The Federal District, including the country’s unique capital city of Brasília, is a tiny state in Central Brazil. The city is famous for its urban planning and modern architecture and is listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
For visiting birders, Brasília is the access point for Chapada dos Veadeiros, a large national park (65,000 hectares) located four hours north in the state of Goiás. The park protects rocky Cerrado, the diverse woodland-savanna habitat of Central Brazil, and is home to one of the last populations of the Brazilian Merganser. Birders may also stop over in Brasília on their flight to Cuiabá, the portal to the Pantanal, as well as Chapada dos Guimarães and Serra das Araras.
Within the state itself, the main attraction for birders is Brasília National Park, which contains 30,000 hectares of relatively unspoiled Cerrado, including grassland with tall shrubs and scattered small trees as well as gallery forest. Located just 10 km from the Brasília city center, the national park is a convenient site to search for regional bird specialties, although it is heavily trafficked on the weekends by residents who swim in the large mineral pools near the entrance.
Two other nature reserves within reach of the city center include the Jardim Botânico and Parque Ecológico Dom Bosco, both located in the neighborhood of Lago Sul on the other side of city’s large artificial lake, Lago Paranoá. Two urban parks, Parque da Cidade in the neighborhood of Asa Sul and Parque Olhos d’Agua in Asa Norte, are also relatively productive birding sites.
In conclusion, considering all that Brazil has to offer visiting birders, the Federal District should not be considered a primary destination; however, there are several birding sites within the city, and the national park is certainly worth a short visit before heading out to Chapada dos Veadeiros.
Number of Species
Number of bird species: 552
As at July 2016
Reserva Ecológica do IBGE
Cerrado constitui o segundo maior bioma/domínio morfoclimático do Brasil e da América do Sul ocupando mais de 200.000.000 hectares e abrigando um rico patrimônio de recursos naturais renováveis adaptados às condições climáticas, edáficas e píricas que determinam a sua existência. O Cerrado é uma savana tropical na qual uma vegetação rasteira, formada principalmente por gramíneas, coexiste com árvores e arbustos esparsos.
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.
2011 [December] - Derek Kverno - Jardim Dom Bosco, Brasilia
Jardim Dom Bosco is another ecological park in Lago Sul of Brasilia that, like the Jardim Botanico, protects descent cerrado habitat within the city limits. It’s equally difficult to reach without private transport though, so when Aimee and I gained access to a car for the weekend, I definitely wanted to check it out. Jeremy Minn’s site notes explain that it’s good for cerrado specialities like the White-Eared and Caatinga Puffbirds, endemic Rufous-Winged Antshrike, Black-Throated Saltator, and White-Rumped Tanager…
2011 [December] - Derek Kverno - Parque da Cidade
After a long summer in Washington, D.C., with decidedly few birds, Aimee and I have finally moved to Brasilia, the capital city of Brazil. Since I have yet to find employment, I have had plenty of free time to explore this surprisingly peaceful city and its many parks and gardens, including the Parque da Cidade, where I go running every morning. This massive urban park is safe and clean, and the landscaping evokes the open grasslands of the cerrado, the primary ecosystem of central Brazil…
2011 [November] - Derek Kverno - Jardim Botanico, Brasilia
The botanical gardens are located on the other side of the reservoir from where we live in Brasilia, so the site is definitely inconvenient for me to visit without having a car. On the other hand, the reserve protects almost twenty square miles of cerrado habitat, much of which is classifiable as cerradao, or dry forest, and therefore holds terrific potential for birding within the city limits…
2011 [November] - Derek Kverno - Parque Nacional de Brasilia
After my first trip to Brasilia National Park on a crowded Sunday afternoon, I promised myself to return shortly, this time during a weekday morning. Although I wasn’t able to enter the park until 8am, which is a park rule unless one buys a monthly pass, this trip proved much more productive and enjoyable, even if there were still plenty of people of swimming noisily in the pool and walking the Capybara Trail in their bathing suits. A birding trip to the park should definitely include time spent in both gallery forest and cerrado habitat, and the transition zone between the two is especially fruitful…