Sunrise Birding LLC - Birding & Wildlife Tours
Home | Tours | Trip Reports | News |  Team |  Calendar | Links | Contact | Store | Mailing List
September 6 - 15, 2020

Spectacular birds & mammals
in one of the world’s greatest wetlands,
the Pantanal, in the heart of Brazil!

Plus: Jardim da Amazônia extension
September 15 - 18, 2020

Contact to reserve your space!   

Trip Cost>
  Registration Form> 

The vast Brazilian Pantanal is one of the greatest wetlands anywhere on earth, where the incredible number of water birds has to be seen to be believed. Reminiscent of an African safari but in South America, the Pantanal has been one of our most popular tours, and rightly so. This is an easy and relaxed tour with excellent opportunities to see the wealth of wildlife on offer at fairly close range.

Situated close to the border with Bolivia, the Pantanal astounds everyone who visits by its sheer size (around 55,000 square miles!) and openness. From the Transpantaneira highway, you can watch huge Jabiru wading in the shallow marshes, families of Southern Screamers, Sunbitterns and more storks, herons, ibis and water birds than it is possible to count.

Parrots and macaws brighten the tree tops, while the truly spectacular Hyacinth Macaw, the largest parrot in the world is simply stunning and very easy to get close to offering excellent photographic possibilities. 

One of the many highlights of this tour will be our search for the magnificent Jaguar. One of our three special boat trips will go in search of this elusive species and lets hope we continue our run of luck seeing this huge predator. We also have chances to see Giant Anteater, Capybara, Brazilian Tapir, Giant River Otter and with luck an Anaconda or the rare Maned Wolf.

To complement the sprawling landscape of the Pantanal we will spend some of our time in Chapada dos Guimaraes National Park taking in its dry scrub, huge waterfalls, cerrado, and riverine forest, and its own selection of very special birds including hummingbirds, manakins, antbirds, motmots, tinamous and tanagers.

In addition, we are offering a very special extension to the fabulous Jardim da Amazônia a tropical lodge that supports a whole range of species not possible on our main tour and this is also the only place in the world to see the newly discovered Cone-billed Tanager. Our good friend Eduardo Patrial, one of Brazil’s finest guides will lead this tour with us.

Here are just a few of the fabulous possibilities on this tour:

    * Hyacinth Macaw
    * Red-legged Seriema
    * Southern Screamer
    * Jaguar
    * Horned Sungem
    * Helmeted Manakin
    * Sunbittern
    * Sungrebe
    * Greater Rhea
    * Giant River Otter
    * Curl-crested Jay
    * Giant Anteater
    * Cone-billed Tanager 
    * Razor-billed Currasow
    * Flame-crested Manakin
    * Blue-and-yellow Macaw
    * Glossy Antshrike
    * Snow-capped Manakin
    * Spotted Antbird
    * Blackish Nightjar
    * Rose-breasted Chat
    * Red-necked Aracari
    * Amazonian Umbrellabird
    * Black-bellied Thorntail

Greater RheaTrip Cost>       Registration Form>        Go here for past trip reports>

Day 1: Arrive - Cuiaba
Plan on arriving today at Marechal Rondon International Airport in Cuiabá where you will then be transferred to the nearby Tiana hotel. Note that today is an arrival day and there are no activities planned before meeting for dinner tonight. It should also be noted that the hotel is very close to the airport and as such there is no bird watching to found within walking distance, so depending on your arrival time it would be expected that you would just relax until everyone else has arrived and we meet for dinner.
Night Tiana Hotel, Cuiaba (D)


