Brazil, Bahia State: So many Brazil endemics - February 13th - 26th 2014

Published by Peter B. Armstrong (pbarmstrong AT

Participants: Peter Armstrong, Hugh Dingle, Edson Endrigo


Photos with this report (click to enlarge)

Indigo (Lear's) Macaw
Indigo (Lear's) Macaw
Gray-hooded Attila
Gray-hooded Attila
Red-necked Tanager
Red-necked Tanager
Silvery-cheeked Antshrike
Silvery-cheeked Antshrike
Slender Antbird
Slender Antbird
Three-toed Jacamar
Three-toed Jacamar

Background: The principal appeal of the state of Bahia as a destination for birders is the high density of Brazilian endemic birds. This is a result of the presence of two important endemic landscapes, the Atlantic coast forest and the caatinga, a biome of xeric shrubland and thorn forest. We visited remnants of the Atlantic coast forest at Porto Seguro, Serra Bonita, and Mata Passarinho Reserve, and the caatinga at Boa Nova, Chapada Diamantina National Park, and Estacao Biologi de Canudos.

Participants: Peter Armstrong, Hugh Dingle, both from Davis, California.

Birding guide-books: “A Field Guide to the Birds of Brazil” by Ber van Perlo was our principal field guide. Generally, the illustrations are adequate.

Birding guides: Our principal guide was the talented Edson Endrigo, []. I can recommend Edson without reservation. Edson has excellent organizational skills, is outgoing and knows the right folk in several of Brazil’s most productive birding locales, has excellent command of English, and is great company. His command of auditory birding in unsurpassed, both in regard to the identification of the calling bird and in his ability to locate the source of the call in space. Because so much tropical birding depends on these parallel skills, Edson is an excellent choice for birding in Brazil. Edson is one of the most accomplished photographers of the birds of Brazil and his several publications on the avifauna of different regions of Brazil feature his stunning photographs. We used local guides from the Mata Passarinho Reserve and the Estacao Biologi de Canudos and Josafá

Sampaio de Almeida [] and his son, also Josepha, in Serra Bonita and Boa Nova. Josepha senior possesses invaluable local knowledge about the Boa Nova region and led us to excellent views of the Pink-legged Gravetiero.

Itinerary: Our trip itinerary involved the following:

February 12: we arrived in Sao Paulo in the late morning and spent the night at the Hotel Caesar Park. My favorite airport hotel, the Panamby Hotel, was booked full when we tried to make reservations. The Panamby has a back garden that is surprisingly birdy; the Hotel Caesar Park less so. I did, however, get one new Brazil-bird, Sharp-shinned Hawk, in their back garden.

February 13: flight from Sao Paulo to Porto Seguro; check into our hotel, the Quinta do Sol [], which was quite comfortable and pleasant.

February 13-15: birding the Atlantic coast forest from Porto Seguro, principally along the Vera Cel Road.

February 15: drive from Porto Seguro to Camacan, where we were met by Vitor Becker [], the owner of our next destination, the Serra Bonita Reserve. Vitor drove us to the lodge in his 4-wheel drive jeep. The reserve sits on the densely forested Serra Bonita. The accommodations here were comfortable and ‘good birds’, such as Spot-billed Toucanet, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Sooty Grassquit, and various tanagers and thrushes were seen from the back balconies and just out the front doors of the rooms. Serra Bonita features several excellent trails for forest birding, both on the mountain and in the lowlands. For dinner, ask for feijoada, the black bean and pork stew generally considered the national dish of Brazil. The station features several bird feeders, which attract a variety of parrots, hummingbirds, tanagers, and other species for good photographic opportunities. . I recommend strongly a visit to Serra Bonita []. Vitor exemplifies the public-spirited citizen, with his concerted efforts to purchase and protect remnants of the nearly-vanished Atlantic Coast forest.

February 15 – 17: birding the Serra Bonita reserve.

February 17: drive from Serra Bonita to the Mata Passarinho Reserve, which is 30 km west of Macarani City

February 17 – 18: Mata Passarinho Reserve, Macarani City. We spent the night sleeping on mattresses on the floor of the guest house of the reserve. Running water was provided by a garden hose in the back yard connected to a shower head. Toilet facilities were the woods surrounding the quarters. We brought our own food and other supplies. We found several ‘good birds’ close to the guest house, including Three-toed Jacamar, Bahia Spinetail, and Moustached Wren. Early morning the next day we unsuccessfully sought the Stresemann's Bristlefront in a separate property that is part of the Mata Passarinho Reserve.

