There are about 500 species of birds recorded on the lodge, a total that is sure to increase. The lodge enables access to a number of important Amazon habitats through forest trails, old logging roads, farm roads and along the Azul river itself. The diversity of accessible habitats is the key to the high diversity of bird species, along with an abundance of natural and anthropogenic clearings providing good places to see many species normally difficult to observe.The road trip, from Alta Floresta to the lodge, runs mainly through open habitats that have been cleared for cattle ranching.
Interesting stops can be made along the way, Red-bellied Macaw, Fork-tailed Palm-Swift, Point-tailed Palmcreeper and Sulfuric Flycatcher can be found along the road. After crossing the Teles Pires river by a ferry boat, the road passes through forested areas where we find several interesting mixed flocks during the heat of the day. There are also some lakes that produce commoner waterfowl. Any of these ponds should be checked for Ash-throated, Rufous-sided and Gray-breasted Crake in its grassy banks. Parrots, Pearl kite and other raptors can be found along the road.
The Hyacinth Macaw has become the face of ecotourism in the Pantanal, but also have strongholds in the Amazon. One such area is the Serra do Cachimbo, the range of hills where the Azul river rises. These birds can be seen, sometimes flying through the farm roads, including the access road to the lodge, and seeing this magnificent and vulnerable macaw will be a priority for any visit.The neighboring farms around the lodge have many common species of open areas, such as Striped Cuckoo, Pale-breasted Spinetail, Grassland Sparrow, Red-breasted Blackbird, a recent kind of settlers in northern Mato Grosso and southern Pará.
The campinas and campinaranas are areas of small prairie savanna-type habitats, scrub vegetation of canopy height from 4 to 8 meters (13 to 26 feet) on white sand soil, with many terrestrial bromeliads and other creeping groundcover, located at the entrance trail over 1.6 km (1 mile) of the lodge, it hosts a number of typical species of Amazonian caatinga including Natterer Slaty-Antshrike, White-fringed Antwren, Lesser Elaenia, Black Manakin, White-naped Xenopsaris, Black-billed Thrush, Black-faced Tanager and Plush-crested Jay. This habitat, locally called cerrado, undergoes incredible changes between dry and wet seasons.
Hummingbirds are easily seen in the numerous flowers in the rainy season including Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Black-throated Mango and Amethyst Woodstar. The stature of the vegetation in the meadow along with the entry trail becomes an excellent area to see parrots in the morning as they move from resting sites to feeding areas. White-bellied Parrots and Bald Parrots are often seen in pairs or in small groups in the morning. Blue-and-yellow Macaws are usually numerous, as the White-eyed Parakeets, Blue-headed and Orange-winged Amazon parrots. Other species easily seen in smaller numbers include Chestnut-fronted and Red-bellied Macaws, Golden-winged Parakeet, Yellow-crowned Amazon and Kawall's parrots.
The medium-high campinarana and transition forest between the low plain of white sand and the highest forest is excellent for manakins: Dwarf Tyrant-Manakin, Pale-bellied Tyrant-Manakin, Red-headed, Fiery-capped, White-crowned and Flame-crested Manakins are all present there, in addition to the Cinnamon Manakin-tyrant. Bronzy Jacamar and Brown-banded Puffbird can be seen along the entrance trail, and it is an excellent habitat for Rusty-breasted Nunlet.In the dry season, the thick litter in the forest makes terrestrial species easier to detect by sound when they are foraging or walking on the forest floor, species like tinamous, wood, quail, and cracids can be found.
A loop trail through the transition forest bonds the lodge to the river bank and returns to the lodge. This trail is good for woodcreepers including the Spix, Red-billed and Blackbanded, many tanagers and various species of Myrmotherula antwrens. Pavonine Quetzal and Yellow-browed Antbird are among the interesting species found near the lodge.Blackish Nightjar is very common in the clearing, White-necked Jacobin, Black-bellied Thorntail, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Green-tailed Goldenthroat, Black-eared Fairy, Amethyst Woodstar and a recently established Phaethornis species, the Tapajós Hermit (Phaethornis aethopygus), have all been seen in flowers near the cabins and restaurant.
The transition forest and igapó trails are good for the Brown-banded and Rufous-necked Puffbirds, Snowy and Flame-crested Manakins, Fulvous-crested Tanager, and Amazon Royal Flycatcher. Tooth-billed Wren, Pará Gnatcatcher, Short-billed and Purple honeycreepers feature highly in canopy flocks. Chestnut-belted Gnateater is abundant in the lower growth. Swarms of army ants attract a number of obligatory ant-followers, including the White-chinned Woodcreeper, Scalebacked Antbird, White-backed Fire-eye, Black-spotted Bare-eye and Bare-eyed Antbird.
The river itself offers very good birding opportunities. Bald Parrots are quite common along the Azul river and can often be seen or heard, above the treetops, in pairs or in small groups. The birds tend not to be very cautious when perched, and with persistence they can be tracked when feeding quietly in the canopy of flowering or fruiting trees. The Azul river is currently the most accessible and reliable place to encounter this coveted and curious endemic parrot.
The river is also the best place to encounter another of our stars, the Crimson Topaz in one of its few known localities south of the Amazon River. Downstream of the lodge the Azul river runs through a number of different habitats, interleaving low cerrado, forests on poor soils, higher sandy igapó, mixed with Mauritia palm groves and higher forest. Species found in riparian edges include Speckled Chachalaca, Madeira Parakeet, Cream-colored Woodpecker, Plain-crowned Spinetail, Gray Antbird, Amazonian Streaked Antwren, Sulfuric Flycatcher, Spotted Tody-Flycatcher and Swallow Tanager.
Good lines of sight allow observers to catch canopy species, such as Redthroated Piping-Guan, Brown-banded Puffbird and Spangled Cotinga, or to see rising birds of prey, such as an Ornate or Black Hawk-Eagle.
The tiny water courses, including some reached by foot in just a couple of minutes, hold specialties like Glossy Antshrike, Striped Woodcreeper, Dot-backed Antbird and Cinnamon Attila.
A series of poorly known species occur in the lodge region, and some, including the Bald Parrot, the Crimson Topaz and the Tapajós Hermit are quite common.
For more information, or to inquiry for a date to your tour, feel free to contact us.