Rufous-sided Pygmy-tyrant Euscarthmus rufomarginatus ©Joao Quental - Creative Commons Website
Birding Bahia

Bahia is one of the 26 states of Brazil and is located in the northeastern part of the country on the Atlantic coast. It is the 4th-largest Brazilian state by population (after São Paulo, Minas Gerais, and Rio de Janeiro) and the 5th-largest by area. Bahia’s capital is the city of Salvador (formerly known as São Salvador da Bahia de Todos os Santos – Holy Savior of All Saints Bay), located on a spit of land separating the Bay of All Saints from the Atlantic. In the north, it is now bordered (from east to west) by Sergipe, Alagoas, Pernambuco and Piauí. In the west, it is bordered by Goiás in the north and Tocantins in the south.

In the south, it is bordered (from east to west) by Espírito Santo and Minas Gerais.Bahia’s geographical regions comprise the Atlantic Forest; the maritime region (Recôncavo) radiating from the Bay of All Saints and the Planalto, which includes the sertão region of Bahia’s far interior. The state is crossed from north to south by the Diamantina Tableland (Chapada Diamantina), which divides it into two distinct geographical zones. To the east, the soil is fertile and the rain falls regularly. The western area is more arid and its predominate vegetation the cerrado. The natural aridity was greatly worsened over the 19th century by the cowboys’ habit of starting wildfires each year to improve the quality of the grass.

The Chapada Diamantina National Park is home to picturesque chapadões, plateaus with steep edges which are visited for their natural beauty, but for the most part the tough conditions of the interior cause it to be much less developed than the coast.The state is crossed from west to east by many rivers, but the most important is the São Francisco, which starts in Minas Gerais and runs through western Bahia before emptying into the Atlantic between Sergipe and Alagoas. Formerly plied by paddlewheel steamers, the river is only navigable to small modern craft but is still vital to the arid west since it continuously supplies water during seasons when many other smaller rivers dry out.

The Sobradinho Dam created one of the largest reservoirs in the world; other major hydroelectric projects along its length include the Paulo Afonso Hydroelectric Complex and the Itaparica or Luiz Gonzaga Dam.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.

Camacan Area ©Chris Lotz

Top Sites
  • Boa Nova

    Satellite View
    The maps in the Sargeant / Wall trip report are excellent. However, the wet forest has being logged. When we were there in May 1999 work was stopped because of rain. The destruction is horrendous but at least the logging roads give excellent acess to what is left of the superb forest….
  • Bonito

    Satellite View
    Turn right from Lençois onto the BR 242 and after 34km turn left (at an electrical substation) onto the BA 142 to Wagner, Utinga, and Bonito. At Bonito take the road to Morro do Chapeu; 2.2km from the roundabout at the end of Bonito turn right onto a dirt road. After a further 5.8km there is a green gate on the left (Fazenda da Mata Doida - 1.000m altitude). There is good birding both on the road and along the track into the forest on the other side of the gate. The site is about 132km from Lençois.
  • Camacan

    Satellite View
    Just off the BR-101, south of Itabuna. For some good birding take the road to Jacarecí, passing the supermarkets Cesto do Povo and Super Sacolão (0.0km). Bear left after c.400m. After a speed bump and small shop (10.2km); turn left, opposite a bridge. The track up to the telecomm. tower (16.1km) is rough and in wet weather slippery; it passes through good secondary growth. The best place for Pink-legged Graveteiro Acrobatornis fonsecai is after a left bend with trees and a river to the left of the road, in the valley (14.9km - 1.2km before the tower). On 29 April 1999 four or five birds were building a nest practically at eye level. We also saw Acrobatornis lower down and it can be seen in the cacau plantations along the Jacareci road, but high up in the canopy. Golden-capped Parakeet Aratinga auricapilla is fairly common in these plantations. We stayed at at a small hotel near a square up the hill at the end of town - very simple but quieter than the hotel in the main street.
  • Camamú

    Satellite View
    Take the asphalt road from Travessão to Camamú and 500m before Orojó turn right. There is excellent forest 15km along this good (with bad patches) dirt road. The type specimen of Stresemann's Bristlefront Merulaxis stresemanni was collected very near here. Who knows, you may be lucky!
  • Chapada Diamantina

    Satellite View
    This beautiful region, with highly diverse habitats, is described in detail, with a list of birds, in an article by Ricardo Parrini et al. in Cotinga 11.
  • Lençois

    Satellite View
    An excellent place to stay is the pousada Casa da Geléia run by José Carlos and Lia (tel/fax 075-3334-1151); in the road behind the petrol station, as you enter the town. José Carlos speaks English, they have a big garden and have had 14 different species of humming bird at their feeders, including, occasionally, the rare brown violetear Colibri delphinae. A useful person to know in Lençois is André Carvalhaes (tel. 334-1340). He is doing a doctorate in ornithology and has tapes of many of the local species. José Carlos can put you in touch with him.Take the road out of town, zeroing the odometer at the petrol station. At 3.9km turn right off the main road (signposted Hotel Fazenda Shalon). At the first fork you can bear left through secondary growth to Capitinga and the BR 242 (said to be good for Rufous Nightjar Caprimulgus rufus). Bearing right at this fork and left at the next takes you to the Hotel Fazenda; keep up to the left, avoiding the buildings, and drive down to the lake along a track which leads to a pump house beside a clump of bamboos. This is a good place for marsh and water birds. Bearing right at the second fork puts you on the road to the village of Remansos (c.25km from Lençois). The road passes through some good forest. When you get to a cross roads, about 3km from Remansos, turn left (the track straight ahead is barely driveable but good for birding). About 1km after the village fork left (the right fork goes to a farm house). This track is very overgrown but leads to good forest beside the marimbús (the local name for the extensive wetlands all along this valley). The marimbús are well worth visiting by boat, which can be arranged in Remansos or through Lentour in Lençois.At Km 2.5 on the road from Lençois to the BR 242 (9.2km from the petrol station) there is a track to the left called Toalhas. I have not birded this.At the BR 242 turn left. There is a track to the right after c.200m which is birded by the Field Guides groups. Further on (1.7km from the junction) there is a dirt road to the right to Usina Velha. This goes down the hill through reasonable secondary growth and after 2.5km crosses the Rio Mucugezinho. This looks a good place for a picnic or swim.Continuing west along the BR 242, 11.2km from the Lençois junction, the road crosses a bridge with a sign Divisa Lençois / Palmeiras. 1.3km after this bridge (just after the Morro do Pai Inácio first comes into view) there is a dirt track to the left, leading down to a house in some mango trees. This is the start of an excellent trail back to Lençois which takes about four hours. You can take the Seabra bus from Lençois to the start of the trail.The Morro do Pai Inácio is a good place to see Hooded Visorbearer Augastes lumachellus and Pale-throated Serra-finch Embernagra longicauda. I am told Augastes can be found near the car park but I have had better luck at the plateau on the right, half way up the path to the top. The view from the top is marvellous.
  • Maraú

    Satellite View
    Turn left off the BR 101 into the centre of Ubaitaba and drive back along the river bank, passing under the BR 101. The dirt federal BR 030 highway along the Maraú peninsular is dirt, very rough and in wet weather will require 4 x 4 drive. The c.60km to the beach at Saquaira takes almost 3 hours. An alternative is to drive to Itacaré (asphalt all the way); take the ferry across the Rio de Contas, and drive 34km (1 hr) to Saquaíra. There is fine accomodation here at the Pousada Maraú in an idyllic setting on the beach. Look for Black-faced Tanager Schistochlamys melanopis and Capped Seedeater Sporophila bouvreuil in bushes in the sandy grasslands on the long straight before Maraú. There is good restinga forest along the northern access road from the BR 030 to the town of Maráu, where in January 2001 there were several pairs of Bahia Antwren Herpsilochmus pileatus. 14km north of Saquaíra, on the road to Campinho (carry straight on at the right turn to Barra Grande) there are tidal mud flats surrounded by mangroves. They begin to dry out one and a half hours before low water. In January 2001 there were eight species of shorebirds here. It appeared an ideal place to find Little Wood-rail Aramides mangle but I was unsuccessful.
  • Monte Pascoal

    Satellite View
    The access road is not at all bad for birding and one could easily see Banded Cotinga Cotinga maculata. The Pataxó indians have taken possession of the area around the park entrance and are most importunate. The climb up to the peak is worth doing with a good view from the top but as a birding destination I do not rate Monte Pascoal highly.
  • Palmeiras

    Satellite View
    18km after the Pai Inácio turn left to Palmeiras. Drive through the town (54km from Lençois) and after 2.2km turn right to Tejuco and Lavrinha. Leave your car at the bridge and walk through dry gallery forest and caatinga. All the caatinga species are here, including San Francisco Sparrow Arremon franciscanus, and Great Xenops Megaxenops parnaguae is common, but is not easy to see without playback.Continuing along this road, which is rough but driveable, you pass by some spectacular mountains and then reach patches of cerrado habitat, called gerais locally. The best geral we found was about 38km from Palmeiras, after Guiné. Rufous-sided Pygmy-tyrant Euscarthmus rufomarginatus is common here. After a further 37km you get to Mucugê.
  • Una

    Satellite View
    White-winged Potoo Nyctibius leucopterus, Bahia Antwren Herpsilochmus pileatus (not to be confused with Caatinga Antwren Herpilochmus sellowi, Ridgely and Tudor's Pileated Antwrens – a recent split) and Bahia Black and Tan Tamarins are found here. Permission to visit the reserve is obtainable from the director, Saturnino de Souza (tel. (073)-236-2166. Next door there is a private reserve, EcoParque (tel. (073)-634-2179); with a canopy walkway, where the Potoo has also been found. I have not visited either of these two sites.
  • Jeremy Minns

    São Paulo |

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 822

    (As at May 2019)
  • Number of endemics: 5

    Sincora Antwren Formicivora grantsaui, Bahia Tapaculo Eleoscytalopus psychopompus, Diamantina Tapaculo Scytalopus diamantinensis, Pink-legged Graveteiro Acrobatornis fonsecai, Bahia Tyrannulet Phylloscartes beckeri
Museums & Universities
  • Universidade Federal da Bahia


