Rio Grande do Sul

Many-coloured Rush-Tyrant Tachuris rubrigastra ©Elis Simpson Website
Birding Rio Grande do Sul

The state of Rio Grande do Sul in the southeast of Brazil has borders with Uruguay and Argentina. In its southern half, the predominant biome is the Pampa, composed mainly of plains with few trees. In the northern half, we have the Atlantic Forest biome, where the terrain consists of mountains and many forests. The climate is subtropical, with temperatures as low as -5 °C in winter but reaching +40 °C in summer. The main rainy months are July and August.

Some of the top locations for sightings of birds, are listed below in the ‘Top Sites’ section, but there are others such as:On the coast, is the ‘Parque Nacional da Lagoa do Peixe’, in the municipalities of Mostardas and Tavares. Its area is 90,000 acres. The are is best for migratory shorebirds, both from the Arctic and Antarctic. They escape from the harsh winter in their breeding territories, traveling up to 36,000km a year to a place with milder temperatures. The area is mostly plains with few trees. This favors birdwatching and photography, as there are few obstacles between the observer and the birds and bright sun favours photo taking.

Just at the southern limit of the state, near Uruguay, is the Taim Ecological Station, covering 27,000 acres. The biome is very similar to the Lagoa do Peixe, with many migratory shorebirds. In the mountains of the northeast is the Floresta Nacional, Sao Francisco de Paula, which is a national park covering an area of 4,000 acres, with an altitude exceeding 900 meters in some points. The average annual temperature is 14.5 °C. Here can be found various birds and other endangered animals. In the northwest of the state, on the border with Argentina is the State Park of Turvo, with an area of 43,000 acres, altitude between 200 and 300 meters. There are records of almost 300 species of birds. Inside the park is one of the largest horizontal waterfall of the world 1,800 meters in length, formed by the Uruguay River on the boundary with Argentina.

Top Sites
  • Bom Jesus

    Satellite View
    There is a dam on the road from São Joaquim, soon after the state boundary, with Speckled Teal Anas flavirostris, Yellow-billed Pintail Anas georgica, Brazilian Duck Amazonetta brasiliensis and Sooty Swift Cypseloides fumigatus. In the marshy area around the dam there was Plumbeous Rail Rallus sanguinolentus, Straight-billed Reedhaunter Limnornis rectirostris, Firewood-gatherer Anumbius annumbi, Lesser Grass-finch Emberizoides ypiranganus and Saffron-cowled Blackbird Xanthopsar flavus. We heard Freckle-breasted Thornbird Phacellodomus striaticollis soon after, and began to see Black-and-white Monjita Heteroxolmis dominicana and Azure Jay Cyanocorax caeruleus regularly. From this point in the trip almost every pond or marsh had something of interest. In the town of Vacaria we were fortunate to see a flock of 200+ Red-spectacled Parrots Amazona pretrei, a species that was once common in Rio Grande do Sul but is now quite difficult to find.
  • Lagoa do Peixe

    Satellite View
    The road from Capivari is now paved all the way to São José do Norte at the end of the peninsula where the ferry leaves for Rio Grande. The main entrance to the Lagoa do Peixe is 18km south of Mostardas, signposted to Praia Farol. The road passes through grassland and dunes before reaching the beach, along which you can drive till you reach the channel where the lagoon meets the sea. Excellent for seabirds and waders. If it is wet this track can be very tricky in an ordinary car. There is a second access to the Lagoa do Peixe further south, the one mentioned by Forrester. Turn left 1.2km south of the centre of Tavares (where the southern access road to Tavares joins the main road); turn right at a pine plantation and then left before a long house; carry straight on to the lagoon. There is no access from here to the ocean beach.In Mostardas itself if you pass through the town along the main dual carriageway and keep going, the road turns to a dirt track, and gets very slippery when wet, however with care it is possible to reach the beach along this track. At first it passes through uninteresting pine plantations, but becomes more natural woodland then emerges into a marsh area with some extensive reed beds on the left. Here Many-coloured Rush-Tyrants Tachuris rubrigastra can be found along with other reed dwelling birds. Long-winged Harriers quarter the marshes.
  • Sao Francisco de Paula

