Brazil - Central Amazon Southern Tributaries Boat Tour - 30 May – 15 June 2016

Published by David Milton (david.milton AT

Participants: Sandra Harding, David Milton, Micah Riegner, + 12 others


The central Amazon basin is a difficult region to visit except by boat as roads and airports are limited. It holds several restricted range species that are rare or absent outside the region. Micah Riegner ( contacted us regarding a river boat trip along the tributaries south-east of Manaus focusing on bats (and other mammals) and birds. We had previously met Micah at Cristalino jungle lodge in the southern Amazon (Brazil) in 2013, where he worked as a birding guide when not at studying at university. Micah’s expertise was with birds and he arranged Fiona Reid as a co-guide as a mammal guide and bat expert. The local logistics was arranged through Amazonia Expeditions, based in Manaus ( This meant there were less overhead costs and it provided the opportunity to get to areas that we would not be able to, without being in boat. The captain of the vessel, the Tumbira, was Moacir Fortes Junior who is a very knowledgeable naturalist and has organized similar birding trips for Field Guides and other tour companies.

The timing of the trip coincided nicely with our planned trip to northern Peru. We were just about to buy the airline tickets for Peru so we combined the two trips. We reached Manaus a couple of days early so that we could acclimatize and recover from the arduous journey from Australia, arriving at Hotel Tropical at 2am on 29 May. We used the time productively by visiting the MUSA tower in Reserva Ducke on the 30 and 31 May and the official boat trip started on 1 June.

The main goal of the trip was to explore the lower Rio Maues and Rio Madeira and tributaries. From the Rio Madeira we took the channel Parana Araria across to the Rio Maues. This channel conveniently crosses several black-water tributaries off the central Amazon including the Rio Canuma and Rio Abacaxis. The day to day itinerary was fluid to allow access to different areas where little was known about the wildlife. Deciding on the route depended on the preferences of the group and aimed to cater to a range of interests. As birders we had preferences for certain areas and times for activities. However, most of the group were general naturalists and mostly interested in larger wildlife (mostly mammals), so we were a bit frustrated at times. The timing coincided with the start of the dry season so the rivers were very high and water had flooded the surrounding forests. This enabled the canoes to venture around in the forests at canopy height. Birding was mostly done from 2 narrow 5m canoes or from the top deck of the Tumbira.

In the end, we saw 295 species, including 63 new birds for us. Highlights of the trip included seeing the Golden Parakeets flying over the boat, beautiful reflections on the river of the sunsets, watching the Gray River and Pink River Dolphins, sharing Micah’s enthusiasm for the Antbirds on the Harlequin Antbird trail (left bank of Rio Parawari), enjoying the great fresh fish and gluten free meals, watching large numbers of nightjars and nighthawk gliding over the water and visiting school children in a remote school and hearing them sing of their love for the country and environment.


Day 1 29 May: Grounds of Hotel Tropical Manaus Hotel
Day 2 30 May: visit MUSA tower
Day 3 31 May: visit MUSA tower
Day 4 1 June: Depart for Lago dos Reis
Day 5 2 June: island in river Ilha Urucurituba travelled upstream toward Novo Olinda
Day 6 3 June: Canuma upstream stopped on Rio Madeira
Day 7 4 June: mouth of Rio Abacaxis
Day 8 5 June: remained in same area
Day 9 6 June: mouth of the Rio Paraconin – black water tributary empties into Parana Araria
Day 10 7 June: Rio Amana
Day 11 8 June: triple joint of the Parana Araria, Parana do Ramos, Prana Arijira
Day12 9 June: Miracaueira Buffalo Island
Day 13 10 June: Ilha do Marchantaria Botos on Rio Negro, returning to Manaus in evening
Day 14 11 June: MUSA tower Reserva Ducke

