Amazonas State

Harpy Eagle Harpia harpyja ©Creative Commons Website
Birding Amazonas

Amazonas covers a staggering 1,578,000 km making it Brazil’s larges state and protects an immense area of virgin rainforest, dissected by the Worlds mightiest river the Amazon and its myriads of tributaries. The Amazon River system carries an incredible 20% of the entire World’s fresh water through the region and out into the Atlantic Ocean. Over hundreds of thousands of years each one of the Amazons major tributaries have formed biogeographical barriers, causing major speciation in all forms of life throughout the Amazon basin, especially so in the lower Amazon. Therefore the avian species diversity in Amazonas state is simply staggering, with around 950 bird species recorded to date!

Consequently the state of Amazonas is a superb area to visit for birders and naturalists alike, that’s still amazingly a very well kept secret. Conservation of the rainforest in the state is very good to excellent, with huge areas of pristine forest remaining preserved, the state also protects the Worlds largest National park, Parque National do Jau, Amanã and Mamirua combined, as well as Brazils highest mountain Pico de Neblina, protected within a huge area the Parque National de Pico de Neblina.

The region is best known ornithologically for the rare and poorly-known Amazonian avifauna it holds, which include; Gray-legged Tinamou Crypturellus duidae, Rusty Tinamou Crypturellus brevirostris, Wattled Curassow Crax globulosa, Cryptic Forest-Falcon Micrastur mintoni (recently described), Bare-headed Parrot Pionopsitta aurantiocepala (recently described), White-winged Potoo Nyctibius leucopterus, Rufous Potoo Nyctibius bracteatus, Chestnut-headed Puffbird Nonnula amaurocephala, Tawny-tufted Toucanet Selenidera nattereri, Varzea Piculet Picumnus varzeae, Hoffman’s Woodcreeper Dendrocolaptes hoffmannsi, Gray-bellied Antbird Myrmeciza pelzelni, Chestnut-crested Antbird Rhegmatorhina cristata, White-breasted Antbird Rhegmatorhina hoffmannsi, Pale-faced Antbird Skutchia borbae, Klage’s Antwren Myrmotherula klagesi, Yellow-throated Antwren Myrmotherula ambigua, Black-bellied Gnateater Conopophaga melanogaster, Scaled Spinetatil Cranioleuca muelleri, Olive-green Tyrannulet Phylloscartes virescens, Pelzeln’s Tody-Tytant Hemitriccus inornatus, Buff-cheeked Tody Flycatcher Todirostrum senex, Glossy-backed Becard Pachyramphus surinamus, Crimson Fruitcrow Haematoderus militaris, Dotted Tanager Tangara varia, Gray Wren Thryothorus griseus and White-naped Seedeater Dolospingus fringilloides.

Geographically speaking Manaus, the state capitals is the best entrance point to be based for visiting this birding meca. Manaus city is still surrounded by huge tracts of virgin forest with all the modern facilities available in this very friendly bustling city. Its location is perfect for visitors planning to visit any of the several distinct biogeographical regions found within the region, each holding different fauna. These distinct geographical areas are found as you cross each major Amazonian river barrier: North of the Amazon east and west of the Rio Negro, South of the Amazon east and west of the Rio Madeira being the major biogeographical barriers closest to Manaus.

Both boats and local plane services can be utilized to visit these different regions to observe their interesting endemic avifauna. Further more the visiting birder to Manaus has also to be prepared to visit several distinctly different types of forested habitat within these regions to find all their unique birds. These different habitats include: white and black water river islands and flooded Varzea and Igapo forest, terra firme, white-sandy-belt forests, savannas and to some extent secondary growth.

Amazonas also holds much excitement for those more adventurous birders as the state still holds huge areas of unexplored territory and this is one of the reasons that today still new bird species are being discovered and others re-discovered here. Amazonia never gives up its secrets easily! Biologists eyes World wide recently turned to the Brazilian Amazon and the state of Amazonas, with the revelation of the recent discovery of multiple big new mammals, including a Pecari, several Primates (Titi Monkeys and Tamerins) and even a new Dwarf Manatee!