    Satellite View
    Mentioned in Forrester under Aparados da Serra National Park. The Hotel Veraneio Hampel is not expensive and has its own private forest. There is good birding here and along the track down the hill from the hotel which bends round to the left and eventually joins the main road. Long-tufted Screech-owl Otus sanctaecatarinae, Mottled Piculet Picumnus nebulosus, Greenish Tyrannulet Phyllomyias virescens and Brown-breasted Bamboo-tyrant Hemitriccus obsoletus.
  • Taim

    Satellite View
    The 82km drive from Cassino takes about an hour. The bird life here is astounding. The drawback is that much of the birding is along a causeway carrying the very busy main road south. Dead capybaras, knocked down by trucks, are scattered about. You can get away from the main road by taking a dirt road to the left, near the IBAMA headquarters (Ecological Station on Forrester's map). The Lagoa Mangueira, south of Taim, is worth a visit. Turn left after the petrol station at Curral Alto (131km from Casino).
  • Uruguaiana

    Satellite View
    Between São Borja and Uruguaiana the BR 472 runs through extensive wetlands with large numbers of waterfowl, waders, ibis, raptors etc. The espinilho parkland, described by Forrester, is on two fazendas, farmed by Arcídio and Catrina Trojan. Their house is at the Fazenda Santo Ângelo, on the left (travelling south); 11km from the Barra hotel in the town of Barra do Quaraí. They rent out the Fazenda Rancho Velho, on the right, 6.3km from the Barra hotel.
  • Gilberto Sander Müller

    Porto Alegre RS |

    Bird Club
  • Jeremy Minns

    São Paulo |

  • Rick Simpson

Number of Species
  • Number of bird species: 756

    (As of May 2019)
Useful Information
  • State Bird

    Southern Lapwing Vanellus chilensis
Museums & Universities
  • Universidade Federal de Pelotas

  • Universidade Federal de Santa Maria

  • Universidade Federal do Rio Grande do Sul

  • Universidade do Rio Grande

  • Clube de Observadores de Aves de Porto Alegre (CAO porto Alegre)

    Objective: To promote the observation and study of wild birds in freedom and the natural environments they occupy.
  • Federação Ornitológica Gaúcha

    Facebook Page
    Created to publicize the actions of FOG, with its affiliated clubs, creators from all over Brazil, official publications and events.
  • Projeto Ave Missoes

    Ave Missões is a conservationist project that has as its instrument Bird Watching related to activities of research, education and ecotourism. The project is linked to the Radiant Star Institute, in Santo Ângelo / RS.

Abbreviations Key

  • NF Floresta Nacional Sao Francisco de Paula

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The National Forest of São Francisco de Paula (FLONA - SFP; 29 ° 25'22,4 ''S; 50 ° 23'11,2''W) administered by ICMBIO - Chico Mendes Institute for Biodiversity Conservation, constitutions in a Sustainable Use Conservation Unit, characterized as an area with forest cover of predominantly native species. Home to over 200 species of birds...
  • NF Parque Florestal Estadual do Turvo

    InformationSatellite View
    O Rio Grande do Sul é um dos estados onde ocorreu a maior devastação das matas nativas, em todo o país. Praticamente não existem mais florestas virgens no Estado. Mas, se existir alguma área, ela certamente se localizará no Parque Florestal Estadual do Turvo, no município de Derrubadas (clique aqui para ver como chegar lá). Trata-se de um dos mais importantes paraísos ecológicos gaúchos, último reduto de animais raros como a onça pintada e a anta (veja, na foto acima, uma onça na principal via de acesso ao Salto do Yucumã (veja uma foto); no que poderíamos considerar o fundo do parque, na fronteira com a Argentina).
  • NP Parque Nacional da Lagoa do Peixe