Day 2: Pousada do Parque
Horned Sungem (Photo: Diego Calderon)This morning after breakfast, we will make our way toward the dry Chapada dos Guimaraes for a three night stay. Here, the high plains of central Brazil abruptly come to an end, with the habitat changing to reveal red rocky outcrops, canyons, riverine and cerrado forest with ferns, orchids and bromeliads. This stunning area offers excellent birding amidst spectacular scenery. A whole new range of bird species await us and from our well positioned lodge within the park we will have birds and wildlife right on our doorstep. Just a short distances away amongst the dry Chapada we can see a variety of species such as Red-winged Tinamou, Channel-billed Toucan, King Vulture, American Swallow-tailed Kite, Crested Black-Tyrant, Peach-fronted and White-eyed Parakeets, Curl-crested Jay, Red-and-Green Macaw, Blue-headed Parrot, Biscutate and Greater Dusky Swifts, Horned Sungem
(Photo: Diego Calderon), Dot-eared Coquette, Cinnamon-throated Hermit, Fork-tailed Woodnymph, Blue-crowned Motmot, the endemic Rufous-winged Antshrike, Chapadas Flycatcher, Plain-crested Elaenia, Southern Scrub Flycatcher, White-eared and Spot-backed Puffbird, Large-billed Antwren, Planalto Slaty Antshrike, Masked Tityra, Band-tailed and Helmeted Manakins, White-bellied Warbler, Campo Flicker, Thick-billed Euphonia, Guira, Black-faced, Grey-headed, White-banded, Cinnamon, White-rumped and Swallow Tanagers, Stripe-tailed Yellow Finch, Coal-crested Finches, Collared Crescentchest and possibly the mighty Crowned Eagle amongst a host of other species. We have even been lucky enough to see the elegant and rare Maned Wolf here! Nights Pousada do Parque (B,L,D)


Days 3 & 5: Pousada do Parque
Band-tailed ManakinWe have two full days to explore this fabulous area where we could find such species as Ornate Hawk-Eagle, Laughing Falcon, Channel-billed Toucan, Rufous-bellied Thrush, Green-barred Woodpecker, Masked Tityra, Wedge-tailed Grass-Finch, Rusty-backed Spinetail, White-backed Fire-Eye and the fantastic Horned Sungem. Pheasant Cuckoos are also in the area but are incredibly difficult to see so we would need luck on our side to actually see one. Beside a wonderful waterfall we can see Biscutate and Great Sooty Swifts as well as White-eared Puffbird, Blue-shouldered Macaw and with luck the elusive Blue Finch. Another great area holds the rare Yellow-faced Parrot, plus Chapada Flycatcher, Swallow-wing and both Least Nighthawk and Little Nightjar towards dusk. This is also a super place to see Red-legged Seriema. A patch of woodland offers us the chance to see Band-tailed and Fiery-capped Manakins as well as White-backed Fire-eye, Channel-billed Toucan and Amazonian Motmot. The beautiful lodge is a pleasure to come back to each day and the food is simply fantastic. Hummingbirds often visit the flowers around the small swimming pool and Tropical Screech-Owl can often be found roosting nearby. We have previously seen Maned Wolf in the grounds but need to be very lucky as this elegant mammal is very nocturnal. Night Hotel Pousada do Parque (B,L,D)


Day 5: Pantanal Mato Grosso
After breakfast we will leave the chapada and drive back toward Cuiaba and then south through Pocone to the first part of the 120 km long Transpantaneira, a dirt road that goes into the heart of this magnificent wetland. We should get our first taste of this truly magical area passing patches of natural forest surrounded by dry floodplain and savannas. Along the way, we will keep a look out for
Greater Rhea and Red-legged Seriema plus Buff-necked Ibis, Plumbeous Ibis, the huge Jabiru, Golden-collared Macaws, Long-tailed Ground-Dove and Guira Cuckoos.

Southern ScreamerAs we progress further the scrubby forest and surrounding area should hold Great Rufous Woodcreeper, Rufous Cachalote, Chaco Chachalaca, Chestnut-eared Aracari, White Woodpecker, Masked Gnatcatcher, Black-fronted Nunbird, Planalto and Mato Grosso Antshrikes, Yellow-billed and Red-crested Cardinals plus a host of other species. The many roadside ponds hold numerous Yacare Caiman and we can search for smart looking Capped and Whistling Herons and possibly our first Southern Screamers.

We'll reach our lodge and check the bird feeders that attract Orange-backed Troupial, Bay-winged Cowbirds, Purplish Jay, Saffron Finches, and much more. Campo Flickers and Crested Caracaras are often almost tame and the nearby river holds many water birds Depending on our time we may take a walk either this afternoon or tomorrow to a small patch of forest where we can look for Helmeted Manakin, Toco Toucan, Rusty-backed Spinetail, White-lored Spinetail, Fuscous Flycatcher, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Black-tailed Marmoset and we have even seen Brazilian Tapir. Night at Hotel Pantanal Mato Grosso. (B,L,D)


