Rio de Janeiro

Restinga Antwren Formicivora littoralis ©Daniel Mello Website
Birding Rio de Janeiro State

Rio de Janeiro is a state in the South East of Brazil.The State of Rio de Janeiro has much to offer the visiting birder from the coastal Restinga to the high altitude peaks of the Atlantic rainforest rising to a rugged and impressive 2,400 metres. The vast range in altitude is reflected in the high number of bird species one can encounter within the State. Unfortunately due to destruction of the Atlantic forest that started in the 1500’s only an estimated 6% of primary forest is left intact. Although 6% sounds very little it still covers a vast area and where accessible there are many opportunities for birding, further exploration and for seeing some quite spectacular species. This combined with direct flights to Rio de Janeiro from the UK and USA makes this State of Brazil within easy reach for many travelling birders.

The State has in excess of 500 species, with over 100 endemics. Most of these endemics are to be found in the Atlantic forest. These range from the tiny Black-breasted Plovercrest to the majestic Mantled Hawk. There are many sought after target species within this area, some of these include Saw-billed Hermit, Three-toed Jacamar, Saffron Toucanet, Black-billed Scythebill, Itatiaia Spinetail, Spot-backed Antshrike, Large-tailed Antshrike, Rufous-backed Antvireo, Streak-capped, Star-throated and Unicolored Antwren, Rufous-tailed, Scaled, Ochre-rumped, Squamate and White-bibbed Antbird, Black and Gold Cotinga, Grey-winged Cotinga, Hooded Berryeater, Black-headed Berryeater, Buff-throated Purpletuft, Pin-tailed Manakin, Black-capped Piprites, Green-headed, Red-necked, Gilt-edged, Brassy-breasted, Brazilian, Olive-green, Chesnut-headed and Brown Tanagers and Bay-chested Warbling Finch.

If you are considering a trip to south-east Brazil you should allow yourself a minimum of 12 days to cover some of the key areas, habitats and sites. The following information should help you in planning a trip to Rio de Janeiro State and south-east Brazil.

This page is sponsored by Serra dos Tucanos Birding Tours

Top Sites
  • Carmo

    Satellite View
    This is a reliable site for Three-toed Jacamar Jacamaralcyon tridactyla and Rio de Janeiro Antbird Cercomacra brasiliana. Take the road from Além Paraiba (on the Rio de Janeiro / Minas Gerais state border, where the BR 116 crosses the Rio Paraíba do Sul) to Carmo. Just as you get to Carmo, there is a petrol station on the left. Take the dirt road to the left, beside the petrol station. After 2.5km, when you get to a place with forest on both sides of the road, look for the jacamars. A good way to see them is by walking along the track to the right, just after the patch of forest, playing a tape to them from the hillside. 5.2km further on there is a wooden gate on the left. Rio de Janeiro Antbird can be found in the thick vegetation just before the gate and the jacamar is here too.
  • Itatiaia - Agulhas Negras Road

    Satellite View
    The upper part of the park is above the tree-line, but the road that takes you there starts within the forest. This road is famed for being one of the easiest places to find the Itatiaia Thistletail, but there are many other interesting birds to look for including White-rumped Hawk, Plovercrest, Araucária Tit-Spinetail, Black and Gold Cotinga, Black-capped Piprites, Serra do Mar Tyrannulet, Serra do Mar Tyrant-Mankin and Diademed Tanager. The Agulhas Negras road is accessed off the BR354 which in turn is accessed off the main Rio de Janeiro to São Paulo highway BR116 at turnoff 330A
  • Itatiaia - Lower Park

    Satellite View
    The first national park in Brazil, this magnificent place is a must for birders visiting south-east Brazil. The forest climbs from deep in the valley up to the tree-line, and the variety of birds that can be found is mouth-watering. There is good accommodation within the park, the main hotels being the Hotel Donati and the Hotel Ypê, the highest hotel in the park. There are excellent trails into the forest and birding from the main track can be rewarding. The main trail is the Três Picos trail where some of the sought after species can be found. The old Jeep Trail in Forrester's book can now only be accessed with written permission. The Hotel Ypê can arrange this.
  • Perequê