February 18, afternoon: drive from Macarani City to Boa Nova, which provides excellent access to the caatinga.

February 19-20: birding the caatinga around Boa Nova. Our visit occurred during the wet season and the caatinga was lush, with a lot of wildflowers. During the dry season, the bushes and trees lose their leaves and the landscape is dry and barren. Excellent caatinga birding was had along Tower road and at Goiva Marsh. Also interesting was the Lajedo dos Beija-flores, a small reserve dominated by large rock surfaces. In December though early February, the flowering cactus are the target of dueling Ruby-topaz Hummingbirds, but we were too late in the year for that spectacle.

February 21: drive from Boa Nova to Lencois and the Chapada Diamantina National Park. We checked into the Casa da Geleja, our hotel in Lencois []. This provided very comfortable accommodations and had excellent bird feeders for photography of a variety of birds, including Planalto Hermit, various thrushes and cowbirds including Pale Baywing, and Cowled Cardinal.

February 21 – 23: birding in the Chapada Diamantina NP. We birded hiking trails in the park, the road to the radio towers behind Morro do Pai Inacio, and a road on the west side of the park that leads to Palmeiras and Guine.

February 24: drive from Lencois to Canudos and the Estacao Biologi de Canudos. We had comfortable accommodations at the Estacao Biologica, which has running water but no electricity. Take your shower in the late afternoon, when the showers feature warm running water (on a sunny day). We ate dinner in Canudos and breakfast at the Estacao Biologi.

February 24 – 25: There is excellent birding to be had in the caatinga that surrounds the lodge. We arranged to be driven (4-wheel drive) in the early morning of February 25 to the sandstone cliffs where the Indigo (Lear’s) Macaws nest and spent most of the morning there.

February 26: drove from Canudos to Feira de Santana

February 27: flew from Salvador to Sao Paulo, and, later, from Sao Paulo to San Francisco, CA.

Background: Our birding activity concentrated on species new to our personal life lists and, as a result, we did not pursue several of the more familiar species that we encountered. We were content to leave several of these as ‘heard-only’ birds. I list below only the ‘interesting birds’; North American migrants, common, and wide-spread species did not make the list; heard-only birds also are unlisted. Our final list of ‘seen birds’ was 293 species. Our most important misses were White-winged Potoo (we tried very hard for this species but all we had was a single bird, probably this one, that flew above our head in the dark), Banded Cotinga (we did see four of the dumpy, chocolate-brown females, but none of the brightly-colored males), Giant Xenops (we tried several times for this species at Boa Nova and Canudos, without success, and unfortunately Edson’s best site, a farm near Jeremaubo, had been sold recently to a new owner who had closed the property to visiting birders), and Stresemann's Bristlefront (we were shown a nest-site but failed to find the bird along the Bristlefront trail).

Species Lists

Interesting birds (E, Brazil endemic; NE, Atlantic coast forest, near endemic for Brazil; P, potential split that would create a Brazil endemic, not recognized by the IOC version 4.1)

White- faced Whistling-Duck, Boa Nova, Goiva Marsh
Muscovy Duck, Drive from Lencois to Canudos
White- cheeked Pintail, Boa Nova, nesting with ducklings
Masked Duck, Boa Nova, two pairs in full breeding plumage were found at the Goiva Marsh
(E) East Brazilian Chachalaca, Ortalis araucuan (a recent split from Speckled Chachalaca), Porto Seguro and Serra Bonita
Rusty-margined Guan, Porto Seguro
Jabiru Stork, seen at a roadside pond during the drive from Jeremuabo to Feira de Santana
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, drive from Serra Bonita to Macarani City
King Vulture, Porto Seguro and the drive to Macarani City
Crane Hawk, Boa Nova
Gray-lined Hawk, Mata Passrimho Reserve, Macarani City
White- tailed Hawk, drive from Serra Bonita to Macarani City
Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Serra Bonita Reserve
Laughing Falcon, Porto Seguro
Aplomado Falcon, Mata Passarinho Reserve
Red-legged Seriema, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
Rufous-sided Crake, Boa Nova, Goiva Marsh
Purple Gallinule, Boa Nova, Goiva Marsh
Scaled Pigeon, Porto Seguro
Picui Ground-Dove, seen every day in the caatinga
Gray-fronted Dove, Porto Seguro
Maroon-bellied Parakeet, photographed at the feeders of the Serra Bonita Reserve.
Blue-crowned Parakeet, Estacao Biologi de Canudos, Canudos
Golden-capped Parakeet, Porto Seguro
(E) White-eared (Maroon-faced) Parakeet, Pyrrhura leucotis, Serra Bonita Reserve
Peach-fronted Parakeet, Porto Seguro
(E) Cactus Parakeet, seen most days in the caatinga
Blue- winged Macaw, fly-over at Boa Nova
(E) Indigo (Lear’s) Macaw, Estacao Biologi de Canudos, Canudos. My personal ‘best bird’, for the trip. The birds were nesting in natural cavities in red sandstone cliffs about a half-hour’s drive from the reserve headquarters. We saw about 10 – 15% of the world’s population of this magnificent macaw.
Red-bellied Macaw, Estacao Biologi de Canudos
Blue- winged Parrotlet, Boa Nova and Estacao Biologi de Canudos
(E) Red-browed Parrot, A pair flew into a roadside tree at Porto Seguro.
Orange- winged Parrot, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
(P) Reichenow's Parrot, Pionus reichenowi (a split of the Blue- headed Parrot), Porto Seguro
Short-tailed Nighthawk, Porto Seguro
Ocellated Poorwill, Porto Seguro
Little Nightjar, Porto Seguro
(E) Pygmy Nightjar, Lajedo dos Beija-flores, Boa Nova.
Black Jacobin, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
(E) Hook-billed Hermit, seen very well at Porto Seguro
Rufous-breasted Hermit, We found an occupied nest on the underside of a banana leaf at Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan.
(E) Broad-tipped Hermit, seen on several occasions in the Chapada Diamantina NP and along the Palmeiras-Guine road
Reddish Hermit, seen on several occasions at Porto Seguro and at Serra Bonita
Planalto Hermit, seen well and photographed at Casa da Geleja, our hotel in Lencois
(E) Hooded Visorbearer, seen well and photographed at the top of Morro do Pai Inacio, Chapada Diamantina NP
Horned Sungem, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
Ruby-topaz Hummingbird, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
Long-billed Starthroat, Estacao Biologi de Canudos
Violet-capped Woodnymph, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
(E) Sombre Hummingbird, seen at the feeders at the Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Versicolored Emerald, Chapada Diamantina
Sapphire-throated Hummingbird, Lajedo dos Beija-flores, Boa Nova.
Rufous-throated Sapphire, seen every day at Porto Seguro
White- chinned Sapphire, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
White- tailed Trogon, Porto Seguro
Surucua Trogon, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Ringed Kingfisher, drive from Macarani City to Boa Nova
Amazon Kingfisher, drive from Macarani City to Boa Nova
(E) Spot-backed Puffbird, Boa Nova-Tower Road
(E) Crescent-chested Puffbird, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
(E) Three-toed Jacamar, two birds seen and photographed by the guest house of the Mata Passrimho Reserve, Macarani City
Black-necked Aracari, Porto Seguro
(NE) Spot-billed Toucanet, seen several times at the Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
(E) Spotted Piculet, Boa Nova, Chapada Diamantina NP