Top Sites
  • Borba

    Satellite View
    To travel to Borba you catch a local scheduled flight from Manaus flying SE over the mighty Amazon and east of the Rio Madeira. Borba is a wonderful Amazonian town almost forgotten in time, here simple but good accommodation are available to be based for some superb Amazonian birding for many rare poorly-known species; White-winged Potoo, Black-necked Red-Cotinga, Nocturnal Curassow, Cryptic Forest-Falcon and Bald Parrot (both newly described), Crimson-bellied Parakeet, Brown-banded Puffbird, Brown-chested Barbet, Hoffman’s and Uniform Woodcreeper, Pará Foliage-gleaner, Pearly Antshrike, White-breasted and Pale-faced Antbird, Black-bellied Gnateater, Buff-cheeked Tody Flycatcher, Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant, Flame-crested and Snow-capped Manakin, White- tailed Cotinga.
  • Itaituba (Amazonia National Park)

    Satellite View
    You fly into Itaituba from Manaus on local scheduled flights for access to this superb pristine wilderness park. To visit you need 4 x 4 transport and authorization is required from IBAMA well in advance. Here IBAMA headquarters within the park offer very simple but clean accommodation however all logistics have to be pre-arranged such as transport from Itaituba all food, drinks, cooking utensils and diesel etc. Birds include; White-crested Guan, Dark-winged Trumpeter, Scaled Ground-Cuckoo, Cryptic Forest-Falcon (newly described), White-browed Hawk, Harpy and Crested Eagle, Golden Parakeet, Vulturine Parrot, Brown-breasted Barbet, Rufous-necked Puffbird, Fiery-tailed Awlbill, Harlequin and Bare-faced Antbird, Hoffmann’s Woodcreeper, Pará Foliage-gleaner, White-tailed Cotinga, Black-necked and Guianan Red-Cotinga, Snow-capped Manakin, Zimmer’s Tody-Tyrant and Dotted Tanager. This site is a very good area also for rarely seen Mammals especially big cats.
  • Jaú National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    Simple to luxury private boats can be hired for all group sizes to visit these three exciting locations for their special birds. Both Jau National Park and Anavilhanas are found in the spectacularly beautiful Rio Negro and Machantaria is an extremely rich river island in the Amazon south of Manaus. Birds to look for here include; Lesser Razor-billed Curassow, Gray-winged Trumpeter, White-winged and Rufous Potoo, Azure Gallinule, Gray-breasted Crake, Short-tailed, Festive and Kawall’s Parrot, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Olive-spotted Hummingbird, Green-throated Mango, Yellow-billed Jacamar, Chestnut-headed Nunlet, Lesser Hornero, Scaled, Parker’s, Red-and White, Dark-breasted and White-bellied Spinetail, Zimmer’s Woodcreeper, Blackish-Grey and Castalnau’s Antshrike, Yapacana, Black-and-White and Ash-breasted Antbirds, Reddish-winged Bare-Eye, Klages and Cherrie’s Antwren, Brownish Elaenia, Pearly-breasted Conebill, Riverside Tyrant, Saffron-crested Tyrant Manakin and White-naped Seedeater amongst many others.
  • Manaus