    Satellite View
    The best site for the Black-hooded Antwren Formicivora erythronotos is near the town of Perequê, between Paratí and Angra dos Reis. Turn inland off the BR-101 into the town of Perequê (first town west of the nuclear power station). Drive up the main street till the end of the asphalt (1.4 km) and turn right. Continue for several blocks and turn left immediately after the football pitch (“Campo da Gringa”) on the left (1km). Drive along a dirt road and after 1km Rick Simpson found a pair of antwrens in Jan 2009 Since then he has found them to be relatively common along the raod, listen for their distinctive song. The ‘traditional’ spot for the antwrens is a further 4 kms along the road. After the third bridge there is an open shed on the right with a dirt track to the left in front of it; the site is 200m further along the main road, through a barbed wire gate on the right, with a big tree on the edge of the road (three different becards nest in this tree). The antwrens are not found along the track anymore, but it is well worth a walk as the birding is first class. Spotted Bamboowren, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Fork-tailed Tody-tyrant, Buff-bellied Puffbird, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Robust Woodpecker, Black-throated Grosbeak can all be found.
  • Reserva Ecológica de Guapi-açu - REGUA

    WebsiteSatellite View
    REGUA is a non-governmental association with a mission to save the forests of the upper catchment of the Guapiassu river basin located within the municipality of Cachoeiras de Macacu in Rio de Janeiro state. The majority of the initial funding and direction for the project came from the Brazilian Atlantic Rainforest Trust (BART), a UK based charity, but in 1996 the REGUA association was registered under Brazilian law and is now responsible for the management and development of the project. The association is comprised of local landowners and community members although BART maintains a close involvement in its management and funding. At the new Schincariol brewery just south of Cachoeiras de Macacu, on the road from Niterói to Nova Friburgo, turn left onto the road to Guapi Mirim. After 3km, at Funchal, opposite the Shogum petrol station, turn right (north). Follow this dirt road for 11,3km and at a fork with a number of signs pointing right to Guapi Açu, bear left. Cross a bridge and continue straight ahead (do not turn left at sign to Fazenda São João). Pass the Schincariol water catchment dam and a small cemetery and after 6,3 km you reach the fazenda of Nicholas Locke (tel. 021-9986-4715); where REGUA has accomodation for visitors. REGUA's representative here in March 2006 was Alan Martin. The published list [420+] for the reserve can be seen on their website [see below].
  • Teresópolis - Garrafão

    Satellite View
    The place in Guapimirim is where Ricardo Parrini and a few others saw the Kinglet Calyptura Calyptura cristata in 1996 (no one has seen it since) is just before you get to Teresópolis, coming up the serra from Rio. 200m after the Garrafão petrol station, at a sharp left curve, turn right off the main road onto a rough track. Wind down the hill for about 500m. The calyptura was seen at a fork where the main track goes straight ahead and a paved track goes steeply down the hill to the right. This latter track goes through some good forest where there is a Dusky-throated Hermit Phaethornis squalidus lek.
  • Teresópolis - Parque Nacional da Serra Dos Orgãos

    Satellite View
    You can enter the park between 8:00 and 17:00. In July 1999 the cost for six people to camp one night on the Trilha da Pedra do Sino, leaving the car at the barragem (dam) was R$70 (US$35). The road up to the dam (about 2km) runs through good forest. Leave the car at the dam (altitude 1100m - 3,600ft). The walk to the first campsite at 1900m (6,200ft) takes three hours, without stopping. The second camp site is at 2100m (6,900ft) after a further 1 1/2 hours. There is excellent forest all the way up to the first camp site, the trees becoming lower as you get higher. Near the second camp site you get above the tree line. Hooded Berry-eater Carpornis cucullatus occurs up to about 1500m, Black-and-gold Cotinga Tijuca atra and Swallow-tailed Cotinga Phibalura flavirostris from 1500m to 1800m, and Grey-winged Cotinga Tijuca condita from 1800m upwards. Recently the most reliable place for Grey-winged Cotinga has been on the hillside opposite the first camp site.
Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 858

    (As at May 2019)
  • Number of endemics: 2

    Rio de Janeiro Antwren Myrmotherula fluminensis Black-hooded Antwren Formicivora erythronotos
Museums & Universities
  • Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro


Abbreviations Key

  • BR Reserva Biológica de Poço das Antas

    InformationSatellite View
    Migratory bird species include swallow-tailed kite (Elanoides forficatus), plumbeous kite (Ictinia plumbea), blue ground dove (Claravis pretiosa), dark-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus melacoryphus), white-collared swift (Streptoprocne zonaris), Sick's swift (Chaetura meridionalis), black jacobin (Florisuga fusca), black-throated mango (Anthracothorax nigricollis), white-rumped monjita (Xolmis velatus), yellow-browed tyrant (Satrapa icterophrys), rusty-margined flycatcher (Myiozetetes cayanensis), streaked flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus), piratic flycatcher (Legatus leucophaius), fork-tailed flycatcher (Tyrannus savana), white-winged becard (Pachyramphus polychopterus), red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus), lined seedeater (Sporophila lineola) and sooty grassquit (Tiaris fuliginosus).
  • BR Reserva Biológica do Tinguá