Abbreviations Key

  • NP Descobrimento National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    It has an area of 22,693.97 hectares (56,078.0 acres). It contains the Discovery Coast World Natural Heritage Site, a Biosphere Reserve, and the most important wildlife refuge of the south of Bahia. Bird species include ringed woodpecker (Celeus torquatus), black-headed berryeater (Carpornis melanocephala), red-billed curassow (Crax blumenbachii), banded cotinga (Cotinga maculata), band-tailed antwren (Myrmotherula urosticta), ochre-marked parakeet (Pyrrhura cruentata) and striated softtail (Thripophaga macroura).
  • NP Monte Pascoal National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    Monte Pascoal, a peak 586 m high, was the first land sighted when the Portuguese discovered Brazil in 1500. The Park was dedicated in 1961 at which time it covered 22,500 ha; the Park's area was later reduced to 14,000 ha, with most of the excluded territory given to the local Pataxós Indian tribe (Padua & Coimbra Filho 1989, Soares & Ascoly 1970). Some of the 14,000 ha, especially the part nearest the coast, have been exploited by the Pataxós and are disturbed…
  • NP Pau Brasil National Park

    InformationSatellite View
    It preserves a remnant of the Atlantic Forest biome and covers an area of 19,027 hectares (47,020 acres). Protected species in the park include jaguar (Panthera onca), cougar (Puma concolor), harpy eagle (Harpia harpyja), red-billed curassow (Crax blumenbachii), Atlantic black-breasted woodpecker (Celeus tinnunculus), black-headed berryeater (Carpornis melanocephala), ochre-marked parakeet (Pyrrhura cruentata).
  • NR Reserva Particular do Patrimônio Natural Fazenda Morrinhos

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    Along with the cowboy parakeet (Aratinga cactorum) and the cuiubinha parakeet (Forpus xanthopterigius); is the largest parrot that today inhabits the caatinga surrounding the Private Reserve of Natural Heritage Fazenda Morrinhos, within a radius of about 80 km.
  • NR Una Ecopark

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    The big attraction of the Ecoparque de Una is a 100 m long and 30 m high canopy walkway suspension bridge through the rainforest canopy. The Una Biological Reserve was created by the Brazilian Federal Government in 1980, preserving within a total area of 7.022 hectares around 4.500 ha of native Atlantic Rainforest / (Mata Atlântica).
Trip Reports
  • 2014 [02 February] - Peter B. Armstrong

    …Serra Bonita features several excellent trails for forest birding, both on the mountain and in the lowlands. For dinner, ask for feijoada, the black bean and pork stew generally considered the national dish of Brazil. The station features several bird feeders, which attract a variety of parrots, hummingbirds, tanagers, and other species for good photographic opportunities….
  • 2014 [05 May] - Paulo Boute

    ...We had a lovely lunch, and because of the heavy rain, we spent the rest of the day at the veranda, watching birds at the feeder. The adult Crab-eating Foxes returned, allowing us to photograph them in the daylight. The feeders were quite busy with Red-necked Tanagers (that rarely come to feeders), Green-headed Tanagers, three species of Euphonia, Sayaca, Palm, Azure-shouldered and Golden-chevroned tanagers, Maroon-bellied Parakeet, Spot-billed Toucanet, Sombre Hummingbird, Black Jacobin, and Violet-capped Woodnymph, among others. A female Pin-tailed Manakin, a Yellow-lored Tody-flycatcher, a pair of Three-striped Flycatchers, a Chestnut-crowned Becard, and a Pallid Spinetail also passed through. A roost of short-tailed bats was seen above one of the doorways at the lodge....
  • 2017 [01 January] - Bret Whitney - Bahia

    ...Highlights were many, with Giant Snipe again topping the list, followed by Pink-legged Gravateiro, Silvery-cheeked Antshrike, Narrow-billed Antwren, Bahia Tyrannulet, Rio de Janeiro Antbird, and Bahia Spinetail...
Places to Stay
  • Ecoresort Tororomba - Ilh

    O Ecoresort Tororomba al
  • Fazenda Amendoeira Eco Resort - Santo Andr

    Nice pictures - short on info
  • Hotel Praia do Encanto - Morro de São Paulo

    ...for fans of ecotourism and adventure we have horses, bicycles, kayaks, laser, ecological trails, dam, river, stream and much more.
  • Pousada Estrela d'

    Estrela D'Água is the ideal retreat for those seeking comfort, sophistication and impeccable quality of services, which makes each lodging a unique experience.
  • Pousada Jambo - Itacimirim

    Located in the white sands of the beautiful Espera Beach, in Itacimirim, we have all the structure for your comfortable stay in the North Coast of Bahia, with a swimming pool facing the sea, restaurant with delicious regional dishes, ample accommodations, room for events and spa for massages and relaxing moments.
  • Pousada Sincor

    Comfortable Rooms with Air Conditioning Wonderful Breakfast Prices Extremely Competative.

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