    InformationSatellite View
    As the state capital Manaus offers local scheduled flights to visit other important biogeographical areas included in the enormous state, including such great birding sites as are found around Sao Gabriel, Barcelos, Tefe, Borba, Tabatinga also to Itaituba in Pará for visits to Amazonian National Park. Boats can be hired to explore both the rich white water river island birds on the Amazon as well as the Worlds second largest black water archipelago of Anavilhanas (protected) on the Rio Negro above Manaus. The river islands within the Amazon are very rich and hold almost all the special riverine birds include sort after Scaled Spinetail, Brownish Elaenia and Pearly-breasted Conebill, see details below. A ferry can be caught on the south east of Manaus at Ceasa which crosses the Negro into the Amazon and over the famous meeting of the waters to Careiro. Note cars can go as well on this ferry. Careiro is on the south bank of the Amazon and the road cuts south through secondary growth and Varzea forest where south bank west of the Madeira birds can be found, its good for the endemic Glossy Anshrike. Under repair at present (2005) it does continue onto Porto Velho but does not go all the way yet as it has been abandoned for many years. The INPA tower this famous birding spot offers one of the best and largest canopy towers in the Amazon some 50 km north of Manaus. Interesting birds here include Marial Guan, Caica Parrot, Saphire-rumped Parrotlet, Crimson Fruitcrow, Glossy-backed Becard, Guianan Gnatcatcher, Olive-green Tyrannulet and both of the big Eagles Harpy and Crested. This can be combined with a nearby INPA campina site with several special white-sand specialists including the recently rediscovered Pelzeln’s Tody tyrant. Note- special permission has to be obtained well in advance of any visit to these two INPA sites this can be requested through
  • Piranha Lake Sustainable Development Reserve

    Satellite View
    Piranha Lake Sustainable Development Reservation consists of a series of lakes, 110 kilometers from Manaus and 25 kilometers from the City of Manacapuru. Access is by boat, taking an hour or by float-plane, taking 15 minutes. The area has typical floodplain vegetation with gigantic trees such as the sumaumeira. The area is on a migration route as well as a breeding ground for such species as Great White Egret, Jacana and ducks. The Reserves Floating Hotel, with a state-of-the-art water and sewage treatment works, has tourism programs that include jungle trekking trails, alligator and bird watching tours and photographic tours, usually involving the local communities.
  • Presidente Figueiredo

    InformationSatellite View
    140 km north of Manaus on the main BR 174 to Boa vista offers some great birding with many well priced hotels catering for visitors to the famous waterfalls of this region. Birding is excellent for both terra firme birds and white-sandy-belt forest. The region holds Guianan Cock-of-the Rock, Pompadour Cotinga, Dusky Purpletuft, Rufous-throated and Black-headed and Willis’s Antbird, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Red-billed Woodcreeper, White-fronted Manakin, Blue-backed Tanager, White-naped Seedeater and Cayenne Jay.
  • Sao Gabriel do Cachoeira

    InformationSatellite View
    A local scheduled flight from Manaus goes three times a week to the small town of São Gabriel do Cachoiera on the stunningly beautiful upper Rio Negro. The area holds a bunch of exciting “Imeri endemics”. The famous Kings Lodge does not exist any more so accommodation is in the simple but clean hotels in town. The areas specialists include the stunning Tawny-tufted Toucanet also both the recently re-discovered Grey-bellied Antbird and Yellow-throated Antwren, Pavonine Quetzal, Black-necked Red-Cotinga, Black-faced Hawk, Brown-banded Puffbird, Chestnut-crested Antbird, Pearly Antshrike, Fiery Topaz, Citron-bellied Attila, Brown-headed Greenlet, Guianan Gnatcatcher, Rufous-winged Ground-Cuckoo. Visits to Pico de Neblina can be started here but at present the National Park is unfortunately closed to the public.
  • Tabatinga

    InformationSatellite View
    Regular flights here from Manaus, to this western Amazonian town on the Colombian boarder. Most access is on south bank sites as north bank has no real access as yet. Along the Rio Javari there exist a few lodges. Special birds of the region are White-throated Tinamou, Buckley’s Forest-Falcon, Starred Woodquail, Zig-zag Heron, Black-banded Crake, Scarlet-shouldered Parrotlet, White-bellied Parrot, Pale-rumped Swift, Fiery Topaz, Gould’s Jewelfront, Needle-billed Hermit, White-throated and Purplish Jacamar, Brown-banded Puffbird, Rusty-breasted Nunlet, Lemon-throated Barbet, Pavonine Quetzal, Bar-bellied and Ocellated Woodcreepers, Orange-fronted Plushcrown, Black-tailed, Hairy-crested, Dot-backed, Sooty, Plumbeous, Black, Slate-colored and Ash-breasted Antbird, Black Bushbird, Moustached (Short-billed), Rio Suno, Rufous-tailed and Chestnut-shouldered Antwren, Chestnut-belted Gnateater, Citron-bellied Attila, Striped Manakin, Gray Wren, White-bellied Dacnis, Velvet-fronted Grackle and Band-tailed Oropendola.
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 795

