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  • Writer's pictureJo O

Endemic birds in Brazil

Endemics! Birds that are so rare or endangered, we must travel to a very special part of the world to see them in action. Which country reigns supreme? It’s a question open to debate but at last count, Brazil has over 260 species seen only within its borders. The fact that you can easily fly into Rio or Sao Paulo and reach pristine forests, rivers and coastal areas begs the question, “Why haven’t I visited sooner?” The reason is simple. Costa Rica, Colombia and Ecuador get all the avian accolades but the truth remains that Brazil has more rare, endangered and endemic species than any country in the Americas. In fact, it ranks third in the world after Indonesia and Australia. That juicy tidbit combined with the fact that South America’s largest country is also globally number three on the total number of bird species period should give birders a compelling reason to visit, binoculars in hand. Or cameras and long lenses in hand!

The birding world places a lot of importance on endemics, meaning birds that are native and unique to a certain boundary or region. I always laughed at the fact that birds don’t choose political boundaries, but just by its sheer size, Brazil should rank among the world’s leaders. Truth be told, its the huge diversity in ecosystems that gives this nation so many species. Every region of Brazil has something to offer but a lot of great birding regions are located within easy reach of big metro areas such as Sao Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Manaus and Cuiaba. There are six major eco-systems which include the Amazon Rainforest, the Atlantic Rainforest, the Pantanal (largest wetland in the world), the Cerrado (Brazilian savanna), Caatinga (dry forest) and Pampas (grassland). All are worth visiting but the Atlantic Rainforest is the most accessible. Even better, many ornithologists consider this region one of the best in the world to see an amazing variety of species. Another wonderful fact is while looking for our winged friends, birders are never far from an amazing biodiversity that includes jaguars, giant anteaters, tapirs, caimans and maned wolves.

Now is a great time to go. We are currently offering trips to the Amazon, the Atlantic Rainforest, the Pantanal and the Cerrado. Also we have custom-made trips designed to cater to women travelers and children as well.

Golden-crowned Manakin is a rare, range-restricted manakin found in a small area of eastern Amazon Rainforest. Photo: Ruth Soares and the Pin-tailed Manakin, this specie is endemic to the Eastern coast of Brazil within the humid Atlantic. Photo: Satria Nangisan

The Mato Grosso antbird is found in Bolivia, Brazil, and Paraguay. In Brazil, it only can be found in Pantanal. Photo: Marcia Carvalho and Pfrimer's parakeet, an endemic parrot of Cerrado (Brazilian savanna) is a non-migratory bird and has been qualified as endangered since 2007. Photo: Roseanne Almeida

The Saffron-cowled blackbird is endemic to grasslands and open areas in Central and southern South America and its status is endangered. Photo: Rafael Fortes and the critically endangered Araripe manakin, one of the rarest birds in Brazil. This beautiful bird only can be seen in a small area of the Ceará State. Photo: Júlio Silveira.

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