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State of Rio Grande do Norte

White-bellied Tanager Tangara brasiliensis ©Lee Dingain Website

Rio Grande do Norte, literally "Large River of the North", pronounced is one of the states of Brazil, located in the northeastern part of the country, on the edge of the South American continent. Because of its geographic position, Rio Grande do Norte has a strategic importance. It is the land of the folklorist Câmara Cascudo and is second in the world having the purest air, second only to Antarctica, according to NASA. Its 410 km (254 mi) of sand, much sun, coconut palms and lagoons are responsible for the fame of beaches, such as the secluded white sandy shores of Praia de Cajueiro, Genibapu (to the north of the capital, Natal), with sand dunes reaching 50 m (164 ft) in height. The beach of Baía Formosa, the prettiest of the south coast, has falésias, stretches with reefs and very popular for surfing. To the south, the beach of Sagi, a little more rustic, has clear waters and small dunes. In Natal, beside beaches, there are other tourist attractions, such as the fortress of Reis Magos and the Parque das Dunas, the second largest urban park in the country.

Rio Grande do Norte is dominated by its coastline. The state is famed for its beaches and sand dunes, and the air is, according to NASA, the second-cleanest in the world after Antarctica.

Two climates predominate: humid tropical, in the oriental littoral, and semi-arid, in the remaining (most part) of the State (including the North coast). The rainforest which once covered most of Brazil's coast had its northern end in the south of Rio Grande do Norte; the area north of Natal, the capital, is under dunes, a kind of formation associated with semi-arid climate. The semi-arid climate is characterized not only by the low level but also the irregularity of rainfall; some years can go by with no or very little rain; most of the interior of the State is part of the Polygon of Droughts (an area which receives special attention from the federal government). There are also many mangroves in the state, and the interior is dominated by rainforest. Rocas Atoll in the Atlantic Ocean, 260 km Northeast of Natal, also belongs to the state of Rio Grande do Norte.

Number of Species

Number of bird species: 478

As of November 2016

Useful Reading

Books, CDs, DVDs etc.

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


Abbreviations Key

Atol das Rocas


Satellite View

Rocas is the first marine protected area created in Brazil. It is a Biological Reserve and therefore the only human activity allowed there is scientific research…

Fernando de Noronha


Satellite View

The islands have two endemic birds — the Noronha elaenia Elaenia ridleyana and the Noronha vireo Vireo gracilirostris. Both are present on the main island; Noronha vireo is also present on Ilha Rata. In addition there is an endemic race of eared dove Zenaida auriculata noronha.

Parque Florestal Estadual do Turvo


Satellite View

Turvo State Park stands out for being the last significant fragment of proimary forest in the state of Rio Grande do Sul. About 17,500 ha of forest to house more than 700 species of plants, about 290 species of birds, over 30 species of medium and large mammals, many rare species that are threatened regionally and even globally.

Trip Reports

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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.

2004 [12 December] - Jan Landsverk


My wife and I spent two weeks – Dec. 6 – 20 – at Ponta Negra, Brazil (15 km from Natal) in the province of Rio Grande do Norte. It was never meant to be a birding trip, and it wasnt, but I took time many early mornings as well as some afternoons to ”explore” the outskirts of the town, often taking the local bus to the same place west of the town where there is a small dam close to a rubbish dump. Other days I just walked south from our hotel to some trees and gardens and every time I saw some ”new” birds…

Places to Stay

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Atol das Rocas Apart Hotel


Pousada Villa do Sol - Genipabu


Owing to its status as a designated area of preservation, Genipabu is one of the most sought-out beaches in Brazil. Its signature emblem is the vast expanse of shifting sand dunes, traversed by dune buggies and camels to offer visitors an up-close view of this pristine region. Other adventures include horseback riding, native fishing boat ocean excursions, and ecotours of the river. Pousada Villa do Sol, at the mouth of the Ceará Mirim River, puts you face to face with nature`s wonders.

Toca da Coruja Pousada - Praia de Pipa


A 130m da praia, a Toca da Coruja apresenta uma das áreas mais verdes da região. São 25 mil m², com árvores frutíferas se misturando com essências nativas, micos e iguanas, pássaros silvestres e beija-flores que compartilham livremente com os visitantes os exuberantes jardins da pousada.


Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Norte