    InformationSatellite View
    The Lagoa do Peixe National Park is in the coastal marine biome, and has been registered as a Ramsar Site. It has an area of 36,721 hectares (90,740 acres). The park is an important resting place for birds on the migratory route between Patagonia and the United States. Migratory species include red knot (Calidris canutus), common tern (Sterna hirundo), sanderling (Calidris alba), white-rumped sandpiper (Calidris fuscicollis), two-banded plover (Charadrius falklandicus), tawny-throated dotterel (Oreopholus ruficollis), rufous-chested plover (Charadrius modestus), Chilean flamingo (Phoenicopterus chilensis) and Andean flamingo (Phoenicoparrus andinus).[2] The tuco-tuco (Ctenomys flamarioni) is endemic.
  • NP Parque Nacional de Aparados da Serra

    InformationSatellite View
    Despite its relatively small size, the park is characterised by a rich biodiversity, as result of its diverse relief and of being situated at the contact between coastal forests, grasslands and Araucaria moist forests. There have been at least 143 bird, 48 mammal, and 39 amphibian species documented in the park. Endangered fauna on the plateaus of the park include the red-spectacled amazon parrot, the maned wolf, and the cougar.
  • NR Estação Ecológica de Aracuri-Esmeralda

    InformationSatellite View
    Bird species include plumbeous kite (Ictinia plumbea), sharp-shinned hawk (Accipiter striatus), pale-vented pigeon (Columba cayennensis), dark-billed cuckoo (Coccyzus melacoryphus), dark-billed cuckoo (Nctibius griseus), short-tailed nighthawk (Lurocalis semitorquatus), rufous nightjar (Caprimulgus rufus), planalto tyrannulet (phyllomyias fasciatus), small-billed elaenia (Elaenia parvirostris), olivaceous elaenia (Elaenia mesoleuca), tawny-crowned pygmy tyrant (Euscarthmus meloryphus), bran-colored flycatcher (Myiophobus fasciatus), Euler's flycatcher (Lathrotriccus euleri), Swainson's flycatcher (Myiarchus swainsoni), boat-billed flycatcher (Megarynchus pitangua), streaked flycatcher (Myiodynastes maculatus), tropical kingbird (Tyrannus melancholicus), fork-tailed flycatcher (Tyrannus savana), white-winged becard (Pachyramphus polychopterus), grey-breasted martin (Progne chalybea), brown-chested martin (Progne tapera), eastern slaty thrush (Turdus subalaris), swallow tanager (Tersina viridis) and red-eyed vireo (Vireo olivaceus).
  • NR Estação Ecológica do Taim

    InformationSatellite View
    The reserve is home to at least 30 different species of mammals and 250 birds.
  • SP Parque da Cachoeira

    WebsiteSatellite View
    The 'Waterfall' park is an ecological reserve and a popular place to camp etc...
Places to Stay
  • Hotel Fazenda das Araucárias

    Facebook Page
    Hotel Fazenda das Araucárias is the newest development in São Francisco de Paula.
  • Hotel Ritta Höppner - Gramado

    You will find the Hotel Ritta H
  • Parque daParque da Cachoeira

  • Pousada do Engenho - S

    Hospedando-se na Pousada do Engenho, voc
  • St. Hubertus Estalagem - Gramado

    With a prime location, opposite the Black Lake, the St. Hubertus Inn stands out for its romantic and cozy atmosphere.
Other Links
  • Aves do Sul

    Birdwatching in Rio Grande do Sul
  • Dante Andres Meller - Projeto Ave Missões

    Graduated in Biological Sciences, Master's degree from PPGBA-UFSM and coordinator of the Ave Missões Project. Work with Research, Environmental Education and Ecotourism through the observation of birds in the Northwest Region of Rio Grande do Sul.

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