Day 6: Pixiam River – Porte Jofre
Helmeted ManakinDawn is shattered by the territorial calls of Chaco Chachalacas, the haunting cries of Southern Screamers, and the distinctive calls of Buff-necked Ibis. We will take a fabulous early morning boat ride onto the quiet waters of the Pixiam River. Here, along weedy river edges and floating vegetation, we can hope to get close and personal with many wonderful species. Sunbitterns are often absurdly approachable, Agami Herons incredibly shy and the Sungrebe is always a challenge to spot. Our tranquil time spent on the river should produce other excellent species such as Blue-throated Piping Guan, Bare-faced Curassow, Chestnut-bellied Guan, Boat-billed Heron, Pale-legged Hornero, huge Jabiru, Grey-cowled Wood-Rail, American Pygmy Kingfisher, Green Ibis, Black-collared Hawk, Blue-crowned Trogon, Cocoi Heron, Roseate Spoonbill and a few other creatures such as Caiman, Capybara, Black-and-gold Howler Monkeys and if were lucky the superb Giant River Otter.

Returning for a late breakfast we will then search some of the nearby forests and open wetland habitat for a multitude of species such as Whistling Heron, Plumbeous Ibis, Long-tailed Ground-Dove, Campo Oriole, Greater Thornbird, Rufous Cacholote, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Mato Grosso Antbird, Ashy-headed Greenlet, Dull-capped Attila, Forest Elaenia, Pale-crested and Golden-green Woodpeckers, Campo Flicker, Rusty-backed Spinetail and the gorgeous Helmeted Manakin.

Later on, we will then continue our journey along the Transpantaneira through the heart of the Pantanal, with plenty of opportunities to fully appreciate and enjoy one of the greatest avian spectacles anywhere in the world, as an amazing abundance of water birds, including a wide variety of ibis, storks, herons and egrets compete for our attention. We can expect extremely close views as many species feed next to the road, allowing superb photographic opportunities. Eventually we will arrive at the end of this road and our lodge where we spend the next 2 nights. Night Porte Jofre. (B,L,D)


Day 7: Porte Jofre
Giant River OttersOur well positioned base allows us ample opportunities to find some of the areas best birds, including the world’s largest parrot, the fantastic and noisy Hyacinth Macaw, often in the palm trees just outside our rooms. This is sure to be a memorable experience and one of the major highlights of the tour, as we watch these spectacular birds feeding and flying to and from their roosting trees.

The main focus of today will be to embark on a boat trip onto the Cuiaba River where our primary target species is the magnificent Jaguar, and absolutely awesome predator that is on many enthusiasts most wanted list. In the heat of the day these animals come down to the river banks to rest in the cool breeze that comes off the water’s surface. The success rate of seeing Jaguars here has improved enormously over the last few years as the locals guides knowledge on how to find them has also improved. We stand a very good chance of seeing this big cat, but no guarantees as it is nature and not a zoo!

There will be plenty of avian distractions as we search for Jaguars and we can expect species such as Large-billed and Yellow-billed Terns, Black Skimmer, Rufescent Tiger-Heron and Wattled Jacana. We could also come across Giant River Otters. In the evening we may make use of spotlights to search for a variety of nocturnal wildlife. With luck we could find Tapir, Giant Anteater, Crab-eating Racoon, Margay or Ocelot, as well as both Nacunda and Band-tailed Nighthawks. Night Porte Jofre. (B,L,D)


Day 8: Porte Jofre – Rio Claro
SunbitternWe have today to catch up with any species in the area that we may have missed before driving back along the Transpantaneira towards and yet another fabulous lodge. As we leave those fabulous Hyacinth Macaws behind us we will once again find that photo opportunities abound and we could add species such as Pied Lapwing, Azure Gallinule, Collared Plover, Pectoral Sandpiper and Bare-faced Ibis, Fawn-breasted Wren, Greater Thornbird, Amazonian Motmot, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Striped Cuckoo, Lesser Seed-Finch, White-tailed Goldenthroat, Crested Oropendola, Black-collared Hawk, Fuscous Flycatcher and Green-barred Woodpecker, Band-tailed Antbird, Little Woodpecker, Rusty-collared Seedeater, Masked Gnatcatcher, Large Elaenia, Wattled Jacana, Maguari Stork, Capped Heron, White-wedged Piculet, Yellow-billed Cardinal, Red-pileated Finch, Great Horned Owl and more opportunities for both Band-tailed and the huge Nacunda Nighthawks.

