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State of Ceará

Araripe Manakin Antilophia bokermanni ©Elis Simpson Website

Ceará is one of the 27 states of Brazil, located in the northeastern part of the country, on the Atlantic coast. It is the eighth-largest Brazilian State by population and the 17th by area. It is bounded on the north by the Atlantic Ocean, on the east by the states of Rio Grande do Norte and Paraíba, on the south by Pernambuco state, and on the west by Piauí.

The climate of Ceará is hot almost all year. The temperature in the state varies from 22 to 36 °C (72 to 97 °F). The year is divided into a rainy and dry season, the rains beginning in January to March and lasting until June. The dry season, July to December, is sometimes broken by slight showers in September and October, but these are of slight importance. The state is also one of the main tourist destinations in Brazil. The state capital is the city of Fortaleza, the country's fourth most populous city. Literally, the name Ceará means 'sings the jandaia'. According to José de Alencar, one of the most important writers of Brazil and an authority in Tupi Guaraní, Ceará means turquoise or green waters. There are also theories that the state name would derive from Siriará, a reference to the crabs from the seashore.

The state is best known for its extensive coastline, with 600 kilometers of sand. There are also mountains and valleys producing tropical fruits. To the south, on the border of Paraíba, Pernambuco and Piauí, is the National Forest of Araripe. Ceará has a varied environment, with mangroves, caatinga, jungle, scrubland and tropical forest. The higher ranges intercept considerable moisture from the prevailing trade winds, and their flanks and valleys are covered with a tropical forest which is typical of the region, gathering species from tropical forests, caatinga and cerrado. The less elevated areas of the plateaus are either thinly wooded or open campo. Most of the region at the lower altitudes is characterised by scrubby forests called caatingas, which is an endemic Brazilian vegetation. The sandy, coastal plain, with a width of 19 to 29 km, is nearly bare of vegetation, although the coast has many enclaves of restingas (coastal forests) and mangroves.

The rivers of the state are small and, with one or two exceptions, become completely dry in the dry season. The largest is the Jaguaribe, which flows entirely across the state in a northeast direction.

Below are some of its top attractions and websites to the reserves and many places to stay where birding is an option. We welcome a proper introduction to this page from someone who knows the area well.

Top Sites

Araripe

Satellite View

This is the mecca for the Araripe Manakin Antilophia bokermanni. In the town of Barbalha ask for the Nascente do Farias, a swimming and picnic spot about 10km west of the town. The manakins are in the trees along the two streams that flow from the spring at the foot of the hill.

Baturité

Satellite View

These 800m high hills south of Fortaleza have some interesting birds. In the private forest behind the Hotel Remanso can be found Gould's Toucanet Selenidera gouldii, Buff-breasted Tody-tyrant Hemitriccus mirandae and the distinctive race of Rufous Gnateater Conopophaga lineata cearae.

Parque Nacional de Ubajara

Information

Satellite View

The national park with a cable car to a waterfall at the bottom is spectacular. In the park and in the forest remnant behind the IBAMA headquarters (between Ubajara and Tianguá) we saw Hooded Gnateater Conopophaga roberti and Buff-breasted Tody-tyrant Hemitriccus mirandae. There is good caatinga west of Tianguá, near the Piauí border, where we found the normal specialites of this habitat, including Broad-tipped Hermit Phaethornis gounellei and Great Xenops Megaxenops parnaguae.

Contributor

Jeremy Minns

São Paulo

jeremyminns@uol.com.br

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 518

As at July 2016

Useful Reading

Books, CDs, DVDs etc.

See the main Brazil page for guides etc. covering the whole country…

Guides & Tour Operators

Click on WAND for tours, guides, lodges and more…

Ciro Albano - NE Brazil Birding Guide

Tour Operator

I’m a ornithologist, bird photographer and birdwatching guide from NE Brazil. I hope you like the photos and decide to come birding in NE Brazil – the land of the contrasts!…

Trip Reports

CloudBirders

Trip Report Repository

CloudBirders was created by a group of Belgian world birding enthusiasts and went live on 21st of March 2013. They provide a large and growing database of birding trip reports, complemented with extensive search, voting and statistical features.

Museums

Universidade Federal do Ceará

http://www.ufc.br/portal/

Reserves

Associacao Mae-da-lua RPPN

Website

Satellite View

Our RPPN (private reserve) is located in the municipality of Itapagé in the state of Ceará, about half way between the capital Fortaleza, and Sobral. It includes the east and north sides of a low mountain range called "Serra dos Vertentes" (about 400 ha), and lowland south of the mountains…

Parque Nacional de Ubajara

Website

Satellite View

The smallest of the 35 national parks of Brazil, covering an area of 563 hectares, the greatest treasure of the Ubajara National Park, in Ceará, is the Ubajara grotto. Set in a hillside in the Ibiapaba mountains, 320 kilometres from Fortaleza, the grotto has impressive stalactite and stalagmite formations, the result of nature's patient work with limestone and water over many thousands of years - each centimetre of crystallised growth takes three years to form…