White- wedged Piculet, Serra Bonita Reserve
Little Woodpecker, Boa Nova
Red-stained Woodpecker, Porto Seguro
(E) Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Yellow-throated Woodpecker, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Green-barred Woodpecker, lowland portion of the Serra Bonita Reserve
(E) Wing-banded Hornero, Boa Nova
Pale-legged Hornero, Boa Nova
(E) Bahia Spinetail, very cooperative pair behind the guest house of the Mata Passrimho Reserve, Macaarani City
Sooty-fronted Spinetail, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Pale-breasted Spinetail, Chapada Diamantina
(E) Red-shouldered Spinetail, seen both days at the Estacao Biologi de Canudos
(E) Striated Softtail, Serra Bonita Reserve
Rufous-fronted Thornbird, Boa Nova
(E) Pink-legged Graveterio, extended views of a pair of birds going about their business, flying between trees, gleaning insects upsid(E) down, copulating, Valentine, near Boa Nova
(E) Caatinga Cacholote, Boa Nova, Tower Road
(E) Pale-browed Treehunter, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Streaked Xenops, Serra Bonita Reserve
Red-billed Scythebill, Porto Seguro
Great Antshrike, drive from Serra Bonita to Macarani City
(E) Silvery-cheeked Antshrike, Boa Nova, Tower Road
(E) Caatinga Antshrike, Thamnophilus capistratus (a recent split from the Barred Antshrike), Boa Nova and Estacao Biologi de Canudos, Canudos
Rufous-winged Antshrike, Lajedo dos Beija-flores, near Boa Nova
(E) Planalto Slaty-Antshrike, Boa Nova, Tower Road
(E) Sooretama Slaty-Antshrike, seen every day at Porto Seguro.
Plain Antvireo, Serra Bonita Reserve
(E) Plumbeous Antvireo, male and female birds seen well at the Serra Bonita Reserve
(E) Band-tailed Antwren, Porto Seguro
Stripe- backed Antbird, Boa Nova, Tower Road
(E) Caatinga Antwren, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
(E) Bahia Antwren, Porto Seguro
Black-capped Antwren, Lajedo dos Beija-flores, near Boa Nova
(E) Narrow-billed Antwren, Boa Nova, Tower Road
Black-bellied Antwren, Boa Nova, Tower Road and Estacao Biologi de Canudos, Canudos
(E) Sincora Antwren, a pair of birds seen well & photographed in the Chapada Diamantina NP
White- shouldered Fire-eye, seen frequently at the Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
(E) Slender Antbird, Boa Nova, Tower Road
(E) White- browed Antpitta, after a lot of effort, a pair of birds was seen very well foraging about in caatinga habitat near Boa Nova.
(NE) Rufous Gnateater, Serra Bonita Reserve and Mata Passarinho Reserve
(E) Black-cheeked Gnateater, Mata Passarinho Reserve
Collared Crescentchest, Chapada Diamantina NP
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet, Boa Nova, Tower Road
Yellow Tyrannulet, Mata Passrimho Reserve, Macaarani City
Forest Elaenia, Chapada Diamantina, road to Palmeiras
Greenish Elaenia, Boa Nova, Tower Road
Large Elaenia, Estacao Biologi de Canudos, Canudos.
Plain-crested Elaenia, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
Tawny-crowned Pygmy-Tyrant, Boa Nova, Tower Road
Rufous-sided Pygmy-Tyrant, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
(P) Bahian Wagtail-Tyrant, Stigmatura bahiae (potential split from Lesser Wagtain-Tyrant), Estacao Biologi de Canudos, Canudos
(P) Caatinga Wagtail-Tyrant, Stigmatura gracilis (potential split from Greater Wagtail-Tyrant), Estacao Biologi de Canudos
Eared Pygmy-Tyrant, lowland forest of the Serra Bonita Reserve
Pearly-vented Tody-Tyrant, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
(E) Fork-tailed Pygmy-Tyrant, Mata Passarinho Reserve
(E) Gray-headed Tody-Flycatcher, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Common Tody-Flycatcher, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Tropical Pewee, Serra Bonita Reserve
(E) Velvety Black-Tyrant, top of Morro do Pai Inacio, Chapada Diamantina NP
Gray Monjita, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
White Monjita, several found at Boa Nova
White- headed Marsh Tyrant, drive from Macarani City to Boa Nova
Long-tailed Tyrant, drive from Serra Bonita to Macarani City
(E) Gray-hooded Attila, seem well and photographed at the Serra Bonita Reserve
Grayish Mourner, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Swainson's Flycatcher, Bahia Boa Nova, Tower Road
Brown-crested Flycatcher, Estacao Biologi de Canudos, Canudos.