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The biome is Atlantic Forest and includes submontane, montane and upper montane rain forest.
  • NP Parque Nacional Serra dos Orgâos

    WebsiteSatellite View
    Serra dos Órgãos comprises an extensive area of ​​20,000 hectares covering the municipalities of Teresopolis, Petropolis, Magé and Guapimirim.
  • NP Parque Nacional da Serra da Bocaina

    WebsiteSatellite View
    About 300 species of birds have been recorded in the park including such gems as tawny-browed owl, the swift-of-time and the blue-billed black tyrant
  • NP Parque Nacional da Tijuca

    Observatory WebsiteSatellite View
    As a result of floristic change that has occurred over the past 400 years, and the lack of connection with other forests, the park does not have all the animals that characterise similar sites of Atlantic slope of the Serra do Mar.
  • NP Parque Nacional do Itatiaia

    InformationSatellite View
    The Itatiaia National Park is a conservation area that protects important remnants of the Atlantic Forest Biome. Located in the Itatiaia Massif in the Mantiqueira Mountains, between the states of Rio de Janeiro and Minas Gerais, it includes part of the cities Itatiaia and Resende in Rio de Janeiro, and Bocaina de Minas and Itamonte in Minas Gerais.
  • NR Guapi Açu Ecological Reserve

    WebsiteSatellite View
    REGUA is the premier birdwatching site in the Atlantic Forest – one of South America’s most biodiverse and endemic-rich biomes. Of the 930 bird species found in the Atlantic Forest, 480 have been recorded at REGUA, including 62 Brazilian endemics, 118 species endemic to the Atlantic Forest and several species that can be considered REGUA specialities. Over 200 bird species have been recorded at our wetlands alone
  • NR Reserva Ecológica de Jacarepiá - Saquarema

    WebpageSatellite View
    ... Numerous species of birds, such as golden woodpecker, Burrowing owl, Semipalmated plover, egrets, herons and others found in swamps..
  • NR Reserva Ecológica de Macaé de Cima

    WebpageSatellite View
    Reserva Ecológica de Macaé de Cima lies near the city of Nova Friburgo and comprises an area of montane forest reaching an altitude of c.1,400 m. On this excursion we make several stops at various altitudes, with most of our time spent at this private reserve at the top of the mountain, known for the work of the late renowned orchid expert David Miller. The forest here offers some of the easiest access to high altitude Atlantic Forest specialities, with most of the birding done from the access road. Reserva Ecológica de Macaé de Cima also has hummingbird feeders that provide excellent photographic opportunities of highland species.
Guides & Tour Operators
  • BirdsRio Birdwatching

    Tour Operator
    My name is Hudson Martins Soares, 45 years old. I’m a photographer and bird consultant in southeastern Brazil. I have a tourism company focused on bird watching, BirdsRio Birdwatching.
  • Irmãos Mello

    Tour Operator
    Birding in Rio de Janeiro - How about enjoying your trip to Rio to know the birds of the region? Rio de Janeiro is situated in one of the most biodiverse areas of the planet, where more than 700 species of birds have been recorded! We offer guided tours in the Rio de Janeiro city and neighbouring hotspots, including Serra dos Órgãos National Park, Três Picos State Park, REGUA (Reserva Ecológica de Guapiaçu), and others.
  • Serra dos Tucanos

    Tour Operator
    The gardens and trails of the lodge provide excellent birding opportunities. However, for those wanting to get out and explore more, we offer the following guided birding excursions…
Trip Reports
  • 2016 [03 March] - Andy Foster

    ...What a great morning it turned out to be! We had bird activity almost the whole morning, with many good views of lots of great birds, most of which were lifers for the group! Highlights included Yellow-browed Woodpecker, Ochre-rumped Antbird, Dusky-legged Guan (on the feeders as usual), Azure-shouldered Tanager, Blond-crested Woodpecker (on the feeders for the first time!), Scale-throated Hermit, Black Jacobin, Plovercrest, White-throated Hummingbird, Brazilian Ruby, Surucua Trogon, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Dusky-tailed Antbird, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Scaled Woodcreeper, Rufous-backed Antvireo, White-shouldered Fire-eye, Pin-tailed Manakin, Blue Manakin, Rufous-crowned Greenlet, White-rimmed Warbler and Green-winged Saltator....
  • 2016 [May] - Andy Foster

    ...We got off to a good start with good views of a nice male Pin-tailed Manakin, this was followed by an Ochre-rumped Antbird, Yellow-legged Thrush, Scaly-headed Parrot, Orange-eyed Thornbird, Squirrel Cuckoo and then a nice flock of Brassy-breasted tanagers in a fruiting tree together with a Chestnut-crowned Becard...
  • 2017 [09 September] - Andy Foster

