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Birdwatching in Brazil

January 3, 2012 No Comment

travel nature  Birdwatching in Brazil

Tucan shot by the brilliant Ana Cotta/Flickr

Brazil has around 1800 bird species, 20% of the world total, and many of them unique to the country. Despite this rich feathered biodiversity, birdwatching is far from being fully developed and most of those who travel around to observe birds are foreigners. WikiAves, one of the main points of convergence of the Brazilian community of birdwatchers, has mere 9,000 members.

You will find a good summary of the Brazilian birdwatching scene in this study, in Portuguese. It explains, for instance, how the first Brazilian clubs appeared only in the seventies and eighties, in the states of São Paulo, Rio, Paraná and Rio Grande do Sul. Even if statistics are vague and imprecise, there is an estimate that 600 foreign birdwatchers would visit the country annually, by 2006, generating a $1 million dollar economy.

The Tourism Ministry produced a cool little promotional brochure in English, with an overview of the main birdwatching centers in different biomes (the Amazon, Pantanal, Cerrado, the Southern Grasslands, the Caatinga, Mata Atlântica). In my personal experience, Pantanal, the huge wetlands close to the border with Bolivia, is the best place for birdwatchers, because its open spaces and big bird communities allow an easier observation (while the dense Amazon and Atlantic rainforest tend to “hide” their many species). Bird lovers should visit Pantanal between September and November, when most local species, like tuiuiús and garças, are nesting and some collective nests host thousands of animals.

You may also look for information at the website Birdwatcher Brasil, which offers a list of national events, interviews and articles, or subscribe to the forum Lista Brasileira de Ornitofilia (sorry, both sources are in Portuguese).

Finally, you might be also interested in these posts: Four brilliant TED conferences on Brazilian sustainability and Listen to Brazilian birds.

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