Species Lists

Black-bellied Whistling Duck Dendrocygna autumnalis
Muscovy Duck Cairina moschata
Little Chachalaca Ortalis motmot
White-crested Guan Penelope pileata
Red-throated Piping Guan Pipile cujubi
Razor-billed Curassow Mitu tuberosum
Green Ibis Mesembrinibis cayennensis
Rufescent Tiger Heron Tigrisoma lineatum
Agami Heron Agamia agami
Boat-billed Heron Cochlearius cochlearius
Black-crowned Night Heron Nycticorax nycticorax
Striated Heron Butorides striata
Eastern Cattle Egret Bubulcus coromandus
Great Blue Heron Ardea herodias
Cocoi Heron Ardea cocoi
Great Egret Ardea alba
Capped Heron Pilherodius pileatus
Snowy Egret Egretta thula
Neotropic Cormorant Phalacrocorax brasilianus
Turkey Vulture Cathartes aura
Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes burrovianus
Greater Yellow-headed Vulture Cathartes melambrotus
Black Vulture Coragyps atratus
Western Osprey Pandion haliaetus
Grey-headed Kite Leptodon cayanensis
Swallow-tailed Kite Elanoides forficatus
Black Hawk-Eagle Spizaetus tyrannus
Double-toothed Kite Harpagus bidentatus
Tiny Hawk Accipiter superciliosus
Plumbeous Kite Ictinia plumbea
Black-collared Hawk Busarellus nigricollis
Snail Kite Rostrhamus sociabilis
Crane Hawk Geranospiza caerulescens
Slate-colored Hawk Buteogallus schistaceus
Savanna Hawk Buteogallus meridionalis
Roadside Hawk Rupornis magnirostris
Black-faced Hawk Leucopternis melanops
White-browed Hawk Leucopternis kuhli
Grey-lined Hawk Buteo nitidus
Sungrebe Heliornis fulica
Grey-necked Wood Rail Aramides cajaneus
Limpkin Aramus guarauna
Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
Pied Plover Hoploxypterus cayanus
Yellow-billed Tern Sternula superciliaris
Large-billed Tern Phaetusa simplex
Pale-vented Pigeon Patagioenas cayennensis
Plumbeous Pigeon Patagioenas plumbea
Ruddy Pigeon Patagioenas subvinacea
Common Ground Dove Columbina passerina
White-tipped Dove Leptotila verreauxi
Greater Ani Crotophaga major
Smooth-billed Ani Crotophaga ani
Little Cuckoo Coccycua minuta
Squirrel Cuckoo Piaya cayana
Black-bellied Cuckoo Piaya melanogaster
Dark-billed Cuckoo Coccyzus melacoryphus
Tropical Screech Owl Megascops choliba
Tawny-bellied Screech Owl Megascops watsonii
Spectacled Owl Pulsatrix perspicillata
Great Potoo Nyctibius grandis
Common Potoo Nyctibius griseus
Lesser Nighthawk Chordeiles acutipennis
Short-tailed Nighthawk Lurocalis semitorquatus
Band-tailed Nighthawk Nyctiprogne leucopyga
Blackish Nightjar Nyctipolus nigrescens
Pauraque Nyctidromus albicollis
Ladder-tailed Nightjar Hydropsalis climacocerca
Band-rumped Swift Chaetura spinicaudus
Grey-rumped Swift Chaetura cinereiventris
Short-tailed Swift Chaetura brachyura
Neotropical Palm Swift Tachornis squamata
Lesser Swallow-tailed Swift Panyptila cayennensis
Rufous-breasted Hermit Glaucis hirsutus
Pale-tailed Barbthroat Threnetes leucurus
Streak-throated Hermit Phaethornis rupurumii
Grey-breasted Sabrewing Campylopterus largipennis
Black-throated Mango Anthracothorax nigricollis
Green-tailed Goldenthroat Polytmus theresiae
Versicolored Emerald Amazilia versicolor
Glittering-throated Emerald Amazilia fimbriata
Black-eared Fairy Heliothryx auritus
Black-tailed Trogon Trogon melanurus
Green-backed Trogon Trogon viridis
Amazonian Trogon Trogon ramonianus
Guianan Trogon Trogon violaceus
Blue-crowned Trogon Trogon curucui
American Pygmy Kingfisher Chloroceryle aenea
Green-and-rufous Kingfisher Chloroceryle inda
Green Kingfisher Chloroceryle americana
Amazon Kingfisher Chloroceryle amazona
Ringed Kingfisher Megaceryle torquata
Green-tailed Jacamar Galbula galbula
Paradise Jacamar Galbula dea
Brown-banded Puffbird Notharchus ordii
Spotted Puffbird Bucco tamatia
Rufous-necked Puffbird Malacoptila rufa
Black-fronted Nunbird Monasa nigrifrons
White-fronted Nunbird Monasa morphoeus
Swallow-winged Puffbird Chelidoptera tenebrosa
Black-spotted Barbet Capito niger
Green Aracari Pteroglossus viridis
Red-necked Aracari Pteroglossus bitorquatus
Black-necked Aracari Pteroglossus aracari
Chestnut-eared Aracari Pteroglossus castanotis
Guianan Toucanet Selenidera piperivora
Gould's Toucanet Selenidera gouldii
Channel-billed Toucan Ramphastos vitellinus
Toco Toucan Ramphastos toco
White-throated Toucan Ramphastos tucanus
Bar-breasted Piculet Picumnus aurifrons
Golden-spangled Piculet Picumnus exilis
Varzea Piculet Picumnus varzeae
Yellow-tufted Woodpecker Melanerpes cruentatus
Yellow-throated Woodpecker Piculus flavigula
Golden-green Woodpecker Piculus chrysochloros
Spot-breasted Woodpecker Colaptes punctigula
Waved Woodpecker Celeus undatus
Chestnut Woodpecker Celeus elegans
Cream-colored Woodpecker Celeus flavus
Ringed Woodpecker Celeus torquatus
Lineated Woodpecker Dryocopus lineatus
Red-necked Woodpecker Campephilus rubricollis
Crimson-crested Woodpecker Campephilus melanoleucos
Black Caracara Daptrius ater
Northern Crested Caracara Caracara cheriway
Southern Crested Caracara Caracara plancus
Yellow-headed Caracara Milvago chimachima
Laughing Falcon Herpetotheres cachinnans
Bat Falcon Falco rufigularis
Tui Parakeet Brotogeris sanctithomae
White-winged Parakeet Brotogeris versicolurus
Golden-winged Parakeet Brotogeris chrysoptera
Caica Parrot Pyrilia caica
Bald Parrot Pyrilia aurantiocephala
Short-tailed Parrot Graydidascalus brachyurus
Festive Amazon Amazona festiva
Northern Mealy Amazon Amazona guatemalae
Orange-winged Amazon Amazona amazonica
Dusky-billed Parrotlet Forpus modestus
Green-rumped Parrotlet Forpus passerinus
Blue-winged Parrotlet Forpus xanthopterygius
Red-fan Parrot Deroptyus accipitrinus
Crimson-bellied Parakeet Pyrrhura perlata
Brown-throated Parakeet Eupsittula pertinax
Blue-winged Macaw Primolius maracana
Blue-and-yellow Macaw Ara ararauna
Scarlet Macaw Ara macao
Red-and-green Macaw Ara chloropterus
Chestnut-fronted Macaw Ara severus
Golden Parakeet Guaruba guarouba
White-eyed Parakeet Psittacara leucophthalmus
White-bellied Spinetail Synallaxis propinqua
Plain-crowned Spinetail Synallaxis gujanensis
Rusty-backed Spinetail Cranioleuca vulpina
Parker's Spinetail Cranioleuca vulpecula
Speckled Spinetail Cranioleuca gutturata
Yellow-chinned Spinetail Certhiaxis cinnamomeus
Red-and-white Spinetail Certhiaxis mustelinus
Plain Softtail Thripophaga fusciceps
Cinnamon-rumped Foliage-gleaner Philydor pyrrhodes
Buff-throated Foliage-gleaner Automolus ochrolaemus
Rufous-tailed Xenops Microxenops milleri
Olivaceous Woodcreeper Sittasomus griseicapillus
Long-billed Woodcreeper Nasica longirostris
Amazonian Barred Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes certhia
Straight-billed Woodcreeper Dendroplex picus
Zimmer's Woodcreeper Dendroplex kienerii
Striped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus obsoletus
Ocellated Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus ocellatus
Chestnut-rumped Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus pardalotus
Buff-throated Woodcreeper Xiphorhynchus guttatus
Guianan Woodcreeper Lepidocolaptes albolineatus
Fasciated Antshrike Cymbilaimus lineatus
Glossy Antshrike Sakesphorus luctuosus
Barred Antshrike Thamnophilus doliatus
Castelnau's Antshrike Thamnophilus cryptoleucus
Amazonian Antshrike Thamnophilus amazonicus
Saturnine Antshrike Thamnomanes saturninus
Spot-winged Antshrike Pygiptila stellaris
White-eyed Antwren Epinecrophylla leucophthalma
Amazonian Streaked Antwren Myrmotherula multostriata
Klages's Antwren Myrmotherula klagesi
Sclater's Antwren Myrmotherula sclateri
Leaden Antwren Myrmotherula assimilis
Dot-winged Antwren Microrhopias quixensis
Grey Antbird Cercomacra cinerascens
Blackish Antbird Cercomacra nigrescens
Ash-breasted Antbird Myrmoborus lugubris
Spix's Warbling Antbird Hypocnemis striata
Black-chinned Antbird Hypocnemoides melanopogon
Band-tailed Antbird Hypocnemoides maculicauda
Black-and-white Antbird Myrmochanes hemileucus
Silvered Antbird Sclateria naevia
Ferruginous-backed Antbird Myrmeciza ferruginea
Spot-backed Antbird Hylophylax naevius
Dot-backed Antbird Hylophylax punctulatus
Common Scale-backed Antbird Willisornis poecilinotus
Yellow-crowned Tyrannulet Tyrannulus elatus
Yellow-crowned Elaenia Myiopagis flavivertex
Large Elaenia Elaenia spectabilis
Brownish Elaenia Elaenia pelzelni
White-lored Tyrannulet Ornithion inerme
Southern Beardless Tyrannulet Camptostoma obsoletum
Lesser Wagtail-Tyrant Stigmatura napensis
Guianan Tyrannulet Zimmerius acer
Ochre-bellied Flycatcher Mionectes oleagineus
Amazonian Inezia Inezia subflava
Short-tailed Pygmy Tyrant Myiornis ecaudatus
Spotted Tody-Flycatcher Todirostrum maculatum
Yellow-olive Flatbill Tolmomyias sulphurescens
Grey-crowned Flatbill Tolmomyias poliocephalus
Ochre-lored Flatbill Tolmomyias flaviventris
Fuscous Flycatcher Cnemotriccus fuscatus
Riverside Tyrant Knipolegus orenocensis
Drab Water Tyrant Ochthornis littoralis
White-headed Marsh Tyrant Arundinicola leucocephala
Rusty-margined Flycatcher Myiozetetes cayanensis
Social Flycatcher Myiozetetes similis
Great Kiskadee Pitangus sulphuratus
Lesser Kiskadee Philohydor lictor
Three-striped Flycatcher Conopias trivirgatus
Streaked Flycatcher Myiodynastes maculatus
Boat-billed Flycatcher Megarynchus pitangua
Variegated Flycatcher Empidonomus varius
White-throated Kingbird Tyrannus albogularis
Tropical Kingbird Tyrannus melancholicus
Fork-tailed Flycatcher Tyrannus savana
Greyish Mourner Rhytipterna simplex
Short-crested Flycatcher Myiarchus ferox
Cinnamon Attila Attila cinnamomeus
White-eyed Attila Attila bolivianus
Spangled Cotinga Cotinga cayana
Screaming Piha Lipaugus vociferans
Pompadour Cotinga Xipholena punicea
White-tailed Cotinga Xipholena lamellipennis
Bare-necked Fruitcrow Gymnoderus foetidus
Snow-capped Manakin Lepidothrix nattereri
Crimson-hooded Manakin Pipra aureola
Red-headed Manakin Ceratopipra rubrocapilla
Ruddy-tailed Flycatcher Terenotriccus erythrurus
Black-tailed Tityra Tityra cayana
Masked Tityra Tityra semifasciata
Varzea Schiffornis Schiffornis major
Brown-winged Schiffornis Schiffornis turdina
Chestnut-crowned Becard Pachyramphus castaneus
Black-capped Becard Pachyramphus marginatus
Red-eyed Vireo Vireo olivaceus
Grey-chested Greenlet Hylophilus semicinereus
White-winged Swallow Tachycineta albiventer
Grey-breasted Martin Progne chalybea
Brown-chested Martin Progne tapera
White-banded Swallow Atticora fasciata
Southern Rough-winged Swallow Stelgidopteryx ruficollis
Black-capped Donacobius Donacobius atricapilla
Buff-breasted Wren Cantorchilus leucotis
House Wren Troglodytes aedon
Pale-breasted Thrush Turdus leucomelas
Black-billed Thrush Turdus ignobilis
Violaceous Euphonia Euphonia violacea
Thick-billed Euphonia Euphonia laniirostris
White-lored Euphonia Euphonia chrysopasta
Southern Yellowthroat Geothlypis velata
Red-breasted Blackbird Sturnella militaris
Green Oropendola Psarocolius viridis
Solitary Cacique Cacicus solitarius
Yellow-rumped Cacique Cacicus cela
Red-rumped Cacique Cacicus haemorrhous
Orange-backed Troupial Icterus croconotus
Giant Cowbird Molothrus oryzivorus
Shiny Cowbird Molothrus bonariensis
Oriole Blackbird Gymnomystax mexicanus
Bananaquit Coereba flaveola
Yellow-browed Sparrow Ammodramus aurifrons
Red-capped Cardinal Paroaria gularis
Hooded Tanager Nemosia pileata
Fulvous-crested Tanager Tachyphonus surinamus
White-lined Tanager Tachyphonus rufus
Masked Crimson Tanager Ramphocelus nigrogularis
Silver-beaked Tanager Ramphocelus carbo
Blue-grey Tanager Thraupis episcopus
Turquoise Tanager Tangara mexicana
Spotted Tanager Tangara punctata
Yellow-bellied Dacnis Dacnis flaviventer
Blue Dacnis Dacnis cayana
Purple Honeycreeper Cyanerpes caeruleus
Yellow-backed Tanager Hemithraupis flavicollis
Chestnut-vented Conebill Conirostrum speciosum
Bicolored Conebill Conirostrum bicolor
Pearly-breasted Conebill Conirostrum margaritae
Orange-fronted Yellow Finch Sicalis columbiana
Wing-barred Seedeater Sporophila americana
Lined Seedeater Sporophila lineola
Chestnut-bellied Seedeater Sporophila castaneiventris
Greyish Saltator Saltator coerulescens