    PDF Report
    ...we did however manage to get good views of Rufous-crowned Greenlet, Bare-throated Bellbird, Serra do Mar Tyrant-Manakin, White-throated Woodcreeper, Black-billed Scythebill, Rufousbreasted Leaftosser, Rufous-capped Spinetail, Yellow-eared Woodpecker, Yellow-browed Woodpecker and White-collared Foliage Gleaner...
  • 2018 [02 February] - Andy Foster

    PDF Report
  • 2018 [05 May] - Andy Foster

    PDF Report we walked back the short distance to the lodge and got great views of Lineated Woodpecker, Ochre-faced Tody Flycatcher and then watched the feeders until lunch at 12.15...
  • 2018 [06 June] - Andy Foster

    PDF Report
    Next up was a stop at the usual view point that produced Crested-black Tyrant, Grassland Sparrow, Whitetailed Hawk, Wedge-tailed Grassfinch, Blue-black Grassquit, Bran-coloured Flycatcher, Chestnut-capped Blackbird, White-rumped Monjita and Rufous-fronted Thornbird.
  • 2018 [10 October] - Andy Foster

    PDF Report
    ...we did however get good views of a Black-tailed Tityra, Scaly-headed Parrot and a couple of very nice Channel-billed Toucans. We also made a quick stop at some local feeders and were soon getting fantastic views of Red-necked Tanager, Green-headed Tanager, Chestnut-bellied Euphonia, Green Honeycreeper, Maroon-bellied Parakeet and in some trees nearby David picked up Scaled and Olivaceous Woodcreepers.
  • 2018 [11 November] - Andy Foster

    PDF Report
    We picked up a few more species including Fawn-breasted Tanager, Dusky-legged Guan, Crested Oropendola, Picazuro Pigeon, Chestnut-crowned Becard, Chestnut-headed Tanager, Black-goggled Tanager, Pallid Spinetail, Planalto Tyrannulet, Rusty-margined Flycatcher, Boat-billed Flycatcher, Dusky-tailed Antbird, Rufous-browed Peppershrike, Grey-capped Tyrannulet, Slaty-breasted Wood Rail, female Pin-tailed Manakin and Southern-beardless Tyrannulet.
  • 2019 [02 February] - Andy Foster

    PDF Report
    We were soon getting our first Atlantic forest endemics and various other species including Brassy-breasted Tanager, Gilt-eged Tanager (bonus bird that was feeding on the avocado tree in front of the deck), Ruby-crowned Tanager, Golden-chevroned Tanager, Bananaquit, Sayaca Tanager, Azure-shouldered Tanager, Pale-breasted Thrush and Burnished-buff Tanager. Hummingbirds around the lodge included Brazilian Ruby, White-throated Hummingbird, Black Jacobin, Scale-throated Hermit and Violet-capped Woodnymph!
  • 2019 [07 July] - Andres Vasquez

    PDF Report
    The Atlantic Forest of Southeast Brazil is a very well-known Endemic Bird Area (EBA) of the World thanks not only to its richness, in terms of endemic species but also thanks to the fact that most of those endemic birds are absolutely spectacular. This makes that this region of the globe is in the bucket list of any birdwatcher that wants to fill his/her list with A TON of brightly colorful endemic birds.
  • 2019 [08 August] - Stefan Schlick

    PDF Report
    For this trip, we chose the Atlantic Rainforest and the Pantanal. For a few, the Jaguar was the number one target, are we succeeded and got excellent, prolonged looks of a female loafing on the banks of the Cuiaba River
  • 2020 [03 March] - Daniel Branch

    PDF Report
    ...Our trip was in February and March, due to carnival, but by far the best month to experience the region’s birding is September when breeding season is in full swing and birds are more active. That said, our list for the trip still reached 416 species...
Places to Stay
  • Eco-Lodge Itororó

    The Eco-Lodge Itororó offers simple and cozy accommodation options in inviting log houses. There, a nearby brook with the purest spring water provides the inn’s cold and warm water supply. Its secluded location and surroundings also offer both, the possibility to relax and pursuit new possibilities: taking long walks, hiking tours, horseback riding and swimming in the crystal-clear natural pool. Or still: calmness for simple relaxation. Phone: 0055-22-9907-4912 Email:
  • Hotel Donati - Itatiaia

    Green covered mountains, crystalline waterfalls and 1.200 species of animals running free in the natural reserve of the Itatiaia National Park. Discover all the nature's beauty walking through the hotel's trails
  • Hotel Fazenda Rosa dos Ventos - Teres

