Brazil, State of Roraima - March 2016

Published by Peter B. Armstrong (pbarmstrong AT

Participants: Peter Armstrong, Margaret Armstrong, Hugh Dingle, Edson Rodrigo, Francisco Diniz


Background: The principal appeal of the state of Roraima as a destination for birders is the ready accessibility of birds of the Guianan Shield and that are not found elsewhere in Brazil. Additionally Roraima hosts a few local endemic species. The dry season extends from September to March. In our five days in Roraima, we did not visit the relatively inaccessible northern part of the state which has another suite of birds associated with the Tepui table mountains.

Dates: March 21-26, 2016.

Participants: Peter Armstrong, Margaret Armstrong, and Hugh Dingle, all 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 and descriptions of field marks are adequate.

Maps: we used a map entitled “Estado do Roraima” prepared by Emilio Perez & Mario Perez, available from and

Birding guides: Our principal guide was the talented Edson Endrigo, []. I can recommend Edson without reservation. Edson has excellent organizational skills, is hard-working, 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 that 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. The phylogeny and taxonomy of neotropical birds is in considerable flux, with splits of existing species complexes and the identification of wholly novel species. Edson maintains access to several of the research ornithologists of Brazil, meaning that he is knowledgeable of the recent and impending newly-identified bird species.

Our local guide for Roraima was Francisco Diniz, [], (95) 3624-6004, Rua Floriano Peixoto No 136, Centro Boa Vista, Roraima. Francisco is very knowledgeable about the best places to find many of the unique birds of Roraima and has established excellent rapport with the local landowners and villagers, thus ensuring ready access to private lands that would otherwise be inaccessible.

Hotels: March 21 – 23: Hotel Luminar, Cacaracari city, (95) 3532-1042. The hotel is basic but completely satisfactory.

March 24 – 25: Hotel Aipana Plaza, Boa Vista city, (95) 3212-0800, (95) 3212-0926. The hotel was more luxurious and had an excellent dining room.

Itinerary: Our trip itinerary involved the following:

March 21 (late morning): fly from Manaus to Boa Vista.

March 21 (afternoon) – March 24 (morning): Viruá National Park. The park is a half-hour drive from Caracarai City and features a mix of lush scrub-land and medium-tall forest growing on a soil of white sea-sand.

March 24 (afternoon): around Boa Vista City

March 25 (all day): birding several locations along the drive from Boa Vista to Amjari to Pacaraima.

March 26 (morning): around Boa Vista City

March 26 (afternoon): fly back to Manaus.

We visited at the end of the dry season, which had been unusually dry. Sections of the Viruá National Park had been scorched by wild-fires. It has been my experience with neotropical birding that finding forest birds is difficult; they are either skulking in the dense shrubbery of the forest floor or way up there, backlit in the forest canopy, but birding in open country is, by contrast, easy and rewarding. The ultra-dry conditions reversed that rule. Birds in the open scrub-lands were almost uniformly silent and unresponsive, but we had better luck with the forest birds. With much effort, we finally did locate two of the major scrub-land target birds, White-naped Seedeater and Rufous-crowned Elaenia but missed entirely the Plumbeous Euphonia, which is supposedly ‘easy’ in the wet season. The folks at the Park Headquarters had established a paved bird bath behind the headquarters buildings and this hosted a regular procession of thirsty birds and mammals. We sat there a few meters away from the water in lawn chairs and photograph this arrival, then that arrival. Away from the headquarters and its birdbath, we continued to find good birds including Slate-colored Hawk, a small group of obliging and garrulous Black-headed Parrots, Spotted Puffbird, and Ferruginous-backed Antbird.

One of the most sought target birds for a visit to Roraima is the Sun Parakeet. This species also occurs in neighboring regions of Guiana, Surinam, and Venezuela but is probably most accessible in Roraima. But it is rare and finding the bird requires access to private land. Here Francisco was in his element. In our search, the ritual was repeated several times over. We arrive at some remote village situated several kilometers from the main highway and Francisco exits the car while we wait, and calls on a village elder. They bring out chairs and sit there for 15 minutes of animated friendly conversation, then Francisco brings the elder over, we shake hands, and then we exit to conduct our birding. We searched this location, then that. Five hours of frustration; several ‘good birds’, but not the parakeet. But then, at what was to be our very last stop before heading back to the hotel, Edson, upon hearing the call of the bird, sent us all galloping across fields toward a patch of forest on a hillside, and there they were! The fabled Sun Parakeet. A flock of 11 birds. The next day we flew back to Manaus, flush with the understanding that we were to be reckoned as members of the elite few within the world birding community who had seen the Sun Parakeet in the wild. And without Francisco’s access to the territory where the bird hangs out, our attempt to find the bird would have been abject failure. There are two flocks of Sun Parakeets established in Boa Vista, feral birds. But they are not truly wild Sun Parakeets. We wanted the real thing and, fortunately, persistent searching rewarded us.