When we reach the lodge, the bird feeders around our rooms are likely to have Nanday and Blue-crowned Parakeets. The small ponds and wet areas are a great place to see the wonderful Sunbittern and this evening we have an opportunity to do a night drive where we have chances to see Common Potoo and possibly an Armadillo, Tamandua, or Margay. Night Pousada Rio Claro (B,L,D)


Day 9: Rio Claro – Pousa Alegre
Toco ToucanToday we will have opportunities for an early morning boat trip followed by a walk among some areas of the highest bird diversity in the region. Birds are literally everywhere, and by covering various forest types and swamps we may find Toco Toucan, Rufescent Tiger-Heron, Lesser Yellow-headed Vulture, Aplomado and Bat Falcons, Pearl and Snail Kites, Crane and Black-collared Hawks, Sungrebe, Buff-necked and Green Ibises, Undulated Tinamou, Brazilian Teal, Capped and Cocoi Herons, Sunbittern, the endemic Chestnut-bellied Guan, Blue-throated Piping Guan, Bare-faced Curassow, Toco Toucan, Red-and-Green Macaw, Peach-fronted, Yellow-chevroned and Monk Parakeets, Turquoise-fronted Amazon, Chestnut-eared Aracari, Pale-crested Woodpecker, Red-billed Scythebill, Great Rufous Woodcreeper, White Monjita, Gilded Hummingbird, Buff-bellied Hermit, Glittering-throated Emerald, Rufous-tailed Jacamar, Pale-legged Hornero, Yellow-chinned Spinetail, Chalk-browed Mockingbird, Black-capped Donacobius, Yellowish Pipit, Flavescent Warbler, Silver-beaked Tanager, Blue-crowned Trogon, Solitary Black Cacique, Thrush-like Wren, White-headed Marsh-Tyrant, Purplish Jay, Yellow-billed Cardinal, Rusty-fronted Tody-Flycatcher, Unicolored and Scarlet-headed Blackbirds amongst many, many other possibilities.

We will then drive the short distance to a different lodge where we will have time to explore the surrounding area. Here mammals abound and we have opportunities to look for Brazilian Tapir and even Giant Anteater or the rarely seen Giant Armadillo. Our day will be well spent and to add to the wealth of birds we also have opportunities to see many species of dragonfly and butterfly. Night Pousa Alegre (B,L,D)


Day 10: Cuiaba – End of Main Tour
For those finishing our main tour we will depart early from Pousa Alegre lodge in time to get to Cuiaba Airport for your international departures. We would advise that we should get to the airport by 11:00 AM so please do not arrange any international flights to leave Cuiaba before the earliest 1:30 PM. (B)


POST TOUR EXTENSION to Jardim da Amazônia
Day 10: Cuiaba – Jardim da Amazônia

For those going on our fabulous extension to the tropical lodge of Jardim da Amazônia we will depart Pousa Alegre after breakfast and head for Cuiaba international airport where we will say our goodbye’s to those leaving us. We will then continue our journey through the afternoon to arrive at our base for the next 3 nights. Night Jardim da Amazônia (B,L,D)


Days 11 & 12: Jardim da Amazônia
Cone-billed TanagerWe have 2 full days to explore this wonderful area where many species not available on the regular Pantanal trip can be seen. This superb jungle lodge is the only place in the world you can see the critically endangered Cone-billed Tanager
(Photo: Eduardo Patrial) a species only rediscovered in 2003 after being lost for 100 years, and we will be making a special effort to try and find this rarely seen species.

There are plenty of other superb birds in this area and we have lots of time to search a variety of habitats in search of a good variety. Amongst the Mauritia palms that abound around the lodge we will look for specialties like Point-tailed Palmcreeper and Sulphury Flycatcher, while Bare-necked Fruitcrows and a host of tanagers and flycatcher should entertain us. Nearby trails and a boat trip will have us searching for such avian delights as Razor-billed Currasow, Natterer’s Slaty Antshrike, Helmeted Pygmy-Tyrant, Amazonian Umbrellabird, Red-necked Aracari, Gould’s Toucanet, Rose-breasted Chat, Pink-throated Becard and a host of parrot species including the spectacular Blue-and-yellow Macaw, plus Red-bellied, Blue-winged and Red-shouldered Macaws. There are many superb smaller birds to look for including Tooth-billed Wren, Glossy Antshrike, Black-girdled Barbet, Spotted Puffbird, Flame-crested, Fiery-capped, Red-headed and Snow-capped Manakins, and an entire shopping list of other species. With pools and a clear river nearby if it gets too hot there will be a chance to relax midday. Nights Jardim de Amazônia (B,L,D)


Day 13: Jardim de Amazônia– Cuiaba
After an early morning breakfast we will reluctantly set off from the lodge and head to Cuiaba international airport in time for your departing flights. Please try to arrange flights that depart no earlier than 13.30 as we expect to get to the airport by 11.00am. If you cannot get a flight to suit these times then we may suggest you overnight in Cuiaba. We can arrange this for you at the Taina Hotel for about $80 including breakfast. (B)


Leaders:  Eduardo Patrial and Sunrise Birding guide with 8 or more people.

