-colored Hawk, Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Spotted Puffbird,
Yellow-throated Woodpecker, White-shouldered, Plumbeous and Silvered Antbirds,
Snethlage´s Tody-Tyrant, Amazonian Royal-Flycatcher, Cinnamon Attila,
Hauxwell´s Thrush and White-shouldered Tanager. Río Suno
Antwren and Black-tailed Antbird are both very likely to occur here.
is a small lake surrounded by excellent várzea forest. The margins
of the lake and its outlet have rather extensive grass and scrub, creating
a habitat that is not found at the much more numerous blackwater lake systems.
A trail goes all around the lake, though the best part is probably on the
right hand side. The major tourist attraction at Arrumadeiro is a healthy
but irregular population of Hoatzin. I only saw the species on one occasion,
but the flock of c. 35 individuals was quite impressing! During times of
favourable water levels, decent numbers of egrets and waders might be found.
Horned Screamer and Muscovy Duck are both regular.
Among the many specialties of the area can be mentioned
Plumbeous Kite (sometimes in huge flocks!), Tui Parakeet, Reddish Hermit,
White-chinned Sapphire, Collared Trogon, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Spotted
Puffbird, Rufous-capped Nunlet, Scarlet-crowned and Lemon-throated Barbets,
Plain-crowned, Speckled and Rusty-backed Spinetails, Ocellated, Striped
and Zimmer´s Woodcreepers, Great, Barred and Amazonian Antshrikes,
White-browed, Black-throated and Plumbeous Antbirds, Yellow-crowned Elaenia,
Amazonian Royal-Flycatcher, Black-tailed Tityra, Gray-chested Greenlet,
Tropical Gnatcatcher and White-shouldered Tanager. Purple-throated Cotinga
was seen by Fieldguides and both Wattled Curassow and Harpy Eagle have
been seen by the local guides.
6. Lake "Caotí"
this blackwater lake once with Axel and an Australian, staying overnight.
It was mainly a fishing trip with limited birding, but I think that several
interesting species could be found here. Birds of note on my visit: Slate-colored
Hawk, Bat Falcon, Tawny-bellied Screech-Owl, Spectacled Owl, Common Potoo,
Long-billed Woodcreeper, Leaden Antwren and a very probable Gray Wren singing
are many more possibilities to consider if you want to explore new areas
in the area. I´m sure that interesting discoveries awaits as more
ground is covered. Maybe some patches of bamboo or some other new microhabitat
can be found. I had limited possibilities to go by boat (except on fishing
trips), but I also missed some opportunities at the beginning of my stay
when I instead wanted to get to know the areas closer to the lodge. Anyway,
the following two areas could be especially well worth considering to
Onça area Lake
Onça is a part of the Zacanbuzinho water system. I´m not
familiar with the lake itself, but it´s right on the edge to the
terra firme. As already written under the description of the Onça
trail, this area is connected to both Palmarí and the following
area, Socó. Even if you don´t make the 2-3 day long hikes,
the area is virtually ornithologically unknown and could turn up nice
Socó area A
long channel leads to this pristine area, probably one of the best places
reasonably close to Palmarí. I had planned to go there, but I blew
it. Hunters do not get into this area, therefore Wattled Curassow is a
quite reliable possibility. Harpy Eagle has been seen several times and
probably breeds in the area. The terra firme trail that connects Socó
with Onça and Palmarí could be really interesting.