Species Lists

Cinereous Tinnamou, Viruá National Park
White-faced Whistling Duck, vicinity of Boa Vista
Black-bellied Whistling Duck, vicinity of Boa Vista
Muscovy Duck, Viruá National Park
Crestless Curassow, Viruá National Park
Crested Bobwhite, Viruá National Park
Magauri Stork, vicinity of Boa Vista, Amjari
Jabiru, vicinity of Boa Vista
Wood Stork, vicinity of Boa Vista
Neotropic Cormorant, vicinity of Boa Vista
Striated Heron, Viruá National Park
Cocoi Heron, Highway 174 between Caracarai and Viruá National Park
Great Egret, vicinity of Boa Vista
Capped Heron, Highway 174 between Caracarai and Viruá National Park
Snowy Egret, Highway 174 between Caracarai and Viruá National Park
Little Blue Heron, vicinity of Boa VistaZ
Green Ibis, Highway 174 between Caracarai and Viruá National Park
Buff-necked Ibis, Highway 174 both north and south of Boa Vista
Roseate Spoonbill, vicinity of Boa Vista
Turkey Vulture, Viruá National Park
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Viruá National Park
Black Vulture, abundant everywhere
Pearl Kite, south bank of the Cauaruau River east of Highway 174
White-tailed Kite, beside Highway 174, Pachchima
Long-winged Harrier, vicinity of Boa Vista
Slate-colored Hawk, Viruá National Park
Savannah Hawk, Viruá National Park
Great Black Hawk, Viruá National Park
White-tailed Hawk, beside Highway 174, Pachchima
Gray-lined Hawk, Viruá National Park
Black-and-white Hawk-Eagle, Viruá National Park
Limpkin, Highway 174 north of Boa Vista
Sunbittern, Viruá National Park
Gray-neckced Wood-Rail, Viruá National Park
Southern Lapwing, vicinity of Boa Vista
Double-striped Thick-knee, Pachchima
Spotted Sandpiper, vicinity of Boa Vista
Solitary Sandpiper, Boa Vista City Park
White-rumped Sandpiper, Boa Vista City Park
Wattled Jacana, Highway 174 both north and south of Boa Vista
Yellow-billed Tern, Boa Vista City Park
Large-billed Tern, vicinity of Boa Vista
Black Skimmer, vicinity of Boa Vista
Common Ground Dove, Viruá National Park
Plain-breasted Ground Dove, Viruá National Park
Ruddy Ground Dove, Viruá National Park
Blue Ground Dove, Viruá National Park
Pale-vented Pigeon, Viruá National Park
Ruddy Pigeon, Viruá National Park
Eared Dove, vicinity of Boa Vista
White-tipped Dove, Viruá National Park
Gray-fronted Dove, Viruá National Park
Smooth-billed Ani, Viruá National Park
Great-horned Owl, Viruá National Park
Common Potoo, Viruá National Park
Band-tailed Nighthawk, Viruá National Park
Blackish Nightjar, Viruá National Park
White-tailed Nightjar, Viruá National Park
Least Nighthawk, Viruá National Park
Lesser Nighthawk, Viruá National Park
Band-rumped Swift, Viruá National Park
Fork-tailed Palm Swift, Viruá National Park
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift, Viruá National Park
Blue-tailed Emerald, north bank of the Uraricoera River east of Highway 174
Glittering-throated Emerald, north bank of the Uraricoera River east of Highway 174
Green-backed Trogon, vicinity of Boa Vista
Ringed Kingfisher, vicinity of Boa Vista
Amazon Kingfisher, vicinity of Boa Vista
Green-tailed Jacamar, Viruá National Park
Paradise Jacamar, Viruá National Park
Spotted Puffbird, Viruá National Park
Black Nunbird, Viruá National Park
Black-fronted Nunbird, Viruá National Park
Swallow-winged Puffbird, Viruá National Park
Channel-billed Toucan, Viruá National Park
Guianan Toucanet, Viruá National Park
Green Aracari, Viruá National Park
Black-necked Aracari, Viruá National Park
Many-banded Aracari, Highway 174 between Caracarai City and Viruá National Park
White-bellied Piculet, vicinity of Boa Vista
Golden-collared Woodpecker, vicinity of Boa Vista
Cream-colored Woodpecker, Viruá National Park
Black Caracara, Viruá National Park
Crested Caracara, vicinity of Boa Vista
Yellow-headed Caracara, Viruá National Park
Laughing Falcon, Viruá National Park
American Kestrel, vicinity of Boa Vista
Blue-and yellow Macaw, Viruá National Park
Red-and-green Macaw, Viruá National Park
Red-bellied Macaw, beside Highway 174, Pachchima
Red-shouldered Macaw, beside Highway 174, Pachchima
Sun Parakeet, west of Highway 174 in Pachchima
Brown-throated Parakeet, Highway 174 north of Boa Vista
Green-rumped Parrotlet, vicinity of Boa Vista
Golden-winged Parakeet, Viruá National Park
Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, Viruá National Park
Black-headed Parrot, Viruá National Park
Orange-cheeked Parrot, Viruá National Park
Blue-headed Parrot, Viruá National Park
Festive Parrot
Orange-winged Parrot, beside Highway 174, north of Boa Vista