Streaked Flycatcher, Boa Nova
Variegated Flycatcher, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Sharpbill, Porto Seguro and seen multiple times at Serra Bonita, Camacan
(E) Black-headed Berryeater, after a lot of effort, we had good looks at Porto Seguro.
(E) Banded Cotinga, alas, only a group of four female birds, Porto Seguro
(E) White- winged Cotinga, a nice male bird at Porto Seguro
(E) Pin-tailed Manakin, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
White- bearded Manakin, Porto Seguro
Blue (Swallow-tailed) Manakin, Serra Bonita Reserve
White- crowned Manakin, Porto Seguro
Red-headed Manakin Porto Seguro
White-naped Xenopsaris, a male singing and defending a territory near Boa Nova
Chestnut-crowned Becard, Serra Bonita Reserve
White- winged Becard. Boa Nova and Chapada Diamantina NP
Black-capped Becard, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Crested Becard, Boa Nova and Chapada Diamantina NP
Lemon-chested Greenlet, a pair of birds apparently on territory at the Serra Bonita Reserve
Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Boa Nova, Tower Road
Southern Rough-winged Swallow, Porto Seguro
Moustached Wren, Porto Seguro and Mata Passrimho Reserve, Macaarani City
(E) Long-billed Wren, Boa Nova
Thrush-like Wren, Mata Passrimho Reserve
Long-billed Gnatwren, Porto Seguro
Tropical Gnatcatcher, Boa Nova, Tower Road
Rufous-brown Solitaire, we found this bird after considerable effort at the Serra Bonita Reserve
Yellow-legged Thrush, Serra Bonita Reserve
Pale-breasted Thrush, Bahia Casa da Geleja, our hotel in Lencois
Rufous-bellied Thrush, seen on numerous occasions, but photographed at the Casa da Geleja, our hotel in Lencois
White- necked Thrush, Serra Bonita Reserve
Tropical Mockingbird, Porto Seguro
Chalk-browed Mockingbird
Tropical Parula, Boa Nova
Golden-crowned Warbler, Porto Seguro
Flavescent Warbler, Boa Nova, Tower Road
Riverbank Warbler, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
Cinnamon Tanager, Chapada Diamantina NP
Magpie Tanager, Mata Passarinho Reserve
White-banded Tanager, Chapada Diamantina, Palmeiras-Guine road
Chestnut-vented Conebill, Boa Nova
(E) Rufous-headed Tanager, Mata Passrimho Reserve, Macaarani City
White-lined Tanager, Boa Nova and Chapada Diamantina
(E) Golden-chevroned Tanager, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
(E) White- bellied Tanager, Tangara brasiliensis (a recent split from Turquoise Tanager), Porto Seguro
(NE) Green-headed Tanager, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
(NE) Red-necked Tanager, Serra Bonita Reserve, Camacan
Burnished-buff Tanager, Boa Nova
Black-throated Saltator, Chapada Diamantina NP
Buff-throated Saltator, Porto Seguro
Blue Finch, Chapada Diamantina NP
Plumbeous Seedeater, Chapada Diamantina NP, Palmeiras-Guine road
Lined Seedeater, Chapada Diamantina NP
(E) White- throated Seedeater, Nova, Tower Road
White-bellied Seedeater, Mata Passarinho Reserve
Sooty Grassquit, Serra Bonita Reserve
Stripe-tailed Yellow-Finch, Chapada Diamantina NP
Grassland Yellow-Finch. Boa Nova
Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, Serra Bonita Reserve and Chapada Diamantina NP
(E) Pale-throated Pampa-Finch, Chapada Diamantina NP
(E) Red-cowled Cardinal, seen every day in the caatinga
Pileated Finch, Boa Nova
(E) Sao Francisco Sparrow, Chapada Diamantina NP
Hepatic Tanager, Chapada Diamantina NP
Red-crowned Ant-Tanager, Chapada Diamantina NP
Yellow-green Grosbeak, large flock eating berries by the road-side at Porto Seguro
Ultramarine Grosbeak, Chapada Diamantina
White-browed Blackbird, seen on multiple occasions in grassy or damp areas by the road-side
(E) Pale Baywing, Agelaioides fringillarius (a recent split from Bay-winged Cowbird), seen on multiple occasions by the road-side during travel.
Shiny Cowbird, Lencois
Screaming Cowbird, Lencois
(E) Campo Troupial, Serra Bonita
Yellow-rumped Cacique, lowland portion of the Serra Bonita Reserve
Violaceous Euphonia, seen on multiple occasions in forest landscapes
Orange- bellied Euphonia, Porto Seguro
Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Porto Seguro
(E) Yellow-faced Siskin, Chapada Diamantina NP


Crab-eating Fox, Serra Bonita
Southern Bahia Masked Titi-Monkey, Porto Seguro
Wied's White-eared Marmoset, Serra Bonita