Manakin Nature Tours, the best birdwatching and wildlife photography tours in Colombia and Latin America.

Enjoy nature with us! Is not just Birding, are amazing nature holidays!


Enjoy nature with us!

Itatiaia, Chapadas dos Guiamaraes, Pantanal and Iguazú, exploring the beauties of Brazil.

By Alejandro Pinto

3 and 4 Oct.

we spent some days around different areas of Itatiatia NP. this park is the oldest in Brazil and also protect a very important ecosystem: Atlantic forest. not also because of high number of endemics and near endemics (over 200 hundred! including Brazil, Argentina..) but also because of the deforestation that took place here since centuries and also 10-12% of the original vegetation coverage remains in patches. anyway, Itatiaia is a spectaculer place for birding loading with superb birds. First morning, we drove on the way to the park, a short stop for coffee on the way was good for some common but nice birds: Saffron Finch, Buff-necked Ibis, Cattle Tyrant ant others. By 11:45 we reach the Itatiaia PN entrance and few minutes later we were watching birds at the hotel gardens! Feeders loaded with Tanagers and Hummingbirds was the best way to start the trip! Green-headed Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Brazilian Ruby, Black Jacobin among others! the afternoon walking near the lodge was good for a introduction of some common birds but also we added some goodies! Planalto Tyrannulet, Star-throated Antwren, Golden-winged Cacique, Slaty Bristelfront, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Saffron-billed Sparrow, but also good mammals like: Black-horned Capuchin and Guianan Squirrel.
the next day just near the hotel was very productive, despite the foggy and soft rainy morning, we got plenty activity and we had a lot of good birds and moments! starting with Red-breasted Toucan (Green-billed) mating early in the morning but also: Rufous-thiged Kite, a very cooperative Southern Antpipit, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Brazilian Tanager, Pallid Spinetail and many more!

5 Oct. Black n Gold Cotinga moment

A full day in the high mountains at Itatiaia, birding on the Aghulas negras road for more specialties! the morning started in the right way with a mix flock at the forest edge: Brassy-breasted Tanager and Robust Woodpecker were outstanding! but also a lot of other birds, including the Rufous Gnateater, Green-crowned Plovercrest, Green-backed Becard, Buff-throated Warbling Finch, Golden-chevroned Tanager and other. by the end of the morning we had our picnic style lunch, which took place on a bridge, with an open view of the mountains and forest around, because of the sunny day and good weather conditions we decided to climb a bit more by car, when suddenly, Alejo: para para para!!! a very high pitch song was melodically singing…1 minute later all of us were watching a beautiful male Black and Gold Cotinga completely exposed singing from a tree! we had enough time to enjoy the moment, photos and videos were taken. later we climbed all the way to the top for open bushes birds, adding some interesting species like: Itatiaia Spinetail, Velvety Black Tyrant, Gray-backed Tachuri, Great Pampa Finch and others.
 we finished our Atlantic forest portion with a feast of desserts for dinner!

7 -8 Oct. Chapadas dos Guimaraes National park.

The Cerrado is a large tropical savanna, but  has less than 20% of its original vegetation undisturbed and about ~850 birds species has been recorded in this biome! the high birds diversity of the Cerrado Region is primarily a consequence of the extensive biotic interchange with the adjacent major regions: Amazonia and Atlantic Forest! so again another great place for birding!
Our lodge was not only spectacular but very strategic located surrounded by primary and secondary forest and savannas areas, but also very close to local trails and paths, that gave us great chances to explore different habitats.
The first morning we drove to Jacamá trail, a secondary forest near the town. we watched some good birds including Parrots, Parakeets and Aracari, Miguel spotted a Tataupa Tinamou which gave us a short show next to the road, the real star of the morning was a full color Band-tailed Manakin which perch for us several minutes in a open view branch! later on the morning on the way back to the lodge a Red-winged Tinamu appears on the road, second tinamou of the day! other birds included: Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Glittering-bellied Hummingbird, Great Antshrike, Planalto hermit. At the afternoon we enjoyed a beautiful sunset loaded with parrots, parakeets and Macaws at the veo du Noiva waterfall, a beautiful place at the plateau. A couple of Blue-winged Macaws perched in fron of us while the White-eyed Parakeets were flying all over the place! at sunset a pair of Red and Green Macaws were flying around us to finally perch right in front of our eyes , prining each other and giving us a beautiful show!
The next days we explored the cerradao (bushy areas) but also patches of gallery forest and savannas. this was really nice to add some of the specialties of the Cerrado biome and we saw some very good birds like: Small-billed Tinamou, Chapadas Flycatcher, White-rumped Tanager, White-banded Tanager, Sibilant Syristes, Rufous Casiornis and a nice family of Black-tailed Marmotset. at the afternoon we walk on a couple of paths near the town to add some good birds to the list and have a nice afternoon sunset view from the plateau.