    In an area of ​​1 million square meters, the hotel has 42 apartments and suites - all with computer facilities, with a maximum of 2 beds per room, four restaurants, two kitchens, totaling 6 thousand square meters of built area
  • Hotel Fazenda S

    The HFSJ is located 1,010 m of altitude in the middle of a valley on the bottom of S
  • Hotel Fazenda Tr

    A place where you and your family will enjoy delicious moments together with nature. A new hotel, we said. In fact it is an Old New Hotel, it was renewed on the eve of turning 60.
  • Hotel Pedra Bonita - Petr

    Cultivate unforgettable moments just over an hour from Rio. Surrounded by the Atlantic Forest, for exuberant natural beauty, the Hotel has unique infrastructure in the region of Itaipava - Petrópolis with leisure options for all ages.
  • Hotel Pequena Su

    The beauty of the journey lies not in the changes of scenery, nor in the escape from everyday life, but in the discoveries of the soul. All this in one of the most beautiful mountain regions in the Rio state, in Penedo an old Finnish colony, next to the Itatiaia National Park with its numerous and exuberant species of animals and plants, only a two hour drive from Rio de Janeiro or three hours from S
  • Hotel Pousada Esmeralda - Itatiaia

    The gods live in Paradise. Here, they spend their holidays
  • Hotel da Cachoeira - Penedo

    O Hotel Cachoeira surgiu de um sonho. E da vis
  • Pousada Capim Santo - Itaipava

    A 750 metros de altitude, cercada de verde por todos os lados, a Pousada
  • Pousada Enseada das Gar

  • Pousada Mata Atl

    Cottages in the mountain range, close to the last natural and preserved Reserve of Mata Atlantica. You still find a hospitable environment set in the middle of greenery, in amild and healthy climate. The inn of Mata Atlantica is totally natural, with ample lawns, gardens, wonderful barbecue fixtures, swimming pool, society soccer field, volleyball court, walking area for jogging. Cozy cottages with TV, frigobar and private access to the garden.
  • Pousada Praia da Ribeira Club - Angra dos Reis

    Lodging in Angra dos Reis with pool, barbecue and bar
  • Pousada Serra da

    Located 2 km from the center of Penedo
  • Pousada Vale do Aconchego - São Pedro da Serra

    Located in the region of São Pedro da Serra, district of Nova Friburgo, the place is rich in nature and peace. With landscape of mountains and vegetation of Atlantic Forest the inn offers chalets on the edge of a stream, ideal for those who prefer to rest and enjoy nature.
  • Quinta do Lago - Itaipava

    By choosing Quinta do Lago you are proving that you belong to a special category of people, who value sensitivity and good taste
  • Serra dos Tucanos Lodge

    Serra dos Tucanos is a small lodge within the Tres Picos State Park in the heart of the Atlantic rain forest, south-east Brazil. Previously a large family home it has now been converted into a lodge catering specifically for birdwatchers, naturalists and those who just want a peaceful break away. Together with large landscaped gardens, the lodge has two rivers winding through the grounds and an array of flowering and fruiting trees and plants that attract a wealth of fauna…
  • Tannourin Pousada - Petropolis

    Flores, ar puro, vista deslumbrante, paz e sil
  • Vale das Taquaras Lodge

    Vale das Taquaras Lodge is located in the Atlantic Forest mountains near Nova Friburgo, just three hours from Rio de Janeiro. Our speciality is high altitude birds and the Lodge has excellent trails offering easy access to montane forest. So far 251 species have been recorded including endemics such as Blue-bellied Parrot, White-bearded Antshrike, Rufous Gnateater, Swallow-tailed Cotinga and Bare-throated Bellbird. The Lodge is very well equipped, has luxurious rooms and guests enjoy delicious home cooking. We have some of the best hummingbird feeders in the region, providing excellent photographic opportunities. We also offer excursions to nearby Maca
  • Aves & Árvores (Birds & Trees)

    The main motivation for its creation came from the personal realization that serious environmental imbalance by passing our planet is deeply rooted in an anthropocentric worldview. Faced with this realization came the desire to encourage people to closer contact with nature, especially through the dissemination of observing activities of birds and nature photography, which I practice as a hobby...
  • Avifauna Magé

    Last updated 2013
  • Birds from Brazilian

    Photoblog from the Atlantic Rainforest
  • Jardim dos Beija Flores

    Ademir Carosia - Paisagista e ambientalista, desenvolve projetos de arboriza
Photographers & Artists
  • Bird Photographer - AluiZio Derizans

    Wildlife and other photos…

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