    (As at May 2019)
Museums & Universities

Abbreviations Key

  • NP Amazonia National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    It now covers 8,600 square kilometres (3,300 sq mi). It is a very biodiverse habitat and contains a wide range of animals and plants.
  • NP Jaú National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    It covers an area of 2,367,333 hectares (5,849,810 acres). The park is one of the largest protected areas in Brazil. It is about 220 kilometres (140 mi) northwest of Manaus and contains the entire Jaú River basin between the Unini River to the north and the Carabinani River to the south.
  • NR Mamirauá Sustainable Development Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    As principais características desta unidade de conservação são: a manutenção da população local que participa nas atividades do manejo dos recursos naturais e na vigilância da reserva, a possibilidade de manejo da fauna e flora com base em sólida pesquisa científica, a flexibilibilidade para mudança de estratégias de acordo com os mercados, a manutenção da propriedade privada, a implementação de programas para valorização e melhoria das condições de vida da população local e o estabelecimento de parcerias estratégicas com organizações governamentais e não governamentais para o desenvolvimento de propostas para o uso sustentado dos recursos naturais…
Guides & Tour Operators
  • *Birding Brazil Tours

    Tour Operator
    Birding Brazil tours is owned by Andrew Whittaker a leading South American Ornithologist and well known international bird tour leader. Our 18 years of in country birding and tour organizing experience (throughout Brazil) has enabled us to form a uniquely highly qualified team. The office combines birders and a very efficient professional office staff allowing us to give excellent competitive services and advice to any birder wishing to plan a visit to any of the many excellent Brazilian birding destinations.
Trip Reports
  • 2015 [06 June] - Ben Whitney - Rio Roosevelt

    ...on the Rio Roosevelt: a great deal of persistent scanning, literally tens of thousands of big trees and heavy, horizontal branches looked at carefully, during our first five days on the wild, heavily forested Roosevelt and Madeirinha rivers. Without a sign of a Harpy. Then, on a still, sunny early afternoon when we least expected it, the magic happened!
  • 2015 [11 November] - Bret Whitney & Pepe Rojas

    Field Guides’ inaugural run of the “Great Rivers of the Amazon: Birding the Madeira-Tapajos Interfluvium” tour might be described as a complicated success. Complicated in a “mother-naturedly” kind of way, as the tour was preceded by nearly three months of extraordinarily dry conditions that dictated we alter our route quite dramatically.
  • 2016 [06 June] - Bret Whitney - Rio Roosevelt

    ... Other specialties of the isolated grasslands in that region included Azure Gallinule, White-eared Puffbird, Rusty-backed Antwren, Cinereous-breasted Spinetail, Sharp-tailed Tyrants, Black-masked Finches, Tawny-bellied and Dark-throated seedeaters, and a host of open-country flycatchers. Forested tracks yielded Amazonian Pygmy-Owl, Bluish-fronted Jacamar, Gilded Barbet, Brown-banded Puffbird, Golden-collared Toucanet, Bar-breasted Piculet, great views of the recently described Predicted Antwren, Peruvian Warbling-Antbird, White-throated Antbird, the rarely seen Humaita Antbird...
  • 2016 [07 July] - Dusan M Brinkhuizen - Brazil & Argentina

    PDF Report
    ...We started off with the pristine Amazon jungle of Cristalino lodge. Here we watched Harpy Eagle, Pompadour Cotinga, Amazonian Pygmy Owl, Razor-billed Curassow, Brown-banded Puffbird, Bare-eyed Antbird, Alta Floresta Antpitta but to name a few....
  • 2016 [08 August] - Gary Babic - Cristalino Jungle Lodge

