Speciality Birds

On this page we have listed (in taxonomic order) a selection of some of the species that many birders wish to see while visiting us. Some of these are local specialities, some are rarities frequently seen at REGUA, and some are simply quintessential Atlantic Forest endemics. To view video footage click on the blue links next to the video camera icon (Video footage taken at REGUA).

Masked Duck (Photo by Lee Dingain) Masked Duck Nomonyx (Oxyura) dominica    Video footage taken at REGUA - click on the links to the right to view 1 2 3
Masked Duck is the smallest of the Oxyurini tribe or 'stifftails'. They have a large range - from Mexico and the Caribbean in the north, to north-east Argentina in the south, however, they are uncommon and their secretive habits often make them difficult to find. Masked Duck favour freshwater lakes and marshes that have a lot of vegetation. Since the larger of the REGUA wetlands was restored in 2005, numbers of Masked Duck have continued to increase and it is now not unusual to count double figures here, with birds of various ages and both sexes usually present. If seen in flight look for the distinctive white patch on the upper wing.
White-necked Hawk (Photo by Lee Dingain) White-necked Hawk Leucopternis lacernulatus
A Brazilian and Atlantic Forest endemic. Once considered common, habitat loss has caused the population to decline and become fragmented and the species is now classified as Vulnerable by BirdLife International. They are mainly found in lowland primary forest up to 900 m above sea level where they inhabit the midstorey. At REGUA birds can be seen displaying over the clearing along the Waterfall Trail (by post 1150) when breeding, and the 4x4 track to Casa Anibal is another reliable spot. White-necked Hawks prefer invertebrate prey and they are occasional visitors to army ant swarms where they pick off escaping insects.
Giant Snipe (Photo by Lee Dingain) Giant Snipe Gallinago undulata    Video footage taken at REGUA - click on the links to the right to view 1 2
The world's largest snipe. Giant Snipe are uncommon and are difficult to see, mainly because of their nocturnal habits. The REGUA wetland has a excellent track record for this species, with estimates of up to 20 resident pairs! At night the calls of displaying birds may occasionally be heard from the lodge, but the best times to try and see them are at dusk or dawn, when good ground views can sometimes be obtained. Not considered globally threatened although under pressure from hunting, the bulk of the population (of the nominant race gigantea) lies mainly in south-east Brazil with smaller populations elsewhere.
Blue-bellied Parrot (Photo by Adilei Carvalho da Cunha) Blue-bellied Parrot Triclaria malachitacea
A Brazilian and Atlantic Forest endemic. Classified as Near-threatened, the population is declining due to habitat loss and, to a lesser degree, trapping for the cagebird trade. They inhabit mid altitude forest up to about 1,000 m. There are good numbers present at REGUA but they are not easy to see and are more much frequently heard giving their almost thrush-like song. The Elfin Forest Trail (from post 800 onwards) is the most reliable spot on the reserve to try.
Crescent-chested Puffbird (Photo by Nick Athanas/Tropical Birding) Crescent-chested Puffbird Malacoptila striata
A Brazilian endemic. Crescent-chested Puffbird is reasonably common in south-east Brazil (nominate race striata) with a smaller population in the north-east (race minor). Found in a wide variety of habitats from forest interiors to open grassy areas with thickets and stands of bamboo. Range from sea level up to 2,100 m. They can be seen in the lodge garden, around the wetland and on any of the reserve trails. The road to the start of the Matumbo Trail is also a good spot.
Spot-billed Toucanet (Photo by Leonardo Pimentel) Spot-billed Toucanet Selenidera maculirostris    Video footage taken at REGUA - click on the links to the right to view 1 2 3 4
An Atlantic Forest endemic found in forest from mid elevations to above 1,000 m. These striking toucanets are fairly common around the reserve and are often seen in pairs. The Waterfall and Lost Trails are particularly good. Listen for their distinctive croaking calls. Despite the loss of so much forest, the Spot-billed Toucanet appears to be doing quite well and so the species is considered to be of Least Concern by BirdLife International.
Tufted Antshrike (Photo by Lee Dingain) Tufted Antshrike Mackenziana severa
An Atlantic Forest endemic found in south-east Brazil, eastern Paraguay and north-east Argentina. This exceptionally skulking and often uncommon antshrike is found in a variety of habitats ranging from primary forest to secondary growth, from sea level up to 1,400 m. They seem to be particularly fond of dense undergrowth with tangled vines and bamboo. The trails around the REGUA wetland that pass by dense secondary growth are good for this species although a lot of patience is required to see one. They are usually in pairs but the males tend to be seen much more often. The Light Blue Trail behind the lodge (between posts 1200 and 1250) is a reliable spot.
Sooretama Slaty Antshrike (Photo by Lee Dingain) Sooretama Slaty Antshrike Thamnophilus ambiguus