9 Oct 2022 Entering the Transpantaneira

Before we leave Chapadas dos Guimaraes, we enjoyed the morning with a short birding walking next to the lodge, we had nice views of the White-wedge Piculet, Flavescent Warbler and Ling-billed Antbird also a couple of Amazonian Motmot were flipping around! then we enjoyed sometime around the flowers of the lodge for nice hummingbirds: Swallow-tailed Hummingbird, Glittering-bellied Emerald, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, White-vented Violetear, Black-throated Mango and Planalto Hermit. during the late morning we started to drive south on the way to the transpantaneira…few minutes after we took the gravel road many birds were spotted! Greater Rhea, Guira Cuckoo, Plumbeous Ibis, Chaco Chachalaca, Rufous-bellied Guan, Monk Parakeet, Jabiru, Wood Stork…but also Capybaras, Yacare Caiman, Red-footed Tortoise… it was a great appetizer for our Pantanal adventure!

10 Oct – 15 Oct. exploring the transpantaneira

As soon as we started to drive on the transpantaneira the birds and wildlife was abundant! Marsh Deers, Yacare Caimans and tons of beautiful birds! no matter where we stopped, every day we sought more than 70 bird species without leaving the main road and a few days over 100 sp!
From Poconé to Porto Jofre we explored all the famous Tranpantaneira road, the 140 km has so much fun. several stops along the way but also around the lodge gave us spectacular moments for birds but for wildlife in general!
First couple of night at the km 35 including Safari open truck rides and walking along the forest and savannas were super for beautiful birds like: Toco Toucan, Red-billed Scythebill, Yellow-billed Cardinal, Helmeted Manakin, Bare-faced Curassow, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Matto Grosso Antbird, Greater Thornbird, White-lored Spinetail, Orange-backed Troupial and many more! at the afternoon not far from our lodge we had a boat ride and we couldn’t ask for better views of the Agami Heron and plenty of other water birds. The night safari on an open truck was memorable, we had incredible views of a family of Raccoons, and the incredible Tapir in a pond near the road!
On the way to Porto Jofre (the end of the Transpantaneira road) a heavy rain shower the gravel road, the muddy terrain was so slippery and our bus got stuck in the middle of nowhere! Miguel went for help while Alejo and the rest of the group did a lecture and a birding on the road. 3.5 hours later Miguel came back with a Safari open big truck and we finally reach Porto Jofre for dinner and have some rest, despite the situation was far to be bad, birds kept the group entertainment and we spotted a Jaguar during the night!
Our boat ride at Cuiaba river started with a nice view of a Jaguar walking along the river, we followed the Jaguar for about 30 min before disappeared! at the afternoon we went back on the river a second Jaguar was spotted and we had some views of this amazing animal, the thunders in the distance were announced the rain…a serious rain came quick and we were forced to went back to the lodge, but despite the rain, during the day  some good birds were spotted:  Chestnut-bellied Guan, Great Potoo, Green Ibis, Toco Toucan, Southern Screamer, Pale-crested Woodpecker, Masked Gnatcatcher, Fawn-breasted Wren, Maguari Stork and Capped Heron among others.
On the way out of the Transpantaneria we made 2 main stops, the first one on the Pixaim river for two very special birds! Agami Heron, a full plumage bird was spotted during the boat ride, while fishing along the shallow water bank and the target of the morning: Zigzag Heron, one of those really hard to see birds, but it was nesting! we enjoyed the nest and clear views of this enigmatic bird! but also: Sungrebe, Black-collared Hawk, Solitary Black Cacique, Chestnut-vented Conebill among others.
The last stop at the beginning of the road and also the drier area of Pantanal was beyond spectacular!
At the very first moment, we spotted a couple of Red-legged Seriema and a male Greater Rhea with 12 chicks! but during our days we saw other nice birds: Red-crested Cardinal, Yellow-chevroned Parakeet, Turquoise-fronted Parrot, Plumbeous Ibis, Red-throated Piping Guan, Ferruginous Pygmy Owl, Blue-crowned Trogon, Aplomado Falcon, Rufous Casiornis among other. we spotted a couple of times the Lowlands (also called Brazilian) Tapir! but the best of all was the spectacular Giant Anteater! we spent about 10 minutes with this amazing mammal, walking quietly in front of us and giving the opportunity to enjoy every detail.
We finished our trip in the right way, with wine in the tower, in the middle of the savanna with a spectacular view of huge flocks of Whistling Ducks, Storks, Herons and Egrets.