Yapacana Antbird, Viruá National Park
Cherrie’s Antwren, Viruá National Park
White-fringed Antwren, Viruá National Park
Barred Antshrike, vicinity of Boa Vista
Ferruginous-backed Antbird, Viruá National Park
Black-headed Anbird, Viruá National Park
Rio Branco Antbird, vicinity of Boa Vista
Rufous-throated Antbird, Viruá National Park
Wedge-billed Woodcreeper, Boa Vista City Park
Buff-throated Woodcreeper, Boa Vista City Park
Streak-headed Woodcreeper, Boa Vista Yacht Club
Black-banded Woodcreeper, Viruá National Park
Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Viruá National Park
Hoary-throated Spinetail, north bank of the Uraricoera River east of Highway 174
Golden-headed Manakin, Viruá National Park
White-bearded Manakin, Viruá National Park
Yellow-crowned Manakin, Viruá National Park
White-crowned Manakin, Viruá National Park
Black Manakin, Viruá National Park
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher, Viruá National Park
Yellow-breasted Flycatcher, Viruá National Park
Spotted Tody-Flycatchcer, Viruá National Park
Common Tody-Flycatcher, Viruá National Park
Slate-headed Tody-Flycatcher, north bank of the Uraricoera River east of Highway 174
Guianan Tyrannulet, Viruá National Park
Pale-tipped Tyrannulet, vicinity of Boa Vista
Southern Beardless-Tyrannulet, vicinity of Boa Vista
Yellow-bellied Elaenia, vicinity of Boa Vista
Plain-crested Elaenia, Viruá National Park
Rufous-crested Elaenia, Viruá National Park
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet, Viruá National Park
Yellow Tyrannulet, Viruá National Park
Mouse-colored Tyrannulet, vicinity of Boa Vista
Bright-rumped Attila, Viruá National Park
Great Kiskadee, Viruá National Park
Lesser Kiskadee, Viruá National Park
Sulphury Flycatcher, Viruá National Park
Boat-billed Flycatcher, Viruá National Park
Tropical Kingbird, Viruá National Park
Fork-tailed Flycatcher, vicinity of Boa Vista
Vermillion Flycatcher, Highway 174 north of Boa Vista
White-headed Marsh Tyrant, Highway 174 between Caracarai and Viruá National Park
Lemon-chested Greenlet, Viruá National Park
Violaceous Jay, west of Highway 174 between Boa Vista and Vila Pacaraima
Cayenne Jay, Viruá National Park
Brown-chested Martin, Viruá National Park
Gray-breasted Martin, Viruá National Park
Barn Swallow, Viruá National Park
Southern Housewren, Viruá National Park
Bicolored Wren: east of Highway 174 in Pacaraima
White-rumped Swallow, Viruá National Park
Buff-breasted Wren
Tropical Gnatwren, Viruá National Park
Pale-breasted Thrush, Viruá National Park
Cocoa Thrush, Viruá National Park
Spectacled Thrush, vicinity of Boa Vista
Turdus arthuri nov. sp., Viruá National Park*
White-necked Thrush, Viruá National Park
Yellow-browed Sparrow, vicinity of Boa Vista
Pectoral Sparrow (heard only), Viruá National Park
Yellow Warbler, vicinity of Boa Vista
Blackpoll Warbler, Boa Vista City Park
Crested Oropendula, Viruá National Park
Moriche Oriole, Viruá National Park
Yellow Oriole, vicinity of Boa Vista
Orange-backed Troupial, vicinity of Boa Vista
Yellow-hooded Blackbird, marsh on the east side of Highway 174 in Pacariama
Giant Cowbird, vicinity of Boa Vista
Shiny Cowbird, vicinity of Boa Vista
Red-breasted Meadowlark, Viruá National Park
Eastern Meadowlark, next to Highway 174 a little north of the Uraricoera River
Black-faced Tanager, vicinity of Boa Vista
Turquoise Tanager, Viruá National Park
Blue-gray Tahager, Viruá National Park
Palm Tanager, Viruá National Park
Burnished-buff Tanager, Viruá National Park
Hooded Tanager, vicinity of Boa Vista
Stripe-tailed Yellow-Finch
Saffron Finch, Boa Vista City Park
Blue-black Grassquit, Viruá National Park
Fulvous-crested Tanager, Viruá National Park
Silver-beaked Tanager, Viruá National Park
Short-billed Honeycreeper, Viruá National Park
Blue Dachnis, Viruá National Park
Bananaquit, Viruá National Park
Gray Seedeater, Boa Vista City Park
Wing-barred Seedeater, Viruá National Park
Ruddy-breasted Seedeater, vicinity of Boa Vista
Chestnut-bellied Seed-Finch
White-naped Seedeater, Viruá National Park
Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, Viruá National Park
Rothchild’s Blue Grosbeak, Viruá National Park
Finsch’s Euphonia, vicinity of Boa Vista
Violaceous Euphonia, Viruá National Park
Golden-bellied Euphonia, Viruá National Park

*The Black-billed Thrush found in Roraima has recently been split from Turdus ignobilis as Turdus arthuri. At this writing, it has not been assigned an English name. The photo of this bird shows it to be noticeably grayer than the canonical T. ignobilis.