One of the highlights from a recent trip to Brazil was seeing the Sao Paulo Antwren. It’s not a glamorous bird but it’s a fighter and its struggle to survive is one of the unsung stories as far as endangered bird species goes. This is a true David vs. Goliath story with the Megapolis of Sao Paulo as our foil. The city has grown so fast that it has eaten up animal and plant habitats like an amoeba. The precious swamplands where the Sao Paulo Marsh Antwren can be found are constantly under threat from this development and there are only about 250 individuals remaining. I am one of the lucky ones to have seen a pair of this species in a patch of Atlantic Rainforest about 70 miles from the heart of the city.
It’s hardly surprising that a new species could be discovered or rediscovered in a country as enormous as Brazil but the shocker was that a bird of this kind could be discovered so close to South America’s largest city. In 2004, a Brazilian ornithologist lucked into identifying an individual fairly close to the urban outskirts and was able to give hope that the species could be saved. Currently, it’s listed as critically endangered but groups such as SAVE Brazil and local environmental groups are doing their best to preserve the Sao Paulo Marsh Antwren’s natural habitat. This means curtailing sprawl, halting clear cutting, limiting Eucalyptus plantations and dairy farms. And it means protecting marshland. When we travelled to Salesópolis City last year, one of our guides took us to a pristine stretch of habitat right at the source of the River Tiete and we spotted a male and female within twenty minutes. What a thrill!
Birding is the World Brazil is currently conducting group and custom trips to the Atlantic Rainforest and we visit the habitats of rare and endemic species like the Sao Paulo Antwren. We are strictly eco-friendly meaning we step very lightly, we view from a distance and we do nothing to disturb or disrupt the everyday life of these species. Come join us for a once in a lifetime honor to see this special bird.
Habitat where the Sao Paulo Antwren can be seen in the Pristine Atlantic rainforest.
Sao Paulo Antwren is a shy bird. It took a few minutes for this female to appear to us.