    PDF Report
    ... The trail to and from the tower were also productive. This was ourfirst look at several birds we would see on almost every subsequent tower visit: White-throated and Channel-billed Toucans, Black-Girdled Barbet, Black-bellied Cuckoo, Screaming Piha (always heard but also seen a few times), and Spangled Cotinga. We also saw White-necked and Brown-banded Puffbirds, Gould’s Toucanet, Curl-crested Aracari, Ringed and Red-necked Woodpecker, White-eyed Parakeet, Red-fan Parrot, and Golden-bellied Euphonia from the tower...
  • 2016 [08 August] - Trevor Ellery

    PDF Report
    ...we finished off at the incomparable Cristalino inthe Amazon where Razor-billed Curassows were commonand the special birds came thick and fast and featuredeverything from Crested Eagle and Red-necked Aracari, toSnow-capped Manakin and Bare-eyed Antbird....
  • 2016 [09 September] - Bret Whitney & Pepe Rojas - Manaus

    ...we had a very productive early morning on the tower with good views of Guianan and Spotted puffbirds, a singing male Black-spotted Barbet, a beautiful Black-bellied Cuckoo, Waved and Golden-collared woodpeckers, some spectacular flyby macaws, and a good number of smaller, canopy flock birds like Guianan Woodcreeper, Spot-backed Antwren, Olive-green Tyrannulet, Glossy-backed Becard (sweet!), Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, Buff-cheeked Greenlet, and several honeycreepers and tanagers...
  • 2017 [10 October] - Bret Whitney - Rio Tapajos

    Highlights were a leisurely study, on three different perches, of an adult, dark-morph Crested Eagle, a close walk-by of a Razor-billed Curassow, almost daily Amazonian Umbrellabirds (no, not because of the rain hahaha), Fiery-capped, Snow-capped, Flame-crowned, and Band-tailed manakins, cooperative Pheasant Cuckoo and Pavonine Quetzal, Natterer’s Striolated-Puffbird (not officially split yet, but hang on for it), Rufous-necked Puffbird 2x, five Celeus woodpeckers, perched Bald Parrot, lots of Kawall’s Parrots...
  • 2018 [09 September] - Bret Whitney - Manaus

    Just a short distance into the reserve we were treated to a really superb view of a pair of Red-billed Woodcreepers, followed by a pair of Black-spotted Barbets, some perched Red-fan Parrots, Fasciated Antshrike, and an Amazonian Pygmy-Owl being mobbed by a Black-eared Fairy and a White-chinned Sapphire, a Tiny Tyrant-Manakin, and a female White-fronted Manakin. Further down the track, we hit a nice mixed-species canopy flock with a very cooperative Guianan Woodcreeper, Spot-backed Antwren, Mouse-colored Antshrike, Slaty-capped Shrike-Vireo, and a pair of Pink-throated Becards. But tops that morning was a prolonged scope study of a young male Harpy Eagle, the same bird we had seen on the first tour.
Places to Stay
  • Amazon Ecopark Lodge - Manaus

    AMAZON ECOPARK is a touristic, scientific and educational property, created and directed by the private initiative. It has been established since 1991 and as a Lodge since 1995. Located in Rio Tarum
  • Amazon Village Lodge - Manaus

    Amazon Village takes you into the heart of the forest, where scents, the sounds, and the sights are all at hand. Amazonia of the great travelers has always been like this. This is how we wish your Amazonia to be.
  • Anavilhanas Lodge

    A new lodge among the first in Amazonas to have air con etc…
  • Hotel Vit

    Transporte , guia, refei
  • Malocas Jungle Lodge - Manaus

    Caminhada na selva, pescaria, focagem de jacaré, passeio em igapós, sobrevivência na selva (4 à 5 dias); revoada de pássaros…
  • Reserva Natural Palmar

    Birding may be done from the hotel terrain, the marked and un-marked trails as well as from the boats and canoes

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