Contact to reserve your space! 

September 6 - 15, 2020   REGISTRATION FORM (pdf)>
Jardim Extension, September 15 - 18, 2020
Contact to reserve your space!   

Main Tour: $TBA per person based on double occupancy from Marechal Rondon International Airport, Cuiaba, Brazil (Airport code CGB). Single supplement: $TBA.
Extension: $TBA based on double occupancy and a minimum 6 persons. If less than this a small group supplement would need to be applied. Single supplement: $TBA.

Deposit: $500 per person. Note: Tour deposits can be paid by credit card via PayPal. Use this link to make your credit card payment.  Please advise when you have made payment.
Group size: Minimum for the main tour to go ahead 5.

Included in cost: Accommodation in twin rooms en-suite, all meals from Dinner on September 6, 2020 to Breakfast on September 15, 2020 for main tour or breakfast on September 18,2020 for the extension, water, group airport transfer, ground transport throughout, boat trips, all entrance fees to parks as stated in the itinerary, and services of English speaking leaders and driver.

Not included: International airfare, passport/visa fees, departure taxes, insurance, drinks, tips, and items of a personal nature such as: laundry, telephone, beverages, or gratuities for porterage or personal services.

Accommodation: All lodges are of a good standard and offer en-suite rooms, a good variety of meals and cooked breakfasts.

Tour Code: This is a standard birding tour with regular birding stops along roads and short walks on well marked flat trails. There are early morning options and pre-breakfast excursions, followed by morning and afternoon sessions. The weather is generally good to warm, even hot, with slight possibilities of rain. Be prepared for all eventualities.


RESERVATIONS: Contact to reserve your space! Then, complete the Registration & Release Form and mail it with your deposit of US$500.00 per person to Sunrise Birding, LLC.  Instructions are on the form. Reservations are held with a deposit on a first-come, first-served basis.    >Download & print the Registration Form 

Once the tour is confirmed to go ahead, we will send you information about booking your flights.
Please do not book flights
until you receive this information from us and are notified that the trip has sufficient numbers to run. Final payment is due May 6, 2020.

**Please note: Tour prices are based on quoted costs from ground operators (in their local currency), estimated fuel costs, and the rate of exchange the time of itinerary publication. The erratic nature to global financial markets makes it difficult to predict changes in costs and foreign currency exchange rates over the long term. Since tours are priced well in advance of the actual operation of the tour, tour costs, fuel costs and exchange rates can change, sometimes drastically. Depending on the extent of such changes, it may be necessary to implement a surcharge on this tour. If a surcharge is necessary, every effort will be made to minimize the amount.

Cancellations and Refunds: All cancellations must be made in writing. In the event that you must cancel your booking at any stage, all payments you have made to Sunrise Birding, LLC will be retained by us, except at our discretion. You may have the opportunity to transfer your booking to another tour or another person, provided you are unavoidably prevented from coming on the tour. In this case, you will bear any extra costs that such changes may incur. There are no refunds once the trip is confirmed to go ahead and no refunds will be made for unused meals, accommodations, or other trip features. Sunrise Birding, LLC cannot accept liability for airline cancellations or delays or penalties incurred by the purchase of non-refundable airline tickets or other expenses incurred by tour participants in preparing for this tour.

Insurance: Sunrise Birding, LLC recommends that you purchase a travel protection plan to help protect you and your travel investment against the unexpected. Travel protection plans can include coverage for Trip Cancellation, Trip Interruption, Emergency Medical and Emergency Evacuation/Repatriation, Trip Delay, Baggage Delay and more.

For more information on the available plans or to enroll, click on the link below or contact Travelex Insurance Services at 800-228-9792 and reference location number 07-0025.

The product descriptions provided here are only brief summaries. The full coverage terms and details, including limitations and exclusions, are contained in the insurance policy. Travelex CA Agency License #0D10209. All products listed are underwritten by, Berkshire Hathaway Specialty Insurance Company. 11.17 E7N

Contact Steve Bird for more information.