A Brazilian endemic, formally considered conspecific with Northern Slaty Antshrike Thamnophilus punctatus but now split. This fairly common lowland bird has a narrow range along the Atlantic coast of south-east Brazil. They are found in forest edge and secondary growth up to 700 m and also in restinga woodland near the coast, favouring the understorey and midstorey from ground level to about 10 m high. At REGUA, Sooretama Slaty Antshrike is fairly easy to find in the secondary forest around the wetland, especially on the Nursery and Light Blue Trails and are often in pairs.
Salvadori's Antwren (Photo by Lee Dingain) Salvadori's Antwren Myrmotherula minor
Salvadori's Antwren is restricted to the Atlantic Forest of Brazil (old records from Peru are no longer considered acceptable) and is now a rare bird with a tiny range. It is a lowland species generally found in primary or well established secondary forest up to 300 m (occasionally higher). With almost all of it's lowland forest habitat either cleared or severly degraded it is considered Vulnerble. They are regularly seen at REGUA, especially on the Elfin Forest and Grey Trails.
Black-cheeked Gnateater (Photo by Lee Dingain) Black-cheeked Gnateater Conopophaga melanops    Video footage taken at REGUA - click on the links to the right to view 1
A Brazilian and Atlantic Forest endemic. This fairly common and charasmatic bird is associated with forest interiors, often near streams or ravines, from sea level up to about 800 m. They are usually found a few metres above the ground in the understorey and often draw attention to themselves by their loud 'zshink' calls. They are found in forest throughout the reserve but the Waterfall, Papagaio and São José Trails seem particularly good for them. They seem to be able to tolerate dense secondary growth and are therefore considered Near-threatened.
Russet-winged Spadebill (Photo by Leonardo Pimentel) Russet-winged Spadebill Platyrinchus leucoryphus    Video footage taken at REGUA - click on the links to the right to view 1 2
An Atlantic Forest endemic found almost exclusively within south-east Brazil, but also in eastern Paraguay and occasionally in extreme north-east Argentina. Russet-winged Spadebill is rare, occuring in very low densities in primary forest and occassionally in well established secondary forest. It is a difficult species to catch up with, but since 2007 birds have been regularly sighted on our Elfin Forest and Grey Trails. BirdLife International classify it as Vulnerable, due to its apparent dependancy on primary forest with an open understorey and dense canopy, an increasingly scarce habitat.
Bare-throated Bellbird (Photo by Tasso Leventis) Bare-throated Bellbird Procnias nudicollis
An Atlantic Forest endemic found mainly in Brazil but also in eastern Paraguay and extreme north-east Argentina. This beautiful member of the cotinga family is found in humid forest up to 1,000 m. They are fairly common at REGUA and from late July onwards the loud metallic sounding calls of the males can be heard everywhere. The Waterfall and Lost Trails are good spots although it can be difficult locating one in the canopy. Currently classified as Near-threatened, habitat loss and trapping for the cagebird trade are the main threats.
Pin-tailed Manakin (Photo by Leonardo Pimentel) Pin-tailed Manakin Ilicura militaris
A Brazilian and Atlantic Forest endemic. This unmistakable manakin is fairly widespread throughout south-east Brazil and can be found in primary forest, most often between 600 m and 1,200 m, although sometimes lower. At REGUA the Waterfall Trail is particularly good for this species and on some days they can appear to be everywhere! The bamboo section starting at post 900 and the forest around post 1850 are the best spots along the trail to try. Listen for their high pitched slightly discending "see-see-see-see" call, and if you are lucky you might find one feeding on berries beside the path.
Eastern Striped Manakin (Photo by Nick Athanas/Tropical Birding) Eastern Striped Manakin Machaeropterus regulus    Video footage taken at REGUA - click on the links to the right to view 1 2
A Brazilian and Atlantic Forest endemic that has recently been split by most authorities from Western Striped Manakin Machaeropterus striolatus. This poorly known and generally scarce bird is found in lowland forest up to at least 400 m. It is seen with some regularity at REGUA although is still a difficult bird to find. The 4x4 track to Casa Anibal is the best spot, although several attempts and a little patience are often required in order to connect with one.
Shrike-like Cotinga/Elegant Mourner (Photo by Leonardo Pimentel) Shrike-like Cotinga (Elegant Mourner) Laniisoma elegans    Video footage taken at REGUA - click on the links to the right to view 1
REGUA is probably the most reliable site in the world for this rare bird. A species of primary and well established secondary forest, they occur up to about 900 m, spending the austral winter months at lower elevations and moving higher up to breed. The most reliable spots on the reserve are the Waterfall and São José Trails between February and mid August and the Elfin Forest Trail between mid August and December. The largest population, of nominate race elegans, occurs in south-east Brazil and is classified as Vulnerable. Smaller populations occur along the Andes and comprise three other, and even rarer, subspecies. The taxonomy of Shrike-like Cotinga is currently being debated and it appears they might be more closely related to the Pipridae than the Cotingidae.

For a full list of birds at REGUA see our bird list.