Iguazú, the last portion.

Not only the mind-blowing Cataratas are the main attraction of the Iguazú area, but also tons of good birds in both sides: Brazil and Argentina, are a perfect excuse to visit the area and enjoy some time in the field.
As soon as we landed on Iguazú we crossed the border to Argentina and we had a great cup of coffee and visited a charming backyard in a private property to watch good hummingbirds and other birds, we also visit the 3 boundaries limit (Argentina, Brazil and Paraguay) and had a nice pizza with beer in the town for lunch. Our jungle lodge was also perfect for an introduction of the local birds and be ready for our next 3 days adventure!
We visited the Iguazú waterfall on the Argentinian side, despite the early morning rain we managed to watch some good birds and little by little the sky opens and the weather was just perfect! We were completely amazing with the tons of water that these waterfalls have but also the beauty if the scenery, the thousands of swifts flying…there´s not much word to describe it and also photos cannot honor enough this place.
During our walk we got our main targets: Great Dusky Swift, Rusty-margined Guan and the Black-fronted Piping Guan, which we saw at least 3 times!
The Black-fronted Piping-Guan is a large member of the Cracidae that has become rather rare in recent years.  Restricted to the Atlantic forests of southeastern Brazil and adjacent regions of Argentina and Paraguay, the species has declined significantly due to habitat loss and hunting.
Our visit to Guaran-I park was really good to add a lot of new species for the trip, we were lucky, because the bamboo bushes were on blooming and that means, bamboo specialties were in the place, some of them with very few rare records: Temminck’s Seedeater, Uniform Finch, Chestnut-headed Tanager, Blackish-blue Seedeater, Drab-breasted Pygmy Tyrant and also four species of becards: Crested, Chestnut-crowned, Greeb-backed and White-winged!
By the end of the day a beautiful male Swallow-tailed Manakin gave us a nice views!
Last morning in the field, we did a short walk around the jungle lodge, adding the incredible Blond-crested Woodpecker and Spot-backed Antshrike, but we also visit the Iguazú falls in the Brazilian side, our lunch next to the river was a perfect ending of this amazing trip.
Beside the birds, our mammals and other sights list was outstanding! Starting at Itatia with Guianan Squirrel and Black-horned Capuchin, but also a couple of Tairas (Eira barbara) crossing the road into the national park. During our visit into Chapadas dos Guiamaraes national park, a family of Black-tailed Marmoset with cubs was part of the show. Later on the trip: Crab-eating Fox, Capybaras, South American Coati, Red-footed Tortoise, Yacare Caiman, Southern Tamandua a super nice family of Carb-eating Raccoon, Brazilian Rabbit, Brocket Deer, Marsh Deer, Azara´s Agouti, Black and Gold Howler Monkeys, Black and White Tegu Lizard, Giant river Otter, Marsh Deer, Yellow Anaconda, Long-nose Bats, Cavy, Neotropical Racer, Azara´s Capuchin Monkey, Amazonian Racer, Green Iguana, a family of White-lipped Peccary, the incredible Giant Anteater, 6 sights of Tapir and the wonderful Jaguar!
30 other species beside birds and hundreds of butterflies!

Travel with us to Brazil 2023
Click on the image below

You don't have permission to register
Open chat
Need Help?
Do you have questions?
What interests you?
Select the topics of interest on which
you want to receive news: