Grey-hooded Attila (Photo by Leonardo Pimentel)
Blue Manakin (Photo by Lee Dingain)
Brassy-breasted Tanager (Photo by Leonardo Pimentel)

Birding at REGUA

Whether you are a casual birder or a serious world lister, we offer some of the very best birding in the Atlantic Forest. Our reserve contains forest ranging from 30 m to around 2,000 m above sea level, making Guapi Assu Bird Lodge the ideal location to see a good altitudinal cross-section of Atlantic Forest birds. Over 455 species have been sighted to date, ranging from forest dwelling toucans, woodpeckers, owls, cotingas, manakins, antbirds and tanagers, to wetland birds such as herons, rails, wildfowl and waders. So far 62 Brazilian endemics and 118 Atlantic Forest endemics have been recorded.

We have produced a suggested birding itinerary, designed to maximise your chances of seeing a good range of Atlantic Forest specialities. The itinerary includes visits to different habitats, forest trails at various altitudes and excursions to a number of birding sites outside the reserve.

Our expert bird guides are also available for hire if you would like help with finding and identifying birds. If you are unfamiliar with rainforest birding then hiring a bird guide is strongly recommended, as is booking in advance to ensure availability (please see our rates page).

Birding Brazil's Atlantic Forest

Brazil is one of the world's most exciting birdwatching destinations. With it's huge size (the fifth largest country in the world), geographical location and diverse range of habitats, Brazil is home to a staggering 1,700 bird species (around 17% of the world's total) and 199 of these are endemic.

The Atlantic Forest, located in the south-east of the country on the slopes of the Serra do Mar mountain range, lies almost entirely within Brazil, just creeping into Argentina, Paraguay and Uruguay. Having long been isolated from the Amazon by a wide arid plateau, many of the animals and plants found here have evolved into species found nowhere else on Earth. With an amazing 199 endemic species of birds, the Atlantic Forest has the highest number of bird endemics of any habitat on Earth.

Yellow-lored Tody-Flycatcher (Photo by Leonardo Pimentel)Sadly, today the Atlantic Forest is one of the world's most threatened ecosystems. Only around 7% of the original forest remains and most of this is highly fragmented. The largest areas exist on mountain sides and steep slopes, where it was too difficult for trees to be felled. Flat lowland forest, that once covered the area between the Serra do Mar mountains and the coast, is now very scarce.

Lying so close to the ever expanding cities of Rio de Janeiro and São Paulo, the forest remains under intense pressure from development and is disappearing rapidly. It therefore comes as no surprise that so many of the forest's birds are rare and endangered. In fact, of the 111 Brazilian bird species listed by BirdLife International as at risk of extinction, 98 are found in the Atlantic Forest.

Plain-winged (Thrush-like) Woodcreeper (Photo by Tasso Leventis)REGUA alone is home to thirteen species classified as Threatened by BirdLife International - the Endangered Crowned Eagle and Brown-backed Parrotlet, and the Vulnerable White-necked Hawk, Golden-tailed Parrotlet, White-bearded Antshrike, Salvadori's Antwren, Fork-tailed Tody-Tyrant, Russet-winged Spadebill, Bare-throated Bellbird, Black-backed Tanager, Black-legged Dacnis, Buffy-fronted and Temminck's Seedeaters. A further 26 species on the reserve list are classified as Near-threatened.

However, its the more common and easily seen Atlantic Forest specialities that make birding here so exciting. Spectacular birds such as Black Hawk-Eagle, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Surucua Trogon, Rufous-capped Motmot, Crescent-chested Puffbird, Channel-billed Toucan, Spot-billed Toucanet, Blond-crested Woodpecker, Black-billed Scythebill, Bare-throated Bellbird, Pin-tailed and Blue Manakins, Brazilian Tanager and Blue-naped Chlorophonia are regularly encountered. Often the forest is so full of birds that it can take hours just to walk a few hundred yards, and during the winter months, large mixed flocks can contain 15 or more species.

Brazilian Tanager (Photo by Margaret Welby)Those highly desirable and sculking antbirds are also well represented. 30 species have been recorded at REGUA including Giant, Spot-backed, Tufted and Sooretama Slaty Antshrikes, Spot-breasted Antvireo, Star-throated Antwren, Scaled and Ferruginous Antbirds, Rufous-capped Antthrush and Variegated Antpitta.

Amazingly, despite the severe habitat loss, birds new to science are still being discovered in the Atlantic Forest. The first Grey-winged Cotinga Tijuca condita was described as recently as 1980, and between 1990 and 2000 another five new species were found. Other birds thought to have become extinct have been rediscovered. These include the Kinglet Calyptura Calyptura cristata, a tiny cotinga, seen in October 1996 near REGUA after an absence of 100 years.